ALA Annual 2017

What is a Media Mentor?

Stop me if you’re heard this one before:  During a reference interview or a casual conversation, a parent or caregiver mentions that they’re unsure of a good website, app, or device for their child.  It doesn’t matter the age of the child – these questions come from caregivers of infants to caregivers of teenagers.  At this point, most librarians will help recommend age- and developmental- appropriate sites and apps.  After all, that’s called being a good librarian.  It’s also called being a Media Mentor.

Media Mentorship” is a buzz-word that’s been used in ALSC meetings for a few conferences, but the term is not always used among librarians in their day-to-day reference work.  Let’s change that.  ALSC’s 2015 White Paper, Media Mentorship in Libraries Service Youth states that,

Media mentors support children and their families in their decisions and practice around media use. This role encompasses a variety of strategies for support, with each child or family requiring individual mentoring to ensure that support is respectful, appropriate, and relevant.  (pg. 7)

Serving as a media mentor is a natural extension of the role librarians fill when providing reader’s advisory.  If we work to match the right book to the right reader, why would we not do the same for websites and apps?

To learn more about identifying as a media mentor check out Amy Koester’s webinar, Media Mentorship in Libraries Serving Youth: A Primer.  This is a free webinar that ALSC hosted in 2015 and is available to watch online through ALSC’s website.

If you’re planning to attend the 2017 Annual Conference in Chicago this summer, I’d like to invite you to attend the Charlemae Rollins President’s Program on June 26th from 1-2:30 pm.  ALSC’s president Betsy Orsburn has chosen a topic that will be an exciting addition to this ongoing discussion of digital learning and childhood development.


Today’s guest blogger is Christopher A. Brown. Chris is the Curator of the Children’s Literature Research Collection at the Free Library of Philadelphia. He is also the co-chair for the Charlemae Rollins President’s Program to be held at the ALA Annual Conference in summer 2017.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at

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