Chicago’s Library Attracts Teens with Digital Shift

“Hanging out,” “messing around,” and “geeking out.” Those are the three levels of information consumption and creation that Chicago’s main library used to develop it’s newest space for teens called “YOUmedia — a Digital Library Space for Teens,” according to the article, “Digital library aims to expand kids’ media literacy.”

YOUmedia has been a successful experiment held in a renovated storage room holding laptops, video cameras, recording equipment, and gaming consoles. And as you might have guessed, this library isn’t for the quiet. Poet and lead mentor Mike Hawkins says, “It’s a constructive loud.”

The three stages of consumption and creation is based on ideology and studies by Mizuko Ito, a cultural anthropologist who studied teens’ use  of “new media.” The three terms are used to mean the following in Chicago’s library:

  • “Hanging out” – Stage 1, where teens use technology for texting or instant-messaging friends.
  • “Messing around” – Stage 2, where teens find an interest in using media to create or enhance their existing interests, like photo editing, shooting video, or recording music.
  • “Geeking out” – Stage 3, where teens are so taken away by using media they forget using technology for Stage 1 purposes and start seeking experts to learn more about their newfound passion.

Greg Toppo ends the article explaining:

Ito says the secret of YOUmedia’s success is that it’s based not on what adults think students should be doing, but on “what kids actually do and how they engage” with media and one another.

Does your school or public library support increasing media literacy for teens?



“Digital library aims to expand kids’ media literacy,” by Greg Toppo. USA Today. Accessed on 13 October 2011. <>

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One Response to “Chicago’s Library Attracts Teens with Digital Shift”

  1. […] A Quiet Classroom Means Good Learning. It also might mean you have a class of zoned out kids, says the article. Classrooms should be active and filled with discussions. It might not sound like your traditional classroom, but even libraries are shifting toward making a learning environment that encourages “constructive loud.” […]

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