AWE Early Learning Stations in Sonoma County Public Libraries

On a Wednesday afternoon at the Cloverdale Regional Library, the Singer family, Nicole and sons Gavin and Bryden, explored the new bilingual AWE Early Literacy Station in the children’s area.

Cloverdale’s Early Literacy Station is one of the twelve that were purchased in December, thanks to an extremely generous grant from the Sonoma County Public Library Foundation.  The machines were installed in the branches in January, launching a new kind of service supporting early learning of children in our county.

Early Literacy Computer at Sonoma County Public LibraryIn the first three months of use the AWE Early Learning Stations have logged 4,364 sessions, for a total of 116,978 minutes spent on learning activities across the branches.  The highest amount of use has been at Northwest, logging a total of 866 sessions (22,016 minutes) on their two ELS computers.  Given the demographic that the Northwest Library serves, we are thrilled to see that the high usage in that location means that these children are taking advantage of the learning opportunities of these ELS machines.  Extremely high use has also been evident in Rincon Valley (445 sessions/12,231 minutes), with Central, Sebastopol and Windsor also showing usage of more than 300 sessions per machine.

Some feedback from patrons and staff:

“At first the AWE station just got a passing glance, like the new kid in a classroom. Everyone seemed to prefer the tried and true old computer. Gradually, the iceberg melted, as a few sat to ‘test the waters’ and we heard kids saying to their caregivers ‘I want to use the new computer where I can touch the screen.’ Kids want to show what they can do on the new computer, especially if it’s painting…lots of happy smiles and accomplished feelings.” –Kathleen Munson, Central Library

Ava (age10) loves the “Crazy Art” game. She likes being able to have control over things like the desktop background on the opening screen–she always changes it to the Jungle scene with the monkey. Scott, Ava’s dad, brings his three kids (ages 10, 8 and 5), to the library every Friday. “Every time, the kids race to the game computers,” he said.  “They are super nicer than the old ones, and my kids seem to figure out right away how to play the games. They know exactly what they’re doing.” –submitted by Kim Popenuck, Northwest Library.

Miriam (age12) likes the new AWE computers because some of the games have music. She thinks the computers are more fun than the old ones because they have more games. Miriam’s mom, Rocio, likes the touch screens on the new AWE computers. She also likes the read-aloud books, including “The Gingerbread Man” and “The Three Little Pigs”. She likes that kids can watch stories that are read to them. She thinks it’s good that there is an option for Spanish, but she mostly likes that kids can learn computer skills regardless of which language. –submitted by Kim Popenuck, Northwest Library

We are so grateful to the Sonoma County Public Library Foundation for giving us this opportunity to provide new learning opportunities for children all across Sonoma County.