Future-oriented concepts for children's libraries

The CHILIAS project is developing tools that will help to make children's libraries stimulating environments for multimedia supported learning. It is using the Internet and World Wide Web to offer new library services and has set up Infoplanet: a web site for children that offers information, interaction and fun. The project intends to promote reading and the book in a multimedia environment. This will help towards improving children's media competence and contribute to better understanding between children.

CHILIAS has developed four integrated applications within a web environment designed for the younger audience. These applications are a virtual library module, an interactive application for creative input, a discussion and feedback tool and an information skill tool. They are in six languages: English, Finnish, German, Greek, Portuguese and Spanish. Six principal test sites have been set up serving children's public and school libraries.

In the resulting virtual libraries, children can expect to find multimedia content on a variety of topics. They will also find digitised excerpts from books including images, text and sound. There are also presentations from favourite children's authors and presentations on the place where children live. Content can also include information about the library, where to find more books and media and the results from children's workshops on new media, Internet use and so on.

A guided tour of Infoplanet, on the CHILIAS stand, shows how Internet is used for interactive learning and communicating with other children. Visitors can see how a child is encouraged to use the web by accessing information such as an authors' gallery, which holds background details about writers of children's books.

Contact Bernhard Knoblach, Stuttgart City Library
tel +49 711 216 57 36
fax +49 711 216 57 02
email knoblach@stuttgart.de
website www.stuttgart.de/chilias/

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