Library Film Education: On and Beyond the Screen

The Media Education Lab is proud to be presenting at the Digital Media and Learning conference at the University of California, Irvine on October 6, 2017.

Presenters: Liz Deslauriers, Pam Steager, Mary Moen, Renee Hobbs

When it comes to film programming in libraries, the days of “hit play and walk away” are over. Today, more and more individuals have the tools for film and media production literally in the palms of their hands, and quality independent, international, and documentary films are becoming easier to access. Librarians are active in the digital revolution and part of this work includes bringing robust and meaningful film programming and hands-on digital media education into school and public libraries. How? This presentation shows how, through film and media education partnerships in their communities and by deepening their own professional development experiences in critically analyzing and creating media, librarians are advancing the digital and media literacy competencies of their patrons.

We describe the design, implementation and assessment of a series of public programming events over the course of two years emphasizing the use of film and media texts, and digital media tools and technologies, drawing upon our partnership with the Providence Children’s Film Festival. We offered a series of Continuing Education Workshops for librarians designed to create a cadre of digital and media literacy experts and collaborated with the organization to offer film education workshops across the state. 

We also describe the process of creating the PCFF Film Hub, which provides access to all the films screened at every PCFF festival, along with study guides to support film education. Finally, we describe the process of revising the University of Rhode Island's MLIS curriculum to emphasize digital media literacy and experiential learning through community collaboration.


In this session, participants also learn more about the work of Media Smart Libraries, an IMLS-funded statewide professional development initiative for librarians in Rhode Island. We outline how our deep partnership with the Providence Children's Film Festival developed and how we exploited the assets of a university - community partnership to increase awareness of the value of digital and media literacy for children, teens, and families. By advancing the digital and media literacy competencies of children, teens, and families in our communities, we helped increase awareness of the value of screen media education and digital and media literacy for children, teens, families, and community leaders. We created a cadre of digital and media literacy expert librarians and improved 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.