The Institute of Museum and Library Services has awarded GSLIS a $248,205 National Leadership Grant for the project, “App Authors: Closing the App Gap II.” Principal investigator Deborah Stevenson, assistant professor and director of the Center for Children’s Books, and co-PI Kate McDowell, associate professor and assistant dean for student affairs, began work on the IMLS-funded planning phase of the project, “Closing the App Gap I,” in 2013.
Abstract: The Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will engage in a three-year, multi-site project focused on app creation for children ages eight to twelve. App authors will create curricula and tools for use in school and public libraries that will teach young people to create apps and allow them to share their achievements with other children. The curriculum will be disseminated for adoption at other school and public libraries. The project will provide young people with early programming experience, and further establish libraries as places to engage youth in STEM exploration and digital development that reflects their own experiences.
“The App Authors project is an exciting expansion of our previous project, where we first began working with kids and apps in library spaces. With App Authors, we’ll expand that work to multiple sites across the country and reach thousands of kids directly. We’ll also model an app-creation curriculum that can be replicated by other interested librarians,” Stevenson said.
In addition to directing the Center for Children’s Books, Stevenson is the editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, one of the nation's leading children's book review journals for school and public librarians. Her research interests include children's literature and contemporary culture, history of children's literature, and genre theory. She has published articles in The Horn Book Magazine, The Lion and the Unicorn, and Children’s Literature Association Quarterly.
McDowell's research interests include youth services librarianship; children's print culture history; public libraries as cultural spaces; apps and iPads for kids; and storytelling in higher education, advancement, business, and public service. At GSLIS, she teaches courses on youth services librarianship, history of readers, and storytelling. She has published articles in Children and Libraries, Book History, Libraries and the Cultural Record, and Library Quarterly.