Digital Media Resources

  1. Children and Technology General Websites
  2. Topics of Interest
    1. Screen Time
    2. Media Mentorship
    3. Early Literacy
  3. eBooks
    1. eBook Advisory
    2. Free collections of eBooks
  4. Apps
    1. Articles
    2. App Advisory
  5. Podcast Advisory
Welcome to ALSC's Digital Media Resources page. This collection is a go-to list for children’s librarians navigating their way through the evolving digital landscape. Discover current articles, blog posts, and websites about iPads, tablets, eBooks, apps and more. 
Do you have eBooks in your library?  Are you thinking about starting a library program with tablets? Curious about what’s happening in the digital world and libraries? What makes a good app for young children? This webpage offers the latest tech news impacting the youth services field. Please visit us often. We hope to encourage a healthy dialogue around these topics, and to continually grow the site with new materials and your recommendations.  
Thank you,  


Developed by and for Latino parents with children ages 0-5.  Includes tips for children and technology, family apps, videos, and additional resources.
Tools and recommendations on children and media using the AAP’s recommendations.
The work of the Fred Rogers Center resonates with Fred’s own belief in the positive potential of television and new media for supporting the healthy social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development of young children.
The mission of the Cooney Center is to advance children’s learning through digital media.
Common Sense Education
Users can navigate to resources for K-12 digital citizenship, educational technology ratings & reviews, and technology professional development resources.
Features stories and resources on technology.
The Excellence in Early Learning Digital Media Award is given to a digital media producer that has created distinguished digital media for an early learning audience.

Topics of Interest

Screen Time

Agonizing Over Screen Time? Follow the Three C’s (New York Times | April 2020) 

A timely look at child, content, and context in regards to screen time and current events.
Balancing Your Family's Screen Time in Difficult Times (Brooklyn Public Library | March 2020)
An example of a screen time webpage put together by the Brooklyn Public Library for families. It provides families with guidelines, tips, and resources.

Finding Ways to Keep Children Occupied During These Challenging Times (American Academy of Pediatrics | March 2020)
An updated news release from the American Academy of Pediatrics about family media use. It was posted during the pandemic to assist parents with coming up with strategies to integrate healthy habits around screens. 

Parents Likely Misjudge Children’s Digital Screen Time (University of Michigan Medicine | June 2020)
Nearly three-fourths of parents misreported preschoolers’ mobile technology use; some children ages 3-5 engaged with apps intended for teens and adults.

What do we really know about kids and screens? (American Psychological Association | April 2020)
The American Psychological Association provides a useful overview of screen time research from various scientific sources.

Media Mentorship

To Tech or Not to Tech?: The Debate about Technology, Young Children, and the Library 

Based on a presentation from the 2018 ALA Annual Conference, this article explores research into children and technology, practical applications, and effective practices.

"Media Literacy in Early Childhood Report Framework, Child Development Guidelines, and Tips for Implementation" (Erikson Institute | 2020)
A report created by Erikson Institute, ALSC, and additional partners and funded by Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS). It includes materials that help develop the understanding and teaching of media literacy in early childhood. 

What is a media mentor? (Scarborough Public Library | June 2021)
An example of media mentorship in action by the Scarborough Public Library in Maine. This article in the local paper provides families with an introduction to the librarian's role as media mentor, along with specific tips and resources for meaningful media engagement.

Early Literacy

How to Bring Early Learning and Family Engagement into the Digital Age 
Agenda for community and city leaders to help empower parents in the digital age.
Technology and Interactive Media for Young Children
Provides indirect evidence that children’s interaction with technology and digital media can support whole child development.
Healthy Digital Media Use Habits for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers
Quick info for parents through bullet points, charts to reinforce info, quick tips for parents, additional links (family media use plan)
Characteristics of Children’s Media Use and Gains in Language and Literacy Skills
Examines how media use is related to and affects children’s language and literacy skills.

How To Discuss Race, Social Justice Activism, And The Media With Children In The Digital Age
Geared for parents. Discussion on how colorblind parenting can be more harmful than good for children. Also discusses ways to talk about racial events of our day.

Quality and context matters: Linking children’s digital media use and skills
Children’s use of digital media has increased during the pandemic, this article discusses how this affects children and how parents and caregivers can support learning and development.


eBooks Advisory

ALA Congressional Report denouncing current digital market practices which limit library core services
A report that details the unfair practices of dominant actors in the digital marketplace which harms the library’s role as a digital provider. 
COVID-19 and Libraries: E-Books and Intellectual Property Issues
A clear explanation of the legal differences between libraries lending print books and eBooks.
How to find K-12 eBooks: Getting Started -- A Boston College Libraries Guide
A list of features to look for when considering juvenile eBooks, along with descriptions of freely available, and available only to BCL patrons, juvenile eBook apps.
E-Books vs. Print: What Parents Need to Know
An introductory article of identified pros and cons when considering digital reading for ages 3-5.
Results of study Differences in Parent-Toddler Interactions With Electronic Versus Print Books
A 2019 study published in Pediatrics: Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics which recommends sharing print books with toddlers.
Beyond the Book: New Publishing Models and Online Platforms Feed Gen Z's Need for Free or Cheap Reads, February 3, 2020
An explanation of fanfiction and free or cheap subscription reading services platforms and an introduction of how libraries can be a part of this growing trend. 

Free Collections of eBooks 

This collection of free, digitized historic children's books consists of materials mainly published between 1839 and 1920. The collection is curated and cataloged by the Information and Library Science Library at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Because these are historical books, they may be more interesting for research purposes, rather than entertainment. Careful reading should be applied to historically published content that may be racially, or culturally problematic for today's readers.
Technical Notes: Books in this collection can be viewed directly on the site, or downloaded in various formats (including ePub, PDF, Kindle, and more).
Internet Archive Children’s Library
This collection of free, digitized children's books consists of materials published around the world. The collection is curated, and collected by the University of California Libraries (various), the University of Florida's "Literature for Children" Collection, the National Yiddish Book Center, the New York Public Library, the International Children's Digital Library, and other libraries. Books can be filtered by publication date, subject/topic, collection, creator, and language. 
 Because some of these titles in this collection are historical books, they may be more interesting for research purposes, rather than entertainment. Careful reading should be applied to historically published content that may be racially, or culturally problematic for today's readers. 
Technical Notes: Books in this collection can be viewed directly on the site, or downloaded by page in various formats, such as jpegs.
Project Gutenberg was the first provider of free electronic books (eBooks). It continues to grow as an online library of free electronic materials. All of the titles on Project Gutenberg are not currently protected by copyright in the United States and are in the public domain. New Project Gutenberg eBooks are typically digitized versions of books that were published long ago and for which any US copyright has expired.
This page is specifically for the Children's Bookshelf, which contains hundreds of titles for young readers. Books are by default sorted by popularity, but can also be sorted by title, or release date.  The number of downloads for each book is easily available and may be interesting for those browsing. Within each title's page, one can browse "Similar Titles."
Because all of the titles on Project Gutenberg are historical books that are now in the public domain, some of the titles may be more interesting for research purposes, rather than entertainment. Careful reading should be applied to historically published content that may be racially, or culturally problematic for today's readers. 
Technical Notes: Books in this collection can be viewed directly on the site, or downloaded in various formats (including ePub, PDF, Kindle, and more).
The International Children's Digital Library is supported by the University of Maryland's College of Information Studies. The Foundation's goal is to build a free, digital collection of books that represents outstanding historical and contemporary books from throughout the world. The current aim is to have every culture and language represented in their collection.
 The books in this collection can be sorted by language, but also by such categories as format, size, color, shape, and genre.
Technical Notes: Books in this collection can only be viewed on the ICDL website, and cannot be downloaded.
How to Get Free eBooks, updated March 23, 2020
This advice is more useful for personal eBook access, rather than for school or public libraries, but it is a great resource for building a free ebook library on a single device.


Apps As Learning Tools: A Systematic Review (Pediatrics: Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics | 2020)
This research review looks at the emerging evidence to determine that interactive apps are useful and accessible tools to support early academic learning.  
Selecting Apps to Support Children’s Learning (National Association for the Education of Young Children)
Selection guidelines and hallmarks of quality apps for young children.
App Advisory
AASL Best Digital Tools for Teaching & Learning
Selections made by the American Association of School Librarians of the best educational apps, websites, and other digital tools.
Common Sense Media Best Apps for Families
Recommended apps for ages 2 through teen from Common Sense Media's editors. Apps are organized into thematic lists (such as "20 Apps for Kids Who Think Reading Is Boring" and "Educational Apps That Don't Need Wi-Fi or Data"). Recommended apps can also be filtered by age.
Madison Public Library AppFinder
Search tool with reviews of high-quality apps for kids, recommended by the Madison Public Library.
NYTimes List of Online Learning Games for Kids
Learning apps and games for kids as recommended by educators, experts, and parents.
Reading Rockets Recommended Literacy Apps
Recommended literacy apps to provide practice with essential skills in print awareness, phonics, spelling, vocabulary, comprehension, and writing.
Gen-Z Media
Podcast shows for family listening. Many of their shows are serial audio dramas. Shows are all free, but come from multiple media partners.  
Kids Listen 
High-quality shows from multiple podcasters. The members of this grassroots audio nonprofit include a variety of podcasters and podcast supporters all working to elevate the medium and promote high-caliber media for kids. The shows are free. 
NPR's Student Podcast Challenge
Information about NPR's Student Podcast Challenge for middle school students and beyond. Includes great resources for teachers and students getting started with podcasting. Provides exemplary examples of audio created by and for students. 
School Library Journal's Kidcast Series
A series of podcast advisory articles on various subject areas specifically for librarians. 
Curated podcasts for youth (ages 9 to 13) from Public Radio Exchange PRX. TRAX values diversity in voice and sound and brings a high standard of curation when onboarding new shows. All media is free.