1. Overview

In this section we will discuss what community mapping is and why it is important to your library. 

After completing this section, you will be able to...

  • Describe how an effective community partnership can support connected learning 

Working with other community members can expand what a library can provide for teens and create with teens when it comes to media literacy education, and this will give teens the chance to connect to others who can play a valuable educational, informational, and personal role in their lives, especially in relation to workforce preparedness.

— Linda Braun et al. in The Future of Library Services For and With Teens: A Call to Action

A planetarium evaluates library branches locations for stargazing potential. A university provides mentors to work side-by-side with youth services librarians. Public and school librarians work together to provide a dynamic afterschool experience for students. Professional filmmakers work with teens who go on to win filmmaking awards and teach library workshops of their own.

In this module, you will learn more about these examples of community partnerships—important resources for connected learning experiences that help youth services librarians provide their patrons with experiences and opportunities from outside the familiar confines of home, school, and the library itself.2

In order to prepare youth with the 21st-century skills they need in today’s information-based society, public libraries have become “kitchen[s] for ‘mixing resources’ in order to empower teens to build skills, develop understanding, create and share, and overcome adversity.”1 To provide teens with a diverse set of “resources” to “mix,” public libraries need to reach beyond their own walls into the community. Community partnerships help libraries connect youth to learning opportunities and enrich their social networks with peers and mentors who will help them learn.3

Connected Learning and Community Partnerships
Multiple PathwaysPartners can help create connections between youth’s everyday learning environments (home, school, and library) and “real world” spaces, opening up a more diverse set of possible experiences and directions for learners.
Opportunity OrientedA partner can share expertise, provide mentorship, and offer real-world experience to youth that can help them achieve academically or prepare them to start a career.
Interest DrivenPartners can help youth learn more about areas of interest and even new career options related to those areas.
Production CenteredBy providing access to materials, equipment, or expertise that the library lacks, partners can expose youth to new creative experiences.
Shared PurposePartners can give teens a chance to contribute to an effort bigger than the kinds of projects that are usually available to them. 
Peer SupportedCommunity groups can help bring new audiences to library programs, making new peer connections possible. 
SponsorshipAdults, mentors, and peer experts show teens that their goals are valid and important through mentoring or providing other support

1: The Future of Library Services For and With Teens: A Call to Action. By Linda W. Braun, Maureen L. Hartman, Sandra Hughes-Hassell, Kafi Kumasi, and Beth Yoke. YALSA, 2014.

2: Connected Libraries: Surveying the Current Landscape and Charting the Path to the Future By Kelly M. Hoffman, Mega Subramaniam, Saba Kawas, Ligaya Scaff, and Katie Davis. University of Maryland, College Park/University of Washington, 2016.

3: On-Ramps, Lane Changes, Detours and Destinations: Building Connected Learning Pathways in Hive NYC through Brokering Future Learning Opportunities. By Dixie Ching, Rafi Santo, Chris Hoadley, and Kylie Peppler. Hive Research Lab, 2015.