Access Tucson is incredibly proud to be a project partner along with many other great local organizations that serve youth!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kenya Johnson, Community Relations Manager
$100,000 GRANT WILL HELP PIMA COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY DEVELOP NEW SPACES
TO CONNECT YOUTH WITH FRIENDS, LEARNING, AND MENTORS FOR FUTURE SUCCESS
Learning Labs Foster Creativity, Collaboration and Skill-building through Creation in STEM and Beyond
(TUCSON, AZ) Pima County Public Library (PCPL) announced today that it will receive one of 12 grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to design a Learning Lab, a new space where young people can connect with mentors and peers, as well as new media and traditional materials to pursue their interests more deeply and connect these new skills to academics, career, and civic engagement. Inspired by YOUmedia, a teen space at the Chicago Public Library, and innovations in science and technology centers, these labs will help young people move beyond consuming content to making and creating it.
The 12 winners—five museums and seven libraries—will receive a total of $1.2 million in planning grants to plan and design the labs. The grant is part of a second round of winners in a national competition to create 21st century labs in museums and libraries around the country.
PCPL will receive $100,000 to plan three unique media spaces to serve middle and high school youth throughout Pima County. The library plans to address the diverse needs of youth through a mobile media lab, a youth media space in downtown Tucson, and an online community. The planning process – which is slated to take 18 months – will bring together a leadership team of partners with a deep history of youth media programming along with established teen groups that already meet at the library.
“It’s a great source of pride for Pima County Public Library to be among the 24 communities selected nationwide to plan these new labs,” said Ramón Valadez, District 2 Supervisor and Chairman of the Pima County Board of Supervisors. “We’re set to revolutionize how young people learn and participate, and our library system is leading the way.”
“Thanks to this grant, we’re going to create something that the youth in our urban, suburban, and rural communities really need and want,” said PCPL Executive Director Melinda Cervantes. “We’re looking forward to working with a dynamic mix of partners, including Access Tucson, Josh Schachter Photography, the University of Arizona Computer Science Department, and the library’s Youth Design Team.”
Each Learning Lab will be designed to facilitate a research-based education model known as connected learning – one that promotes discovery, creativity, critical thinking and real-world learning through activities and experiences that bring together academics and young people’s interests, often facilitated by digital and traditional media. The winning institutions will match the funds from the competition and partner with local educational, cultural, and civic organizations to build a network of learning opportunities for young people.
“Pima County doesn’t currently have a space for youth to connect and share their experiences through digital media arts. We want to provide the space and support for youth to express their voices,” explained Jennifer Nichols, Senior Librarian at the Joel D. Valdez Main Library and Project Manager for the Learning Labs grant. “We’re going to fill that gap with three unique spaces from which youth can reach out to the whole community.”
“Digital media are revolutionizing the way young people learn, socialize, and engage in civic life,” said Julia Stasch, Vice President of U.S. Programs for the MacArthur Foundation. “These innovative labs are designed to provide today’s youth with the space, relationships, and resources to connect their social worlds and interests with academics, and to better prepare them for success in the 21st century.”
“Because of the expertise and content we have to offer, museums and libraries are uniquely positioned to offer young people meaningful learning experiences that link to science, art, and technology,” said Susan Hildreth, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “With caring mentors and skilled professionals on staff to guide teens in their exploration, Learning Labs help youth express themselves and hone their skills in a safe environment.”
Along with Tucson, AZ, the new Learning Labs are planned for: Dallas, TX; Madison, WI; Rochester, NY; Oakland, CA; Billings, MT; Poughkeepsie, NY; Richmond, VA; Tuscaloosa, AL; Pittsburgh, PA; Lynn, MA; and Las Vegas, NV.
These new grantees join 12 additional communities also planning new learning centers in libraries and museums as a part of the Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums project. The initiative was first announced in September 2010 in response to President Obama's "Educate to Innovate" campaign, an effort to foster cross-sector collaboration to improve America's students' participation and performance in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Since then, MacArthur and IMLS have committed to invest $4 million to support knowledge-sharing activities for museums and libraries nationwide, and work together to create new Learning Labs across the nation.
Urban Libraries Council (ULC) and the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) will continue to manage and guide the Learning Lab grantee community to ensure that each new space embodies best practice principles, based on research and evidence in the field of youth digital learning, to help young people gain 21st century skills and an effective STEM education.
The 12 recipients of this round of grants were selected out of a pool of 105 applicants from 33 states and one territory. Applications were evaluated by professionals with relevant expertise in digital media and learning, as well as museum and library management. Winners will participate—in-person and online—in a community of practice that will provide technical assistance, networking, and cross-project learning. To learn more about the Learning Labs Project, visit www.imls.gov or Youmedia.org.
Pima County Public Library (PCPL), which is headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, enriches lives and builds community through opportunities to learn, know, interact and grow. With 27 public libraries serving Tucson and the surrounding communities of Arivaca, Green Valley, Sahuarita, South Tucson, Ajo, Marana, Oro Valley and Catalina, PCPL provides a wide range of free services that contribute to the economic development of the community. For more information, visit www.library.pima.gov, find us on Facebook, or follow us @PimaLibrary on Twitter.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grantmaking, policy development and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov or follow @US_IMLS on Twitter.
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society. The Foundation's digital media and learning initiative aims to determine how digital media are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize, and participate in civic life. The goal is to build a base of evidence about how young people learn today, in an effort to re-imagine learning in the 21st century. To learn more, please visit: www.macfound.org/learning or follow us on Twitter @macfound.
The Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) is a global organization providing collective voice and professional support for science centers, museums, and related institutions, whose innovative approaches to science learning inspire people of all ages about the wonders and the meaning of science in their lives. Through strategic alliances and global partnerships, ASTC strives to increase awareness of the valuable contributions its members make to their communities and the field of informal STEM learning. Founded in 1973, ASTC now represents over 600 members in 45 countries, including not only science centers and museums, but also nature centers, aquariums, planetariums, zoos, botanical gardens, and natural history and children’s museums, as well as companies, consultants, and other organizations that share an interest in informal science education. For more information on ASTC, or to find a science center near you, please visit www.astc.org or follow us on Twitter @sciencecenters.
The Urban Libraries Council (ULC) is a membership organization made up of North America's premier public library systems and the corporations supporting them. While ULC's members primarily represent urban and suburban settings, the work done by ULC is widely used by all libraries including those in rural settings. ULC strategically addresses issues important to all communities including education, workforce and economic development, public safety, environmental sustainability, health, and wellness. ULC's members are thought leaders dedicated to the continuous evolution and strengthening of libraries to meet changing community needs. ULC’s focus is on helping library leaders develop and utilize skills and strategies that match the challenges of the 21st century. Learn more at www.urbanlibraries.org or follow us on Twitter: @UrbanLibCouncil.