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Teens Exercise Creativity In New Digital Library Space

Teens On Computers

(AP File Photo)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — An experiment at the Harold Washington Library Center could change the way your neighborhood library looks in the future.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Pat Cassidy reports, Chicago Public Library Commissioner Mary Dempsey tells USA Today that people have been “completely gobsmacked” upon seeing “YOUMedia – a Digital Library Space for Teens.”

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Pat Cassidy reports

The space is filled with more than 100 laptop and desktop computers, as well as musical keyboards, DJ turntables, digital drawing tablets, video cameras, recording equipment and gaming consoles.

High school age teenagers work by themselves and in teams with a goal of promoting “critical thinking, creativity, and skill-building,” the Web site for YOUMedia says.

Mentors are also available to teach the students some of the digital skills.

The creative output from YOUMedia participants is on display on the Web site for the program. Students have produced YouLit Magazine – a literary magazine written and edited by YOUMedia participants, as well as a “Lyricist Loft” showcase for poetry, live music, photography, video, radio and graphic design projects.

The space is open to all high school-age teenagers, and the technology is free with a valid Chicago Public Library card.

The concept, USAToday explains, is shifting the thinking of a library as a repository for books to a community center where the creative and intellectual juices flow.

YOUMedia is now set to expand to libraries citywide.