CHICAGO – The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association, applauds the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on its recent revisions to guidelines addressing “screen time” for young children. ALSC President Andrew Medlar released the following statement:
“ALSC is keenly following the continuing developments stemming from AAP’s Growing Up Digital: Media Research Symposium, a gathering last May of leading social science, neuroscience and media researchers, educators, pediatricians and others, from which the new position on screen time precipitated.
“We are pleased to share that AAP’s new messaging for parents aligns with recommendations in ALSC’s Media Mentorship in Libraries Serving Youth white paper released last March,” said ALSC President Andrew Medlar.
“Libraries and librarians are dedicated to creating a better future for children in their communities. Research shows that 75 percent of households own digital media.
“According to the Pew Research Center’s recent “Libraries at the Crossroads” report, 78 percent believe that libraries should offer services, including service to children, that teach digital tools including smartphones and apps. In this digital age, libraries are more relevant than ever, and youth services library staff play an essential role as media mentors, helping children and families navigate the digital media labyrinth and putting them on the path to success.
“AAP’s Growing Up Digital proceedings relay excellent new messages for parents and primary caregivers, and ALSC encourages pediatricians and families to consider public libraries, and their skilled staff, as natural and vital partners in both early and connected learning. As media mentors, librarians serve and support the lives and literacies of children and families in the 21st century. Media mentors actively engage with parents and caregivers to help them make sound media decisions by sharing current research recommendations, guiding the development of media use plans, connecting them with new and exciting materials and formats, and modeling developmentally appropriate ways to use that new media with children, thus enabling parents to continue steering their children’s healthy use of media and digital literacy skills beyond the library and classroom.
“ALSC strongly encourages families to visit their public library and take time to talk with youth services staff about their digital media usage and literacy needs. Developing a relationship with local library staff leads families to rich experiences and customized, informed decisions on digital media use, a sounder option than relying on one-size-fits-all online recommendation tools.
“As the AAP notes, we learn from each other, and co-engagement counts. Essentially every library across the nation offers programs, from storytimes to parent education workshops, that provide opportunities for families to enjoy media—print and digital—together and observe and absorb positive media use habits.
“Children require guided experiences with digital media that will translate into positive and productive digital literacy skills. Almost every community in the nation has access to a media mentor to facilitate those experiences--the youth services staff of the local library. Let us not let this resource go unutilized.”
ALSC is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children. With a network of more than 4,000 children’s and youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty, ALSC is committed to creating a better future for children through libraries. To learn more about ALSC, visit their website at http://www.ala.org/alsc.