Dr. Hobbs is one of the nation’s leading authorities on media literacy education and is the author of Digital and Media Literacy: Connecting Culture and Classroom, Copyright Clarity: How Fair Use Supports Digital Learning, and Reading the Media: Media Literacy in High School English. Formerly a professor at Temple University’s School of Communication and Theater, Hobbs has developed award-winning multimedia resources to integrate digital and media literacy into the context of K-12 education and conducted research to examine the impact of media literacy on academic achievement.
In collaboration with the Aspen Institute, Hobbs authored the white paper, Digital and Media Literacy: A Plan of Action. She is co-editor of the open-access peer-reviewed Journal of Media Literacy Education and the founder of the Media Education Lab , a research center that improves the practice of media literacy education through scholarship and community service.
Hobbs’ most recent achievement is her appointment as the founding director of the Harrington School of Communication and Media at the University of Rhode Island. The new school, founded by a generous gift from former Thomson/Reuters CEO Dick Harrington, brings together programs in communication, journalism, public relations and film/media with programs in writing and rhetoric and library and information studies. Her work there will complement her contributions to ALA as OITP Fellow.
“Renee Hobbs brings a wealth of experience in digital and media literacy, and we look forward to partnering with her to further develop and refine our vision in this critical arena,” said OITP Director Dr. Alan Inouye.
As a Fellow, Hobbs could become involved in any aspect of OITP’s work, but her primary focus will be on digital literacy. Hobbs will use her experiences in the larger context of digital and media literacy and her appreciation of the significant role libraries play in this sphere to enrich the ongoing work of the ALA Digital Literacy Task Force. Initial work will involve a series of national conversations with experts within and external to the library field to inform a vision for libraries as leaders and strategic partners in addressing digital literacy, as well as evolving and emergent literacies.
According to Hobbs, “Public, academic and school librarians have special insight on helping people acquire the full range of competencies and life skills that people now need to participate fully in contemporary culture.”
To help people all across the lifespan take advantage of the valuable resources and experiences available through digital and social media, Hobbs will offer recommendations on what forms of action will best support partnerships between libraries, education leaders, media and technology professionals, policymakers and other key stakeholders in digital literacy.
“Libraries must be part of an evolving national dialogue about how we marry robust access to technology resources with the 21st Century literacy skills necessary to ensure digital access for all,” said Digital Literacy Task Force Chair Michael Borges. “We welcome Renee’s expert engagement in this critical work for the future of our libraries and our communities.”