September 25, 2017

Cen Campbell | Movers & Shakers 2014 — Tech Leaders



Founder,, Mountain View, CA; Librarian,

MLIS, University of British Columbia, 2006

California State Library Eureka! Leadership Institute, 2008

Photo ©2014 Michael Pilla

Appy Toddlers

Cen Campbell founded in November 2011 to document her experiments using apps and ebooks in toddler and preschool story times in libraries and children’s museums in Silicon Valley. Soon, other children’s librarians, reviewers, developers, library administrators, and teachers from all over the United States and Canada began to reach out to to request training workshops and to share their own experiences on the blog in an effort to establish a community of practice around an issue for which there were limited professional resources and more than a little professional ambivalence. is now a grassroots professional learning community of nearly 100 think tank contributors who crowdsource promising practices for integration of new media into library collections, services, and programs for children zero to five and their families.

While began as a story time documentation mechanism and app review source, it has grown into a hub for topics dealing with young children, new media, and libraries, and it develops workshops and pilot projects all over the continent. Campbell has forged partnerships and collaborations with city, regional, and state libraries, Mother Goose on the Loose, the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC), library schools, graduate programs, and others.

Currently, Campbell and the Think Tank are collaborating on a guidebook on the use of new media in story time, edited by the blog manager Amy Koester. Campbell also manages the subscription-based children’s digital library at and advocates for children’s librarians to work with content developers to create higher quality digital content. She is working with the California State Library’s Early Learning with Families 2.0 initiative to build a technology toolkit for librarians and “lead the conversation” about new media and young children in California’s libraries.

“New media and iPads and apps will be gone in a flash and will be replaced with some other information-containing package,” says Campbell. “What really matters, above and beyond technological devices, are human relationships and equitable access to information.”

Integrate Multiple Literacies Into Your Strategic Plan and Library Initiatives
The editors of Library Journal and School Library Journal have convened some of today’s leading advocates, thinkers, and doers on literacy programming in public libraries, including speakers from the March 2017 Public Library Think Tank in Miami, to discuss in actionable terms how public librarians are redefining literacy. Our Literacy Redefined online course will address literacy in its widest sense—digital, media/information, civic, reading readiness, visual, multicultural, and health literacy—and will identify tools for leveraging partnerships to fuel programming and funding.


  1. Congrats, Cen!