Free resources empower parents, caregivers with tools to navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic with youth

For Immediate Release
Mon, 08/03/2020

Contact:

Alena Rivers

Deputy Director

ALSC

arivers@ala.org

CHICAGO — As many families sheltered in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of digital media for information, education and entertainment has skyrocketed. Now, more than ever, as parents and caregivers look to libraries for support, the work of children’s librarians, serving as media mentors, is essential.

In response to this need, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), is offering free access to media mentoring tools and resources to support library professionals in all types of libraries. Resources include a variety of booklists with selections meant to assist children with understanding and healing from challenging situations like catastrophic illness, unexpected moves, the loss of a loved one, and much more.

In addition, a  compilation of web resources from expert sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provide guidance on talking with children about sensitive topics, keeping children healthy while school is out, talking with children about COVID-19 and managing stress.

These resources also highlight the value of children’s librarians, best known for their pivotal role in fostering literacy by matching the right book with the right reader, and their work as media mentors, guiding children and their parents/caregivers in the practice of critical evaluation of digital content. Librarians and library workers help caregivers to verify the accuracy and trustworthiness of sources and materials they encounter online and also in the conscious consideration of how screen time fits best within a family’s overall media consumption.

These tools are timely and necessary. During the COVID-19 pandemic, statistics show that misinformation is increasing. A study undertaken by Bruno Kessler Foundation in Italy, tracking tweets about the novel coronavirus, showed an average of 46,000 new Twitter posts every day in March 2020 connected to inaccurate or misleading information about the outbreak.

In April, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford revealed that roughly one third of social media users across the United States, as well as Argentina, Germany, South Korea, Spain and United Kingdom, reported seeing false or misleading information about coronavirus.

For more information on ALSC resources, visit https://bit.ly/LookToLibraries .  

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 members are committed to engaging communities to build healthy, successful futures for all children. To learn more about ALSC, visit their website at www.ala.org/alsc.