This week in one of my classes, we debated whether or not we, as future librarians, should add more DVDs targeted toward infants, like the Baby Einstein series, to our collections. It's complicated. On one hand, we want to provide what our library users want, and of course we understand that some quiet time in front of the TV can be a huge relief for busy parents. On the other hand, we were wondering whether most parents had ever heard of the American Academy of Pediatricians guidelines for TV and toddlers. I did not know until this week that the AAP strongly discourages TV watching for children under the age of 2, due to its potential negative effect on very young children's development.
Even if we can't pull the DVDs that promise to make genius babies--it's too late to get your money back anyway--thinking about ways to educate parents (and children) about smart TV choices and habits might be something for librarians to consider. Or we could just put a label on each product with the AAP guidelines, "This product might be damaging to your child's health." Maybe not.
One idea might be to have a "TV at the Library" week, which could celebrate some of the great stories told through the "screen" medium, while also including educational posters and programs. A good place to start learning is the Children and Media on the PBS website. This could be a great resource to share if the topic of TV comes up at your library!