Imagine a library where tweens develop and run an oral history project, working with seniors in the community to podcast their knowledge about the community, with mentoring from the anthropology and education students at the local community college, and then create a Wikipedia page for their community.

Imagine a library where a group of teens co-design the window display for the local boutique with their merchandising managers for their spring/summer collection for teens, by doing research in the library on the upcoming weather pattern for spring/summer with a local meteorologist, and work with the faculty members and students from the School of Design at the local community college to put their designs together and present their ideas to the local boutique owners.

How do we become this kind of librarian – one who leverages technology, design, community partnerships and the latest research on learning in informal spaces?

The new, online Graduate Certificate of Professional Studies in Youth Experience (YX) is designed to give you these skills and more, in alignment with YALSA’s Leading the Transformation of Teen Library Services priority area in its new organization plan.

Working in partnership with YALSA, the ALA Office of Information Technology and Policy (OITP), an advisory board of top researchers and library leaders, and with the support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the YX Certificate is designed to answer the needs of librarians in an evolving landscape of learning and technology.

The YX certificate trains librarians working with children and teens to facilitate 21st century skill development. At the completion of the online certificate, librarians will be able to:

  • Facilitate learning with technology in any physical, virtual or hybrid learning environment using tested skills and practices for different types of youth.
  • Methods for engaging youth as co-designers using the design thinking process.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the issues, concepts, and policies related to youth-led learning and programming through libraries.
  • Implement best practices to be inclusive of all youth’s needs, in particular youth from disadvantaged populations;
  • Apply core theories and models from information science and learning sciences to address needs of youth; and
  • Partner with other cultural institutions and community organizations to help with youth programming, education, and other projects related to youth development.

There are several events coming up in January that are relevant to anyone interested in the Graduate Certificate of Professional Studies in YX.

The YX faculty will host an online information session on January 10, 2017 at 1 pm EST. The information session will describe the courses in this certificate as well as provide details on the application process. The session will be recorded and the link made available after the session. If you are interested, please complete the following form either to attend the session or to receive the recording of the session:

The YX faculty will be at ALA Midwinter Meeting in Atlanta conducting participatory design/information sessions with public librarians working with children and teens. This interactive session will help guide the development of post-MLIS continuing education for youth, teen, and children’s librarians, as well as learning more about the Graduate Certificate of Professional Studies in YX. Come share your experience and enthusiasm with a team of researchers and library educators to re-envision the next generation of professional education. Light refreshments included. Sessions will be on Sunday, January 22 (Room: GWCC A410) and Monday, January 23 (Room: GWCC A406) from 10:30 am to noon. If you would like to participate, please follow this link to register:

And most importantly, applications for the first cohort of Graduate Certificate of Professional Studies in Youth Experience (YX) offered by the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland will open on January 9, 2017. Substantial tuition support is available through the generosity of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. More information about the certificate and the application process is available at:

We are so excited to share information about this program with you. If you have any questions, send us an email at!


Amanda Waugh (@amandainmd) is a doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies studying the information practices of teens in online communities. She is a certified school librarian with experience in elementary schools. Amanda provides administrative support to the YX Certificate.

Mega Subramaniam (@mmsubram) is an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies, studying young adults’ use of libraries for their development of digital literacies and information practices. She led the development of this certificate, and serves as the certification Director.

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