Resource: AAP’s Family Media Use Planner

Hello, all!  In October, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a new set of guidelines for children’s media use.  Along with these recommendations, the AAP also launched a Family Media Plan tool on their Healthy Children website.  This planner is designed to help parents and caregivers talk with their children about how to use technology in responsible, creative, and age-appropriate ways.  It’s also a great resource for librarians to share with their patrons and incorporate into their practice.

AAP Family Media Use Planner

Available in Spanish and English, the planner prompts families to identify screen-free zones within the home as well as screen-free times and device curfews for each child under the age of eighteen.  In addition to providing a platform for families to discuss the more cut and dry elements of their tech usage, like internet safety and etiquette, the Family Media Use Planner also uses prompts to facilitate a dialogue about media mindfulness.

The AAP encourages parents and caregivers to have discussions with their children about how to balance screen time with other favorite activities, how to make informed decisions about media consumption, and how to be a good digital citizen.  By opening up a dialogue with kids about their use of media, parents and caregivers (and librarians!) can help them to make more informed choices and engage in critical self-reflection.  Children who actively learn how to be thoughtful about the way they participate in our media culture practice the skills and awareness they need to develop into mindful adults.  

If you have children in your family or work with kids in any capacity, consider taking some time to familiarize yourself with the AAP’s media guidelines.  You may find that the long holiday weekend is the perfect time to use the Family Media Plan to set achievable goals and intentions for your family or the children you serve.

Looking for more resources?  Here are a few suggestions…

  • For Librarians
    • Consider adding resources like Tumblebooks (animated/talking ebooks) or Beanstack (customized reader’s advisory) to your library’s digital offerings.
    • Get inspired by the STEM and mindfulness themes other librarians are using in their programming and brainstorm your own ideas.
    • Incorporate Media Mentorship into your work with children and families.

This blog post was written by Elizabeth Myers.  She is a first-year residential MLIS student interested in youth librarianship and issues of information access.

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What American Youth Librarians can Learn from the Danish Library System: Fun as a First Priority

Happy November, readers! Although summer is now just a glittering memory for most of us as fall settles in, I remain excited and inspired by the experiences I had while visiting Copenhagen, Denmark in late August and September.

Our travel group!

One of the most exciting and important portions of the trip was a visit to the city of Aarhus, the second largest city in Denmark and the home of Dokk1, the most innovative and unique library I have had the fortune to visit. Dokk1 (pronounced DOC-EN if you’re Danish, or DOC-ONE if you’re American – it means “the Dock” because of the building’s location on the harbor) perfectly represents the Danish value of fun and “hyyge” – coziness. The library, completed in 2015, was built to be the living room of the city, and they accomplish this particularly well with respect to their children’s collections and spaces.


Dokk1 at night on the harbor.

The children’s area in Dokk1 is imaginative, fun, spirited, and completely different from every American library I’ve visited. The area has dress-up clothes (not just in children’s sizes either!), climbing gyms, and video games. The library was relatively quiet when I visited, but the tour guide assured us that it can get quite loud, and they actually encourage that! The library is surrounded on all sides by a globally inspired playground, with different areas representing various countries of the world: a bear slide stands for Russia while a climbable eagle points toward the USA.



The bear of Russia, surrounded by happy Danes!


The space in Dokk1 works hard to be there for all the members of the Aarhus community, and they fully include children in that ideology. Children feel, from the cradle into adolescence, that they are accepted and welcomed into community spaces.  This is in contrast to what can often feel like repressive, quiet spaces in American public libraries.

So what can we learn as future children’s librarians – we may not have the benefit of working in Dokk1 or a similarly family- or children-friendly facility, but I believe that we can all incorporate the welcoming spirit, openness, and creative use of community space that Dokk1 has made so central to their mission. If we can take even just a small piece of that Danish ability to welcome noise and chaos into our otherwise orderly library lives, I think we can create a whole new generation of library-loving kids.


LGBTQ Middle Grade

Hi everyone! Hope your classes are going well. While you may not have time for pleasure reading at the moment, you might be able to squeeze in a middle grade book over the weekend or be able to refer to this list for any kids in your life! Middle grade that features LGBTQ characters is something I wish there was more of, and if you know of any others, please let us know!



The Other Boy
by M.G. Hennessey
“Twelve-year-old Shane Woods is just a regular boy. He loves pitching for his baseball team, working on his graphic novel, and hanging out with his best friend, Josh. But Shane is keeping something private, something that might make a difference to his teammates, to Josh, and to his new crush, Madeline. And when a classmate threatens to reveal his secret, Shane’s whole world comes crashing down. It will take a lot of courage for Shane to ignore the hate and show the world that he’s still the same boy he was before. And in the end, those who stand beside him may surprise everyone, including Shane.”
The Hidden Oracle (#1 in The Trials of Apollo series)
by Rick Riordan
“After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’s favour. But Apollo has many enemies—gods, monsters and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go… an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.”


unnamed-2Princess Princess Ever After
by Katie O’Neill
“When the heroic princess Amira rescues the kind-hearted princess Sadie from her tower prison, neither expects to find a true friend in the bargain. Yet as they adventure across the kingdom, they discover that they bring out the very best in the other person. They’ll need to join forces and use all the know-how, kindness, and bravery they have in order to defeat their greatest foe yet: a jealous sorceress, who wants to get rid of Sadie once and for all. Join Sadie and Amira, two very different princesses with very different strengths, on their journey to figure out what happily ever after really means — and how they can find it with each other.”


Better Nate Than Ever
by Tim Federle
“Nate Foster has big dreams. His whole life, he’s wanted to star in a Broadway show. (Heck, he’d settle for *seeing* a Broadway show.) But how is Nate supposed to make his dreams come true when he’s stuck in Jankburg, Pennsylvania, where no one (except his best pal Libby) appreciates a good show tune? With Libby’s help, Nate plans a daring overnight escape to New York. There’s an open casting call for E.T.: The Musical, and Nate knows this could be the difference between small-town blues and big-time stardom.”


by Alex Gino
“When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl. George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part . . . because she’s a boy. With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte — but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.”


by Barbara Dee
This one sadly doesn’t come out until March 2017, but I’m just so excited about it! You can find pre-order links here!
“Mattie is chosen to play Romeo opposite her crush in the eighth grade production of Shakespeare’s most beloved play in this Romeo and Juliet inspired novel from the author of Truth or Dare. Mattie, a star student and passionate reader, is delighted when her English teacher announces the eighth grade will be staging Romeo and Juliet. And she is even more excited when, after a series of events, she finds herself playing Romeo, opposite Gemma Braithwaite’s Juliet. Gemma, the new girl at school, is brilliant, pretty, outgoing—and, if all that wasn’t enough: British. As the cast prepares for opening night, Mattie finds herself growing increasingly attracted to Gemma and confused, since, just days before, she had found herself crushing on a boy named Elijah. Is it possible to have a crush on both boys AND girls? If that wasn’t enough to deal with, things backstage at the production are starting to rival any Shakespearean drama! In this sweet and funny look at the complicated nature of middle school romance, Mattie learns how to be the lead player in her own life.”

Images and blurbs from Goodreads.

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