ACLA Launches New Youth Services Kits for Library Use

The Allegheny County Library Association is excited to launch a full set of new kits for youth services librarians to borrow and use for in-house and outreach programming. These kits include five new Fred Rogers Center Check-Out Tech Kits, kindergarten readiness resources, iPad sets and various robotic and coding learning toys. More information about each of these items is below.

Dash and Dot are programmable robots designed to grow with a child

Fred Rogers Checkout Tech Kits
The purpose of the Fred Rogers Checkout Tech Kits are to provide an opportunity for youth services staff to serve as a media mentor to early childhood educators on outreach visits. The kits include an iPad, 2-3 books, 2-3 manipulatives and an activity booklet for educators and librarians that aligns with the PA Early Learning Standards.

Currently, there are five kits available for request in the catalog: nature, health and fitness, transportation, community helpers and farm. The five new kits will be available by the end of November and include the following themes: dinosaurs, coding, homes, weather and ocean. A grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation generously funds these kits and the project is a collaboration between the Allegheny County Library Association, WQED/PBS Kids and the Fred Rogers Center.

Kindergarten Readiness Resources
The Cruise into Kindergarten initiative, begun in 2013 by Pennsylvania Public Libraries, is designed provide a recognizable umbrella for the library’s early literacy programs and outreach throughout the state. In the past libraries have received print resources in the form of an informational brochure and online resources in the form of an interactive game board. This fall, the libraries each received a drive with Cruise into Kindergarten artwork, created by author and illustrator Zachary O’Hora and will also receive a full-sized game board to use in programming. In addition, the Allegheny County Library Association received three early learning games from Commonwealth Libraries to support these initiatives – Hi Ho Cherry-O, Snail’s Pace Race and Sophie’s Sea Shell Scramble.

Code-a-Pillar provides children with the opportunity to problem solve, plan and sequence and use critical thinking skills.

iPad Sets
From the feedback received from those who have used the existing Fred Rogers Checkout Tech Kits, it was apparent that libraries needed more than one iPad to conduct effective programming with the technology. The recent professional development, Librarians as Media Mentors with Claudia Hanes reinforced this need. Therefore, ACLA will be purchasing additional iPads for libraries to utilize with the Fred Rogers Checkout Tech kits and other programming.

Coding and Robotic Kits
Allegheny County has received a number of educational robotic and coding toys from Commonwealth Libraries to have available for libraries to use. These include Code-a-Pillar, Hex Bug, Dash and Dot robots, Robot Face Race games, Cubetto, BeeBots and a Breakout Ed kit. These items will be added to the wiki and available for youth services staff to borrow.

If you are interested in using any of these kits or learning more about them, please contact Carrie Lane at