21st Century Teen Learning Lab with YOUmedia

Award-winning teen learning labs at Chicago Public Library

Every year, 5,200 middle and high school teens from across Chicago travel to one of CPL’s 12 YOUmedia sites to hang out, mess around, and geek out. Launched in 2009 with a major grant from the MacArthur and Pearson Foundations, the program today is a national model for engaging teens in out-of-school learning and preparing them for postsecondary success. Supported by a cohort of dedicated mentors, YOUmedia teens come to these spaces to explore their interests, develop their resumes and portfolios, and share their talents through city-wide programs like the ChiTeen Lit Fest, now in its third year. By working with peers and mentors to follow their passions—whether it be cutting an album in the sound studio, learning to code, editing a film, or fashion design—they’ll develop essential 21st century skills to support them in academics, career discovery, and social-emotional learning.


teens at the 2017 ChiTeen Lit Fest


YOUmedia workshops in 2017 attended by 2,052 teens


grant-funded mentors and specialists working with teens every day


percent of YOUmedia graduates enroll in college