|by: Katya Szewczuk|
Do you think libraries will be extinct like the dinosaurs because of technology, or be reinvented like the dinosaurs in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park?
Libraries open up a child’s world to education, literacy and adventure. It’s an emporium of wonders, where the books of the world are organized, stored and ready for a child to sit down and go on a journey of learning. No matter what genre or size, every book has a lesson to teach. For children of all ages and backgrounds, the library provides everyone the same unlimited possibilities.
Many people fear that libraries will cease to exist in the age of technology. In our technology enhanced society we have e-books and devices that act as our books. Instead of flipping through the pages of encyclopedias, access to the world’s discoveries and knowledge is now just a mouse click away. For the last few years this has been a dark topic discussed between the literacy community, librarians, parents and teachers.
But what if there was a way for technology and libraries to coincide instead of fighting for the literacy glory?
According to the American Library Association and the National Survey of Student Engagement, surveys show that students and teachers take great value in both high-quality digital and print collections. Libraries today offer educational programs, print and digital books, access to databases, meeting spaces, and even provide instruction on how to use new or upcoming technologies. In fact, more than two-thirds of Americans agree that libraries serve a great importance to the community, the promotion of literacy and reading, and have helped people truly make a difference in their success.
Libraries demonstrate their value as community anchors by responding to issues and identifying trends that impact the community.
– American Library Association
KidLit TV agrees that technology and literacy can have a synergistic effect. Our show StoryMakers is a prime example of how tech and literacy can be combined. Rocco Staino was a librarian for elementary, middle and high school students. He saw the positive impact video could have on the literacy community and decided to jump on board as a team member of KidLit TV. As the host of StoryMakers he helped the show gained traction in the literacy community. Recently, Matthew Winner’s podcast featured founder Julie Gribble, how she came up with the concept, how she and Rocco select interviewees for their Storymakers show, and more insider info!
However, we at KidLit TV are not the only ones blazing a path of combing tech and literacy. Roxie Munro, Sarah Towle, Herve Tullet, librarians around the globe, and others are also experimenting with using technology to spur readers and create more interest in stories. Today, some libraries have collaborative apps to download so kids can discover their favorite books and act out the adventure. A great example would be Roxie Munro’s K.W.I.i.StoryBooks, which are interactive, walk-in storybooks for kids that include educational apps and awesome discoveries. These function well as additional offerings and don’t replace story times and author talks, which have always been popular with both kids and adults.
Another example would be Sarah Towle’s Time Traveler Tours, The New Generation of Tour Guide for a New Generation of Traveler (TTT&T). Instead of publishing the time-traveling illustrated Paris history book for kids in print, the TTT&T team has created a series of great interactive apps! The company’s aim has always been: To combine the traditional power of storytelling with the latest in mobile technology to bring history to life in the palm of your hand. This way kids will still be able to read and walk through history’s great and daring adventures, but also use technology to enhance their learning experience.
Want to learn more about TTT&T? Check out the official KickStarter Launch Party video from the KidLit TV Headquarters!
Storytelling comes in many different forms. You can tell a story through writing, art, videography, acting, music, and technology. Libraries, as community centers, are embracing these new forms and showing patrons how technology, such as apps, are another way to tell a story. Even authors and illustrators are turning their books into apps and games for children.
Throughout time, the only constant has been change. Libraries are adapting to accommodate the technology age and the demands of their readership. Across the globe, librarians are testing out new strategies to stay relevant with young readers (and beyond). What do you think about the libraries vs. technology debate? Do you think technology has improved libraries? Do you have examples of how technology is enriching literacy? Let us know!