Benefits of being a Member of the YOUmedia Learning Labs Network

If you have a Learning Lab already we invite your institution to consider joining the YOUmedia Learning Labs Network as an associated member Lab. Please review the benefits and contact if interested.

A 2017 survey showed that the YOUmedia Learning Labs Network serves an estimated 130,000 youth annually. Our national network enables practitioners to connect, share programs, and engage in high-quality continued professional development.

Associated labs in the YOUmedia network gain access to the following benefits:

Innovative Professional Development

The YOUmedia Network offers associated labs a wealth of resources, including:

  • Vetted lesson plans and supply lists
  • Program development
  • Program evaluation
  • Sustainability strategies
  • Communications plans

This also includes access to a longstanding community of administrators, program directors, and mentors, both online through a community of practice (, and in-person at network retreats and conference opportunities. Network labs are also regularly convened to develop professional development across network labs, creating a cohesive, YOUmedia-branded set of resources.


As part of a nationally recognized and supported network launched by the MacArthur Foundation and the Institute for Museum and Library Services beginning in 2009, labs have access to the use of the national brand, marketing tools and expertise including representation in YOUmedia press coverage. Labs share branding strategies, which allows them to increase efficiency while collectively offering resources and programs, informed by the national network.


The YOUmedia Learning Labs Network is leading the field of 21st century digital literacy in formal and informal learning spaces such as libraries, museums, community centers, and schools. The practices are based in research from the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub, the University of Chicago, and is actively working with nationally-recognized researchers in the fields of education, cultural anthropology, learning sciences, and digital learning. By joining the network, your institution will have access to new opportunities to engage in cutting-edge research to measure and show 21st century learning skills and digital literacy, youth-engagement methodologies, ways of engaging with new opportunities and technology, mentor-supported informal learning, outcome measurement strategies, and access to evaluation tools.

Opportunities for Funding

All labs in the YOUmedia Learning Labs Network are eligible for national grants, corporate sponsorships, and other funding streams. The YOUmedia Network actively pursues shared funding opportunities from national foundations through its home at the National Writing Project, and has dedicated staff for grant writing, reporting, and fiscal agency.