The innovative and dedicated folks at our local libraries have worked hard to hone the presentation of their online resources, enabling families to stay engaged in educational and entertaining activities while spending their days together at home.
“Especially for this time when our library buildings are closed, our web editors reorganized our site to put the online offerings at the top of the page so that people can more easily find them,” said youth services coordinator Darcie Caswell. “We have thousands of titles available as e-books and e-audiobooks on our Overdrive page, with special tabs for kids and teens.” Young readers can select from popular series ranging from “The Baby-Sitters Club” to the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” “Harry Potter” and the math-inspired books about that gallant knight, Sir Cumference and his wife, Di of Ameter.
The “Early World of Learning” database (under “A-Z Resources”) also offers a bevy of picture books for pre- and early-readers with an option for audio-narration or text for a story-time with a parent or favorite adult reading the pages. Even coloring pages are available on the site that can be printed out and colored by hand or colored on-screen with virtual “crayons” and “markers.”
In addition, for children in grades of K-5, the library’s A-Z Resources presents Kids Info Bits, featuring interesting pieces of information on topics including animals, music, movies, technology and sports. After a genre is selected, further options are presented. For example, animals would offer a selection ranging from birds to dinosaurs. “It’s all very kid-friendly,” said Caswell, “and each topic is presented with a bright, beautiful picture.”
Children and adults will also enjoy accessing the Britannica page. Augmented from the encyclopedia version that parents and grandparents knew through periodic editions that once arrived by mail, the online version offers videos of the various topics with captions and narration.
“Parents are looking for different options today and the library staff has done great work to meet their needs. When they start exploring the site, they will be pleasantly surprised with what they find there.”
Along with the free access to the Kanopy streaming video service offered free of charge for all ages, the library provides Kanopy Kids, through which children can view their favorite videos as well as television series such as “Sesame Street,” “Dinosaur Train,” and “Arthur.” In addition, the site offers a Story Time section, featuring books that children are familiar with such as Mo Willems “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” and other popular picture books that are brought to life in short videos.
Caswell stresses the value of parent-and-child story times together.
“From birth to pre-readers and early readers, reading can be a part of a routine that children grow up knowing as part of their daily lives,” she said. “When parents and caregivers read to their children, they associate reading with people that they love. Parents and caregivers are the No. 1 influence in a child’s life, and any activities they do together encourages brain development and reinforces the learning they are experiencing.”
Caswell also underscores the value of parent involvement with regard to computer time.
“Guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics emphasize that children’s screen time is of the highest value when they are interacting with an adult about what they are seeing or doing. Having a conversation with an adult makes it a much more meaningful and educational experience for the child,” she said.
This treasure trove of offerings for children is free to all who have a library card. Anyone who doesn’t have a library card can apply online at librarypoint.org and library card information will be emailed. Viewers can also visit the library’s Contact Us page to reach the staff by email or chat. During the closure, chat and email hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays, 1-5 p.m. The library’s website is librarypoint.org.