Becoming a Media Mentor: The Book is Here!

Becoming a Media Mentor book cover

We just got word that our book, Becoming a Media Mentor: A Guide for Working with Children and Families is now ready to ship! Cen Campbell, the Association for Library Service to Children, and I are happy to finally be able share the book with you.

Librarians are lifelong learners, experienced researchers, and excellent communicators- all skills we can use to mentor families as they navigate media and literacy in the digital age. The book is full of useful information that will help library staff as we evolve our roles as children’s librarians and continue to support families in new ways.

Are you interested in a recent webinar, Media Mentorship and Family Engagement in the Digital Age, that I led with Chip Donohue from the TEC Center at Erikson Institute and ALSC ? Find the link to the webinar and resources we discussed here. Find my Media Mentor’s Reading List here.

You can find out more about the book here, order it here, or contact me to ask questions, comment about the book, etc.


Becoming a Media Mentor

MediaMentor_FinalCVR.inddTo quote Mo Willem’s Elephant and Piggie, “We’re in a Book!”

Cen Campbell (LittleeLit) and I have been busy this winter. Sandwiched in between our day jobs, parenting, and what-not, we’ve been writing a book- Becoming a Media Mentor: A Guide for Working With Families! Cen and I created the cookbook of sorts on how to be a media mentor with the intention of continuing the conversation moved forward by the 2015 ALSC white paper, Media Mentorship in Libraries Serving Youth, which we coauthored with our friends Amy Koester and Dorothy Stoltz. With 12 excellent examples of ‘media mentors in action,’ current research, and incites from experts inside libraryland and beyond, we’re hoping the book will help make it easier for children’s librarians and advocates to become, and see themselves as, media mentors.

The book is working its way through the publication process and should be ready for delivery in late August, although it is available in the ALA Editions Spring Catalog now. Stay tuned!

We look forward to hearing what you think of it!

ALSC and Media Mentorship

Media Mentorship in Libraries Serving Youth

Recently, the Association for Library Service to Children released a white paper in support of librarians as media mentors, a term coined by Lisa Guernsey at the New America Foundation. I am so proud to have worked on the paper, Media Mentorship in Libraries Serving Youth, with three other librarians, Cen Campbell, Amy Koester and Dorothy Stoltz. The adoption of the paper by ALSC, as well as the wealth of research and insights within the paper, are an important part of the conversation about what it means to be a youth services librarian and how we can support the literacy needs of the families in our communities.

Please read it and join the conversation!

ALSC will be discussing media mentorship and the paper at its next Community Forum on June 2nd (ALSC members only).

Evaluating Apps and New Media for Young Children: A Rubric

Over the past year and a half, I have been working on a rubric for evaluating apps and new media for young children. I wanted something for my own purposes, to use when reviewing apps for program use or to recommend to families, as well as something to share with other librarians and educators. I’ve have finally come up with something that works for me. Take a look and try it out on the next app you evaluate.

Let me know how it works for you!

The rubric, and other helpful information for evaluating new media, is included in a chapter of Little eLit’s bookYoung Children, New Media, and Libraries: A Guide for Incorporating New Media into Library Collections, Services, and Programs for Families and Children Ages 0-5. I am humbly writing the chapter with the talented Carisa Kluver of Digital Storytime. The book chapters are being published individually each month at Little eLit, so stop over and read what my smart librarian friends have to say.

Thanks to many for their conversations about what makes new media high quality, but in particular, the belated Eliza Dresang, as well as Cen Campbell and Carisa Kluver. Thanks also to those who review apps and new media. We are reading those insights with great interest. Keep reviewing and keep sharing!

Evaluating Apps and New Media for Young Children: A Rubric (link now goes to Media Mentorship page and updated rubric, 2016)

Looking for other review sources? Try these:

Children’s Technology Review
Horn Book
Madison Public Library’s App Finder
School Library Journal
Smart Apps for Kids

AkLA and New Media in Storytime!

I’m in Anchorage at the Alaska Library Association’s annual conference, AkLA, this week! I’m presenting workshops on new media with Cen Campbell from Little eLit, talking about teen services with other Alaskan librarians, and catching up on what’s happening with young people and libraries around the state. Questions about how to use new media in storytime, how to evaluate new media, recommended apps, and how to find apps for free have all come up. I thought I would post the information on evaluating  book and play apps that I share with families at my library so you could see, use, and comment on it. What do you provide parents in your library to help them choose and use new media with their children?

For those of you who attended our workshop and session, stay tuned to the AkLA conference site for links to discussed reports, a list of the apps we used, and our slides (to be posted on the Little eLit site).

Choosing Digital Media

  • Make intentional decisions about digital media with your kids
  • Explore newly downloaded apps on your own before exploring them together with your pre-reader
  • Look for apps and other media that help you and your child write, read, play, sing and talk TOGETHER (the 5 early literacy practices for your pre-reader)
  • Consider the 3 C’s: Context, Content, Child (discussed in Screen Time by Lisa Guernsey)

Book Apps
Look for book apps that have:

  • Meaningful interactive elements that add to the story and are not only for interactivity’s sake (Interactive elements shouldn’t distract from the story)
  • A great story with high quality images
  • Plain, highly-readable font
  • Read-to-me and read-to-myself options
  • Settings for turning on/off music and other sound effects

Play Apps
Look for apps that are:

  • Fun to play over and over again
  • Offer open-ended play
  • Encourage creativity
  • Strengthen one or more of the early literacy practices
  • Age appropriate

And have:

  • Intuitive way-finding
  • Clean, uncluttered display

In-app Purchases and In-app Ads

  • Is the app free of in-app purchases or in-app ads? If not, are they easily ignored and hard to get to?
  • Does the app developer state it will NOT collect data about you or your child within the app?

Use the settings within each app or the device’s general settings to:

  • Disable in-app purchases
  • Require password for in-app purchases

Review Sources

Developers to Check Out

  • Night & Day Studios
  • Toca Boca
  • Loud Crow Studios
  • Auryn
  • Spinify
  • Oceanhouse Media
  • Software Smoothie

Digital Media and Kids Resources

  • Fred Rogers Center
  • Sesame Street Workshop
  • Common Sense Media
  • Moms with Apps
  • American Association of Pediatricians’ Media Use Position Statement
  • Screen Time : How Electronic Media-From Baby Videos to Educational Software-Affects Your Young Child by Lisa Guernsey (Basic Books, 2012)
  • Giving Our Children a Fighting Chance: Poverty, Literacy, and the Development of Information Capital by Susan B. Neuman  and Donna C. Celano (Teachers College Press, 2012)

  • Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives by John G. Palfrey (Basic Books, 2010)
  • The Parent App: Understanding Families in the Digital Age by Lynn Schofield Clark (Oxford University Press, 2012)