Our society is at a critical juncture with regard to the changing information landscape and the critical thinking skills needed to thrive in our digital world. Are parents and caregivers comfortable acting as media mentors? For parents, understanding the latest research and finding the best content for their children may be a daunting task.

Parents falling behind

According to a recent study from the Pew Internet Project, more than 14 percent of adults in the United States are “unprepared” in terms of digital readiness, fueling the question: Who will mentor the mentors?

Talking with a public or school librarian is an excellent place to start.

Libraries today are less about what’s on the shelves and more about what library professionals can do with and for families. More than 98 percent of libraries provide technology training, ranging from internet safety and privacy to coding to using social media, and they provide direct, free access to tech-savvy children’s librarians who can help guide parents and caregivers to the very best and diverse formats of educational and entertainment media.

“Libraries today are less about what’s on the shelves and more about what library professionals can do with and for families.”

Teaching ethical tech use

Empowering parents and families, our nation’s libraries are bridging the digital divide by providing not only free access to technology, but the education and training needed to become ethical users of software, social media platforms and web resources. More than 1.5 billion library visitors a year benefit from experts who can provide advice on when and where devices should be used, which websites best support children’s interests, and how apps and other media types are being accessed.

Along with gaining support for parents as media mentors, we encourage parents to look to librarians in their local public and school libraries for tips and resources on how to choose enrichment opportunities that fit the family’s entire plan for education and entertainment.

Trained to incorporate digital media and content into a vast array of youth-centric services and programs, our nation’s expert librarians are transforming lives through education and lifelong learning.