Welcome to Creating a Digital Media Space for Today’s Teens. If you attended the January 7th Makerspace webinar you’ll be somewhat familiar with The Labs, but this week and next I’ll be going into a lot more depth, showing you a lot more pictures, detailing equipment, best practices, program design, how to make lasting partnerships, and more. While I’ll be telling the story of The Labs and how we’ve gotten to our current point in the process of creating a digital media lab, I’ll also do my best to talk about how YOU can follow these same steps. I want this to be time well spent for you, so please let me know if there are particular topics I’ve missed or skimmed over that you’d like to hear more about. At the end of both sessions we’ll have time for questions which Dan will help sift through and, if possible, next week I’ll speak to any specific questions or concerns you may have. You can feel free to contact me between sessions or any time after next week’s session with questions.
BiosCorey Wittig is Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Digital Learning Librarian for Teen Services and program manager for The Labs @ CLP—the library’s teen digital media lab initiative. Corey has worked at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh since graduating from The University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature in 2006. He spent four years in the innovative Teen Department at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Main (Oakland) before graduating from Pitt’s School of Information Science with a Masters Degree in Library and Information Science. Since then, he’s worked on designing and implementing The Labs, a system-wide network of four digital media labs, housed within four CLP locations and strategically located around the city of Pittsburgh. For his work designing The Labs, Corey was named an innovator and Library Journal Mover & Shaker in 2012.
Established in 1895, Andrew Carnegie provided the seed money to build the library facilities; but he did not leave an endowment for their ongoing operations and maintenance. Our 19 neighborhood locations work to engage our community in literacy and learning, and it’s now apparent how much the community values it’s library. After a funding scare in 2009, that included the decision to close library branches, the community shouted a resounding “no!”. Not only did they shout but, in 2011, over 70% of the citizens of Pittsburgh voted to pass a dedicated real estate tax to come directly to the library. The roughly $3 million this tax will net the library per year will help us keep our doors open. To thank the community, in 2012, we reinstated hours that had been previously cut. More hours meant more staff needed to cover the locations and several branch managers decided to make their new staff Teen Services focused. The increased staff in 2012 brought about an increased ability for us to engage our teen patrons – and our programming and outreach numbers soared.
After leading a workshop for school librarians in the area, I was approached by a woman who wanted to set up a meeting to discuss a project her daughter – a library school student in Wisconsin – was working on. When I met with her and her daughter, it was clear to me that this young lady had passion for the very thing we were trying to start in the library – giving our patrons opportunities to create and innovate in our libraries. It was after this meeting that we were brought into the Library as Incubator project – a blog that works to chronicle experiences of libraries who leverage artists in their communities to engage patrons. After discussing it with Corey and Emily, we set up a schedule to blog about the creation of the Labs – which I’ll let Emily talk about further now.Six-part guest blogging series following the development of The Labs from its original conception to the Launch Party in SeptemberProvided a detailed narrative for The Labs that:Promoted Labs services and programs to the general publicEducated other library professionals on the processes involved in setting up digital learning initiatives
A digital learning initiative for teens is an idea library staff and local stakeholders had been kicking around for several years. When Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center was brought on to help develop Chicago’s YOUMedia space, they used our Teen Department at our Main Library as a model. Despite local passion and desire to make real digital learning in Pittsburgh’s libraries, the infrastructure wasn’t available to make that dream a reality – yet.
CW and EF - Creation of policies and badge system TAC meeting and policies from YOUmedia sign, adjusting them to our policies, etc.CW - Monthly workshops focused on a themeBadges – gamification, leveling upSummer dreamers, programs w/ partners, etc.--- all to help us figure out how to program when the launch came.
So, it was then Corey’s primary responsibility to develop a narrative to support our future grant applications for The Labs. I will let him talk about that in depth in a moment, but I just want to say how important it is for us to always remember to, any time we can, justify our work via research – especially when we’re seeking funding.Like many public libraries in the nation, we look to the innovative research from The Search Institute, which provides leadership, knowledge, and resources to promote healthy children, youth, and communities. Their research has resulted in the 40 Developmental Assets for Adolescents, which details the qualities and experiences young people need to be exposed to in order to succeed, things like knowing they have adult role models who are not teachers or parents, that they read for pleasure, and know they are seen as a resource in their community. Luckily, at the library, we can provide these kinds of experiences through simply providing access – but also by providing staff who’s job it is to connect with teens and develop programs and services based on what they say their needs are. We were able, in 2011, to conduct a Teen Impact Study to help us guide our vision. We surveyed over 1,000 middle school students in the city of Pittsburgh to find out what they want from their library. We learned many things. Most importantly, though, we learned:79% of users and 58% of nonusers want to hang out in the library in their own space – this is evident by the popularity of the teen space here at the Main Library and what we saw in our travels to the west coast88% of students believed you need to be quiet in the library – this is particularly troubling because of adolescent brain development, which tells us teens are physically unable to regulate their volume. If they see the library as a place they need to be quiet in, and they physically cannot be quiet, then they must reason they do not belong here. If you have the capacity to conduct any kind of impact survey on the teens in your community – it could do wonders in helping to support your grant applications.Another important tool to consider is the American Association of School Librarians Standards for the 21st Century Learner. These standards hinge on things like the importance of equitable access to information, that technology skills are crucial for future employment needs, that inquiry provides a framework for learning, and that reading is a window to the world.CW - Nature of Pittsburgh’s topography and effect it had on the program designAs mentioned in my bio, I worked in CLP-Main library’s Teen Department for four years before I became DLL. During that time, I read about YOUmedia and was vaguely aware that something akin to that groundbreaking program might be coming to CLP. When I came to the role of Digital Learning Librarian I knew that time had come, but figuring out how best to implement such a program in Pittsburgh was still quite a challenge. As a librarian, the grateful repatriation of others’ programming ideas wasn’t new to me, so I set to work figuring out how best to bring the research and artistry of YOUmedia to Pittsburgh. And that’s the key, I think—adapting a program like YOUmedia for your community. The research of Professor Mizuko Ito on which YOUmedia is founded is relevant to teenagers everywhere. The rest is scalable. You don’t need an entire computer lab full of equipment to impart the lessons of a maker pace or a digital media lab. With some netbooks or iPads and some crafty ideas from Instructables or a similar blog, you can be doing work just as strong as the mentors of YOUmedia Chicago. What’s important is that you’re encouraging teens to create by facilitating an environment where they can experiment and learn by doing with no fear of a bad grade. The informal learning environment offers us a great opportunity to engage with teenagers in a way quite unlike the classroom. It’s the real strength of this kind of program.So, throughout this webinar I’ll try to suggest, while telling the story of The Labs, ways in which you can bring elements of a digital media lab to your library. For a more in-depth look at this topic, I’d like to invite you all to a two-part webinar I’m doing for ALA later this month—” Creating a Digital Media Space for Today's Teens“ on the 24th and 31st from 1:30-2:30 EST.First, I’d like to talk about the process of writing the grant narrative for The Labs and, also, the related process of collecting a strong group of community partners—a very important element of our success thus far.When I started as digital learning librarian my first order of business was crafting a narrative for the IMLS Learning Labs grant. This grant was the reason my position was created and allows the recipients to become part of the YOUmedia network. Thinking of creating a system-wide digital media lab program, I realized we already had two thirds of a YOUmedia space in our innovative Main library Teen Department. In fact, Dr. Drew Davidson of Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center used our Teen Dept. as an inspiration for the initial design of YOUmedia. This is a good time to talk about HOMAGO—short for Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out. I’m sure a lot of you have read about HOMAGO, but, if not, you should know that it’s the structure of engagement and self-directed learning identified by Professor Ito and her colleagues after interviewing 700 + students. HOMAGO is how YOUmedia works and we’ve structured our program using the same model. It’s a simple, three-tiered structure for programming and, as far as I’m concerned, should be at the heart of any teen digital media lab.- YOUmedia.orgThe Main Teen Dept. was already a great place for hanging out and messing around. What were we missing? The geeking out activities. And those don’t happen without dedicated staff. We needed mentors—professionals (librarians, artists, and other youth advocates) who guide youth through learning with digital media. Without writing staff into the grant as an integral piece of the puzzle, I knew the program was never going to work. And if you’re looking to craft a real digital media lab program, staffing should be a big part of your pitch to administration and the biggest allocation of any budget after initial equipment purchases are taken care of.Our other big issue we needed to tackle was access—making the program physically accessible to the most teenagers (especially low-income and underserved populations). This is particularly difficult in a city with dozens of neighborhoods isolated by poor public transportation, three rivers, and innumerable hills and other difficult topographical features. During my time in the Main-Teen Dept. I performed a lot of outreach and many times teens told me they couldn’t make it to the teen dept—it was too far for them to travel. The next level of teen programming had to come to them.A great first step for a digital media lab program would be to identify a pilot location where programming could be tested and developed, but, with a thriving teen department already developed, we decided to make The Labs a system-wide program. We crunched the numbers and decided that creating learning labs in four locations was doable. And LeeAnn and I were able to identify four CLP locations that would be ideal. They are pretty evenly spread around the city (two in the east end of the city, one on Pittsburgh’s Northside and one on Pittsburgh’s Southside). No library location is more than four miles from a Labs location. We had to also consider libraries that could house such a program (the equipment, etc.). And, finally, we wanted to be sure that these Labs locations were in or bordering neighborhoods with a large amount of low-income youth residents. We were able to accomplish this with census data.CW - Collecting PartnersThe DLL position has been supported by The Grable Foundation—a non-profit grantmaker investing in children and youth. As DLL I was brought into the Kids + Creativity network which was the brainchild of Gregg Behr—The Grable Foundation’s Executive Director. Kids + Creativity was a great resource. The Labs program is still entirely grant-funded and so many grants that I’ve encountered since beginning this work have been heavily dependant on developing strong community partnerships.The Kids + Creativity network had already been around for a couple of years by the time I joined them, but it was started when Gregg Behr and others invested in the well-being of kids in the Pittsburgh region met for informal breakfasts with the goal of making Pittsburgh the best place on earth to be a kid. It’s a lofty goal, but who’s to say that you couldn’t reach out to possible partners in your community with a similar goal?K + C network is now managed by The Sprout Fund through their Spark program. “Spark catalyzes relevant and imaginative learning opportunities that make compelling use of technology, media, and the arts, and build greater awareness of and access to remarkable learning experiences for children, youth, and families.” Since SPARK took over the program, they’ve done a great job of continuing to offer grant opportunities that encourage local partnerships—really great because it doesn’t feel like you’re competing with like-minded local organizations.Last fall it was announced that SPARK will be managing The Pittsburgh HIVE. The Hive distinction is really just a an extension of the services Sprout already offers through the SPARK program. Ryan Coon, a spokesman for The Sprout Fund, has said that The Hive is developing into a national collection of regional learning networks supported by the MacArthur and Mozilla foundations. "It's a lot like Spark, in that it creates a supportive structure for different organizations working together" to create new learning opportunities for kids, Coon explains. Hives usually have the city's larger, more prominent kid-focused groups as members, such as libraries and museums, as members, as well as smaller organizations and individual researchers.But, remember, all of this started with some informal breakfasts, so reach out to the funders and other like-minded organizations in your town or city to see what kind of partnerships you can form.So, partnerships are important. I can’t stress that enough, BUT, there are also pittfalls. Bad partner and good partners. While I was able to forge some really great partnerships in my first two years as DLL, I struggled at first. Not everyone is a non-profit and you have to be careful when talking about these partnerships that you and your partner organizations are on the same page. In-kind partnerships are obviously the best case scenario for us, but that won’t pay the bills for others. And while it’s completely reasonable and highly encouraged to build an honorarium into your grant budget as a line-item, you don’t want that to be the largest piece of your budget.Make sure to talk about payment and other expectations early on in the process of planning programs and other partnerships. Don’t waste your time.A great thing about successful partnerships is that they do a lot for the sustainability of your program. More buy-in tells funders that more people are invested in keeping the program going.We’ve been lucky to strike up worthwhile partnerships with a bunch of local organizations. As libraries we’re lucky—most people in the community love and rely on the services we offer. And if they don’t rely on them, they at least appreciate them. We’re therefore great organizations to partner with—especially when it comes to creating an informal learning environment like a digital media lab.Our partners so far include:Filmmakers Youth Media ProgramHear MeHip-Hop on L.O.C.K.IMLS round 1 and Heinz
CW – CommercialThis came after our first month of featured programming.
CW - IMLS round 2CW - Tweaks thus far and where we’re going nowEquipment checkoutWire shelvingPrint materialsMore future partnershipsSaturday programming2 mentors at a programLabs kitsStaff trainings
Wittig: Creating a Digital Media Space for Today's Teens, Part 1 and Part 2
COREY WITTIG, DIGITAL LEARNING LIBRARIAN – TEEN SERVICES
Creating a Digital Media
Space for Today's Teens
• MLIS, University of
• Digital Learning
Librarian – Teen
• Program manager of
The Labs @ CLP
• Teens make up a significant portion of
• 40 million adolescents 12-17 in the US
• Youth 14-24 make up 25% of all
public library users
• 17% of 16 to 17 year olds used a
library in 2012
• Like it or not it’s a safe space
Why are we doing this?
Why digital media labs? Maker spaces? Connected Learning? Etc. etc.
Why are we doing this?
JOBS! Not my favorite reason, but a very GOOD reason.
Copyright Work Ready Pittsburgh
Getting started, or How Do You
Create an Initiative Out of Thin Air?
• Plan your program in the context of your
library’s Strategic Plan/vision/mission
– At every turn in the search for funding
you will have to justify your program. It
– Root it in research.
• Learning continues outside the classroom
• Connected Learning is:
– Socially connected
– Connects learning w/ personal interests and
expresses itself as academic success, career
success, or civic engagement.
• The Chicago Public
Library and The
Digital Youth Network
collaborated to create
• Based on Professor
Ito’s research – Univ.
• DYN grew out of
Digital Media &
YOUmedia & Pittsburgh: a history
• The YOUmedia physical space was designed by a
team of graduate students under the direction of
Professors Drew Davidson and Jesse Schell from
the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie
Mellon University. – youmediachicago.org
Acting Director of the ETC
• Bring your professional passion to it.
• We’re librarians—even if you don’t have a
Development office, you have great resources
• Communicate how your region or service area
• Communicate sustainability
• There’s so much great research out now—use
Borrowed from Richard Arum
(NYU) ALA presentation
Equipment, or what to
• Skokie Public
• Toby G.!
• IMLS Learning
• Give me a call!
• Apple – certainly not necessary, but
probably the best and easiest for digital
media lab programming. (Better
graphics, video, etc.)
• iLife included (iMovie, GarageBand, etc.)
• Will your IT Dept. support it? (Ours does
• Not networked = not ideal
iPads for programming, outreach,
• Jack of all trades device
• Borrowed by teen specialists
programming and outreach
• Borrowed by teens in Main
• ―hanging out‖ &
Grafiti Nootle iPad mount
The Labs Video Equipment
• Canon Vixia HF R500 – consumer grade camera
• Green screen (DIY if you can)
• Shotgun mic
EquipmentM-Audio Fast Track Pro
M-Audio Oxygen 49 Midi-Controller
Blue Snowball mic, and more!
The Labs Photography Equipment
• Nikon D3100
• Digital SLR
• 16GB memory
• Could use SLR
for your video
camera – better
The Labs Software
• Adobe Creative Suite CS6
Photoshop, Illustrator, Premier
e, After Effects, etc.
• Sibelius Musitian (music theory
• iLife Suite
(iMovie, Garageband, iPhoto, etc.)
– free with Mac
• Microsoft Office for Mac
Monoprice 12x9 drawing tablet
and Adobe Photoshop
The Labs: Miscellaneous Equipment
• 2nd to mentors in importance (I think)
• 2 branch Labs (East Liberty and Allegheny—
recently renovated) are housed in meeting rooms
until a teen space build-out scheduled for 2013-
• Meeting rooms—temporary solution, but can
make it work
• Main Lab housed in CLP-Teen Dept.
• USB recording interface means all you hear is muted strumming or
• Teen space/digital media lab is ideally placed in a dedicated space, set
off from other library services. (Obvious, maybe, but true!)
Primacoustic VoxGuard Microphone Isolation
Guitar and Midi-Keyboard in CLP-Main Lab.
CLP - East Liberty
The East Lib. crew work on their
latest film project, at the East
Liberty Lab, January 2013.
• Different meeting rooms
depending on branch
• New teen space in 2014
CLP - Allegheny
• Started in
• New teen space Fall 2013
• Full-time teen librarian who
acts as 2nd mentor in The
Labs’ weekly workshop
2:00 – Close
• Furniture and
restricted to teen
• Teen volunteers
• Large YA print collection already exists in Main-Teen Dept.
• Labs print collection is a helpful variety of relevant print
materials: guides, art books, manuals, and periodicals.
• Added benefit of tying ―risky‖ new program to traditional
resources: supporting multi-modal literacy
Promotion and connectivity:
website, social media, etc.
• Difficult to accomplish on popular
• iRemix – cloud-based social
• Follow-up to Labs
• Participants worked
director on Saturday
It’s My Library Commercial
• Partners are the experts
• We facilitate that relationship (as
• Workshops on a range of art-making
subjects from organizations who focus
on that topic
• Hip-Hop On L.O.C.K. – music
• Pittsburgh Filmmakers – film/photo
• TechShop – Maker
• Create pathways for youth from
your library to local orgs
Matthew Beckler – CMU
PHD student and
YA Author Siobhan Vivian, keynote speaker
Teen Media Awards (and ―Labsy Awards‖ 2013)
• Professional Development
• Tours & group visits
• Expanded teen spaces and
hours at East Liberty and
Allegheny w/ 2 new full-time
• Reserve a computer or
equipment in Labs space
with library card/photo I.D.
• Borrowing – will allow teens
with badges and library
card/photo I.D. to use
cameras, etc. outside and
around the library
• Identified through badging
• Peer volunteers
• The Labs’ ―Capstone‖
Badges: a way to ―level up‖
-Earn a badge by accomplishing
workshop learning objectives
-Badges confer special borrowing
privileges to the earner
-Earn 2 badges and get the Regulars
Labs badges by mentor
Contact Me and Follow Us:
• Corey Wittig - email@example.com
• @CLP_Tweets (Twitter)
•CLPTeens YouTube - www.youtube.com/user/CLPTeens
• Facebook.com/CLPTeen (Facebook)
• Clpteensburgh.org (Teen Services blog)
• The Labs on the CLP website:
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