6.3 Implementing Connected Learning in Your Library

Knowing your library team goes hand in hand with knowing your youth and their interests so you can match the right team member for the job. Knowing and using interest driven programming is one of the key aspects of implementing connected learning in your library programs. This is done not only through building partnerships with your youth through outreach to schools and community organizations, but also by building strong partnerships with you community as a whole. By leveraging the tools found in our Community Mapping module, Community Partnerships module, and now this Capacity module, making connections with your youth and outside community and bringing those connections into your library will help you to strengthen its capacity for connected learning.

Connected Learning in Libraries Big and Small

Connected Learning focuses primarily on youth engagement and interest, building connections between program activities and real world skills and experiences, and providing opportunities for learning and growth by connecting through technology with peers and mentors. For more information on Connected Learning, take a look back to our Connected Learning module.

While all libraries have unique capacities, each and every library can implement connected learning. Small libraries with low technology budgets can leverage community resources, as well as free software programs (such as the coding program, Scratch), to create youth-driven programs on a low budget within the library’s current capacity. Libraries that are small in space can also reach out to community organizations to find spaces outside the library to host programs, or provide special times where the library stays open late where youth in the program can have full use of the library’s space. For more inspiration about Connected Learning programs on a variety of budgets, visit Nashville Public Library’s Studio NPL page.

Capacity and Connected Learning in Your Library

Connected Learning and Library Capacity
Multiple PathwaysYour library helps to create connections between youth’s normal learning environments (home, school, and library) and “real world” spaces, opening up a more diverse set of possible experiences and directions for learners. Building your library’s capacity for teen programs and outreach, either through community partnerships or volunteer efforts, helps strengthen these connections.
Opportunity OrientedThe capacity of your library determines how you provide expertise, mentorship, and offer real-world experience to youth that can help them achieve academically or prepare them to start a career.
Interest DrivenYou can bolster your library’s capacity in areas of interest for your youth by optimizing current programs and using your connections with the youth in your community.