Over the course of the past year, thanks to a LSTA grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services and also thanks to a growing national and state-wide discussion on the topic, IFLS librarians have been working on getting up to speed about being Media Mentors. We have learned about they whys and hows of sharing new media with families, and learned about evaluating apps. We have learned about child development and the needs of young children, and how this fits with technology. We've had some amazing workshops with national and international experts, and we've had multiple smaller conversations among ourselves.
It's been a fruitful year, and I'm busy working on ways to follow through with additional resources and support to help everyone continue the work we've started. One of my best resources for doing this is my new friend Karen Morris, this region's Maternal and Child Health Public Health Nurse Consultant. She is helping me think about ways to link up public health nurses and WIC programs with libraries so they can share information and ideas with each other, work together to reach a diverse clientele, and continue the discussion about child development and media--and how to support families.
I can't tell you how marvelous it is to share perspectives and ideas with someone else who cares passionately about families, but who has a whole different set of background knowledge and work. I think this will pave the way for a lot more collaboration and partnerships between public libraries and public health (I know many folks are already doing cool things). Watch for more in the months to come.