by Chad Leinaweaver
This summer, the Library received a CARES (Corona Aid Relief and Economic Security) Act Mini-Grant for our Spanish Language Outreach and Children’s Outreach Technology Project. This Mini-Grant allowed us to further expand possibilities for both Spanish-speaking, English-speaking and bilingual children. This project is supported with funds provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, administered by the New Jersey State Library.
Similar to other communities across the nation, both Morristown and Morris Township have seen large increases in the number of Spanish-speaking residents over the past decade. Though we have long purchased Spanish language adult books and eBooks as well as Spanish language children’s books for new readers to discover, we felt the next step in our efforts to provide beneficial services to our Spanish-speaking patrons was to expand our literacy efforts with a technology component. Thus, we purchased a new computer learning station from AWE Learning for our young patrons in the Children’s Room. AWE Learning is a known leader in partnering with public libraries to provide educational computer stations that aid young children with early literacy and Spanish language literacy. Various programs on these stations such as “Telling Time Games” and “Spanish School Bus” and about 40 others provide early literacy instruction in Spanish, while over 30 others such as “JumpStart Preschool” and “Monster ABC” provide for early literacy instruction in English, geared toward preschoolers who visit the Library with their families. The bilingual software allows non-English speaking parents to share in the learning experiences of and with their children. The learning station has additional educational modules, including “After School Edge,” focused on aiding children in their first years in grade school which includes “1st Grade Math” and other elementary age programs, as well as “Robo Garden,” which provides over 200 coding activities to aid young children in learning technology concepts.
The Library has made a concerted effort to bring additional technology into the Children’s Room beyond the AWE Learning Station. This effort has included purchasing mobile tablets known as Launchpads, electronic read-along book/devices called Wonderbooks, STEM programming, STEM kits and other technology-based items as part of a multi-year plan to provide new resources to our pre-K through grade 12 patrons. Come by our Children’s Room and check out all these exciting new offerings for yourself!