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Nov 27, 2012 9:02 AM by Samantha Ptashkin

Pima Co. Library looking for teens to help design new media lab

TUCSON- Fourteen-year-old Sam Hodges is a regular at Pima County's main library downtown.

"I often come here a couple times a week to just get some books and movies that I have on hold," Hodges says.

He currently spends most of his time in the Teen Room, which includes novels, games and computers. But Hodges is looking forward to a facility that is a little more up-to-date. "I've done a lot of video editing and I think it would be cool to have those opportunities in a place like this, where you can still hang out with people, you can still do your homework and you have all those opportunities there for you," Hodges says.

The library recently received a $100,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the MacArthur Foundation.

It will give the library the next year and a half to design three unique spaces, including a learning media lab inside the Main Library, a mobile media lab that can travel across Pima County and an online lab. "They're places where teens can access different tools to create their own media," Librarian Jennifer Nichols says.

The library is searching for about 15 teenagers to take part in the planning process.

Hodges is hoping to be a part of the team. "I think having green screens, cameras and just having things for video use and editing use would be really cool," Hodges says.

Besides technology, another big part of the project is connecting teens with mentors. "We really want to connect youth with mentors, people who are experts in their field, people who can help them explore what they want to create and then teach them new skills," Nichols says.

Teenagers interested in being a part of the design team will get a small stipend. The library should have applications up on its website in mid-December.

For more information visit: www.library.pima.gov/

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