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. I was thrilled to offer a brief introduction to the hot topic, Media Mentorship. Handouts, sent by the ASLC office, included the ALSC Media Mentorship White Papers, Babies Need Words Every Day, and the Competencies for Librarians Serving Children in Public Libraries.

I wasn’t always an ardent supporter of Media Mentorship. I lumped all screen time as a passive activity. I felt that libraries should be creating spaces where families could sing, read, write, play, talk, interact with children without any interference from digital devices? But, then, one morning, I had an “Aha!” moment.

What transformed my thinking? As digital devices became more ubiquitous in how we access information, young parents were asking me how to manage screen time for their children. Not having any answers, I found myself devouring every resource ALSC offered: The ALSC White Papers on Media Mentorship, archived ALSC webinars, reading Becoming a Media Mentor by Claudia Haines, Cen Campbell, and ALSC. I needed it all to become fluent so I could support parents in their role as their child’s first and best teacher.

What I now say to parents is that any media, used jointly with an adult, used intentionally, not as a babysitter, can be a rich experience; a stepping stone to learning.

I am excited about Media Mentorship. I want everyone to embrace it. So much so, that Media Mentorship will definitely be discussed at the annual state (Maine) conference, October 2 & 3, 2017.


Headshot of guest blogger, Louise Capizzo
Photo courtesy of guest blogger

Today’s guest blogger is Louise Capizzo. Louise is Youth Services Manager at the Scarborough (ME) Public Library, has been an active member of ALSC since 2005. She has served on the 2006 Mildred L. Batchelder Award, 2011 John Newbery Committee, 2017 Robert F. Sibert Committee, and a ‘live blogger’ for ALSC blog. Louise is co-author of The Nonfiction Detectives.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

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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