Making New York Public Library’s Digital Treasures Available to Families
New applications from a virtual reality advent calendar, a puzzle book for preteens, and digital slime club are making their way onto the New York Public Library’s digital shelves and soon into your children’s hands.
In June 2015, President Obama spoke at the inaugural State of the Library Address, saying that the library was “already the most visited public library in the world, and by the end of the year we expect more than 250 million people will visit its locations.”
While only 25% of New York Public Library’s approximately 80 million visitors are at the end-of-the-year version of the NYCPL’s site, the library is opening its programming to digital natives with these new digital partnerships.
In an attempt to encourage and foster digital literacy in New York children as well as educate middle schoolers and high schoolers about their civic and physical history, the library has partnered with progressive businesses to develop digital offerings, building on their preexisting electronic database of poems and plays.
To strengthen their technology center, there’s an initiative to become a repository for digital storybooks in French, Italian, Spanish, and English, a 2D puzzle book for young children, and game and music apps to encourage creativity.
At the end of the month, the U.S. Library of Congress is receiving 150,000 mini videogames, 100,000 more than anticipated, as part of an effort to revive interest in arts-related gaming. According to the library, this will be a resource to “all children, including children of color and those living in underserved areas,” who do not currently have access to technology such as videogames.
Also joining the mix is a mobile production system to feature innovative children’s programs on popular mobile platforms, such as Minecraft, Facebook, and Amazon. Children and teens can collaborate and interact using apps such as DIY and Degenerative Barrier Games, making children more open to enthused learning.
To encourage a digital culture, access to the technology will be free at the kiosks located at the Elmhurst, Glendale, and East Harlem public libraries, lending libraries, and the Legacy District, as well as an app for Android and iOS devices.
The New York Public Library has been continually expanding its tech offerings over the last few years, offering free 3D printable models of objects in the commons from artists.
They have also conducted workshops with teachers to incorporate literature with digital technology, as well as commissioned creative and educational materials to distribute to schools, library branches, digital media art centers, libraries, and new technology media centers.
This month, DC Comics will publish their inaugural novel, a graphic novel chronicling the journey of Kevin Spacey’s character, the disgraced journalist Frank Underwood, which charts his rise and fall in the House of Representatives.
A Lego digital guide app will allow children to compete with their peers by answering questions about PopSugar’s insider insider tips. The app may also turn their favorite digital activities into physical ones, such as making slime using over 700 different flavors and colors available online and in free stores.
Given the relevance of the experience and emotion of the children, as well as the popularity of Harry Potter, The Jetsons, and The Peanuts, the library has also provided an easy way to spark the creative minds of children.
Now, families and children have access to a wealth of digital tools, allowing them to interact, create, learn, expand their vocabulary, and discover new passions.
If you have a favorite story from the library and are curious about what other apps are out there, we’d love to hear about it. Send an email to [email protected] with the title, “Librarian Approved” and tell us about your experience with apps from the New York Public Library. We’ll feature your letter in one of our upcoming articles.
*Katrina Schwartz is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, NY. She began her career as a high school teacher before becoming a student librarian, magazine writer, and freelance writer. She has also written content for BestLibrarian.com, library lover website Librarycafe.com, school textbook site Wileydissolve, and editorials for Plymetrics, librarians’ trade publication. Katrina is also an editor of various educational software and products.