Response to Lisa Guernsey: Little eLit on ECETech.net

ecetechLittle eLit is really getting around these days.  Here’s an article I wrote in response to an article by Lisa Guernsey, author of Into the Minds of Babes: How screen time affects children from birth to age five and Director of the Early Education Initiative at the New American Foundation.

Response to Lisa Guernsey’s A Role for Early Ed Tech: Strengthening Connections among Teachers, Librarians and Coaches

By Cen Campbell

“In a presentation for a meeting of the Council of Chief State School Officers in Indianapolis, I talked to early childhood specialists in state education agencies about some untapped areas for enhancing training and forming partnerships among educators, including librarians, via digital technology… But it was the section on “the role of states” that probably had the most relevance for the policy experts in the room. Based in part on recent policy brief published by the Education Commission of the States, Technology in Early Education, I singled out two areas that state-level policymakers could focus on: building partnerships between libraries and early education andimproving professional development and teacher training.  Libraries should be seen as integral partners for early education programs, especially in the area of technology given the online curating skills and technical know-how that many children’s librarians possess today.”

I’ve been developing a community of knowledge to inform, inspire and motivate my fellow children’s librarians to expand their expertise in evaluation, curation and program development to the digital realm, and now I am pleased to see that there are experts in non-library fields that are recognizing the value that children’s librarians can bring to interactive media.

But you know what’s incredibly disheartening? Many children’s librarians don’t think this is their job. (I disagree completely, and so do the most of children’s librarians I know.)

There are far more children’s librarians who contact me asking for help establishing early literacy programming that incorporates digital media than those who advocate format-based censorship.  Digital storytelling and collection development are still new for many of us, and while we have centuries of experience evaluating and curating content for children, the technology itself is often intimidating, and funds and staff time are in short supply. In order for children’s librarians to begin to apply their skills to digital media, they are going to need some training, support and motivation from their administrative, advocacy and funding organizations.  These organizations could include city and county administrations, state libraries, state library associations, local chapters of national organizations, JPAs, library boards or any other body that can support measures to bring in trainers, provide staff time to cover the reference desk, and fund the development of programs, services and partnerships.

Children’s librarians need to take stock of their core competencies: the evaluation and dissemination of media and early literacy development, and apply them to the new world of children’s interactive media.  They need the training to step into their new roles as curators of content in the digital realm, get out of the echo chamber of libraryland and share their expertise with related educational organizations.  We need to start developing some large-scale training through creative collaborations with other non-profit organizations, granting agencies and ECE programs, administrators and teachers.

Let’s start the conversation. Let’s make this happen.

Hear Lisa Guernsey, Cen Campbell and Karen Nemeth discuss new initiatives and partnerships between libraries and early childhood education programs in this upcoming webinar: Libraries and Preschool Programs: Amazing Partnerships to Support Diverse Young Children and Families

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Posted on December 4, 2012, in collaboration, Libraries and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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