This past semester I have learned so much about libraries around the world and it seems that the opportunities for libraries to evolve is endless. I was very impressed with Chicago Public Library and the teen space YOUmedia. Although it was only possible through a grant, it gave me the idea to propose a teen digital media lab at the library system I work for. As I had mentioned before, one of the branches is a shared use facility with a high school and they offer an after school program called Sultans of Rock where teens can come out and have a ham session with their friends and hang out. It’s a pretty successful program and I originally thought that I would want to add a recording studio with sound and video editing software and possibly add a green screen so they could make music videos. However, as we all know about budget constraints and staffing issues. Since this library basically shuts down when school is not in session, I knew that this would not be a good use of funds or resources.
As I was looking though articles and Pinterest, I went back to our library website and found some inspiration. I want to have more creative options for teens, something that they will enjoy and not only become engaged in the program but the program will empower them. Our main branch has the most diverse teen population, mainly from a more urban and low-income area. While the teen space is equipped with computers and video games, something is still missing. Then it hit me, we have an awesome digital media lab for adults, why not include teens in the mix and add a 3D printer and stop-motion animation software?!?! Research has shown that teens want to be creative and given that opportunity they will learn, participate, and feel empowered. What I propose is we expand the adult Digital Media Lab to include teen collaboration. I would also like to purchase 10 HUE Animation Studio kits and a MakerBot Replicator 3D printer.