In their words:

The Teen Open Lab (TOL) started in spring of 2013 with a simple idea–build Library services for teens based on what the teens themselves tell us they need and want. To initiate conversation, teen librarians at The Urbana Free Library held meetings with several regular teen patrons and asked them what aspects of the Library worked for them and what didn’t.

 

The Teen Open Lab is a teen-guided space. It is important that our teen patrons take ownership of the space, feel safe and supported, and know that their opinions matter. Teen librarians, library staff, and volunteers collaborate with teens on nearly every aspect of the program.

The Teen Open Lab is…

  • A teen directed space that promotes creativity, peer instruction, and community building.
  • A safe place for afterschool activities and access to creation technology.
  • A place for teens to meet library partners and participate in community wide projects.
  • A mini fablab/makerspace.

And the list of activities they are able to provide is in their library space is quite impressive:

  • Mini FabLab/Makerspace-Make stuff! We have 3D printers, vinyl cutters, sewing machines, electronics, etc.
  • AV production– Record music, make videos, edit photos, and more.
  • Digital Art– Use graphics tablets, scanners and software to make art.
  • Games– Board games, WII, Playstation 2.

The Teen Open Lab is open most Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, from 3:00-5:30 p.m. Teens in grades 6-12 are invited to join us, and parents are welcome.

To learn more, visit their website.