Day three at ALA was my last day in California, after about four weeks of traveling throughout the state. By that point, I was very tired, and only managed to attend one program before heading home. The program I attended was called Hey! I Want to Do That Too! Gaming and the Elementary Age Child (1330-1500).
This program was presented by Dr. Warren Buckleitner, a former elementary school teacher, current New York Times contributor, current adjunct assistant professor at NYU, and current editor of Children’s Technology Review. His presentation was on creating a media center, or Mediatech (like biblioteca), for a public library. Dr. Buckleitner split his presentation up into two parts:
- the history of Mediatech at his library, and
- selecting the right materials to create a Mediatech of one’s own.
During the first part, Dr. Buckleitner explained how he developed a Mediatech at the library where he lives (and is a library trustee) in Flemington, New Jersey. Luckily for Dr. Buckleitner, when he pitched the idea to “VIPs in town” and the library board in 1998, he faced no opposition. In 2000, he already had the support of an attorney, schools, and library trustees to create a non-profit organization and begin fundraising. By 2001, they decided on the library as the location of Mediatech, and the library board contributed a $100,000 trust to renovate the space. Mediatech opened on May 23, 2003, marking the anniversary of Charles Lindbergh’s nonstop transatlantic flight from New York to Paris.
Dr. Buckleitner’s media center has about eight computers, all of which were donated. Most of the games available at Mediatech were donated by Dr. Buckleitner, himself, as he writes reviews for them.
Reflection on My Third Day at ALA Annual 2008
Dr. Buckleitner was a very good speaker. His presentation was engaging and informative. He definitely knows about children and what they want. However, I don’t know how useful this program would have been for someone who attempted to set up a media center, faced opposition, and was looking for advice. Dr. Buckleitner’s story almost sounded like a fairy tale; everything important went the way it should have. There wasn’t a struggle, which is a common thing in public libraries in America… what with the budget cuts and libraries closing everywhere.
I think this program could have been more useful if the speaker presented strategies for succeeding in cases where not everything goes the way it should.