Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums
Funded jointly by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the MacArthur Foundation, in partnership with the and Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) and Urban Libraries Council (ULC), Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums supports the planning and design of 24 learning labs in libraries and museums nationwide. The inaugural cohort of 12 sites ran from January 2012 to June 2013, and a second cohort of 12 additional sites began in January 2013 and will extend through June 2014. In addition to the primary awardees, most grants included additional institutional partners, resulting in a rich community including over 100 professionals from approximately 50 participating organizations (libraries, museums, universities, and community-based organizations). The labs are intended to engage middle- and high-school youth in mentor-led, interest-based, youth-centered, collaborative learning using digital and traditional media. Inspired by YOUmedia, an innovative digital space for teens at the Chicago Public Library, as well as innovations in science and technology centers, projects participating in Learning Labs are expected to provide prototypes for the field based on current research about digital media and youth learning, and build a "community of practice" among the grantee institutions and practitioners interested in developing similar spaces.