Media mentorship

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Template:Tone Template:Underlinked Media mentorship, a term first used by Lisa Guernsey of the New America Foundation at a 2014 TEDxMidAtlantic event,[1] refers to the practice of supporting individuals in their media practice and decisions. The term was created to describe the practice of media support in particular with the creation and prevalence of digital media, but it ultimately refers to media in all formats.

Media Mentorship in Libraries Serving Youth

In 2015, the Board of the Association for Library Service to Children accepted a white paper titled "Media Mentorship in Libraries Serving Youth." This paper outlines the role of youth librarians and other library staff when it comes to supporting children and families in their media use. The role of the media mentor is twofold:

  1. to support children and their families in their decisions and practice around media use;
  2. to have access to, and share, recommendations for and research on children's media use.

Media mentors are objective in their support of families and their media information needs, relying on reputable research and recommendations (as from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Fred Rogers Center, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, and Zero to Three). Media mentors provide support for families to make the best media decisions for them and their children.[2]

The white paper also recognizes four positions that are integral to the availability of media mentors in libraries:

  1. libraries should have librarians and other staff who embrace their role as media mentors;
  2. media mentors should support children and families in their media use and decisions;
  3. library schools should provide training to support future practitioners being media mentors;
  4. professional development for librarians and other youth services practitioners should support the role of media mentor.

In addition to supporting children and families through published research and recommendations, media mentors also seek out evaluations of media in all formats—and in many instances evaluate such media themselves—to ensure that recommendations of specific media focus on developmental appropriateness and positive, productive use. Media mentors model exemplary use of media in order to promote positive media behaviors and habits; such modeling specifically promotes joint media engagement, or the practice of a young children and an adult caregiver interacting with a media experience together.[3]

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