Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Apps for Library Programs

I see I had 94 hits on this blog today!  I'm assuming most of these people saw my article on music, movement, and early literacy in Children and Libraries ... My hope is that others find this blog to be a useful resource for library programming.  I appreciate any comments or questions as the site evolves!

Yes, I have been a bit quiet on this blog the last month or so ... involved in learning and special projects ... but after much research, I've FINALLY upgraded my personal technology to an iPhone and Toshiba Satellite laptop.  (I'll wait for the Flash issue on the iPad to be resolved and for the Droids to have better/ more apps.  I'm more comfortable with a keyboard for typing, and so far, I prefer storing on a harddrive vs. wireless "in the cloud" network attached storage... though I will be willing to upgrade again when technology is more refined and becomes cheaper.)  This is definately increasing my personal education and social connection, but it will also affect my professional aspirations, such as audio/video recording storytelling and library programming.

Here are some apps that I've been playing with that have great potential for use in library programs:

   Star Walk http://vitotechnology.com/star-walk.html $2.99
      From the website:  "Star Walk ... allows users to easily locate and identify 20,000+ objects in the night sky. The 360-degree, touch control star map displays constellations, stars, planets, satellites, and galaxies currently overhead from anywhere on Earth." 
       My thoughts: I hope to use this during a family evening program as a supplement to stories and songs.  It would have been a perfect fit into my Starlight at Night program: http://librarieslearnlead.blogspot.com/2010/12/starlight-at-night-program-outline.html

   LeafSnap  http://leafsnap.com/  FREE
      From the website: "Leafsnap is the first in a series of electronic field guides being developed by researchers from Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institution. This free mobile app uses visual recognition software to help identify tree species from photographs of their leaves."        
      My thoughts: The game mode covers tree leaves, tree flowers, and nuts.  My four year old nephew and I knew nothing about tree flowers and still had fun matching a name with a photograph.  A science-based option to add to a family gaming program.

I'm not sure yet how I could share these apps in the library, but I'm thinking there must be some kind of cord I could connect from my iPhone to an LCD projector ... or if I can access those apps through my iTunes account on my laptop and project through the LCD.  I'll keep you posted!

Oh ... and did you know that Amazon is offering a Kindle app?  http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=kcp_ipad_mkt_lnd?docId=1000493771
This allows you to purchase Kindle formated ebooks on a non-Kindle device (PC, iPhone, etc.) or borrow Kindle formated books from a participating library.  The process is a bit tricky in that you have to download the Kindle book through Amazon (account required) and transfer to mobile devices through the Whispersync (wireless "in the cloud" technology -- yikes!) or USB.  Kind of freaky that the computer knew I had an iPhone and downloaded the book directly into the Kindle app ...

Check out these blogs about apps: