YA Space: Chicago Public Library’s YOUMedia

I chose to look at a non-traditional YA space for my assignment, but wanted to also spotlight a library space that is pretty swell. I had a chance to check out Chicago Public Library’s YOUMedia space when it opened in Summer of 2009 (I was living in Chicago at the time) and was pretty blown away. Supported by the Pearson and MacArthur Foundations, YOUMedia seeks to provide teens with the space, tools, people, and inspiration to facilitate interest-based learning of arts and digital technology. Youth-driven visual arts, music/recording, literary arts/poetry/hiphop, social media, gaming, graphic design, videography, performance, and photography are the broad themes of activity, but good old reading, socializing and hanging out are cornerstones of the space as well. Check out the YOUMedia blog(s) for the most current examples of what this awesome space is yielding, including teens getting involved with library advocacy during difficult times for CPL.  YOUMedia is located at the downtown Harold Washington Library, itself an awesome space for Js, YAs, As, and everyone else.

Library keeners at work/lurk

Last class we briefly spoke about teen advisory groups, their potential benefits, and their limitations as far as “preaching to the choir”. Youth services blogs are a great way for teens and YA librarians to collaborate and share ideas/events/whatever and, if actively integrated with social networks, allow for exposure to and participation by youth who are not necessarily in the library or are dealing with peer (or other) pressure that stigmatizes involvement. Push to Talk is my old library’s teen blog and I always thought it was a pretty good example of balanced contributions from staff and patrons. Scroll down to the “We love them!” section of the links for more Puget Sound library YA blogs.