YOUmedia, Coming to a City Near You

The MacArthur Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced plans to create 30 new youth learning labs in libraries and museums nationwide. These labs will be modeled on YOUmedia, an innovative digital space for teens, at the Chicago Public Library.

The competition application process, which will include a request for proposals, will be announced in 2011. Check back with Spotlight regularly for stories and updates.

“This partnership helps to advance IMLS efforts to make libraries and museums places for 21st century learning.  Projects like YOUmedia are pioneering efforts that use research and evidence to demonstrate how our nation’s libraries and museums can be powerful and innovative spaces for young people’s out-of-school learning,” said Marsha L. Semmel, IMLS acting director.

“Utilizing YOUmedia has redefined who I am as a person,” says Jabari Mbwelera. “I knew I wanted to do something with audio. But I didn’t have the skills or the tools that I needed to do what I wanted to do.” Mentors at YOUmedia helped Jabari gain those skills, and he and his friends have sparked each other’s creativity. Today, Jabari is on his way to college to major in audio engineering. “So yeah, it’s really changed my life,” he says.

YOUMedia: Innovate to Educate

Youth Learning Labs Modeled on Chicago’s YOUmedia to Expand Across the Country

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Free eBook from Center for Digital Literacy Includes Lesson Plans for AASL’s Standards for the 21st-Century Learner

From the Creative Minds of 21st Century Librarians is CDL’s first e-book project made possible in part through an IMLS grant awarded to CDL in 2008 to update the AASL standards in the S.O.S. for Information Literacy database.

This 275-page free downloadable resource contains dozens of lesson plans that implement AASL’s Standards for the 21st-Century Learner in the context of the curriculum. Contributing authors include more than 30 teacher-librarians. The book, edited by Marilyn P. Arnone, Ruth V. Small, and Barbara K. Stripling, was more than a year in the making and features a foreword by Barbara Stripling and graphic design by Marguerite Chadwick-Juner. If you are looking for creative ideas that target the standards to implement in your school library, this book will help you jumpstart the process.

The Center for Digital Literacy (CDL) is an interdisciplinary, collaborative research and development center at Syracuse University dedicated to:

(1) understanding the impact of information, technology and media literacies on children and adults (particularly those from underserved populations) in today’s technology-intensive society.

(2) studying the impact having or not having these literacies has on people, organizations, and society.

This interdisciplinary approach allows us to look at issues from a variety of perspectives and to exchange ideas that broaden and enlighten approaches to research in this area.

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YOUmedia, Preparing Children for a Transliterate World

YOUmedia is a joint venture between the Chicago Public Library and Digital Youth Network, the YOUmedia expansion is funded by federal stimulus dollars, the City of Chicago and private investment from theMacArthur Foundation and the Chicago Community Trust.

YOUmedia is an innovative, 21st century teen learning space housed at the Chicago Public Library’s downtown Harold Washington Library Center. YOUmedia was created to connect young adults, books, media, mentors, and institutions throughout the city of Chicago in one dynamic space designed to inspire collaboration and creativity.

High school age teens engaging with YOUmedia can access thousands of books, over 100 laptop and desktop computers, and a variety of media creation tools and software, all of which allow them to stretch their imaginations and their digital media skills. By working both in teams and individually, teens have an opportunity to engage in projects that promote critical thinking, creativity, and skill-building.

Mentors from Digital Youth Network as well as Chicago Public Library librarians lead workshops to help teens build their skills and create digital artifacts – from songs to videos to photography to blogging. Teens learn how to use a variety of technology and digital equipment, including still and video cameras, drawing tablets, and video and photo editing software. YOUmedia also provides an in-house recording studio featuring keyboards, turntables, and a mixing board.

Earlier this month The MacAuthor Foundation highlighted plans to expand the program –  YOUmedia Program Builds On Success at Downtown Library, Expands to Underserved Chicago Neighborhoods

Now, just over a year after its launch, YOUmedia is expanding to branch libraries in three underserved communities: Pilsen, Englewood and Humboldt Park. The first two locations are scheduled to open this winter, while the Humboldt Park space will be housed in a new library that will open its doors in summer 2011.

Description: YOUmedia, an innovative 21st century learning space for teens, is located at the Harold Washington Library Center in downtown Chicago. The first-of-its-kind 5,500 square foot place is home to thousands of books, laptop and desktop computers and a variety of media tools and software, including a recording studio. Because of its ability to successfully engage young people, YOUmedia was recently recognized by President Obama, and has inspired the creation of 30 similar hands-on learning centers across the country.

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Transliteracy and Libraries for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine

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Last week Bobbi and I had the pleasure of presenting Transliteracy and Libraries for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Southeastern/Atlantic Region.

This presentation was used to explain and inform people about the concept of Transliteracy but to also so how it is specific to the field of medical librarianship. Below are the slides from the presentation, in addition to this you can listen and watch the archived session here. Also, we would like to thank Dale Prince for asking use to share this with the medical library community.

Links to information mentioned in this presentation:

Pew Internet & American Life Project: Chronic Disease and the Internet

The iPad and Healthcare

Hitech Act

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Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship

What is digital Citizenship?

Digital Citizenship is a concept which helps teachers, technology leaders and parents to understand what students/children/technology users should know to use technology appropriately. Digital Citizenship is more than just a teaching tool; it is a way to prepare students/technology users for a society full of technology. Too often we are seeing students as well as adults misusing and abusing technology but not sure what to do. The issue is more than what the users do not know but what is considered appropriate technology usage.

The Digital Citizenship website shares its 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship. There is a nice break down of each one and more information on the website.

Digital citizenship can be defined as the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use.

  1. Digital Etiquette: electronic standards of conduct or procedure.
  2. Digital Communication: electronic exchange of information.
  3. Digital Literacy: process of teaching and learning about technology and the use of technology.
  4. Digital Access: full electronic participation in society.
  5. Digital Commerce: electronic buying and selling of goods.
  6. Digital Law: electronic responsibility for actions and deeds
  7. Digital Rights & Responsibilities: those freedoms extended to everyone in a digital world.
  8. Digital Health & Wellness: physical and psychological well-being in a digital technology world.

The publications page links to articles about digital citizenship, for more reading

  • Digital Security (self-protection): electronic precautions to guarantee safety.
  • Does Your Website Meet the Needs of Patrons with Limited Literacy, English Skills, Cultural Backgrounds or Disabilities?

    The Children’s Partnership has a great set of Guidelines for Content Creation and Evaluation of websites.  You can access them online or download a pdf

    These guidelines were developed as a practical tool to help people identify and develop online content that meets the needs of the 50 million Americans who, because of their limited-literacy and English skills, cultural backgrounds, or disabilities, are poorly served by online content today.

    These guidelines build upon the growing consensus about how to make online information more useful and reliable, and upon criteria that make content particularly useful and relevant to underserved users. We expect them to evolve with changes in technology and the way people use the Internet.

    The sites includes not just the guidelines but an online tool that walks you through the evaluation step by step

    Section 1: Baseline Requirements

    • Is the author or sponsor clearly identified? Yes or No
    • Is the site related to the following subjects: education, health, housing, jobs, legal services, finances, cultural perspectives, local content, or other topics of particular interest to underserved communities? Yes or No

    Section 2: Requirements for Low-Barrier Web Sites.  Each category in this section focuses on a specific characteristic that can enhance the accessibility of online content. Assign to each applicable item in this section 4, 5, or 0 points.

    Literacy Level of Text

    • Are “active” verbs used instead of “passive” verbs (for example, “The car hit the tree,” instead of “The tree was hit by the car.”)? 0 4 5 N/A
    • Are the sentences clear and short (on average not more than 15-20 words each)? 0 4 5 N/A
    • Is the text written in the simplest and most familiar words appropriate? 0 4 5 N/A
    • Does the site avoid busy or distracting graphics, animation, or audio/video content? 0 4 5 N/A

    Languages(s) of Text

    • Is the text available in one or more languages in addition to English? 0 4 5 N/A

    Accessibility to Individuals with Disabilities – For information on how to answer any of the questions in this section, see the Help section.

    • Are text alternatives provided for any non-text content on the page (like images, audio, or video), so that it can be changed into other forms people may need, such braille or speech? 0 4 5 N/A
    • Can all of the site’s content and functionality be accessed through a keyboard alone, without having to rely on a mouse? 0 4 5 N/A
    • Is all of the information conveyed with color also available without color? 0 4 5 N/A
    • Do the foreground and background color combinations provide sufficient contrast for those who are visually impaired or colorblind? 0 4 5 N/A
    • Does the site make explicit its adherence to the U.S. Government’s Section 508 guidelines or the Web Accessibility Initiative’s (WAI) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines? 0 4 5 N/A
    • If the site does NOT state its compliance with Section 508 or the WAI, does it make an accessibility policy available to its users? (If the site is Section 508 or WAI approved, mark N/A for this question.) 0 4 5 N/A

    Cultural Focus of Content

    • Does the site reflect cultural and ethnic diversity in conveying mainstream/general content? 0 4 5 N/A
    • Is this site designed to benefit or be of use to a particular cultural or ethnic group? 0 4 5 N/A
    • Does the site indicate that it has an “authentic” connection to the community on which it focuses? 0 4 5 N/A

    Cost of Access and use

    • Is the site’s content free or low cost? 0 4 5 N/A

    Geographic Specificity of Content

    • Does the site provide information that is localized as much as possible at the state or preferably city/neighborhood level (for example, through the use of mapping tools)? 0 4 5 N/A
    • Is the site sponsored by a locally based organization, government agency, or business? 0 4 5 N/A
    • Does the site provide practical information for the local community (for example local job, housing, and school listings, or information about neighborhood events)? 0 4 5 N/A
    • Do members of the site’s intended audience create or contribute content to the content on the site? 0 4 5 N/A

    Section 3: Requirements for High-Quality Web Sites

    Section 3: Requirements for High-Quality Web Sites

    Assign 3, 4, or 0 points to each applicable item marked “PRIORITY,” and 1, 2, or 0 points to each applicable item marked “DESIRABLE.”


    Priority + 3-4 points

    • Is the author or sponsor clearly identified? 0 3 4 N/A

    Desirable + 1-2 points

    • Are the credentials and backgrounds of the sponsors easy to find? 0 1 2 N/A
    • Is contact information (beyond just an e-mail address, such as phone, fax, or mailing address) easy to find? 0 1 2 N/A


    Priority + 3-4 points

    • If the site collects information about users, is it easy to find the Privacy Policy or “Terms of Use” statement? 0 3 4 N/A
    • Does the Privacy Policy include a statement about how personal information is handled? 0 3 4 N/A


    Priority + 3-4 points

    • Is the purpose of the site and the target audience clear? 0 3 4 N/A
    • Does a scan of the site’s text show it to be generally free of grammatical and spelling errors? 0 3 4 N/A
    • Is there a copyright date? Are there publication and revision dates on the articles and content? 0 3 4 N/A
    • Is the information current, for example has the site been updated in the past month? 0 3 4 N/A
    • Is the site objective in presenting information? If it intends to have a bias, is the bias clearly stated? 0 3 4 N/A
    • Is there a clear distinction between advertising and informational content? 0 3 4 N/A

    Desirable + 1-2 points

    • Is the information edited down to the appropriate length for Web use, and is the need for excessive scrolling avoided? 0 1 2 N/A


    Priority + 3-4 points

    • Does the homepage appropriately indicate the site contents including the options, features available, and intended audience? 0 3 4 N/A
    • Is the navigation consistent throughout the site? Are the menus clear and the section names descriptive? 0 3 4 N/A
    • Is an easy-to-find site map provided on the site? 0 3 4 N/A
    • Is the text a readable size and style? 0 3 4 N/A
    • Are the graphics simple and attractive without being distracting? 0 3 4 N/A
    • Is there an easy way to get back to the homepage from elsewhere on the site? 0 3 4 N/A
    • Do the pages have titles? 0 3 4 N/A
    • Does the site function without requiring Flash, Javascript, or other non-HTML technologies? 0 3 4 N/A

    Desirable + 1-2 points

    • Does it have an attractive overall look and well-balanced use of color? 0 1 2 N/A
    • Is there a printer-friendly option? 0 1 2 N/A


    Priority + 3-4 points

    • Is there a way to search the site to locate information? 0   3 4 N/A
    • Does the site provide content without the need to log in or register? If registration is required for any part of the site, are the benefits of registration clearly explained? 0 3 4 N/A
    • If there are financial transactions taking place on the site, does the site specify that the information is encrypted, for example, using TLS (Transport Layer Security) or SSL (Secure Socket Layer)? 0 3 4 N/A

    Desirable + 1-2 points

    • Is there a way for users to provide feedback on the site’s content, for example by leaving a comment, filling out a form, or using a rating system? 0 1 2 N/A
    • Is there a way for users to contribute to the site’s content, for example submitting articles, links, or posting to a message board? 0 1 2 N/A


    Priority + 3-4 points

    • Does the site function properly in Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Safari? 0 3 4 N/A
    • Is the time it takes the site’s pages to load comparable to other sites on the Web? 0 3 4 N/A
    • Does the site fit within the width of your screen? 0 3 4 N/A
    • Does a scan of the site show it to be generally free of non-working links, missing graphics, “Under Construction” messages, and errors? 0 3 4 N/A

    On Goodbyes and Retooling

    The last twelve months have been a wonderful blur of positive happenings and changes in my professional and personal lives.  As my responsibilities with my library program have increased significantly in recent months, so has the need to prioritize how and where I channel my energies.   Consequently, I have made the decision to no longer write in this space as I retool to more strategically focus on my work with students and teachers and to redirect my writing energies  into original research and reflection.   I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to write in this space and know the fellow contributors will continue to make this a hub for resource sharing!


    Buffy Hamilton

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