Project ConnectedLib is helping librarians incorporate digital media into their work with youth to promote connections across learning contexts. Faculty members from the library and information science (LIS) schools at the University of Washington and University of Maryland are teaming with public libraries to create professional development resources that support librarians in their efforts to leverage new media technologies and promote youth’s connected learning experiences in libraries. Our public library partners — Providence Public Library, Seattle Public Library, and Kitsap Regional Library — serve a variety of traditionally underserved youth populations, including rural, immigrant, and low-income youth.
The connected learning model articulated by Mimi Ito and colleagues describes how networked technologies can be leveraged in a variety of settings—including libraries—to promote learning experiences that are interest-driven, peer-supported, academically-oriented, and connected to the various contexts that young people experience in their everyday lives. Project ConnectedLib responds directly to this need by working with in-service librarians to create a suite of professional development resources aimed at building librarians’ capacity to engage and promote connected learning and 21st century skills among today’s digital youth.