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SWON Weekly: Digital Literacy and an SLA Event

Wednesday, September 28, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Cassondra Vick
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Who Trains the Trainers?

A few weeks ago, while singing to my 6-month old son, I found myself trying to remember the ultimate resolution to “Little Bunny Foo Foo.” Little Bunny Foo Foo, the good fairy says, I gave you three chances and now… now… I hesitated, “Well, buddy. I guess she turns him into a goon. That’s what she kept saying she was going to do, right?” I simply could not remember how to conclude this silly song.

I reached for his smartphone.

Yes, I am more than aware of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines, reiterated right around the time my son was born, in fact, that recommend no screen time at all for children under the age of two. Yes, I did say, “his smartphone.” It’s my old one, in an abuse-resistant case, on which I have loaded a number of Fisher-Price and Sesame Workshop apps, a few kids’ e-books, and some apps that contain well-known children’s songs, such as “Little Bunny Foo Foo.” He really likes the animal sounds app that I think of as the digital equivalent of those old toys where you pulled the string to hear “The cow says… ‘MOOOO!’” We don’t play long. Perhaps half an hour or less a couple of days a week. But screens are a part of my life and digital literacy will probably be as important to my child’s future as the more conventional kind.

The AAP guidelines, while well-meaning, certainly do not mesh with how I or indeed many families in America use digital media. Studies show that fully 97% of children have used a digital device by the age of four. Most have started using them before the age of 1 and these numbers are on the rise. Furthermore, as more and more schools become invested in being so-called one-to-one schools, issuing laptops or iPads to all their students, digital devices become increasingly commonplace in every child’s landscape. Meanwhile, the AAP, acknowledging the shifting nature of “screen time” in this world, has even tempered their policy a bit, releasing the brief, Beyond ‘turn it off: How to advise families on media use.

So if the devices are out there, if digital literacy is really a necessary skill in the modern world, and if parents need to know how to mediate their children’s use, then is this where libraries step in? We have long considered ourselves the place to support traditional literacy and most seem to agree that we have a place in supporting digital literacy, as well. In fact, in 2015 the Association for Library Service to Children adopted a white paper on Media Mentorship in Libraries Serving Youth which calls for libraries to provide “Media Mentors” to help parents navigate the digital world. Simply bolting an iPad to a kiosk, they affirm, is not enough. We must be ready -- as we do with our storytimes, our booklists, our summer reading programs, and a myriad of other methods – to guide parents and children in how to use digital media, and what the most appropriate digital media is.

To this end, the state library of Ohio is conducting six workshops throughout the state on digital media for library staff serving youth, intending to “train the trainers” -- that is, to provide you with training that you can then use to train other library staff. These digital media training days will focus on research and pedagogy, such as the 3 Cs proposed by the New America Foundation’s Early Education Initiative director Lisa Guernsey, the updated “Every Child Ready to Read” guidelines and more, as well as provide practical tips for app evaluation and digital media in storytime. The state library hopes that regional systems will consider sending two librarians each who may return to their libraries as Media Mentors, ready to train other library staff in the effective use of digital media use in youth services.

Southwestern Ohio’s regional workshop will be on Friday, October 28th from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Symmes Township Branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County in Loveland, OH. The event is free and lunch will not be provided, but time will be provided for participants to eat. Consider registering for this event and help Ohio become a leader in digital literacy by becoming one of our state’s Media Mentors.

~ Cassondra Vick, MLIS
   Technology Educator, SWON Libraries

ohio digital media training  

An Ohio Digital Media Training Day

Six regional training sessions will be offered throughout the State of Ohio. Please consider sending two librarians who serve youth to a training session. Keep in mind that these are train-the-trainer sessions. Whomever you send to a training session will be expected to return and train the staff of your library system. Through a train-the-trainer model, librarians serving youth throughout the state will have the ability to act as Media Mentors.

Project Outcomes

  • Learn the difference between using media passively and actively.
  • Increase understanding of how to use technology effectively during storytime.
  • Increase confidence in ability to speak to families and co-workers about new media.
  • Increase the number of trusted sources used for making technology and interactive media recommendations.


This project was made possible by the State Library of Ohio with federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.


Register Now!


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SLA Event: Patent Searching and Competitive Intelligence Workshop

Are you confused about the difference between copyrights, trademarks, and patents? Do your library customers have questions related to intellectual property? Have you had trouble searching for patents or navigating the USPTO website? Did you know that competitive intelligence data may be aggregated from free patent searching databases?

Learn more from NKU’s Intellectual Property Librarian John Schlipp on Wednesday, October 5th at 5:00 PM. This informative workshop will cover the following areas:

  • Overview of Patent & Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) libraries.
  • Introduction to free web-based USPTO & Espacenet patent searching databases.
  • Competitive analysis examples utilizing free USPTO or Espacenet databases.


Cost: SLA Members: $10; Non-members: $15; Retired, Student and LIS job seekers: Free (please pay via cash or check at the event) Attendance for our speaker is limited to the first 30 attendees.

Location: Interact for Health Conference Center
3805 Edwards Road, 5th Floor
 Cincinnati OH 45209



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