YOUmedia is a 21st Century answer to Participatory Teen Spaces

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The 21st Century approach to library service provision for young adults and teens could possibly be called YOUmedia. More than just a teen center, YOUmedia is a learning space where teens can use the technologies and forward-thinking programs that the library provides to become creators of information and not just consumers. Developed by the Chicago Public Library system, YOUmedia takes to heart the philosophy of the Participatory Library, where librarians and users take the role of collaborators. Barbara Stripling, president of the American Library Association., states it best:

Focusing on learning labs, or digital media centers, is just one way libraries are evolving from passive gatekeepers of information to community centers of active learning. Teens need these kinds of places to find their voices.

Advocates of YA and Teens will be pleased to see that many of the developmental needs and assets required by teens to succeed as they move into adulthood are addressed by YOUmedia. Such needs include self definition, creative expression, meaningful participation,  and positive social interaction. The assets that teens gain by participating in YOUmedia include empowerment, constructive use of time, positive values, social competencies, greater school engagement, and more. The following article reveals the results of library innovations such as YOUmedia, and sets a prime example of how libraries can bring more value into the user’s life through participation.

Read about YOUmedia on
The Story of YOUmedia… from YOUmedia @Chicago Public Library on Vimeo.


Mickel is an MLIS and the creator of Library Currents. His inspiration for the blog was the SJSU course "The Hyperlinked Library" taught by Dr. Michael Stephens, a course that is also a worldwide MOOC. If you wish to contact him, feel free to write to Mickel Paris at

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