We’ll Link to That: Winter 2016

Every quarter we write a column for YAACING, a youth services newsletter published by the Young Adult and Children’s Services (YAACS) arm of the British Columbia Library Association.  This winter our column is a collection of the most current resources for digital media and libraries, but make sure to check out the entire Winter 2016 issue! If you’d like to catch up on our past columns you can find them here:

Is your library doing advisory or programming around apps or digital media?  Do you want to start?  Research from Common Sense Media in 2013 cites that 75% of households own digital media in some format, with 40% of families with children under age 8 owning at least one device. Here are our Top 10 resources for learning about the research on using digital media with children and for learning about ways public libraries are embracing our role as media mentors.

1. NAEYC/Fred Rogers Joint Position Statement

In 2012, the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College released this paper giving their recommendation that “when used intentionally and appropriately, technology and interactive media are effective tools to support learning and development.” They also state that we must pay special attention to media use with infants and toddlers, avoiding passive play in favour of shared technology time with an adult caregiver.

2. American Academy of Pediatrics Growing Up Digital Recommendations

Though widely cited for their 2011 recommendation of no screen time for children under the age of two, the AAP recently came out with updated suggestions that make a distinction between passive and active media. They now recommend that parents engage in digital media with their children, model media behaviours, and investigate the quality of media aimed at children. A more formal policy statement to follow their 2016 national conference.

3. ALSC White Paper on Media Mentorship

This 2015 paper published by the Association for Library Service to Children summarizes the current research on the topic of using digital media with children and makes four core recommendations for all youth services staff. They recommend that every library have staff who act as media mentors, that media mentors support families in their decisions, that library schools provide training to future youth services professionals, and that current staff receive the professional development they need to take on this role. Their website includes many helpful links, including free webinars on this topic to their members.

4. Zero to Three: Screen Sense
Zero to Three is one of the leading organizations advocating for early childhood education.  In 2014 they came out with their “Research-Based Guidelines for Screen Use for Children Under 3 Years Old.”  In these guidelines they advise that caregivers must participate in screen time for young children and that screen time should be interactive. They also highlight the importance of extending learning beyond the screen.

5. Joan Ganz Cooney Centre: Joint Media Engagement
The Cooney Center is an independent research organization that specializes in advancing children’s learning through digital media. They came out in 2011 with a publication that advocates for joint media engagement – using digital media alongside children – which leads to more positive learning outcomes. They were one of the first groups to emphasize the positive effects of caregivers participating in screen time.

6. Little eLit

While no longer being updated Little eLit remains a vital source of information when it comes to digital media. Browse through the archived blog posts, scroll through apps which have been reviewed on Little eLit and locate lists and other trusted review sites. Finally, their home page links to some of the reports mentioned above and other important publications.

7. Anne’s Library Life

If you’re just getting started or curious how to incorporate digital elements into your storytime we love Anne’s no-nonsense eStorytime outlines. She includes descriptions of the apps she uses and lots of images. Her introductory blurb on iPad Apps and Storytime would be great to adapt and share with caregivers as well.

8. Media Smarts

This is a great place to go for Canadian standards, research and policy for digital and media literacy. They also have excellent resources for educators and guides in several different languages.

9. Books by Lisa Guernsey

Lisa Guernsey is one of the leading researchers on digital media and young children today. Her most recent book Tap, Click, Read: Growing readers in a world of screens by Guernsey and Levine (2015) is a complete look at helping children develop strong literacy skills through “the combination of parents, educators, and high-quality media.” The book which started it all Screen time: how electronic media–from baby videos to educational software–affects your young child (2012) explores her journey as a parent and journalist to dispel myths around media use and children. If you’ve ever heard of the 3 C’s, we’ve got Guernsey to thank!

10. West Vancouver’s Youth Department App Reviews

Featuring app reviews for young children, teens and kids in between this is one tumblr you’ll definitely want to follow. Each review is written by a member of the West Vancouver Memorial Library Youth Department and includes helpful tags for searching by operating system, age, price and type.

Do you have a favourite resource for using digital technology with children that we missed? We’d love to hear about it, give us a shout at jbrary@gmail.com.

We’ll Link to That: Fall 2015

Every quarter we write a column for YAACING, a youth services newsletter published by the Young Adult and Children’s Services (YAACS) arm of the British Columbia Library Association.  This fall our column is all about our favourite spots to learn about new books, but make sure to check out the entire Fall 2015 issue! If you’d like to catch up on our past columns you can find them here:

One of our favourite parts of the fall season is learning about all the new books that are soon to hit the shelves. If you’re like us and work in a large system with centralized purchasing, you have to make a concerted effort to stay on top of new releases. Have no fear! In this issue we’re sharing ten of our favourite websites to keep up-to-date on children’s and young adult books, apps, and audio visual materials.

  1. Step Up Readers: The fabulous Storytime Katie has started a second blog and it’s all about those beginning readers your 5-7-year-olds gobble up. This part of our collection can be hard to stay on top of, but Katie comes to the rescue with overviews of series, publishing information, and new releases. She often includes her personal review of the quality and the level of difficulty.

  1. CanLit for Little Canadians: We love promoting Canadian authors and illustrators and this website is a goldmine. Helen Kubiw, a teacher librarian, maintains the site, creating fabulous booklists and making sure we’re all aware of upcoming publications by Canadian creators.

  1. The Nonfiction Detectives:  Run by a school librarian and youth service manager duo, this website is paramount for learning about exciting new information books. It’s the place where Lindsey learned about the new biography of her all time favourite poet that came out April 7, 2015!

  1. Forever Young Adult: If you’ve ever found reading reviews to be boring, you must visit this site! This group of ladies review teen fiction with pizzazz and humor. Not only that, they also recap popular teen TV shows and movies so you can still be hooked into teen culture. Before you start reading, check out their explanation of their book report grading.

  1. Literary Hoots: Emily is one of my favourite children’s librarian bloggers hands down. She posts very succinct and helpful reviews of picture books through YA, but in addition to that she also shares super cool reader’s advisory stuff like this super awesome flowchart for middle-graders. And if you read her blog regularly, you’ll get to see all her storytime and program ideas!

  1. Sense and Sensibility and Stories: If Canadian children’s literature had celebs, we think Rob Bittner would own the red carpet! His blog offers short, honest and extremely succinct reviews of new picture books right up to teen novels, with a focus on both diverse and Canadian materials.

  1. AudioFile: When we asked a colleague where-oh-where we could find reviews of children’s audiobooks she pointed us to AudioFile and we have never looked back. Using the “children” filter for new reviews you can browse what’s new and great or under Features check out AudioRex for children’s audiobook reviews by age category.

  1. Digital Storytime: This is THE authoritative review site for picture books apps. Started by Carisa Kluver in 2010 because she couldn’t locate credible ebook reviews when deciding what to buy for her family Digital Storytime has grown to a robust site searchable by category, age, price and device.

  2. School Library Journal: We know that you know about School Library journal. But, did you know they now host some of your favourite book bloggers like Betsy Bird, Teen Librarian Toolbox, and Travis Jonker? They can be counted on for solid content like Librarian Previews and Reviews (including apps!) but also much richer content like cool author interviews on Fuse #8 TV, The Yarn podcast (which is like Serial but for Children’s Librarians) and super hip Friday Finds.

  3. We Need Diverse Books: This is a hugely important resource for ensuring that we continue to build truly diverse collections and is the flagship of the current movement in children’s literature. Check out the Where to Find Diverse Books section for awards and review sites and the Summer Reading Series (we hope there’s a Fall one!) for great readalike ideas for popular titles and series.

    Do you have a favourite website for collection development ideas that we missed? We’d love to hear about it, give us a shout at jbrary@gmail.com.

 

We’ll Link to That: Summer 2015

Every quarter we write a column for YAACING, a youth services newsletter published by the Young Adult and Children’s Services (YAACS) arm of the British Columbia Library Association.  This summer our column is all about innovate summer reading club programs, but make sure to check out the entire Summer 2015 issue! If you’d like to catch up on our past columns you can find them here:

It’s Summer Reading Club time!  We hope everyone’s having a great time with the Build It! theme this year.  Though we are already in the thick of it, we thought we’d highlight innovative ideas children’s librarians across North America are implementing.  Ever thought about ditching prizes? Want to get the kids more involved and active in SRC?  Look no further than our 10 favourite Summer Reading Club blog posts.

1. Tiny Tips for Library Fun : In this six post series Marge pushes us to think past the “narrow lines of expected service.” She not only provides research and evidence, she also asks the tough questions about going prizeless, preventing staff burnout, and reaching the kids who aren’t participating. This series made us think deeper about the why behind SRC. Don’t forget to check out her Summer Reading Revolution Pinterest board as well.

2. Abby the Librarian: Are you sick of giving kids cheap plastic toys for SRC prizes?  Then this is a must read post!  Abby takes us through how she stopped giving away prizes and instead offered super cool Science Activity Packets. A balloon rocket? Check. An exploding stick bomb? Check. The learning and fun shouldn’t stop at the library, and Abby demonstrates just how to make that happen. The best part is the kids loved it.

3. Jean Little Library: You want to make changes to SRC but how do you get everyone on board?  Read Jennifer’s detailed summer proposal. She includes excellent reasons for going prizeless, why to offer something for the little ones, and what other people are doing to simplify SRC. Her plan is aimed at making it more accessible for each family.

4. Library Bonanza: Kelsey rebranded her summer reading club to the Summer Library Club. Kids are rewarded just for visiting the library! We love how this makes the library a destination for families and extends beyond books and reading. Books are used as giveaways and volunteers are heavily utilized to make this program an increasingly popular summer activity.

5. Hafubuti: Rebecca created wonderful summer reading club booklets as a way to get the kids in her community active. The booklets combine coupons to local businesses with a thematically related literacy activity on the opposite page. She also made bright, eye catching signs for businesses to put up that say “This Business Proudly Supports the Library.”  Another great example of a library going prizeless and working with community members to provide a literacy rich summer for families.

6. Kids Library Program Mojo: Our guru Marge Loch-Wouters teaches a Power Children’s Programming course and her students came up big with ideas all about achieving a zen state during SRC. Impossible you say? Read on for simple tips about staffing, engaging with the community and prizes (or lack thereof.) Marge writes passionately about that fine balance between maintaining your sanity and providing quality service to families and we love her for it.

7. Thrive After Three: Reading logs or reading records can start to feel a little old, especially for older kids. For this reason we absolutely love Lisa’s Summer Reading bingo cards which feature challenges or activities involving books, holidays or library programs. Feedback from families was extremely positive and getting a new bingo card each week kept them coming back all summer long! Pssst, Lisa also links to her Lend a Friend program which we’re dying to try.

8. Growing Wisconsin Readers: We all know SRC is a time to focus and program for school age children, but what about your younger crowd? In this post Abby writes about her Early Literacy Summer Library Program for children birth to four and their caregivers. Inspired by Marge (who we can’t talk enough about!) Abby created simple logs for families to record early literacy activities like pointing out print or playing a rhyming game.

9. ALSC Blog: This post talks about the latest trend in SRC programming: camps! Detailing a very successful Geek Girl Camp, this post not only has lots of ideas for an awesome STEAM focused camp but also makes an argument for why this model is so successful.

10. Bryce Don’t Play: As her library moved away from prizes Bryce was tasked with developing Summer Reading Game Cards and we’re so glad she was! In this post she writes about the activities on the card and how and why they develop literacy skills. We saved this one for last as a hilarious treat, enjoy!

Do you have a favourite summer reading club idea that we missed? We’d love to hear about it, give us a shout at jbrary@gmail.com.

We’ll Link to That: Spring 2015

Every quarter we write a column for YAACING, a youth services newsletter published by the Young Adult and Children’s Services (YAACS) arm of the British Columbia Library Association.  This spring our column is all about STEAM resources, but make sure to check out the entire Spring 2015 issue! If you’d like to catch up on our past columns you can find them here:

Summer Reading Club is right around the corner and this year’s theme is Build it!  Many of the sub-themes have a connection to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math), so we thought we’d round up our Top 10 STEAM online resources. There is so much information online that sometimes it’s hard to know where to start.  Well, here are 10 websites that will get you inspired to plan STEAM programs for kids ages 0-12 years old.

1. The Show Me Librarian
There is a reason why we think you should start with Amy’s page. Dubbed the STEAM Queen, Amy has created lists of science and STEAM programs she’s done with preschool and school age kids, other folks who are running STEAM programs and resources to locate non-fiction books and brush up on your science. We also love her emphasis on tapping into STEAM resources in your community. Truly a one-stop shop!

2. Abby the Librarian
But please don’t stop there. Our friend Abby has a series called Preschool Lab in which she includes all the storytime gold we’re used to like songs, rhymes, flannels and books with explanations about what makes each of them great. But that’s not all, Abby also includes stations that allow her storytimers to get their hands around different scientific and mathematical concepts. She ends with her thoughts on how it all went as well as additional ideas for caregivers to build on the ideas explored at home.

3. SimplySTEM
This is a wiki started by students from Spring 2013 ALSC course “S.T.E.M. Programs Made Easy” as a way to collect STEM resources and ideas floating around the interwebs. Check out their preschool and school age resources for lots of great tried and true ideas.

4. Robot Test Kitchen
This group of children and teen librarians blog about their failures and successes when it comes to programming with robotics in a library setting. We love their true confessions for thoughtful writing and lots of links and their reviews for learning about products we’ve only read about. In their words, two robot thumbs up!

5. Library Makers
This blog, which is connected to the Madison Public Library includes all kinds of great STEAM program ideas in the WonderWorks series. But don’t stop there, we love their Supper Club where they invite families to come eat dinner and take part in an app-based storytime, Toddler Art Class plus Craft Lab and NeedleReads for Teens.

6. Science Sparks
Though not a librarian-run blog, this website is chalk full of fun and easy science experiments broken down into age groups. They’ve got ideas for preschool science all the way up to tweens. The writers make a point to showcase activities you can do using commonly found household items. We especially love their book club posts which feature science experiments tied to popular children’s literature like The Lorax.

7. TinkerLab
Run by a mom and arts educator named Rachelle Doorley, this blog features open-ended experiments and art projects. She has one of the most user-friendly navigation bars, allowing you to easily search by art activity, science experiment, or age group. And her Resources page lists everything from what supplies she buys to books to read to her favourite blogs.

8. Little eLit
One of our favourite technology programming websites that specifically focuses on the role of libraries. Want to know what apps to use in storytime? Want to get ideas for iPad based programs? Little eLit is leading the way on innovative ideas and research on using new media in libraries with young children.

9. StarNET
StarNET provides science-technology activities and resources for libraries. Created by a coalition of groups such as ALA, the Space Science Institute, and the Afterschool Alliance, when you join their community you get access to successful STEAM programs libraries across North America have run.

10.  ALSC Blog
We’ve been following the official blog of the Association for Library Service to Children for a long time, but we just recently discovered their STEM/STEAM Tag. This tag gives you access to their archive of all STEAM ideas bloggers have shared over the years. From booklists to conference sessions to grant writing to program ideas, just spending an afternoon reading through these posts is sure to inspire and educate.

We’ll Link to That: Winter 2015

We are excited to finally share our column in YAACING Winter 2015! YAACING is published by the Young Adult and Children’s Services (YAACS) arm of the British Columbia Library Association and if you’d like to catch up on our past columns you can find them here:

Usually we’re all about bringing you all the link love one little article can contain, but this quarter we’re changing things up. We are constantly discovering new blogs dedicated to youth services. Some of these blogs are just starting up, and some of them are well established. In both cases, they’ve made it onto our radar over the past few months, and we want to share them with you. So get your RSS feeds ready!

  1. Hafuboti: Rebecca’s blog is an absolute must-read! Her monthly displays and passive programs are a sight to behold with recent additions such as Dinovember and Decemberley. This blog is bursting with creativity, from crafts to graphic design projects. Everything you see you’ll want to do in your own library.
  2. Playing the Hits: Don’t let the byline fool you – Maggie is no rookie! One thing we look for in blogs is a diversity of content and this one delivers. Read about unique storytime themes such as Pizza Dinosaurs, learn about apps she uses in her iTots storytime, or get the rundown on holding a Minecraft club. The Chicago area is lucky to have her!
  3. Geeked Librarian: Lots of STEM ideas on this blog by a newly minted children’s librarian. Learn how to make squishy circuits or find out how to make a library website with no budget!  We also love how she discusses how she tweaks and revamps the programs she’s inherited such as this music and movement storytime.
  4. Laura’s Library Adventure: We were drawn in by the adorable profile picture, we stayed for the top notch content. With over 10 years experience, Laura wows us with her full spectrum of programs such as her preschool labs, pumpkin palooza, and storytime goodies. We also love her ideas for the after school crowd: hands-on science and sweet snacks.
  5. Miss Colleen’s Corner: Colleen blogs about all different kinds of storytimes and her posts are very thoughtful and detailed. She explains why she chose the books and songs for each theme. We also love her StoryTech posts which explain how she incorporates technology into storytime. Additionally, she’s blogged about a sensory storytime she offered with the cutest visual cue cards ever.
  6. LibraryKirsten: While Kirsten’s blog is only a couple months old it is brimming with thoughtful content. Her blog focuses on both her experiences as a Children’s’ Librarian and her participation in the Colorado Association of Libraries Leadership Institute (CALLI). The result is lots of great reflection on topics like screen time, professional goal setting and awesome ideas when it come to books and programs.
  7. erinisire: We love following Erin on Twitter because she keeps it so real and her blog is no different. Her recent post about what she wants to do highlights her commitment to all things awesome and early literacy. Look no further than her TMNT Passive Program or her Ode to Babytime for original ideas and plain old hilarious writing.
  8. The Adventures of a Bookgirl: We love Bookgirl’s blog for its well organized content (c’mon we’re librarians too!) and lots of gorgeous pictures. Check out her Tween, Teen and YA programs and display ideas as well as her Sensory Storytime for some neat visual tools.
  9. The Frozen Librarian: It’s not just because she’s so close to the Canadian border she gets French radio that we’re excited about this new blog. We really like the range of formats she covers in her recommended reads, interviews like this one and did we mention her Taco storytime?! Oh yes, and oh you’re welcome.
  10. Teeny Weeny Library: First of all check out this list of themes, Andrea’s even got being sick. Love it! Ok, now back to it Andrea writes awesome book reviews and has contributed big time to Flannel Friday. And just to round this out she’s got a growing list of School Age Programming and Young Adult book reviews. All this makes for a blog worth following.

We’ll Link to That: Fall 2014

We are excited to finally share our column in YAACING Fall 2014! YAACING is published by the Young Adult and Children’s Services (YAACS) arm of the British Columbia Library Association and if you’d like to catch up on our past columns you can find them here:

While this represents only a snapshot of the amazing work being done by Youth Services professionals, we hope you stumble across new ideas and connect to new blogs. Here we go!

Awesome People Doing Awesome Things

Our Storytimer of the Season comes from slightly farther afield than the Pacific Northwest but we’d do just about anything for Abby Johnson because she does just about everything for our profession. Her recent post on the ALSC blog is a prime example of the everyday advocacy and awesomeness she is about. But she doesn’t stop there and neither should you, read up on her storytime ideas, her adventures in reading wildly and just everything else under the library sun at her blog Abby the Librarian.

Continuing on, we’ll start with awesome people making awesome things! Check out Mrs Todd’s newest storytime pals Lowly Worm and Huckle Cat both made from Richard Scarry patterns from the 1970’s. Her blog A Librarian Less Ordinary has (among so many other things) awesome craft ideas like Monster Bags! Another blog with wickedly fun crafts, especially for the school age crowd is Pop Goes the Page like these spooky shadow play puppets. And speaking of puppets Miss Mary Liberry recently posted a rallying cry for puppets as an early literacy tool including some really simple ideas for those of us less craftily inclined.

There are some new and very exciting things happening in the online world like our two new favourite blogs erinisinire by librarian Erin Davison and Hands On As We Grow by non-librarian Jamie Reimer. When it comes to quick catch-ups Beth Saxton has started to write weekly round ups on Noted, With Thanks that are perfect for staying current and Storytime Katie writes seasonal In Case You Missed It posts which are broken down into neat categories. The folks at Storytime Underground continue to rock and roll with the launch of Storytime University where you can enroll and start earning badges for professional development. And finally we love Flannel Friday and sharks in equal parts so when they held a special Shark Week themed round up and Anne used Scratch to create a video for Shark Week we could not have been more thrilled!

When it comes to advocacy we’ve got some heavy hitters in our Personal Learning Network. To start off with, Angie in response to the violence in Ferguson harnessed the power of twitter and in particular the hashtag #KidLit4Justice to curate a wishlist of books for the Ferguson Municipal Public Library District which was purchased within a day. Check out her post, the booklists and the amazing conversation taking place. This summer a very poignant conversation also took place at Storytime Underground about what it means to be an anti-racist library professional and is well worth a read. Finally, our pal Ingrid The Magpie Librarian put together a survey to gather  and document violations of the ALA Code of Conduct at ALA Conferences and events.  Read about her findings here. Continue reading “We’ll Link to That: Fall 2014”

We’ll Link To That: Summer 2014

We are excited to finally share our column in YAACING Summer 2014! YAACING is published by the Young Adult and Children’s Services (YAACS) arm of the British Columbia Library Association and if you’d like to catch up on our past columns you can find them here:

While so much has happened since we wrote this up (including meeting so many of these amazing folks!) we stand by the awesomeness of the work they do. Please check out our most recent round-up of Youth Services gold!

Awesome People Doing Awesome Things

We love discovering awesome storytimers and love it even more when we find out we’re practically neighbours. Leah, a Children’s and Family Literacy Librarian from Victoria, BC is both of these and therefore our Storytimer of the Season! You can check her out her blog Time for Storytime, or peruse her amazing Pinterest Boards like the one she created for our Summer Reading Club theme Funny Business.

We love a good joke but there ain’t nothing funny about solid professional development and these last couple of months have definitely delivered. If you have not yet read Amy’s piece on Professional Development in Youth Services we’ll wait. She follows this rallying cry with a presentation on Effective Advocacy for Youth Services which she delivered at PLA 2014.

When it comes to advocating for what we do one of the best tools is information. The folks at CLEL can always be counted on for great information like this series of posts on Developmental Milestones. It never hurts to have articles like this one on the benefits of investing in preschool and NPR’s look at what constitutes “high-quality” preschool when talking to caregivers or library administration.

Next up some quick and very cool early literacy goings on: Marge and Brooke talk about their Early Literacy Area and how it evolved here and here. We love how Ingrid posts early literacy tips behind her desk like “You don’t have to finish every book, you know.” And finally an early literacy section wouldn’t be complete without Lisa’s too-cute-for-words Early Literacy Kits she put together for families to take home.

For a slightly older crowd Sara Bryce provides her usual dose of humour and smarts in this piece on differentiated programming (aka literacy for all) and Rebecca talks about the neato storytelling launchpad she discovered in Storybird.

Continue reading “We’ll Link To That: Summer 2014”

We’ll Link to That: Spring 2014

Well we promised not to tarry with the next instalment of the column we write for YAACING, which is published by the Young Adult and Children’s Services (YAACS) arm of the British Columbia Library Association and here we are delivering! If you’d like to catch up on our last two columns you can find them here:

Awesome People Doing Awesome Things

Our Storytimers of the Season come to us this time from just south of the border in Olympia, Washington. Sara and Emily are the Fairy Twins behind Fairy Twins Book Time, a blog we recently discovered. They’ve got it all: cool storytime ideas and outlines, displays and program ideas for older kids. After reading their origin story plus checking out their Hair Storytime we have no doubt that these two are pure magic.

We noticed a funny thing as we hunted and gathered links this time around, it seemed as if Readers’ Advisory and Technology Advisory were dominating the headlines. We went with it. First up Ingrid, who is known as The Magpie Librarian has written a great piece explaining the process of selection for the Rainbow List which is put together by the GLBT Roundtable of the ALA. Her piece is packed with RA tidbits, reflections on the importance of the Rainbow List and a call out to authors and publishers to keep repping the underrepresented. Angie Manfredi wrote a great post on the ALSC blog which is a nod to the big four Youth Media Awards and an enthusiastic pointing to three other kidlit awards which youth services librarians should pay attention to. Check out the American Indian Library Association’s American Indian Youth Literature Awards, the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association’s Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature and the Amelia Bloomer List which is created by the Feminist Task Force of the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association.

Continue reading “We’ll Link to That: Spring 2014”