Following the success of online resources and programs for adults, Keller Public Library unveiled two interactive programs for their younger clients.Little Pim and TumbleBooks are the library’s first online resources for children, featuring interactive books and cartoon characters that help with reading, math and language studies.The star of Little Pim is a cartoon panda bear that helps kids learn up to 10 different languages, including French, Spanish, English, Hebrew, Japanese and more. The resource is geared toward newborns to 6-year-olds to encourage learning at a young age, said Carolyn Booker, library services manager.“We’ve had a language program for adults for several years and residents have been really happy with that service, and would always ask us when we would have something similar for their kids,” Booker said. The adult program, Mango Languages, is also available through the library’s databases.The cartoon panda bear shows kids animated videos featuring vocabulary kids typically use at that age, she said, as well as videos of real children speaking the language.Alison Brocklebank, public services librarian, said she uses Little Pim to learn Spanish with her 6-month-old daughter.“We want to be comfortable with Spanish and her grandmother is the only one who speaks it to her,” Brocklebank said. “I know enough Spanish to order from a menu and ask for directions, but I want to play with the program a little bit so I can have conversations eventually.”Brocklebank said she thinks the resource is a good way for parents and their children to learn — and have fun — at a steady pace.“It’s cute and we can take it in small doses,” she said. “From what I’ve seen the age group is appropriate and if I can learn a little for her then I think it will help her more in the long run.”The other program, TumbleBooks, features almost 1,000 interactive fiction, non-fiction and foreign language books with animated characters for “a little more dramatic feel,” Booker said.Kids can have the program read their book to them or read at their own pace. Characters from the book will blink their eyes or move their arms a little while talking.“It’s better than the regular eBooks where there’s no interactive pictures,” Booker said. “There have been eBooks for the kids for a while but this is the first that’s been animated.”Booker said the Keller library has seen the success TumbleBooks had at other local libraries and in Keller ISD and decided to follow suit. Kids can use the program at home or use the children’s computers in the library.“Picture books and kids books are among the most popular checkouts in the library,” she said. “We wanted to use that as a way to help these kids learn through the same kinds of books in different ways.”Both free programs are available through the library’s website by visiting the Online Databases tab. You need a Keller Public Library card to access from home, but the programs are available at the library without a card. The library is also offering an introductory course to the programs at 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 30.
Taylor Prater, 817-390-7964 Twitter: @taylornprater