Media Mentorship, Diversity and Inclusion, and the Screen Time Symposium

The Screen Time Symposium, a collaboration between the Developmental Media Lab and the Erikson Institute, was held September 9th in Chicago. Organized by Carly Kocurek and Jennifer Miller, this interdisciplinary symposium raised many “provocations” around digital media for young people—all of which are relevant to our work as youth services librarians, and especially as media mentors, working to select the best tools and apps for the children we serve.

“Screen Time” is Bad

“Screen time” is bad for children. “Screen time” shouldn’t enter into professional discourse concerning services for children in libraries. “Screen time” is detrimental to our professional practice and distracts from the core values of librarianship. The phrase “screen time” is not something we should be using anymore, because it’s a misnomer. What most people mean when they talk about the evils of “screen time” is passive media: television. Reading an ebook, videoconferencing with grandma and grandpa, or showing a child a picture that you’ve just taken of them is NOT the mind-numbing, passive time-waster that concerns many parents, educators, researchers and librarians. The fact that something is on a screen does not make it inherently bad, and the emphasis on time is also a red herring. If a child is thoroughly engaged in editing his or her own video, learning a programming language, videoconferencing with a pen pal, or reading/writing/designing an…

The Screen Free Story Time is the Best Story Time

Story times for children age 0-5 are one of the most valued and popular programs libraries provide the communities we serve. It is both a vehicle and an icon for the library’s commitment to literacy development and literacy promotion. In the years 0-5, children are developing the brain that must serve them for all future learning and the approximately 30-60 minutes spent during story time is extremely limited in our effort to support literacy development. To best serve children, librarians are obligated to use this time in promoting the most effective activities and materials available to us toward early literacy skill development.  Achieving that goal does not include screen time. The traditional activities of early literacy development such as songs, fingerplays, puppetry, scarves, shakers, action rhymes and reading from print are all better for children compared to screen use. Displacing them with screen uses reduces the time spent with solidly…

Surviving School Age Storytime (and having fun with it)

School age storytime is one of my (million different) favorite parts of the job. I am a firm believer that stories should be read for people of all ages and particularly school aged children. They don’t get read to as much and can really be a fun audience that takes stories in a new perspective. Here are some of my tips for surviving school age storytime and having fun with it.

As a First Time Attendee…so far so good. #alaac17

As a first time attendee of an ALA Annual Conference, I just have to say, WOW! Being a new staff member of ALSC, I’ve been doing a lot of prep for some of our meetings. With the help of staff, board members, and committee members, I have been learning so much, but now it’s all coming together because I’m getting to visualize it.  I think one of the parts that blew me away was the exhibit set-up. I had to set up the ALSC table, and I got the opportunity to walk around and see the work everyone else was doing to their spaces. Watching the transformation was amazing! My eyes went everywhere! The couches, the TV screens, the rows and rows of books. The amount of passion and work that has gone into this is overwhelming to feel. Workers were literally working in mid-air off elevated platforms drilling and putting exhibits together….