The Public Library as a Community Hub for Connected Learning

NYGREN, Åke (2014) The Public Library as a Community Hub for Connected Learning. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2014 - Lyon - Libraries, Citizens, Societies: Confluence for Knowledge in Session 167 - Management and Marketing with Public Libraries. In: IFLA WLIC 2014, 16-22 August 2014, Lyon, France.

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Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.


The Public Library as a Community Hub for Connected Learning

This paper provides a brief overview of the ideas and principles underlying the connected learning movement, highlighting examples of how libraries are boosting 21st-century learning and promoting community development by partnering with a range of organisations and individuals to incorporate connected opportunities into their programmes. The connected learning movement supports interest-driven, peer-supported, and academically oriented learning for youth by promoting the core values of equity, participation, and social connection. By connecting formal and informal learning organisations with youth in production-centered and openly networked activities with a shared purpose, youth gain access to learning opportunities beyond school. Adopting connected learning ideas and principles, libraries — working together with after school centres and other community partners — can make learning more engaging, relevant, and passion-driven. The Mozilla Foundation has supported several “Hive Networks” — collaborative connected learning communities that facilitate cross-boundary dialogue and events focused on making, creating, remixing, and learning. Through ‘Maker Parties’ and other co-designed learning events, members of a connected learning community can support digital inclusion, digital literacy, and an expanded sense of self-efficacy. Learning by making is the motto. The skills and knowledge gained through connected learning experiences can be recognized, validated, and aggregated through a system of digital badges, which transcend institutional silos and provide a rich picture of personal achievements, interests, and attributes. Parallel to the spread of the maker movement, a growing number of public libraries worldwide are adopting connected learning approaches to augment the role they already play as critical community hubs for lifelong learning. Examples from North America and Europe are highlighted, where public libraries are joining forces with partners from academia as well as the public and industrial sectors with the aim of developing innovative opportunities to serve the needs of both digital outsiders and insiders. The paper concludes with some practical ideas about what librarians and library managers can do to make their library a “connected” library.

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