Future Reflections  Winter/Spring 2007

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NLS Kids Zone
Children-centered content on the NLS Web site

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), Library of Congress, has introduced Kids Zone, a feature on the NLS Web site designed as a central hub for retrieving NLS materials for younger readers.

“Our goal was to give our young patrons direct access to as much children’s content as possible,” said Patricia Steelman, NLS children’s librarian. Though children’s materials have always been available through NLS’s International Union Catalog, getting to the material was sometimes a multistep process, Steelman noted. To find books just for young readers, patrons had to run a search in the NLS catalog, retrieve the search results, and review the full record of each title, looking for descriptive tags such as “For grades K-3.”

Now children have their own catalog on NLS Kids Zone at <www.loc.gov/nls/children /index.html>. “The kids catalog offers an embedded filter variant on the interface. Every search returns only children’s materials available from the NLS collection,” explained Robert Axtell, head of the Bibliographic Control Section.

If children need suggestions for finding good reading materials, Kids Zone also presents listings of award-winning books, information on popular series, descriptions of magazines for children, a bibliography of children’s classics, and a link to the Library of Congress Kids and Families Web site. The lists of award-winning books, series, and classics also provide the added convenience of direct links to Web-Braille for subscribers and the most recent RC numbers for ordering books from network libraries. Kids Zone also features reading lists for three prestigious children’s book awards: the John Newbery Medal, the Coretta Scott King Award, and the Schneider Family Book Awards.

Patrons may also want to peruse the Kids Zone information on favorite children’s book series, including the Chronicles of Narnia, the Harry Potter series, the Redwall Abbey series, and the Swallows and Amazons series. Readers who wish to learn more about periodicals such as Boys’ Life or National Geographic Kids will find descriptions and details on how to subscribe to NLS-produced and network-produced magazines on Kids Zone. Finally, Web visitors can link to the Library of Congress Kids and Families Web site, which offers a cornucopia of multimedia resources, games, and reference services for children and adults, such as the Everyday Mysteries site that provides answers to questions like “What’s the difference between sweet potatoes and yams?”

Visitors to <www.opal-online.org/kidszone20060920.htm> may receive a guided tour of Kids Zone, which was a part of the September 20, 2006, presentation of “Ready-Set-READ! Literary Resources at the Library of Congress,” an interactive online Webcast.

“We hope that children and families will use NLS Kids Zone to help them enjoy more of the many NLS and network materials produced just for kids,” said Steelman.

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