September 25, 2016

ETots: a Public Library iPad Program for Preschoolers


A first experience with an app, The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore, was all it took to inspire Cindy Wall. Seeing the potential to serve her young users, Wall, the Head of Children’s Services at the Southington (CT) Library & Museum, bought some iPads with funds from a technology endowment and incorporated the tablets in a storytime program for the library’s youngest patrons—one and two year olds.

Wall documents her program in a guest post on SLJ’s app review blog Touch and Go:

It’s my supervisor’s fault. Really. She purchased an iPad, downloaded The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore, and brought the tablet to work. When I saw those Flying Books swirling around the screen, ideas began twirling around my mind. If I was amazed—and delighted—by the app’s interactivity, how would children react?

I owned an iPhone and had purchased apps, but I’d never considered designing a program around this software until I viewed an app on the iPad. Now that was totally different experience. Tapping money designated for “something special” and funds from a technology endowment, I purchased a number of iPads. My first program incorporating tablets was a story time for one- and two-year-olds and their caregivers. I called it eBabies.

That pilot class taught me a few things; most importantly, that one-year-olds lacked the attention span for this type of program. I also learned that the silly, high-energy songs I love to incorporate in a traditional story time setting did not set the right tone for an iPad session.

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Photograph by Gustavo Devito

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On October 14, 2015 Library Journal, School Library Journal, and thousands of library professionals from around the world gathered for the 6th annual Digital Shift virtual conference to focus on the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital transition’s impact on libraries, their communities, and partners. Now available on-demand, this year’s program provides actionable answers to some of the biggest questions our profession faces for and from libraries of all types – school, academic, and public and features thought-provoking keynotes from John Palfrey, author of BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google, and Denise Jacobs, tech leader, author, and creativity evangelist.


  1. Nowadays there are hundreds of apps for the ipad. The young children enjoy playing with all sorts of electronic gadgets. Parents have to keep an eye on them as this will affect their school results.