New $2 million teen learning lab coming to Central Library

The Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library is ramping up to begin construction later this year on its $2 million state-of-the-art Teen Learning Lab, which is slated for a spring 2015 opening.
“Public libraries are changing and transitioning into spaces where individuals can be information creators just as much as information consumers, and there is a national shift towards creating space where young people in particular can pursue their passions and curiosities in innovation,” says Janae Pitts-Murdock, Teen Services Coordinator for the Central Library.
The new lab will occupy much of the first two floors of the facility. The 8,300-square foot space will include video and audio production labs, editing and mixing stations, a video game zone for paying and creating games, formal and informal learning areas, digital and analog displays, an art studio, a performance stage, a Maker Space, brainstorming, homework and collaboration zones.
“We are relocating materials to other parts of the building to make room for the teen learning lab,” says Pitts-Murdock. “The first floor of the lab will replace the current popular library, and the materials inside the current popular library will be relocated in a nearby location. On the second floor, space will be created in our Humanities Department near the area where current high school materials are used.”
Looney Ricks Kiss drew up the architectural plans (and also designed the library itself years ago), and renowned library designer Margaret Sullivan handled the designs.
The lab will be free and open to all teens aged 13 to 18.
On September 27 teens will be able to participate in the “Paper Power” all-day design competition at the library. High schoolers will use recycled materials to create artistic displays.
“It’s a great opportunity for the kids to create in teams and develop their STEM skills, and it is bringing a fun and imaginative opportunity to talk about and learn about sustainability,” explains Pitts-Murdock.
By Michael Waddell
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