NEW PROGRAM EMPOWERS TEENS TO USE TECHNOLOGY TO TELL STORIES AND ENGAGE WITH THEIR COMMUNITY
(MIAMI, OCTOBER 12, 2011) – A new program which builds on the role libraries play as places of innovation and exploration is headed for the North Dade Regional Library. This innovative program will teach teens to use technology as a way to tell their stories and engage with the world around them in powerful and new ways.
YOUMedia Miami will start by teaching teens basic computer literacy skills. It will build upon those skills and will offer workshops that will help kids to think critically and creatively about their lives and community. For example, kids will be able to sign up to learn how to publish an autobiographical digital story, use technology to visualize their favorite books, create short animated films or their own video games. Adult mentors will guide them at every step along the way.
"Digital skills are a prerequisite for 21st century citizenship and libraries are ideal places for young people to acquire these skills," said Jorge Martinez, director of information technology at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which is supporting the program with a $805,755 grant. "YOUMedia Miami takes digital a step further, by equipping kids to use technology to be inquisitive, and to experiment with who they are, and what they and their communities can become."
"The Library System appreciates the support of the Knight Foundation in helping us realize this innovative and very timely program," says Library System Director Raymond Santiago. "We are excited to be able to provide teens this unique learning experience."
Currently under construction, the YOUMedia Miami space is set to open this winter. The program was first launched at the Chicago Public Library where it challenged local students, during the city's centennial, to think of ways to improve their community and communicate that vision. The winners presented their ideas to a global audience at United Nations World Habitat Day in Washington D.C.
The foundation's support is part of a $7.5 million Knight Foundation Library Initiative, which helps promote libraries as centers of personal transformation and community engagement. The effort reinforces the sweeping recommendations by the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy, a project of the Aspen Institute, which asserts that democracy in America is threatened by the lack of equal access to quality information. Funding public libraries, as centers of digital and media training, is one key to filling the gaps, the commission says.
About the Miami-Dade Public Library System
The Miami-Dade Public Library System, the eighth largest in the U.S., and a recipient of the 2008 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, strives to be the compelling community destination by providing a five-star customer service experience. With 49 libraries and two bookmobiles, the library aims to reach every resident of Miami-Dade County who seeks informational, educational and recreational materials and offers access to a collection of more than 3.5 million books and materials; 1,735 public computers; 120 Self-Checkout machines and Wi-Fi at every location. The library system proudly serves more than eight million visitors who come through its doors annually, and another 4.4 million who access collections and services through its website: www.mdpls.org
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.KnightFoundation.org.
Victoria Galan - Public Affairs Officer
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