May 16, 2022

Chicago Public Library’s YOUMedia Program Expanding To Six More Locations, CPL Also Launches Teen Services Dept.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

A popular program that connects teenagers to technology will be expanded to six more Chicago Public libraries — with “pop-up” programs at a dozen more — thanks to a $2.5 million expansion unveiled Thursday.

Four months after offering online tutoring to struggling students with library cards, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is using a dramatic expansion of the so-called “YOUmedia” program to continue, what he calls the “reinvention” of Chicago public libraries.

The city will also offer a dozen “pop-up” You Media programs at branch libraries across the city that will give local teens a one- or two-day taste of hands-on experience with the latest technology.


Emanuel announced the dramatic expansion — and the decision to create a first-ever Teen Services Department with 26 librarians dedicated to serving young people — during a news conference Thursday at the Humboldt Park Library, 1605 N. Troy St.

The money comes from a $2 million MacArthur Foundation grant and $500,000 from the Mayor’s 2014 Budget.

Read the Complete Article
ncluding several quotes from Mayor Rahm Emmanuel about the library.

Learn More: From Today’s Announcement (via City of Chicago)

The YOUMedia program will be expanded in two ways. Starting this summer, CPL will offer regular digital skill development programs at six library locations – Albany Park, Back of the Yards, Hall and Legler branches, as well as the Sulzer and Woodson Regional Libraries. CPL will also offer twelve ‘pop-up’ YOUmedia programs will take place in various Library branches starting, offering 1-2 day programs which will give teens the opportunity for hands-on experience with the latest in technology. In addition, over the past two years, CPL has added live online tutoring, online language tutorials as well as digital magazine access to its website. These activities will support Chicago’s youth in developing 21st Century skills and help them gain exposure to education and career pathways in fields related to their interests.

Currently, more than 1,500 teens participate in the YOUmedia programs offered at five library locations throughout the city, with programming and services ranging from creative use of 3D printers and laser cutters to mentoring and workshops in digital media production from music, photography, animation and graphic design. Program participants were approximately 50% African American teenage boys living in at-risk neighborhoods who travel an average of 5 miles daily to access the program. YOUmedia programs provide access to technology as well as mentors who share their expertise in various areas of digital media production.

Meanwhile, to build upon and further the success of programs such as the YOUmedia program, the Library has formally established a Teen Services Department, the first ever at CPL, to focus on the needs and interests of high school age teens. With the addition of 26 librarians specializing in teen services and programming, this department will enable CPL to provide all Chicago teens with engaging learning opportunities and a supportive community to help foster their personal and academic growth.

See Also: Learn More About the MacArthur Foundation’s Work in Digital Media & Learning

See Also: YOUmedia Hartford Receives Public/Private Funding for Fall 2014 Opening! (via Hartford Public Library)

Hat Tip/Thanks: MattRWeaver

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.