Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

YOUMedia Miami: empowering teens by building digital literacy skills

Nov. 4, 2011, 9:05 a.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller

Gia Arbogast, branch administrator for the Miami-Dade Public Library System

Soon at a Miami library, high school kids will learn how to use technology to visualize their favorite book, create short animated films, even tell an autobiographical, digital story.

Called YOUMedia, the Knight-funded digital literacy classes are a way to get kids to think critically about their lives and their community - to experiment with who they are and what their communities can become.

While at the The Urban Libraries Partners for Success Conference 2011, Knight sat down with Gia Arbogast, branch administrator for the Miami-Dade Public Library System, to talk about the launch of the program and its potential impact for the community:

In a digital society, libraries become important places for people to engage and connect with their city

Nov. 3, 2011, 12:13 p.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller

Over the next two days, directors of some of the most creative libraries in the U.S. and key civic leaders are sharing ways public libraries can help strengthen community engagement.

The Urban Libraries Partners for Success Conference 2011 brings together thought leaders in today’s civic engagement movement and young people who will shape the future of American communities.

“Civic engagement comes in many forms and libraries are at the top of the list of places where people can get involved,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez told the crowd as he helped open the conference. “Libraries contribute to a stronger sense of community and help produce solutions to local issues. I’m confident that will continue to hold true.”

Knight Foundation sat down with Susan Benton, president and CEO of the Urban Libraries Council to learn more about the connection between libraries and community engagement.

Q: What is the role that libraries play in developing community engagement? 

S.B: Libraries are part of the natural infrastructure of the community. In many neighborhoods, we are the primary community asset and the place where people come together on a regular basis.

Q: In what kinds of ways do you see citizens interacting with their local libraries?

Student debate goes high tech with interactive wall

Nov. 2, 2011, 9:58 a.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller

Dec 8. update: Check out the Civil Debate Wall in action!

As a way to encourage dialogue about the most critical issues facing Florida and the nation, this fall the Bob Graham Center for Public Service at the University of Florida launched a 44-by-26 inch interactive wall.

The Great Civil Debate Wall, aimed specifically at engaging students, will encourage those with diverse backgrounds and political views to express their opinions.

The new Knight-funded project was featured in this month’s edition of Florida Trend magazine in an article titled “Civic Engagement: Raising Questions.”