Jim Morrison said: “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.” It is important that we provide our students with tools to develop critical thinking and metacognition enabling them to effectively analyze and evaluate the media with which they are confronted and thus have greater agency in their lives and the capacities for well-reasoned citizenship.  As with any skills that need to be taught, who teaches the skills is a critical question.

A new initiative: Librarians as Leaders for Media Literacy Integration in NY State, or ML3 is aiming to provide students with these skills through school librarians collaboration with teachers in all subject areas.  The initiative is funded by a 2-year “capacity building” grant for Ithaca College’s media literacy initiative, Project Look Sharp, from the Booth Ferris foundation that will train librarians to be instructional leaders for the integration of question-based media analysis the core curriculum from early elementary through high school.  


This pilot program will enable 20 school librarian leaders selected from 100+ applicants across New York State, to be trained and coached to: 

 ML3 began by assembling participants in 2-day training sessions this fall, where each library leader developed an integration plan for their school(s).  Our Project Coordinator, Susan Allen, a long-time school librarian and library science professor, is coaching the participants as we support and evaluate their various initiatives.  By the end of the pilot, ML3 will have identified the most effective approaches for integrating student-centered, standards-driven, Constructivist Media Decoding into curriculum and instruction that can be scalable statewide. The strength of this project is the time- and peer-tested framework, process and resources that are already in place through Project Look Sharp. It gives school librarians, who already embrace inquiry-based constructivist learning, and who  are tasked through the National School Library Standards with teaching media literacy, the training, resources and support to fulfill that critical 21st century mission. 

The importance of media literacy and the central role of librarians in this work is reflected in 4 bills being considered in the New York State legislature:   

The ML3 project is in the right place at the right time - offering school librarians an opportunity to advance their expertise as instructional leaders working as collaborators to effectively teach digital and media literacies to all students.