I thought that my inaugural post should be on something near and dear to my heart, and my library. The Chicago Public Library’s YOUMedia Lab is now the model that libraries the world over will follow. The MacArthur Foundation and the IMLS will be funding 30 more labs similar to YOUMedia. This is what YOUMedia looks like:
The YOUMedia design is based on the research conducted by Mizuko Ito and others. The research was published in Hanging Out, Messing Around and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media. A version is also available for free from the MacArthur Foundation. It is titled Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project. Either one of these resources is a must read for anyone interested in digital media labs or transliteracy.
The research indicates three zones that teens, and likely others, live in.
Hanging out is primarily participatory and social. It is marked by the desire to use new media to fit-in and belong.
Messing around is a more intense use of new media and technology. This zone is marked by the desire to explore our vast world, to interact an play with that world.
Geeking out is the final zone. Geeking out is the most intense form of participation with and through technology. Geeking out is where identity is formed.
Libraries are adapting to these zones. Some of us are positioned for the 21st Century. This is our future.