Social and digital media available via the internet connects students and young people to each other and to a host of formal and informal educators, providing limitless opportunities to seek and acquire new knowledge and skills. Connected learning is learning that is “highly social, interest-driven, and oriented toward educational, economic, or civic opportunity.” [1]

Advanced digital tools have rendered the world a classroom. The problem is, it’s a really big classroom and can overwhelm even the most earnest student. In this way, connected learning refers not just to the technology, but to the substance of the experience.  In today’s wired environment, access to digital tools and opportunities to engage in self-selected, self-guided and self-paced learning provide new avenues for learning.  Curation of those digital tools by professional librarians ensures that library patrons are not only plugged in, but tuned in as well. Or, if you will, connected.


I Love Libraries, Supporting one of our nation's most valuable resources Learn more about how libraries are innovating in response to societal trends on the I Love Libraries website.

Center for the Future of LibrariesVisit ALA's Center for the Future of Libraries for an indepth view into the impact of societal trends on libraries.



Nashville Public Library’s Studio NPL engages teens with a design studio, maker lab, robotics station, creative writing center, production space and more. An artist in residence conducts a summer intensive workshop with a group of teens. Using the latest technology, and combining it with the expertise of librarians, technicians and artists, Studio NPL connects teens with the library, with other teens, and with tools to nurture and feed their curiosity. 

Seattle Public Library casts a wider net with Your Next Skill. The program is open to patrons of all ages and enables residents to choose what they’d like to learn, how they’d like to learn, and at what level. A personal learning guide—aka a professional librarian—designs a plan and gathers the resources. Your Next Skill is personalized learning at its best. Seattle residents love it…..and love their library for offering it.

Connected Lib is, in fact, meta-Connected Learning, a program to teach librarians who work in underserved communities how to engage youth through digital media. A project of the library schools at University of Washington and University of Maryland, Connected Lib builds the capacities of public librarians to provide context-driven, meaningful and youth-focused learning through digital media, yielding both immediate engagement and real-world skills.

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