The Free Library of Philadelphia’s Maker Jawn Initiative has been awarded a National Leadership Grant for multi-generational Makerspaces in North Philadelphia, where we have been focusing our efforts as a YOUmedia Learning Lab, creating scalable space for youth programming. The Free Library initiative is one of only 31 projects chosen nationwide to receive a National Leadership Grant from IMLS.
Our project will create on-the-floor Makerspaces in three libraries in North Philadelphia. These spaces will enable local residents of all ages to gain access to technology and participatory education, and will encourage creative applications and collaborative projects.
The goal of each Makerspace is to give multigenerational community members a venue to create cross-disciplinary, interest-driven electronic art projects. Makerspaces also allow for building interest and knowledge in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) fields and using tools and skills to create and share artifacts that reflect individual identities and communities. Through creating in the Makerspace, community members will also gain valuable 21st century skills.
On the day the grant was announced, U.S. Congressman Chaka Fattah issued a congratulatory statement indicating that, “The Free Library has been a bedrock of learning and discovery for Philadelphians of all ages… this grant allows them to further their mission with an innovative new project to drive creativity in the community with a focus on the uniqueness and diversity of our city’s neighborhoods.”
Our profound hope, through this grant, is to create a model to bring innovative and intergenerational Maker programming to libraries and their communities everywhere.
Sarah Winchowky, Maker Jawn Initiative