We are all media mentors!

Media mentorship continues to be one of the hottest topics in children’s librarianship. As touch-screen devices and hand-held (or worn) technology become increasingly pervasive, and more content is created (for better or for worse) for young people, the library is an ideal venue for conversations about these topics. Though the phrase “media mentorship” may be new, the concept certainly is not. While for many it may invoke images of tablets, apps, and the latest in technology, there are ways that all of us are and can be engaging in media mentorship every day, regardless of our technological resources. The reality is that not every library has the resources to contain within its walls the latest technologies. There are various barriers, including higher-prioritized projects and needs, budget, staffing, etc.. But our young patrons do still have technological needs and the right to digital literacy, and their families do still require mentorship…

Media Mentorship & AAP’s New Digital Media Guidelines

If you haven’t heard the big news, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has just released updated findings in regards to the use of screen time by young children  which emerged from their recent Growing Up Digital: Media Research Symposium. I’m excited to report that the AAP findings fully support ALSC’s position as outlined in the Media Mentorship in Libraries Serving Youth white paper adopted by our Board of Directors back in March. More than ever, families and children will be turning to libraries and youth services staff for help in navigating the digital landscape and in making sound, developmentally appropriate decisions on media use. Your professional association is here to help you rise to the occasion and embrace the role of media mentor with the white paper and other resources that offer helpful ways for you to respond to your families. ALSC resources available to support you in meeting this…

Why have Technology in the Children’s Area?

“I bring my child to the library for books, not computers.” “Why have computers in the kid’s area?  My child has too much screen time already… why do I have to face more at the library?”  We don’t often hear this type of complaint but when we do, we are careful to reply in person and bring a broader context to the dialog about technology. First, we will say that it is the parent or guardian’s responsibility to set limits around their child’s use of technology (see the ALSC White Paper on Media Mentorship). Second, I suggest that we open up a conversation with this library patron.  In that discussion, we can increase our understanding of the variety of experience and ability that fills our community. As a public library, our mission is to make access to information available to everyone.  For children with a physical, learning, or other disability…

Plugging into the Digital Age at #alaac17

All my synapses were firing at the 2017 ALSC Charlemae Rollins President’s Program today. At this program, titled Plugging into the Digital Age: Libraries Engaging and Supporting Families with Today’s Literacy, three experts presented the latest research on digital technology, how it relates to childhood development and childhood literacy, and how librarians can use this information to become more effective media mentors for both kids and adults.

Rethinking Literacy Conference

Media Mentorship made its debut in Maine on April 27, 2017 at the 28th Annual Reading Round Up of Children’s and Young Adult (YA) Librarians. The conference, Rethinking Literacy: Multiple Literacies for the 21st Century, kicked off with a rollicking performance by John Schumacher (a.k.a. Mr. Shu) the Ambassador of School Libraries for Scholastic Book Fairs. Sessions were on a multitude of topics: best graphic novels; engaging ESL students; an arts approach to literacy; workshops on best apps for school and public libraries; using digital technologies to reshape literacy; exploring media literacy, and more.

Using Mobile Devices: Family Workshops

Why Mobile Devices? As schools move many services online, what happens to children who do not have a computer in the home? At a recent literacy training, I learned that 15 – 20 % of people are “smartphone dependent” – meaning that they do not have any other access to the internet (no home laptop or desktop computer). Often these children live in an area with no broadband service (so they rely on the phone company data plan) and their primary source for online information is a tablet, smartphone or other mobile device. You can find more information on this at www.pewinternet.org