Today, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced the Free Library of Philadelphia as one of 12 organizations in the United States selected to receive funding to create a learning lab for middle and high school students! The Free Library’s Learning Lab will be designed to improve digital literacy and to engage young people in hands-on learning. These labs will help youth gain the 21st-century skills and knowledge they need to succeed in school, careers, and life today.
The Free Library of Philadelphia will work with an Advisory Committee of staff members and community partner organizations to design a digital media Learning Lab at the Parkway Central Library that will provide a centrally located, teen-specific space for digital media exploration. The Free Library has a long tradition of engaging youth in positive development practices, and the Learning Lab objectives will build upon these practices to foster specific media skills as well as problem-solving skills, teamwork, and confidence. The Library will work with consultants and teen focus groups to explore programming related to game design, music creation, graphic design, video-making, and website development.
The Learning Labs Project is inspired by YOUmedia, an innovative teen learning space at the Chicago Public Library. YOUmedia encourages teens to use both digital and traditional media to promote creativity, critical thinking, and hands-on learning. The YOUmedia lab connects teens to mentors and peers, as well as provides access anytime, anywhere to information through online social networks, so they can pursue their interests more deeply. It enables them to discover new opportunities and follow their passions by not only being consumers of media, but also creators of content.
For more information on this exciting opportunity, follow the links below: