The Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums program is a joint effort of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to support the creation of innovative teen spaces at libraries and museums and to unite these sites in a national network. The Learning Labs Report highlights the findings and impacts of three years of IMLS/MacArthur funding, from its beginnings in Mizuko (Mimi) Ito’s research of young people’s media practices in everyday settings as an anthropology professor at the University of California, Irvine, to collective outcomes, institutional transformation, and expansive learning ecosystems that have emerged and continue to grow as a result of this initiative.
Hear from some of the Learning Labs themselves about what they learned in regards to teen engagement and the importance of participatory design that is with, not simply for youth, developing a mentor model to support and cultivate teen interest, and building an innovative space that encourages creativity and exploration. Also read about the growing community of practice that has risen out of this network: a group of informal educators, practitioners, and library and museum employees that are shifting the way they think about their job to support youth learning and sharing that passion, knowledge and expertise with colleagues nationwide.
As Crystal Faris, director of teen services for the Kansas City Public Library, says, “Because of this experience, for the first time I think of myself as an educator.”
image courtesy of the Center of Science and Industry (COSI), Columbus Learning Lab, Ohio