By Adrienne Strock

For a complete list of YALSA happenings at ALA’s 2015 Midwinter meeting, see the YALSA Midwinter wiki page.

Midwinter YALSA YOUmedia Partnership Session: Partnering Strategically to Reach beyond Library Walls

Join representatives from YOUmedia and the Chicago Public Library (CPL) as they discuss the history and evolution of their partnerships throughout their short and robust history on Saturday, January 31, 8:30am-10am, at McCormick Place West in room W183c. In this panel, CPL Teen Services and YOUmedia staff will share their partnership experiences and essential elements for building and sustaining successful partnerships, present best practices, discuss the successes and challenges of program implementation, and how to best leverage resources to enhance learning experiences and increase access through showcase and special opportunities. Participants will also engage in a “Build Your Sustainable Partnership Program” game! Take on the role of a partner in a mock partnership program and navigate challenges and leverage resources to create an engaging experience that demonstrates how teens can be supported and guided along learning pathways.

YOUmedia on Partnerships and Partnering Strategically to Reach beyond Library Walls

The African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” seems ever present in today’s educational mission of rethinking how to create engaging learning experiences for young people. This proverb manifests itself when entities who have chosen to actively invest in the lives of young people come together to support their growth and development. Collaborations and partnerships can yield unique approaches to sparking and engaging interests of young people, acting as a critical component to expand a young person’s learning journey.

Strong and sustainable partnerships can foster learning pathways that provide young people with access to myriad opportunities that can directly and indirectly correlate with possible futures, but more presently, provide youth opportunities to actively engage in the now. Partnerships can allow young people to experiment with tools and ideas and participate in tangible learning experiences that are current and relevant to their college and career interests today. These experiences should be designed in ways that make connections across school, out of school, and community contexts.

For all of these reasons, Chicago Public Library (CPL) Teen Services Department and YOUmedia feel strongly that partnerships are essential to any program model. Through its partnerships with organizations and cultural institutions such as National Veteran Arts Museum, the Center for College Access and Success (CCAS), Embarc Chicago, Chicago Public Schools (CPS), Economic Awareness Council, University of Illinois at Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, and others, CPL has been able to offer and create innovative programming for young people and educators grounded in principles of Connected Learning spanning traditional and nontraditional learning spaces.

Through partnerships, CPL Teen Services and YOUmedia have been able to offer programming for teens in the areas of art, media, technology, and more ranging from drop-in, one-off activities that spark interests to in-depth project-based programming such as the Great Artdoors, a public art workshop that engages teens in the design thinking process through the lens of public art and installation. Partnerships have allowed CPL to work directly with schools and teachers by providing professional development for teachers around integration of HOMAGO and Connected Learning models and development of classroom curriculum related to library and literacy initiatives and programs.

Midwinter YOUmedia Tour

Take a break from the conference and take a trip to YOUmedia at Chicago Public Library at the Harold Washington Library Center. YOUmedia is 5,500 square foot digital teen library space that offers after school programming in the areas of media and performing arts, STEM, gaming, and more. Join the YOUmedia staff for a tour on Friday, January 30, from 1-2pm.  If you’ve visited YOUmedia before, come see it again as there are plenty of new things to see! Reserve your spot on Eventbrite, and check out the Eventbrite description for directions and details.

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