ALA Releases Free Library Programming Guide, Resources to Help Adult Patrons Understand the Unseen Aspects of the Internet

For Immediate Release
Wed, 03/27/2024


Hannah Arata

Communications Specialist

Public Programs Office

American Library Association

CHICAGO — What determines the information that shows up in online search results? How do cookies work? What exactly is an algorithm?

The new free guide from the American Library Association (ALA), developed with a team of national advisors, will help library workers assist adults in understanding how the internet works and how it impacts their lives.

Media Literacy for Adults: Architecture of the Internet Programming Guide” contains background information, recommended collection materials and program ideas on topics like misinformation; artificial intelligence; ChatGPT; civics; search engine optimization; and more. The 27-page guide also explores ways to help novice patrons with library technology and how to teach media literacy in everyday library services. Download the guide here.

In the guide, library workers may explore library program spotlights such as:

  • Interactive programs to teach disinformation through a “Disinformation Crime Scene”
  • Innovative trainings and workshops to teach artificial intelligence through ChatGPT and Shakespeare plays
  • Documentary screenings and discussions on media literacy topics

The materials in the guide were created for out-of-school adult audiences whom library workers will generally meet in a public library context. However, many of the approaches and best practices explored are equally appropriate for a classroom or other library settings.

The authors of the guide will present a series of free webinars to coincide with its major themes and ideas. To stay informed about webinar dates and registration, sign up for the Programming Librarian e-newsletter.

“Media Literacy for Adults: Architecture of the Internet Programming Guide” was created in collaboration with talented thought leaders from the library and media literacy sectors, including Jimmeka Anderson, Ph.D., I AM not the Media, Inc.; Spencer Brayton of Waubonsee Community College (Illinois); Kristen Calvert of Dallas (Texas) Public Library; Anna Kozlowska-Barrios, Ph.D. of the University of Illinois; Micheal A. Spikes, Ph.D. of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism (Illinois); and Monya Tomlinson of Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library (Georgia).

Media Literacy Education in Libraries for Adult Audiences is a project conducted by the ALA Public Programs Office in collaboration with Knology, a nonprofit research organization that produces practical social science for a better world. It was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services grant number LG-13-19-0089-19.

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all.

About the ALA Public Programs Office

The ALA Public Programs Office empowers libraries to create vibrant hubs of learning, conversation and connection in communities of all types. Learn more at