Becoming a Media Mentor: A Guide for Working with Children and Families. By Claudia Haines, Cen Campbell, and the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). Chicago: ALA, 2016. 176 p. Paper $48 (ISBN 978-0-8389-1463-2).

Librarians wishing to provide materials for youth and families increasingly find themselves in the role of media mentor. Media mentors don’t just know what books to suggest for children, they also know which learning apps, DVDs, databases, websites, programming, and other new media will be most beneficial for the child. The breadth of content available to families can often be overwhelming. Effective media mentors help families sift through the noise to find the highest-quality media—in whatever form it may take. In short, the media mentor is a content expert who relies on the context of the interaction and the individual child to help inform families’ healthy media decisions. Together these “3 Cs” guide the media mentor in theory and practice.

While demystifying new and emerging technology, Haines and Campbell offer a clear, concise roadmap that helps youth services experts in public libraries assume the vital role of media mentor. Much more than a simple how-to manual, Becoming a Media Mentor focuses on field-tested, research-based best practices for librarians serving children and families. The book will benefit any public library aiming to excite their community by offering innovative learning experiences in the library and at home.

Included in Becoming a Media Mentor is a comprehensive compendium of real-world programming successes broken down into synopses of one or two pages in length. Each synopsis provides thorough instructions for librarians wishing to implement similar programming in their own libraries. Also included are several useful appendixes, including the ALSC white paper Media Mentors in Libraries Serving Youth, the foundational document upon which this book draws its inspiration. Simple rubrics for evaluating learning apps for children are also included and prove to be a powerful tool for those who might not yet consider themselves app aficionados.

Media, in all its print and digital forms, has permeated the public library landscape, and mining the material can be a daunting task without proper tools. Becoming a Media Mentor offers such tools as well as encouragement and practical wisdom. Public library staff who wish to explore, curate, and present media to their communities will find Becoming a Media Mentor an invaluable resource.—Joshua Jordan, Librarian, Del City Library, Del City, Oklahoma


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