Library News column: Big learning for small hands |

Library News column: Big learning for small hands

Wade Lear plays on one of the Launchpads recently at a Garfield County Library branch.
Courtesy of Marjorie Lear

Recently, the Garfield County Libraries leveraged money from State Grants for Libraries to purchase a collection of Launchpads to be available at all six libraries.

Launchpads are kid-friendly tablets, pre-loaded with high-quality, ad-free learning apps, games, videos and books.

These tablets offer a great way for young children to engage with a device while remaining in a safe space where learning is the main goal. In fact, the libraries purchased titles primarily geared for 3- to 5-year-olds.

“We focused on building a collection featuring early childhood literacy and school prep,” said Amy Shipley, assistant executive director for the libraries.

Each educational tablet has a different theme, and the associated mix of apps, games, videos and books are unique on each Launchpad. Titles now available include B is for Books!, Dinoriffic!, Mighty Math Power!, Spanish Start. Si!, and Smarty Paws, among others.

“We are always working to help children learn to read and prepare for school. This is an addition to our collection that will engage children via educational games and videos,” said Executive Director Brett Lear. “My 5-year-old son loves them.”

The devices can be checked out and taken home for three weeks, just like library books. They come in a case with the tablet as well as a charger so they can be used as much as desired without fear of running out of battery.

Visit your local library or search “playaway tablets” at to see which Launchpads are available for checkout. You can even use your library card to place a hold on any Launchpad and have it sent to your local library for pickup.

Lastly, we would also love your feedback on this new collection. Tell us if you and your child liked the experience, what themes you might want to see in the future, and if having Launchpads for different ages appeals to you.

Emily Hisel is communications and marketing manager for the Garfield County Libraries district.

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