For immediate release | February 3, 2012

Using free tools for technology-based public library programming for children and teens

CHICAGO— Innovative technology programming genuinely helps children become adept at navigating our increasingly wired world while also helping them develop deductive reasoning, math and other vital literacy skills. In “Technology and Literacy: 21st-Century Library Programming for Children and Teens,” published by ALA Editions, Jennifer Nelson and Keith Braafladt foster a different kind of thinking about what literacy in the 21st century really entails. One of the simplest and most powerful tools for technology-based public library programming is called Scratch. It’s a free, easy-to-use programming language that can be used to create everything from 3-D animation and graphics to music-enhanced presentations and games. This book:

  • Explains how to use Scratch, and how it has already been used in libraries around the country to create technology workshops for youth;
  • Guides readers through workshop planning, focusing on youth ranging from teens to younger elementary students;
  • Presents advocacy tools so that organizers can make the case to their institution’s managers, administrators and other stakeholders;
  • Provides reliable and field-tested techniques for time management, locating and training volunteers (teen and adult) and identifying and working with community partners;
  • Includes workshop templates as well as sample participant evaluation checklists.

Nelson is a passionate advocate for the role of public libraries as informal learning centers and worked for over 25 years at the Minneapolis Public Library in a wide range of capacities. In the last five years, she has collaborated with the Science Museum of Minnesota on developing sustainable practices for informal technology workshops for youth in public libraries. She is a frequent conference presenter on topics related to technology programming, youth, informal learning and the future of public libraries and is currently senior grant writer at Project for Pride in Living, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit.

Braafladt is an experienced teacher and developer with a deep understanding of learners and the creation of learning environments in informal settings. Experienced with technology program implementation, he works on developing effective curriculum for technology and media-infused classes and workshops. His work has focused on the intersection of art, technology and science and how these integrate to support creative self-expression and social meaning making for adults and youth.

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