This post is part of a series where YALSAblog takes a closer look at Learning Lab grantees from museums and libraries to learn how they engage middle and high school youth in mentor-led, interest-based, youth-centered, collaborative learning using digital and traditional media.” To read more about the context of the Learning Labs, visit the first post in the series here.

AnythinkToday we will read about a Learning Lab with Anythink Wright Farms branch in CO from Mo Yang, Studio Guide.

KC: If you have named your Learning Lab, can you share what you are calling it?
MY: The Studio

KC: What is the target age for your library’s Learning Lab?
MY: Students in grades 6 through 12

KC: What makes your Learning Lab unique?
MY: The versatility in allowing content creation with an industry professional that can guide the learning experience so that the participant can gain the necessary skills to achieve the goals that they have set as well as challenging the participant to go further and become more established themselves.

KC: What theoretical framework are you applying to help inform the design and activities in the space? How, if at all, does Connected Learning play a role?
MY: The concept of HOMAGO creates a blueprint for the participants to guide the experiences based on what they are interested in

KC: At the heart of most Learning Labs is the concept of community. How do you anticipate your Learning Lab creating community where it didn’t previously exist in the same way before?
MY: We are seeing tremendous support from the community in the form of our Artists In Residence (AIR) whom are professionals in this community who are very interested in finding a way to give back to their community.

KC: What advice are you taking into consideration in approaching this project-either from libraries who have completed or are in the process of similar projects, your own experience, or otherwise?
MY: There is a wealth of knowledge from other sites that are part of the YOUmedia Nation that give insight into the creation of our space and operations of it.

KC: What components will make your Learning Lab a Learning Lab?
MY: The AIR’s play a big role. They make learning the technology a smaller undertaking, and frames the learning experience in a way that makes technology a tool to foster lifelong learning and a means to achieve goals.

KC: What types of activities and/or technology do you anticipate being a part of your Learning Lab?
MY: Camera, Videocameras, iPads, Final Cut Pro X , Adobe Creative Suite – The technology and Artists’ we are offering in the lab will allow participants to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to become viable professionals in their future careers or higher education.

KC: What are your plans to keep the Learning Lab dynamic, fresh, and moving forward?
MY: We try to always get community input in order to stay relevant to the community we are serving, but also looking at the trends in technology to see what other tools we can offer in our Studio.

KC: For libraries or similar organizations that haven’t received funding to build their dream Learning Lab, what suggestions do you have where they can start to get ideas or create a similar experience?
MY: It’s all about the people who are making the connections with the community. Without them, the technology will just be technology. The connections will allow creative collaboration and the transformation of technology into a tool that the community can utilize.

About Kelly Czarnecki

Kelly Czarnecki is a Teen Librarian at ImaginOn with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. She is a member of the YALSA blog advisory board.

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