This year our goal has been to get iPads integrated with our ys programming. This morning I was super excited to present our first iPad story time at my library. Here is what I did:
We have 14 library iPads for youth programming. Each has a purple iGuy case, which is perfect for little hands. We share these across 3 locations. We are lucky to have an IT department so we can give them a list of apps to load and they do that.
What We Did
While we have used iPads for 1 story or song in a program before, I wanted this program to be all on the iPad. My reasoning is twofold-1) I wanted to give kids a new experience with quality apps and 2) I wanted to model good app behavior for the parents. I passed out a take-home sheet for all of the parents. It listed the apps that we used, how we used them, and recommended apps for the future.
We registered 12 kids ages 2-4 and the program filled up almost immediately. While summer reading isn't necessarily the best time to start something new, we wanted to trial our program before our fall newsletter deadline to work out the logistics.
Our first program was all about the farm. I started off by showing the parents the basics of the iPad (the kids knew how to work them right away). I then read Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton. I used my voice to tell the story and showed them how to flip the pages. As I read, I pointed out fun things to try during free time at the end of the program. We then sang B-I-N-G-O using the Felt Board app.
After our first song, we read Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? by Dr. Seuss. Once again, I pointed out the fun things to do with this app. Then, we sang Old MacDonald using the Duck Duck Moose app. This one was fun, because while it includes animals, it has other fun farm things, such as a tractor. This gave us a chance to talk about what noises we think a tractor would make.
The two stories and two songs took about 20 minutes. Then, we opened it up for free play time. I showed the kids how to turn up the volume (I had the iPads set on 2) and let them play with the apps. We also had Make a Scene Farmyard and Peekaboo Barn HD for the kids to play with.
Since this was our first time trying out the program, I wanted to know what our customers thought. With 12 kids and their caregivers, I was able to talk to everybody as they were leaving to see what they thought. They loved it! Most took home their sheet so they could check into the apps at home.
With this age group it helps if each child has a caregiver. While the children know how to use the iPads, it helps to have an adult right there to help them get started.
Our Next Step
We are working on our budget for next year as the one technical piece that we are missing is the Apple TV. This would help to project the app on the big screen. It would also help if there are siblings in the room as only the child holding the iPad could see what was going on with the apps.
The other thing that we are working on is a recommended app list. There are a lot of apps out there and parents are always asking us which we can recommend. They also want a way for the library to provide apps for them for free (like our databases), but nobody does that yet (hint hint).