For immediate release | April 12, 2011

Mimi Ito headlines AASL national conference closing session

CHICAGO – Dr. Mimi Ito, international expert on mobile technologies and using new digital media in everyday life, will headline the closing session at the American Association of School Librarian’s (AASL) 15th National Conference and Exhibition in Minneapolis. Dr. Ito will speak about the value of digitally augmented social practices in education, countering the perception that new media is hostile to learning.

A cultural anthropologist of technology use, Dr. Ito is a leading authority on how social network technologies are shaping society. She recently completed a three-year study of the ways youth use new media funded by the MacArthur Foundation and is co-author of the book based on the study, “Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media.” The study explores how kids engage with and play with new media in their everyday lives and how digital technologies are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize and participate in civic life.

“Mimi Ito’s closing session offers a great counter to opening general session speaker, Nicholas Car,” said Ty Burns, AASL national conference co-chair. “One of the major findings of her study is that youth engage in peer-based, self-directed learning online. This lessens the anxiety that the overabundance of information on the Internet is hampering students' ability to read and think critically.”

A professor in residence in the departments of anthropology and informatics at the University of California, Irvine, Dr. Ito has been named the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Chair in Digital Media and Learning. Dr. Ito has researched a wide range of digitally augmented social practices, including online gaming and social communities, the production and consumption of children’s software and children’s play with new media.

“Dr. Ito’s presentation is another exciting event we can add to the list for Minneapolis,” said AASL national conference co-chair, Cheryl Steele. “Both general session speakers address a timely, relevant topic which attendees won’t want to miss. We’re looking forward to seeing, and learning with, everyone at conference!”

The AASL 15th National Conference & Exhibition, "Turning the Page," is the only national conference dedicated solely to the needs of school librarians and their roles as educational leaders. Taking place October 27-30, 2011, the AASL National Conference will feature preconferences, numerous concurrent sessions, more than 200 exhibiting companies, educational and school tours, a storytelling festival and special appearances by award-winning authors. Registration is now open at a discounted "early bird" rate. For more information or to register, visit

The American Association of School Librarians,, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library field.