Explore. Create. Compete. is our goal for Teen Tech Week. We will celebrate with a variety of activities – there’s something for everyone!

Recognizing the need for teens to be able to explore new technologies and tools is a vital part of the Arlington Public Library’s philosophy when serving teens. Youth Technology Centers (YTC) in two branch locations are working with under-served populations.  We currently offer programs and opportunities for teens to explore technology in a welcoming environment.

This year, the Library is hosting our very first Maker Competition that will bring together teams of teens that will work to complete challenges using various maker materials, such as Makey Makey, Lego Mindstorm, and Littlebits kits; art and crafting supplies; coding instructions; and digital media arts such as short film and music.  Teens will have to problem solve and think outside the box in order to complete and create projects given the materials and a set of challenges around a theme. What they make and how they make it will be completely up to them. Entries will be judged by a panel and awards will be given for most creative, most marketable, and best use of technology.  Judges will either have experience, expertise or careers related to STEAM.

The goal of the maker competition is to allow teens to develop team work and leadership skills and to engage their creativity.  As an added benefit, they may be exposed to new career paths, hobbies and skills they didn’t realize existed! Mastering the challenges will give teens a sense of confidence, independence, and faith in the concept that STEAM activities can parlay into a marketable skill or career.

In the months leading up to Teen Tech Week, the YTCs will provide opportunities for teens to explore the various maker ‘tracks’ and allow time for teams to ‘train’ for the competition. We will reach out to neighboring schools that may have maker clubs or to recruit students that are new library/YTC users.

Stacy Garcia is the Library Service Manager for the Arlington Public Library (Arlington, TX.).


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