Skip to content

YouMedia- Chicago Public Library

December 1, 2010

At various times we have been lead to believe that both the children and web 2.0 tools are the future. Arguably they are actually the present, but nevertheless represent an important focus for library programming, especially that which seeks to connect (to) its users with technology. Enter YouMedia, the Chicago Public Library’s creative teen space at the downtown Harold Washington Library. YouMedia seeks to engage high-school age users in technology-driven creative process providing free access to an impressive array of digital media tools. The space is equipped with both desktop and laptop computers, digital still and video cameras, photo/video software editing suites, and a recording studio with keyboards, mics, turntables, and a mixing board. Training workshops are provided by librarian and other mentors with diverse backgrounds in education, graphic design, poetry, hip hop, and the arts. YouMedia encourages collaboration and remix by designing themed projects, organizing regular project groups, and hosting events for teens to showcase their work.

As one might imagine, YouMedia has its fingers in many a social media pie, including but not limited to social networking, webcasts, blogs/Twitter, and mobile applications. Not surprisingly, they maintain a Flickr account as well, featuring flyers and photographs from events (linked page is limited to 200 photos associated with a free account, but a search of Flickr yields a great deal more). YouMedia’s Flickr account serves as visual record of its many ventures and as a promotional tool to attract interested teens, though it is a comparatively minor component of YouMedia’s output. Navigating to the photostream (Chicago Public Library Home>>For Teens>>YouMedia>>Flickr) is expedited by YouMedia’s social site links at the bottom of its page, listed alongside Facebook, Vimeo, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Photohosting on Flickr seems a natural extension of YouMedia’s emphasis on digital content creation and were I a teen with an interest in photography I would happily put to use the tools provided by CPL in this medium. Unfortunately, the aforementioned 200 photo limit  is symptomatic of an unmaintained account, but given YouMedia’s user-driven agenda I don’t imagine a call to expand the account would go unheeded. I would venture to say the Flickr page could be enriched by creation of sets for user galleries with links to individuals’ photostreams or blogs, though considerations of patron privacy would certainly need to be addressed.

Overall, it is difficult not to be excited about YouMedia. Recently praised in the Huffington Post as “…an intergenerational space framed by educational goals–an open public space, an institution of public education, where learning and literacy are seamless with youth-driven activity.” YouMedia represents, for many, a bright future for young adult services, technology education, library outreach and evolution. The program is included in the Obama Administration’s STEM program as a model of “transforming libraries and museums into 21st century learning labs”, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation are funding the creation of 30 YouMedia centers across the country: truly the greatest love of all.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: