In May of this year, we opened up the ideaLAB in the Central Library's Community Technology Center. It's a small room - only about 480 square feet - but it's already had a big impact. Inside this free digital media lab for teens, we've helped young people from all over Denver learn Photoshop, record music, mod Minecraft, shoot video, and more. We've also already started running into our limits - but maybe you can help with that?
The Denver Public Library’s ideaLAB is a state-of-the-art digital media creation center where metro-area teens learn core STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) concepts through creative expression. By engaging teens in the production of digital media, the ideaLAB assists youth in developing 21st century skills that will serve them both in school and in their future careers. We currently have four workstations (2 Mac, 2 PC), a recording studio, and a cabinet full of equipment for electronic projects (Arduinos, Raspberry Pis, LEDs, etc.), art projects, and various gadgets like a Wacom drawing tablet, cameras, and tripods. You can see some examples of the amazing work that teens have already done on Evolver, the Denver Public Library's teen website.
Here's the rub, though: when we planned out the ideaLAB, our goal was to reach 25 teens in the first year, get those teens to visit us 100 times, and finish maybe 25 projects. In the first six months, we had over 120 teens sign up in our membership database, had over 600 visits, and had over 200 projects saved on our hard drives. There's huge demand for access to the lab - but if you've ever seen 10 14-year-old boys in a 480-square-foot room, you'll know how quickly the line between creativity and chaos gets blurred.
The good news? We've been approved to expand our space - luckily it's one thing that we have a little bit of here in the library - but we need help to fill that space with the things that our teens have been asking for: a 3D printer, more special effects plugins for After Effects, the ability to solder in the lab, more computers! In the new year, we're also going to add hours for adults and families, a girls' night, and all kinds of other programming. How can you help make all this planned awesomeness become concrete reality? Here's how:
Denver Public Library has launched an indiegogo campaign to raise money for the ideaLAB expansion - with your help, we can add all kinds of amazing tools to the lab and help turn more Denver teens (and, soon, adults) into makers. Plus, for your donation, you can get rewards like badges and pins or original art created by teens! Please, go watch the video and hear the teens talk about ideaLAB - they're far more compelling than I can ever be. Even if you can't donate, please let your friends, family, and random strangers know the URL: http://igg.me/at/DPLideaLAB. Share it on facebook! Tweet it! Get it tattooed on your arm? Be part of helping Denver teens become producers and lifelong learners!
Can there be a idealab for young adults someday? i have an interest in this type of stuff too.
Currently, you have have to be between the ages of 12 and 19 to use the ideaLAB , but we're hoping to do some "tween" and adult programming next year. Keep checking here and our page on the teen site for updates.