By Erin Brereton,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Kids must be in New York to fully access all resources.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this website.
Kids can learn about conducting research and will get reading practice. By searching databases, they'll be able to get experience using keywords to look for information on a topic and will find out which materials offer the most relevant information. The site's summer reading program and list of suggested books also provides reading encouragement. But there isn't much instruction on how to conduct searches or sort through the information they produce. Some kids may find the process intimidating or confusing as a result.
The site encourages kids to read and provides access to items that can help them learn about a variety of topics.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Kids.nypl.org is a information-based resource that involves safe, kid-appropriate content. The site links to databases that provide historical and other information that could be useful when researching topics for school assignments -- or just for fun. Some research interfaces, such as Explora Middle School, are specifically geared toward students in a certain grade level. Kids will need a New York Public Library card to access a number of them, though, and the search capabilities may seem a little complex at first glance for younger users.
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What’s It About?
KIDS.NYPL.ORG, part of the New York Public Library site, offers information about upcoming programs and events taking place at local branches. Kids can also view suggested summer reading lists. Databases that contain digital encyclopedia and dictionary entries, curriculum-driven science content for fourth- to ninth-graders, nonfiction eBooks, and other materials are available for homework help. Some sections link to external sites, and kids can find materials from the library. A PIN and/or library card number are required to access many of the resources.
Is It Any Good?
This library's kids-oriented section links to informational databases, sites with animated storybooks, and other materials kids can use to research or just read for fun. They won't find some of the staff book recommendations, printable coloring pages, or other items the library's previous On-Lion for Kids site featured. The focus now is very much on research resources, along with a summer reading list. They can also find additional materials on the library’s main site, https://www.nycitylib.com/.
The Places to Start Your Research page provides some help narrowing down all the options. But aside from that, the site doesn't offer much instruction on using its search capabilities, which may pose challenges for kids who aren't familiar with conducting online database research. In addition, a fair amount of content is geared toward local library users. One of the section's three main headings involves programs and events taking place at local library branches, and kids will need a New York Public Library card to be able to log in and access all four of the search providers that are listed on the homepage, as well as some that are listed under the articles and databases heading. The databases Kids.nypl.org links to contain good information, and the site is likely a safer place to look for materials than Google or another site that could lead kids to questionable content. But for users who don't reside in New York, some of those searches could end up being a dead end.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about why it's often better to go to a trusted site like the New York Public Library's Kids.nypl.org than to Google to find the best age-appropriate, reliable information. What are the benefits of having search engines and sites designed just for kids?
How can kids tell the difference between reliable information sources and unsubstantiated ones? Why is it so much harder to do this now?
Where could you start looking for information about subjects you think are interesting? What other resources might be helpful?
- Subjects: Language & Reading: reading, storytelling, using supporting evidence
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, collecting data, investigation
- Genre: Educational
- Pricing structure: Free
- Last updated: March 4, 2020
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