Progress and Volunteer Opportunities at UNCC

The Urbana Neighborhood Connections Center (UNCC) is a nonprofit community center located on Main Street in East Urbana.  Cat Calcagno (Mix IT Up! Scholar) has been working with UNCC since Spring to help them figure out how to provide more productive and educational technology activities for the children in the after school program. The solution that resulted from a collaboration of ideas between Cat and UNCC staff was to create technology “workshops” for the children in the after school program. These workshops will essentially be a series of activities designed for the kids involving digital media and technology. The children in the after school program that will be participating in the workshops are between the ages of 6 and 11. Children in the program will be split into two groups, according to grade level. Each of these groups will participate in separate, age-appropriate activity sessions on alternating weeks.
Up to this point, workshops have not yet been started because most of the work at UNCC has been setting up the computers (which were recently cleaned-up) and troubleshooting/solving computer issues in preparation for the children to use them. We only have about 2 or 3 remaining computers with unresolved issues, which we hope to get fixed in the next week or two.
We are currently seeking volunteers! Below are some descriptions of the type of help that is currently being sought for this project:
Computer Maintenance 

  • Volunteers are welcome to help with fixing and helping maintain the computers. Currently, this work is somewhat limited and would involve helping to troubleshoot and solve the remaining computer errors.

Run Workshops/Work with Kids (NEEDED MOST)

  •  Seeking volunteers to help work with the kids at UNCC and to run the workshops.

Workshop Creation & Planning (NEEDED MOST)

  • Seeking people who are interested in helping come up with activity ideas for the kids and/or helping turn activity ideas into lesson plans, which will be implemented during the workshops.
Work at UNCC is currently being done once a week on Thursdays between 3:00 and 6:00 P.M. However, this schedule can be changed and potential volunteers are encouraged to provide availability.
Volunteers who are interested in helping with any or all of these opportunities should contact Cat Calcagno by email at

Applications for Fall 2012!

Applications are now being accepted for the new Mix IT Up! Fellowship Program at GSLIS. Fellowships and hourly positions are available for the Fall 2012 semester for on and off-campus GSLIS students.

Mix  IT Up! Fellows will participate in intentional, long-term, structured engagement with community groups in order to gain the experience and contextual knowledge to become youth advocates. Participants will benefit from experiential learning, emphasizing outreach and youth advocacy, and work closely with underserved local youth on multiple literacies. They also will engage with a group of community partners as part of the Youth Advocacy Alliance, including the Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club, Urbana Neighborhood Connections Center, the UP Center, the Champaign County Juvenile Detention Center Library, and the Puerto Rican Cultural Center in Chicago.

Fellowship positions are available for Master’s-level students who will be beginning their studies in Fall 2012.  Fellowships entail engagement projects over the full course of acquiring the Master’s degree and come with financial support.

Mix IT Up! is supported by a $725,923 Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Grant, which will be matched with $181,391 in nonfederal funds, from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).  Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Rae-Anne Montague will serve as PI of the grant. The funds will allow GSLIS to recruit and educate 10 master’s degree fellows.

Applications are being accepted now, and the committee will begin reviewing applications in mid-April 2012, and will continue until the positions are filled.

Questions can be directed to Jeanie Austin or Sharon Irish.

Mix IT Up! Applicant Form 2012

Now accepting applications for 2012 Scholars!

Mix IT Up! is now accepting applications for 2012 scholars!  Scholars must be planning to attend the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2012.

Mix IT Up! scholars gain experience in youth advocacy librarianship through their coursework and opportunities to work in long-term partnerships with organizations that provide services to youth.  They complete courses in both community informatics and in youth services, and will provide mentoring to future Mix IT Up! scholars.

The University of Illinois is an Affirmative Action /Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideas who embrace and value diversity and inclusivity. ( Mix IT Up! particularly seeks applications from those who have been traditionally underrepresented in LIS—American Indian, Latino/as, African American, LGBTQ, working-class and first-generation college students.

Applications should be sent to Jeanie Austin (  Application information is available at Mix IT Up! Applicant Form.