Irvine, Calif., May 18, 2016 – The Institute of Museum & Library Services has awarded the University of California, Irvine $772,864 to help libraries across the nation evaluate, improve and offer more youth programs.

“I’m delighted to have the opportunity to learn from library professionals across the country about how programs for youth can be designed and improved,” said Mizuko “Mimi” Ito, the project’s lead researcher and research director of UCI’s Digital Media & Learning Research Hub. “Libraries are key allies in making connected learning opportunities available to all young people, and this project is an effort to have research better support this movement.”

Connected learning is an approach that supports interest-driven educational opportunities, such as after-school sports, music and computer gaming programs, weekend reading clubs and online coding camps.

Ito will team with the Connected Learning Research Network, which she directs at UCI, the Los Angeles Public Library, the Young Adult Library Services Association and the YOUmedia Learning Labs Network to conduct the research.

“This initiative will fill a significant gap in today’s informal learning landscape by providing libraries with practical tools to evaluate the learning opportunities they provide for young people,” said Beth Yoke, YALSA’s executive director. “Ultimately, the nation’s youth will benefit from the enhanced opportunities that libraries will be able to provide as a result of this research project.”

About the University of California, Irvine: Currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.8 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit

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