National Forum on Young Children, New Media & Libraries
Yesterday we finally submitted a large grant proposal that I’ve been working on since October when Chip Donohue hosted us at the TEC Center at Erikson in Chicago. Many thanks to Ella Stelter at the New Orleans Public Library Foundation for working so hard and long with me on this proposal. Also many thanks to the many, many advisors from across the continent who edited, suggested, re-wrote, and supported the vision of this project from the very beginning. Now it’s in the hands of IMLS.
Here’s the gist:
There are children’s librarians all over the country developing innovative programs that harness the learning potential of interactive media for young children. These innovators have been charting unknown territory in library services for children, often taking the plunge with supportive administrations and using new or existing tablets without having any resources to guide the development of their programs, and the policies, procedures and pedagogies that go with them. At the same time, there is debate about the ethics of using screen-based technologies with young children, especially those under the age of 2 (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2013) and no guidance to date from our national or state advocacy organizations to record or recommend best practices for how to use emergent technologies with young children and their families in libraries.
The National Forum on Young Children & Libraries is the first step in a national exemplary practice and training project that will eventually create guidelines and professional development resources for pre- service and in-service children’s librarians on the intentional and age-appropriate use of new media with children aged 0-5 in libraries. Under the National Leadership Grant for Libraries category of Advancing Digital Resources, a collaborative partnership under the auspices of the New Orleans Public Library Foundation, the New Orleans Public Library, the California State Library, the Technology in Early Childhood Center at Erikson Institute, the Association for Library Service to Children, Kent State University and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities will facilitate the Forum and publish a white paper on the proceedings by September 2015.
This Forum will have broad impact as it will convene approximately 40 national transdisciplinary experts with in-depth knowledge of digital media and literacy; librarianship, child development, psychology, medicine and educational practice and policy, to collaboratively develop recommendations for training and professional development, and identify the components of a usable toolkit to guide the incorporation of new media into library collections, services and programs for young children and their families. The outcomes of the National Forum on Young Children, New Media & Libraries will include a white paper on the current state of research on new media and young children, recommendations for expanded educational components in pre- service and in-service early learning and literacy trainings for librarians, identifications of barriers, components for a digital media toolkit for librarians, as well as a dissemination plan that will be carried forward by the project partners. The projected cost for planning and executing this two-day forum, webinars, and the completion and dissemination of a white paper of recommendations is $94,440 in grant funds and $96,216 in cost sharing.