Library programs designed for and by teens. One-on-one professional mentorship. Makers of different age groups and cultures collaborating on projects. Partnerships with department stores, architectural firms, and design schools. These are just a few of the ways that public libraries are leveraging the principles of the connected learning framework to help to teens connect 21st century skills to their own interests and peer relationships.

A new white paper titled Connected Libraries: Surveying the Current Landscape and Charting a Path to the Future, from the ConnectedLib project collects the existing literature on connected learning in libraries to explore trends (such as treating teen volunteer programs as workforce development), opportunities (such as building community partnerships), and challenges (such as measuring the impact of a program). The white paper also describes how the ConnectedLib project addresses gaps in the existing connected learning research and resources for libraries.

The ConnectedLib project is funded by IMLS, led by Drs. Katie Davis (University of Washington) and Mega Subramaniam (University of Maryland) and partners with YALSA, Kitsap Regional Library, Providence Public Library, and Seattle Public Library. The project will cre­ate pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment resources that sup­port librar­i­ans in their efforts to lever­age new media tech­nolo­gies and pro­mote youth’s con­nected learn­ing expe­ri­ences. Follow our progress via Twitter @ConnectedLib.

Kelly Hoffman is a doctoral student at the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies, studying information sharing and new media.

Ligaya Scaff is a doctoral student at The University of Washington Information School. Her research interests focus on social media and identity, creative expression within online communities, and the use of digital media in informal learning settings.

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