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Media Literacy

ALA Publishes Free Practice Guide, Adult Media Literacy Webinar Series


CHICAGO – Imagine you are working at the information desk when a customer comes to you with a question. You cite a “fact” that has been widely debunked and mention an article from a publication that you know cannot be trusted. As a library worker, what can you do to educate and inform them?

In response to the need for media literacy education, the American Library Association (ALA) has released a free digital guide and webinar series to help library staff plan moments like these.

Media Literacy in the Library: A Guide for Library Practitioners contains information, program ideas, and conversation starters on topics such as misinformation and disinformation; Architecture of the internet; Civics; Media landscape and economy; and media creation and engagement. The 30-page guide also explores ways to “meet customers where they are” by integrating media literacy into reference interactions and existing programs. Download the guide here.

In the guide, library staff can explore:

  • Concepts like filter bubbles, confirmation errors, and message deserts
  • How to answer questions about false or misleading messages in reference interactions
  • Virtual and personal program ideas on topics such as fact checking, cookies, data protection on the Internet, freedom of information law and local media
  • Ideas for discussing the corporate media landscape through a reading of the trilogy “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins
  • Tips and resources for measuring program results

A series of one-hour webinars explores these concepts from the guide. The webinars are free for all library staff, but places are limited. Register for the live sessions at the links below; All sessions are recorded and available on the ALA website for programming librarians within 24 hours.

  • Media literacy for adults: meet patrons where they are: January 12, 2021, 1 p.m. CT
  • Adult Media Literacy: Disinformation and Disinformation: February 10, 2021 at 1 p.m. CT
  • Media Literacy for Adults: Architecture of the Internet: February 24, 2021, 1 p.m. CT
  • Adult Media Literacy: Citizenship: March 10, 2021, 1 p.m. CT
  • Media Literacy for Adults: Media Landscape and Business: April 7, 2021, 1 p.m. CT pm
  • Media literacy for adults: Media engagement and creation: April 14, 2021, 1 p.m. CT

The materials have been prepared for an adult, non-school audience that library staff generally meet in a public library context. However, many of the approaches and best practices examined are appropriate for a classroom or other library setting.

Media literacy empowers people to be critical thinkers, effective communicators, and active citizens in our complex, ever-changing digital environment. A media literate adult should be able to access, share, and create media across multiple formats and platforms while using critical thinking skills to assess the purpose and potential impact of the material.

Media Literacy in the Library: A Guide for Library Practitioners and the webinar series were created in collaboration with talented thought leaders in the library and media literacy sectors, including Kristen Calvert of the Dallas, Texas Public Library; Natasha Casey of Blackburn College, Illinois; Amber Conger of Lexington, South Carolina County Public Library; Nicole A. Cooke of the University of South Carolina School of Information Science; Kurtis Kelly of the Estes Valley (Colorado) Library; Laura Saunders of Simmons University School of Library and Information Science (Massachusetts); and Michael A. Spikes of Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy (Illinois).

These co-authors were among the 30 subject advisors of the ALA project Media Literacy Education in Libraries for Adult Audiences.

The teaching of media skills in libraries for an adult audience is made possible, among other things, by the LG-13-19-0089-19 grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

Via the American Library Association

The American Library Association (ALA) is the leading 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 of academic, public, school, government and specialty libraries, advocating the profession and role of the library in improving learning and access to information for all. More information is available at www.ala.org.


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