Youth Materials · Youth Services

#ala2013: STEAM, Interactive Storytimes, & Appvisory

ALA annual in Chicago was quite the hootenanny (even if it was 1 month ago, whatever). A definite highlight was when David Levithan (Boy Meets Boy, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Will Grayson Will Grayson) signed my copy of Boy Meets Boy. I didn’t want the signing to be another boring “to Kelsey – David Levithan” so I asked him if he could sign with his favorite song lyric (since he incorporates music into a lot of his writing). He was thinking, chuckled, and said “My favorite is from death cab for cutie’s song Transatlanticism ‘I need you so much closer’ but I feel like that would be weird to sign with.” He then said, “When in doubt, go with Joni [Mitchell].” It was so worth almost passing out.

While I only left with one free book, I was really there for the sessions. Below are my brief gleanings from each session. Did you go to any of these? What did you find special from them?

Building A to Zoo for Apps

Parents and educators are drowning in apps! An unorganized heap of information just waiting to be organized? Librarians are on the way! Little eLit provides an overview of the session on their website. I am truly inspired to a) keep pushing librarians to include apps as part of library materials, including offering app-visory to patrons, and b) offer my services to the review and collation of such apps into one centralized location. There are several resources out there that provide reviews of great children’s apps, but we as librarians can use our official, educational, non-corporate titles to provide a treasure trove of well organized reviews.

Inspiration: Offer 2 app reviews at my library’s monthly collection development meetings.

What’s Hot in STEAM Education: How Using ECRR2 Supports Literacy, Common Core and School Success

Judy Cheatham, VP of Reading Is Fundamental, gave background research on reading and children, and pointed attendees towards RIF’s really awesome STEAM booklists that feature a book and STEAM activities that can accompany the book. Susan Anderson Newham from Pierce County Library (Washington) talked about her Block Parties where children are invited to the library for free play with blocks. It was neat to see something so low-key be so popular and have it tied to STEAM and have it partnered with Head Start. There are two rules at these parties: (1) No throwing, and (2) Don’t knock down other towers. I also liked how she had pictures of famous structures that children could recreate with the blocks provided.

Inspiration: Add vocabulary keywords and learning objectives to my Curious Kitties (STEAM) programs.

STEM Storytime Extenders

The Preschool Services Discussion Group gathered to discuss the use of STEM and STEAM at our libraries. Here’s an overview on the ALSC blog to check out. I got some great little ideas and was inspired by the enthusiasm of the group. I like the concept of book bundles + an activity sheet to take home. Also mentioned was that the 2014 Collaborative Summer Reading Program is Fizz, Boom, Read which will be perfect for science related activites! Here are some resources that were shared:

Calde-Totts: Creating and Using Caldecott books for young children

This was kind of a fun one to listen to three illustrators talk about their creation process and the importance of art. When asked how he viewed digital artwork, Eric Rohmann said, “You could use peanut butter and a cue tip. I don’t care how you make your illustrations.”
There was an added greatness to this session with the presentation by Megan Lambert, an employee of the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature. Talking about how she emphasizes artwork in her storytimes, she emphasized the importance of vocabulary and not dumbing down the language, mentioning that if kids can “name all the dinosaurs, they can learn what ‘portrait’ is.” Lambert also brought up an intriguing statement; that librarians should ask themselves if storytime should be used as a performance or a book discussion. A performance is a bit more controlled in a group setting, but a book discussion is a great way to model to parents that books should be engaging and spark curiosity.

Inspiration: Use “eyes on art” cue while reading to emphasize a particular object that kids should be paying attention to.

Junk Food, Beer & Books: Intellectual Freedom in a Commercialized World

This was a provoking conversation on the detrimental effects of commercialization and advertising on children. Did you know that companies spent $100 million marketing to children in 1983 and now they spend more than $17 million. Yikes! This advertising has been honed by child psychologists and amplified with technology. Speaker Susan Linn believes that the “favorite character” toys and screen time is losing hands-on creative play and face time with real humans. Linn believes a good toy is 90% child & 10% toy.
Very informational but I was slightly perplexed by the answer to the question I shot her way. I asked what she felt about early literacy tablets in libraries and she responded that there is no research to prove that tablets have any affect on early literacy for children and that this trend should stop. It seemed rather narrow minded because extensive research has not had time to be conducted because tablets and interactive software are so new on the scene. Also, it seemed like someone that is a hater of the times and is reluctant to analyze and accept the new technology and train parents on the proper way to utilize something that they will use anyways.

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