It used to be that every town had a local library that served as a hub for families to encourage their children to love reading.
Each week’s visit to the local library would be greatly anticipated and often included a storytime session from the librarian followed by time to collect a stack of books to check out, take home, and devour.
Poof Goes Library Magic
Times have changed – and not for the better. Now, library access is restricted with hundreds already shutting their doors across England and a quarter of all librarians without jobs. Combined with changing trends for what children do in their pastime related to technology like video games and online social time, books are being lost in the shuffle as the ideal way for children to use and expand their creativity.
As child therapist who pioneered PRT Pattern Recognition Therapy
Carmen Olivier Gryn explained, “Children need a place to get lost in their imaginative powers that make childhood such a magical experience that they never really get to experience again in their life. Having that ability to be creative has been proven to help later on with confidence, intelligence, and innovation – all traits that bode well in adulthood.”
Libraries have also been viewed as a place of exploration, helping kids figure out who they are as people and helping to shape their identities through the interesting characters and unique places they visit within the books found there. Gryn added, “This type of identity formation is so crucial to young children and is not always possible through other environments that may not offer as many possibilities as could be found at the library.”
Abracadabra, It’s Back Again – Only Cooler
While it may seem easy to just blame the advent of technology for the demise of the library, the better approach is to figure out how technology can bring the library to life in a more relevant way for today’s generations of tech-savvy kids.
That’s where Miss Gadish has worked her magic to make the library a cool place to hang out, ignite the imagination, and find a sense of self. It’s a virtual library that is a fantastic digital world where children can immerse themselves safely in books once again. The vision of Miss Gadish is to leverage the power of digital platforms that children have become so accustomed to using as the basis to deliver entertaining, educational, and interactive content that stimulates imagination and keeps kids coming back for more reading opportunities.
Miss Gadish (a.k.a. Tali K. Gadish, the company’s creator) explains, “So many people believe technology is killing reading. However, when you look at how much content has become a part of our adult lives, it made me realize that reading is still very important to people and it’s just the channel that has changed and developed. With kids that have their own tablets and computers, it made perfect sense to simply migrate the library to the digital world and breathe new life into the concept by allowing the characters and books to literally come to life.”
The Living Library
It’s almost better than the libraries of old because no child has to wait for that once-a-week drive in the car or walk to the library. Instead, the power is in their hands to read as much as they want and come back for more just as fast as they can finish, increasing the amount of reading time and encouraging each child to linger a bit longer while they consider what to read next. Plus, research shows that children enjoy stories more in their physical form when they have been able to engage in the story in a real way digitally; it only enhances their affinity for the story or book.
The availability of games and a “story time land” gives each child more opportunities and independence without having to rely on an adult to help them. There are also ways to safely interact with peers, opening up more chances to develop friendships and build the necessary social skills children need to develop along with their imagination.
Then, there are the stories themselves that come to life thanks to the music, voices, and animation that comes with each tale. These living, breathing stories also can travel with children wherever they go because the app makes it easy to bring along wherever they go.
Miss Gadish presents a wonderful picture of the not-to-distant future where libraries don’t die but simply transform into virtual learning opportunities to help new generations fall in love with reading, enhance their vocabulary skills, and ignite their imagination. In taking what kids love about video games and movies, including collecting rewards for completed books, and combining it with the need to help them pronounce words and increase their comprehension, kids can now enjoy everything that made a trip to the library so much fun for us, their parents and past generations.
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.