Inside The Library: Starlings have arrived at County libraries

We have been busy spreading the word about our new devices – the Starling! Starlings count every word the wearer hears in order to inspire parents and caregivers to be sure that they are exposing their children to many words a day.

Starlings are wearable, star-shaped devices made from medical-grade plastic. They’re water and drool-proof, have a four- day battery life, counts all languages, and uses a smartphone app to communicate its information to users and encourage exploration through age-specific challenges and activities, including setting customized word-count goals.

The research behind the Starling is that the more words a child hears in a day, the greater the likelihood they will be successful in literacy-related challenges in life (i.e. school and work). Think of this as like a Fitbit for words!

The company who created the Starling, issued a challenge to libraries across Canada and the U.S. at the end of October. They created a video highlighting the Starling and its potential use at libraries, and asked libraries to share this video on their social media channels. The library with the most likes by Nov. 8 would be the winner of a Starling Library Pack. The pack includes a brand-new Starling device, a laminated Starling guide, an interactive toy, cleaning wipes, a children’s book and a book about baby brain growth.

We love our patrons, both online and in person. Thanks to your support, our library won the contest and we are the proud recipients of a Starling Library Pack! The library pack is available for borrowing on a two-week loan. The aim is to give parents or caregivers enough time to collect data and see the impact it is having, while still allowing the Starling to rotate through patrons at a fairly quick pace. When you pick up your library pack, an IT or children’s staff member will walk you through setting up the Starling app on your Android or Apple smartphone. The app doesn’t require data, but will need a WiFi connection to properly sync, display challenges and word counts.

Don’t have WiFi at home? Not to worry – all six branches of our library offer free wifi 24/7. Our children’s and youth programming team will be able to issue personalized challenges to each family that borrows the Starling Pack to help them find creative ways to up their daily word counts.

Want to see the Starling in action? Drop by one of our two Toddler Time programs. The Picton branch’s program runs Tuesdays, and Wellington branch on Thursdays — both from 10:30-11:30 a.m. They are unique programs, so you can even come to both! Or if you see one of the child and youth programming team wearing their bright orange Starling device, ask us for a demo!

To place the Starling Library Pack on hold and try it for yourself when it becomes available, visit and search the catalogue, stop in at any one of our branches, or give us a call at 613-476-5962.

-Whitney Shantz