About Us

Media Smart Libraries: Building Partnerships to Support Children in a Digital Age

Program Overview

Media Smart Libraries brings together the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Library and Information Studies (GSLIS) in partnership with the Providence Children’s Film Festival and the Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services (OLIS) on a two-year project funded in part by a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) that is designed to advance the digital and media literacy competencies of children, teens, and families in our communities. Based on the results of a comprehensive planning process supported by an IMLS planning grant, Media Smart Libraries positions Rhode Island's libraries as hubs of community engagement, while affording librarians and LIS students a unique opportunity for mastering digital and media literacy competencies. Through this program, participants will gain crucial skills in using, analyzing, and creating digital media and film.

Media Smart Libraries uses the power of a university - community partnership to increase awareness of the value of digital and media literacy for children, teens, and families.

The goals of the Media Smart Libraries program are to:

  1. Advance the digital and media literacy competencies of children, teens, and families in our communities

  2. Increase awareness of the value of screen media education and digital and media literacy for children, teens, families, and community leaders

  3. Create a cadre of digital and media literacy expert librarians

  4. Improve the quality of LIS education for the next generation of public and school librarians through coursework that offers hands-on experiential learning and competencies in content creation, curation, and collaboration.

The goals of the Media Smart Libraries will be achieved through:

  • A series of 6 public programming events over the course of two years emphasizing the use of film and media texts, and digital media tools and technologies. These events will draw upon a deep connection with the Providence Children’s Film Festival.

  • A series of 15+ Continuing Education Workshops for librarians designed to create a cadre of digital and media literacy experts.

  • Digital badging system to credential librarians who attend workshops/events and complete activities towards the earning of badges.

  • Media Smart Library Leadership Cohort program in which members earn all five digital badges, become certified Media Smart Librarians and share their experiences.

  • Revised LIS curriculum emphasizing digital media literacy and experiential learning through community collaboration.

  • An online resource hub that includes information on events, video excerpts from public programming and training events, curated lists of developmentally appropriate media texts, film screening and discussion guides, digital media literacy lesson plans and activities, "how-to" guides on digital media literacy competencies, and a database of articles and other resources, created by current  GSLIS students spearheading a national conversation about digital and media literacy in libraries.

At the conclusion of this grant, children and families across the state of Rhode Island will be more aware of the importance of digital and media literacy and the role of libraries in supporting these essential skills. Graduate students preparing to become school and public librarians will develop relevant knowledge and competencies and learn to curate and create media, as well as collaborate and advocate in communities. Librarians who participate in continuing education will gain competencies in digital media literacy that enable them to fully exploit the power of film and digital media as resources for children, teens, and families, giving them the knowledge and skills they need to implement practical programs that engage, inspire, and stimulate lifelong learning.