LIBR 298 Special Studies benefit both Instructor and Student


Published: April 29, 2015 by Beth Wrenn-Estes

Beth Wrenn-EstesThomas Schween approached me about being his LIBR 298 supervisor during spring semester. I heartily agreed since his topic was of great interest to me. I wanted to post something to the CIRI blog because I want my colleagues and other SJSU/School of Information students to see the value and benefits in working with a student on a 298 Special Studies.

Thomas enrolled in SJSU’s MLIS program to become a “go to” expert on producing effective and relevant storytime programs for young children in the digital age. He is following the Youth Services career pathway.

Thomas decided on the following research objectives for his LIBR 298:

  • survey young children’s digital storytime materials and their formats
  • identify appropriate standards for digital storytime materials
  • research and describe how materials can be used to cultivate early literacy, media literacy, child development and early childhood education
  • create a database and begin to curate high quality digital material collections for storytime
  • research, understand and prepare to teach best practices for integrating digital materials in storytime
  • research the role of digital preservation in the curation of digital media collections
  • contribute my research to the San Jose State University School of Information

Thomas and I share the same interest in how to “produce relevant and effective storytime programs in the digital age.” Thomas states: “Accomplishing this necessitates understanding: 1) the foundational role of emotional development, and 2) how to employ digital technology and materials. Children’s librarians can help parents and caregivers cultivate basic trust in children by implementing a regular storytime schedule and filling this time with routine elements that help young children feel secure (and encouraging parents and caregivers to do the same at home). The best practices for integrating digital materials in storytime fall under the umbrella concept of media mentorship. Media mentorship includes modeling active screen time behavior, modeling media literacy skills, providing high quality app and eBook recommendations and informing parents, caregivers and teachers about the pros and cons of using digital materials.”

Going forward, Thomas plans to produce 21st century storytime programs that focus on the whole child and employ the healthy and appropriate use of new media. He wants to share his research, work with his fellow students, partner with his professors and represent SJSU’s School of Information.

It is a very rewarding experience to work closely with a student on a special studies project especially when there can be a collaborative process between student and instructor. I continue to look for these 298 opportunities as a way to keep learning and adding to my body of knowledge about storytimes and their place in literacy and emotional development of children.


Campbell, C. (2013). Early Literacy Programming in the digital age: apps and e-books in storytime. PLA, Retrieved from

Cherry, K. (2015). “Erik Erikson’s Stages of Development.” (n.d.).

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McLeod, S. (2008). Erik Erikson/psychosocial stages | simply psychology. (n.d.).

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