Review: Technology and Literacy: 21st Century Library Programming for Children & Teens
Nelson, Jennifer and Keith Braafladt. Technology and Literacy: 21st Century Library Programming for Children & Teens. Chicago, IL: American Library Association, 2012. 144p. Paperback, $50.00 (ISBN: 978-0-8389-1108-2)
Technology and Literacy: 21st Century Library Programming for Children & Teens is a vague title, which may lead the reader might to expect an overview of various types of technology-based programs for youth. However, the book focuses specifically on one type of library programming in particular, Scratch, which is a software suite for creating rich, interactive multimedia projects. Scratch was developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology specifically for use in after-school programs, and with Scratch users can create animations, simple video games, digital greeting cards and more.
So much for Scratch. The book itself is designed to acquaint the reader with 21st century literacy skills like critical thinking, problem solving, flexibility and creativity, and explain how Scratch workshops can help cultivate these skills in a library setting. Specific topics covered include workshop models, learning space options, staff considerations, hardware and software requirements, Scratch commands, and other specifics. An appendix provides project templates that could be used in Scratch workshops.
In addition to the details provided about Scratch, the book provides useful information on how to develop technology programs in public libraries, covering such topics as the use of planning tools, how to engage the right people, and how to gain support for such programs. The authors also address challenges that can arise when starting new technology programs.
Ultimately, though, even if the book has some generally useful information, the focus on Scratch means that it is most helpful for the public librarian who specifically wants a guide to creating Scratch workshops for children and teens.