National Association for Media Literacy Education

I’m preparing a conference proposal with my colleagues Paige Bentley-Fannery and Genesis Hansen for the National Association for Media Literacy Education 2013 conference in Torrence, CA. I’m not a member of NAMLE yet, and it’s outside of my echo chamber.. er, I mean, my library association comfort zone, so I’m reading a little more about what they do, where their emphasis is, and how librarians can contribute to the conversations that they’re having. They have some really great information on their website that I have posted here before, but as I get more and more involved in policy, pedagogical and philosophical discussions about why I’m doing what I’m doing, I find it’s useful to return to some of the basics.

Note: look at their Board of Directors and National Advisory Council. See any librarians?  Yeah.  Me either.

Media Literacy: The Basic Definition

Within North America, media literacy is seen to consist of a series of communication competencies, including the ability to ACCESS, ANALYZE, EVALUATE, and COMMUNICATE information in a variety of forms, including print and non-print messages.

Media literacy empowers people to be both critical thinkers and creative producers of an increasingly wide range of messages using image, language, and sound. It is the skillful application of literacy skills to media and technology messages.

The term “media literacy” is often used interchangeably with other terms related to media and media technologies. To clarify what we mean when we talk about media literacy, NAMLE offers these definitions:

  • Media refers to all electronic or digital means and print or artistic visuals used to transmit messages.
  • Literacy is the ability to encode and decode symbols and to synthesize and analyze messages.
  • Media literacy is the ability to encode and decode the symbols transmitted via media and the ability to synthesize, analyze and produce mediated messages.
  • Media education is the study of media, including ‘hands on’ experiences and media production.
  • Media literacy education is the educational field dedicated to teaching the skills associated with media literacy.

Posted on November 28, 2012, in conferences, Literacy, Media Literacy and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. An incredibly informative post. Much appreciated.

  2. Oh good! Let me know if there are other topics you’d like more information about and I’ll see what I can do!

  3. Will do. Thanks. Have shared on FB.

  4. As someone who has conducted professional development around media literacy for many years, I believe the school librarian is essential in teaching media literacy. I wrote about it recently:
    Frank Baker, Media Literacy Clearinghouse (

  5. Greetings. Thank you for this post. I’m currently the president of NAMLE. We would LOVE to have a librarian on our board and greater representation from librarians. Please consider joining NAMLE. Any member in good standing can run for the board. Elections usually take place around April/May. Please feel free to contact me for more information too. Sherri (

  6. Sherri! This is definitely something I’m going to consider! Children’s librarians have a LOT to offer when it comes to media literacy education, especially as it relates to early literacy and parent education. We should totally be leveraging our synergies!

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