INWOOD, WV, February 28, 2001--Less than one year following the official launch of “Kid's Catalog Web,” it appears that TLC/CARL has demonstrated that creating an easy way for beginning readers to access library catalogs and the Web is going to be popular with kids, their parents and librarians.
Since the product's introduction for CARL's automation system last year, and more recently its addition as an integrated supplement to TLC's Library.Solution unveiled at ALA in January-- response has been positive and swift. Installations to date total nearly 100, and include Baltimore County Public Library System (MD), Phoenix Public Library (AZ), Monroe County Library System (NY) and Sno-Isle Regional Library (WA).
Fully compatible with TLC's turn-key library automation system, LibrarySolution, Kid's Catalog Web makes all types of searches for youngsters quick and easy by using simple language and attractive graphics. The product comes with a core suite of more than 5,000 websites, pre-selected for age-appropriate content. Moreover, librarians can easily customize their collection and even integrate the product's use with specific classroom assignments or library programs.
As Darcy Cahill, Library Manager for the Randallstown Branch of the Baltimore County Public Library System, explained, “The developers of this product have addressed all the pitfalls children of varied ages face when they search online.” The program is so intuitive, even beginning readers or children who can't remember the precise title for which they are searching, can still be guided to their intended destination. Icons and straightforward language help make it all possible. The program even has a spell check feature to prevent false searches and offers prompts to help users get back on track.
“One young girl who was searching for a series she believed was entitled ‘Cheat Planet,' utilized the series search function in Kid's Catalog Web and quickly discovered it was called ‘The Cheetah Girls,'” noted Ms. Cahill. The result is clear: kids are thrilled with the streamlined research process. “They can access materials within the library collection as well as relevant websites. In addition, once they make a selection from the collection, they can easily determine its availability,” she added.
Librarians are equally pleased. The reference tool comes with a foundation of websites pre-selected by a group of librarians, judged to have age appropriate and relevant content. Sites were chosen from reliable sources, including governmental agencies, non-profit associations and other respected organizations. A software package included with the product, called “WebBuilder Pro,” allows library personnel to customize their library's online offering, by modifying the website database, creating special icons for specific study collections, and adding book lists.
“While children today deserve the best access to their library catalogs and the Web, that access must be easy, efficient and age-appropriate,” commented Annette Bakhtiar, Chief Executive Officer of TLC/CARL. “We are extremely pleased that initial response to Kid's Catalog Web has been so overwhelmingly positive.”
Concluded Ms. Cahill, “As a librarian and a mother, I fully appreciate that kids won't stumble onto dangerous or obscene websites. I've used it with my own children and have confidence in what they are viewing online.”