Mr. Kent’s Storytime

Libraries across the country just celebrated gaming day, a day devoted to the future of our country – our teens, tweens and children.

The interesting thing is that this has divided a lot of librarians.  I’m for doing whatever it takes to get kids of all ages reading and learning to love to read.  I listened to a presentation at the WLA about teen areas.  The librarians at this presentation seemed to all embrace the gaming culture and the comment was made that many of the teens who were waiting to use the games actually (gasp!), discovered they were in a library and began to read!  Some even joined book groups.  Isn ‘t that the idea?

Can we, as librarians, limit our use of computers to the internet and catalog searches?  Should we limit library spaces to ooks and magazines?  Oh, wait a minute, perhaps you remember when the thought of cd’s and videos was at least heresy in a library!

Another positive outcome is the raise in confidence of kids who were not necessarily the popular kids.  These kids, who are good gamers, have been asked for help by others, and the attainment of higher levels brings a certain status.

Yes.  I love books.  I love the feel and smell of a book.  I love bringing the characters to life with my own version of how they sound.  I seriously doubt printed materials will ever go  away.  I certainly hope not.  I also feel that libraries should have quiet book nooks – comfortable spaces where folks can relax and read.

If you think there is no appreciable value in gaming, you have but to look at the heads up display in an F-18 jet fighter or M-1 Abrams tank, to name just two of the many military vehicles using technology that has even been designed after a video game.

Look at the big picture.  Our children need us to reach them in anyway we can.

Happy Holidays!

Mr. Kent

Welcome Back!

Technology marches on!   As a grad student and future children’s librarian, I became very interested in the role technology faces now and in the future of our libraries.

Last week I attended the Wisconsin Library Association Conference, my first.  It was an amazing experience and has really solidified my decision to become a children’s librarian.

I should qualify this by saying that I use the term children’s librarian as a term that includes as it’s patrons all persons under 21.  I know this probably irks some Youth Services Librarians, but it’s really just semantics, plus, I love the sound of Children’s Librarian.

I am writing a research paper on the topic of Technology and the Future of Children’s Libraries.  If you are a librarian, library technologist, administrator, or just a person who has an opinion, please feel free to post a comment or take the all-new web-based questionnaire!

The questionnaire is at:

http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?key=ppryyns6kT1Rqnr-ie0r8Ng

I would love to have as much feedback as possible, so please fill it out, send the link on to your friends and colleagues anywhere and everywhere in the world!

Technology can never replace human interaction, nor should it be used thus.  It was an interesting note at the conference during a seminar on youth services, that the tweens and teens waiting for computer games or gaming devices started reading books, and then even joined book clubs.

We all need computers, as a matter of fact, we can probably never have enough – desktops for card catalogue searches, gaming, laptops to check out, and computers to control interactive displays.

I believe the future of Youth Services (see Children’s Libraries does sound better), will involve more hands on interactive “exhibits”; more play, including toys; and even more storytimes; more book clubs; music performances; and in general more entertainment.

Take the questionnaire – give me your thoughts.

Thanks for your help!

Until next time!

Welcome to my blog!

 I hope to do a few things here that I think will be fun, educational (wait, come back!), and espouse some of my opinions on what I feel Children’s Libraries should become, how they should help children, and how together we can all make this happen.

I have to tell you that I love to read to children.  Mr. Kent’s Storytime was the original name for the storytime I did at Borders in Springdale (Cincinnati), Ohio.  I had a great time reading every week to pre-k and elementary age children for about 3 years.

I fell in love with the picture book genre.  I love all the authors, but I do have my favorites.  I also read Independent Reader and Young Adult books.  I love children’s books, and it is interesting how many stay as classics, and how many I feel will become classics.

As I am new to this, it may take a few weeks to figure it all out.  Look for reading suggestions and synopsis on books, my ranting about what the future holds for Children’s Libraries, and links to fun things for kids to check out.

If you are a parent – read a book to your child tonight and every night.  Reading is perhaps the most important skill children can learn, it broadens their horizons, prepares them for every subject in school and takes the places in their imaginations!  

Mr. Kent - Dressed up and lookin' smart!

Mr. Kent - Dressed up

 

Kindest Regards,

Mr. Kent

Perhaps the die-hard felties makers won’t consider these felties, as they are not stuffed, just characters made out of felt, but I think they qualify.

I found out a few things when I decided to create a feltboard and use it for Storytime:

1.  Always, always, always remember the size of your canvas (in this case the feltboard)!

2.  I can’t draw the things I want to create, however;

3.  I can “sculpt” them, cuting and shaping as I go.  This creates  a bazillion little tiny pieces of felt, but is very satisfying!

4.  Creating felties is addicting!!!!

 

Ok, so here’s what I’ve made so far and how I use it.

I’ve made the characters for Little Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs, nice because I can use the same Big Bad Wolf!). I also created the forest, from simple pine trees to more elaborate harwoods!  I have used these to tell  the fairy tales, as I move the characters around on the feltboard.  The kids love catching mistakes and corecting errors!

I have also stopped just printing out pictures, coloring,  laminating and them sticking  felt to the back for feltboard use.  They don’t look as nice, nor do they adhere as well.  Ok, plus I”M HOOKED on cutting out little felt objects.

I do a counting song (one little, two  little, three little…), and I have made apples, balloons and bullfrogs (leap year , you know!), so far, with more to come!

I just finished a hedgehog for a friend who lost her cat to old age.  Turns out, so far I can’t sculpt a cat!  I sculpted some kind of crazy looking Pig-Cat-Bear – but I’ll work on it!

Felt is Fun!  Try it you’ll like it!

Ok, so who knows what the future will bring?  One thing is for sure, libraries who have tried gaming to bring teens and pre-teens into the library, won’t be quitting the programs anytime soon.

Consider the New York Public Library, spending millions of dollars to re-do their youth areas.  A major part of the funding will be used in purchasing video games and gaming computers. 

If you haven’t bee to your local library (and why haven’t you?), you might not know that gaming is the hottest thing in libraries for teens since the Music Man came to town and courted Marion the librarian!

In November, over 600 libraries held a national gaming day, welcoming teens to their public library!

“Oh no!”  You say, “What about the books?”  They are just fine!  As a matter of fact, librarians have observed the elusive teens (well, not that elusive over 1/4 of patrons are teens), <gasp!> reading while waiting to play and even joining book clubs or groups!  

How cool is that?    It’s a win-win situation, a tremendous return on investment, and it adds numbers to the great God(dess) of libraries – Circulation.  So the next time your teen tells you they’re going to the library, maybe they are!

Check it out – at your local library!

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