Recommended Websites From A Children’s Librarian
Busy children’s librarians use the internet everyday for professional development, assisting patrons, readers’ advisory, program planning and ordering library materials. Intertwined in the use of the web for work and personal use, are the myriad websites a youth librarian uses regularly to stay in touch with what is going on in the world of children’s librarianship, public libraries, popular culture, children’s literature and forthcoming new children’s books. Without a doubt, there are a dizzying array of blogs, social media outlets, websites and other online tools to choose from.
I recommend the following resources to anyone who reads and enjoys using the web for learning, browsing, finding answers and staying up-to-date on current topics. Whether you are a student, parent, teacher, librarian or lifelong learner, I hope you’ll find something new and useful from the links I’ve selected.
Mashpedia is an online encyclopedia made up of web documents displaying blocks of content related to the given topic, retrieved from multiple sources across the internet in real-time. A queried topic on Mashpedia will yield media from newspapers, magazines, blogs, books, Wikipedia, Youtube, Twitter and Facebook. Library-themed search topics I like to follow include “children’s literature,” “public library,” “librarian” and “picture book.”
Alltop describes itself as the “online magazine rack of the web,” collecting headlines of the latest stories from the best sites and blogs that cover a topic. Those “aggregations” are organized into individual web pages. Each page displays recent headlines of the information sources as well as their first paragraph. Find topics by using the search box or browsing categories such as work, health, culture, interests, tech, people, news or sports. A cursory glance at just the headlines is a nice starting place. Then, by moving the mouse over individual headlines, you can read a bit more in the pop-up boxes, deciding whether or not to click for the full story. Sharing and personalization features are available if you create afreeaccount. I enjoy following the pages for “children’s literature,” “publishing,” and “libraries.”
This page of the Bookleads wiki lists many of the best readers’ advisory sites. I use it regularly for finding reading ideas for myself, my kids or for library patrons. Popular genre sites are represented to help with “what to read next” suggestions, read-alike lists and for browsing. Tab around to the other pages under the navigation heading for even more topics of interest. If you click “home” you can view the colorful, Glogster-created visual home page.
All My Faves is a categorical, visual list of frequently searched categories on the web, each listing 10 different logos of popular websites in that category. (blogs, business, education, entertainment, games, kids, non-profit organizations, shopping, travel and video) It is an easy resource to use for keeping up with new weekly websites for personal research, for work or for fun. The education and kids categories are constantly useful to me. It is eye-catching and makes a handy reference for many topics.
This site is a compilation of release dates for young adult novels. It has a very basic design, with more expanded features said to be on the way soon. Any teen or adult who wants to keep track of this genre chronologically will make good use this website. Two tables include upcoming releases and recently published novels, back to 2006. Even if you follow other teen blogs, websites, collection development resources or social media, this one is unique because of its simplicity.
This blog is maintained by an experienced New Jersey junior senior high school media specialist. Its topics work well for parents, reference librarians, teachers, tutors and students. The site maps and headings by grade level make the site an excellent reference page. Two very useful recent postings include “38 Online Encyclopedias” (July 8, 2011) and “32 Resource links on Cyberbullying.” (September 18 , 2011) The best part of the site in my opinion, is the mega list for Media-Specialists and Teacher-Librarians.
Instructables is a web-based documentation platform for sharing and learning DIY projects, from the artistic to the practical. Fun to browse, the categories are: food, living, outside, play, technology and workshop. Tabs and sections include photos, step-by-step directions, video, ebooks and guides. Examples of the variety of projects included: Kindle book style cover, Gryffindor scarf, colored pencil beads, paper sword, reticulating water dog bowl, duct tape flower and tissue paper pom poms. It includes a section on reusing materials. Q&A section allows you to post a question for the community to answer.
An experienced teacher maintains this blog covering practical technology issues. Topics are of interest to students, teachers, librarians and parents. Worthwhile sections include the Parent Resources Archive as well as the Problem Solving category. Click on the Great Kids Websites pages to find recommended websites by grade level.
Search and explore 196,752 online subject guides by 36,768 librarians at 2537 libraries worldwide on this site. These online subject guides can contain print or electronic information, websites book-lists, how-to guides or anything else a library has prepared to assist its users. It is a hosted service, free to patrons who browse it. (Libraries pay a licensing fee to post content.) It is well worth taking a few moments to do some sample searches on this website to learn how to navigate its features and use it as a reference resource. You can enter titles, keywords or topics of interest and limit by type of library institution. Try a combination of terms such as: picture books, children’s, teen fiction, non-fiction, mystery, summer reading, ebooks, read-alouds, realistic, fairy tale, mystery, awards, young adult, juvenile, kids, parents, homework, copyright, teacher resources, primary sources or read-alikes.
The Kids' Guide is a listing of New Jersey’s cultural, recreational and educational opportunities as well as businesses and services dedicated to children, teens and families. Sections include entertainment, outdoor activities, historic sites, museums, music & dance, theatre and family travel. Services section includes camps, child care, education, health, parties, entertainers, special needs and sports & recreation. Use this guide along with the Fun Things to do with Kids in New Jersey section of Fun New Jersey.com.
- Laura Gruninger,
Lawrence Headquarters Branch