Thursday, January 28, 2010

Storytime via Skype

Libraries often stand at a crossing point in modern life, bringing together old-fashioned traditions and cutting edge technology. Activities as seemingly disparate as storytime and accessing the Internet can come together in unexpectedly creative and meaningful ways. A story from one of our frequent patrons illustrates this in a charming and personal manner.

A Ridgefield resident with a young grandson living far away, our patron regularly comes in and takes out stacks of picture books. She chooses titles she knows her grandson has available to him. Then she goes home and signs on to Skype, the free Internet-based phone application. Using this very 21st century communications tool, she reads the words aloud to the youngster, while he turns the pages of his own copies to view the illustrations. Despite the distance, they are able to share the precious act of parent (or grandparent) and child reading together.

Instead of avoiding technologies that might be intimidating to some older people, our patron has embraced them to help her enjoy one of the most ancient of human interactions – the sharing of stories between generations. We are pleased to play our part in this worthwhile effort!

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