ALA Releases Free Practitioner’s Guide, Adult Media Literacy Webinar Series


CHICAGO — Imagine you’re working at the referral desk when a client comes to ask you a question. They cite a “fact” that has been widely debunked, mentioning an article from a publication you know is untrustworthy. What can you as a librarian do to educate and inform them?

In response to the need for media literacy, the American Library Association (ALA) has released a free digital guide and related webinar series to help library workers plan for times like these.

“Media Literacy in the Library: A Guide for Library Practitioners” contains information, program ideas and conversation starters on topics such as misinformation and disinformation; Internet architecture; civic education; media landscape and economy; and media creation and engagement. The 30-page guide also explores ways to “meet customers where they are” by integrating media literacy into referral interactions and existing programs. Download the guide here.

In the guide, library workers can explore:

  • Concepts such as filter bubbles, confirmation bias and news deserts
  • How to Respond to Questions About False or Misleading Information in Referral Interactions
  • Ideas for virtual and in-person programs covering topics such as fact-checking, cookies, internet privacy, freedom of information law and local media
  • Ideas for discussing the corporate media landscape through a reading of Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games” trilogy
  • Tips and resources for measuring program results

A series of one-hour webinars will explore these concepts from the guide. The webinars are free for all library staff, although space is limited. Register for the live sessions at the links below; all sessions will be recorded and available within 24 hours on the ALA Programming Librarian website.

  • Media Literacy for Adults: Meeting Customers Where They Are: January 12, 2021, 1:00 p.m. CT
  • Media Literacy for Adults: Misinformation and Disinformation: February 10, 2021, 1 p.m. CT
  • Media Literacy for Adults: Architecture of the Internet: February 24, 2021, 1 p.m. CT
  • Media Literacy for Adults: Civics: March 10, 2021, 1 p.m. CT
  • Media Literacy for Adults: Media Landscape and Economics: April 7, 2021, 1 p.m. CT
  • Media Literacy for Adults: Media Engagement and Creation: April 14, 2021, 1 p.m. CT

The materials were created for an adult non-school audience, which library workers will typically encounter in the context of a public library. However, many of the approaches and best practices explored are suitable for a classroom or other library setting.

Media literacy empowers people to be critical thinkers, effective communicators, and active citizens in our complex and ever-changing digital environment. A media-literate adult should be able to access, share and create media across multiple formats and platforms while using critical thinking skills to assess the purpose and potential impact of material.

Media Literacy in the Library: A Guide for Library Practitioners” and the webinar series were created in collaboration with talented thought leaders from the library and media literacy sectors, including Kristen Calvert of the Public Library of Dallas (Texas); Natasha Casey of Blackburn College (Illinois); Amber Conger of the Lexington County Public Library (South Carolina); Nicole A. Cooke of the University of South Carolina School of Information Studies; Kurtis Kelly of the Estes Valley Library (Colorado); Laura Saunders of Simmons University School of Library and Information Science (Massachusetts); and Michael A. Spikes of Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy (Illinois).

These co-authors were among 30 expert advisors to ALA’s Media Literacy Education in Libraries for Adult Audiences project.

Library media literacy for adult audiences is made possible in part by Institute of Museum and Library Services grant LG-13-19-0089-19.

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association (ALA) is the leading national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, ALA has been the trusted voice of academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the role of the library in improving learning and access to information for all. For more information, visit www.ala.org.

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