Denver Public Library's ideaLAB

ideaLAB: a free digital creation space for teens at the Denver Public Library.

ideaLAB: Digital Creation Space for Teens

The Denver Public Library’s ideaLAB is a state-of-the-art digital media creation center where metro-area teens learn core STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) concepts through creative expression. By engaging teens in the production of digital media, the ideaLAB assists youth in developing 21st century skills that will serve them both in school and in their future careers.

Like all programs at the Denver Public Library (DPL), the ideaLAB is free of charge to participants.

Teens collaborate with staff mentors and each other to complete projects in their choice of six areas:

  • art and design
  • game production
  • music
  • video
  • website design
  • electronics and hardware

Completed projects earn the creators real badges (buttons) and electronic badges, which can be displayed on social media pages.

DPL’s ideaLAB opened on May 6, 2013, and has already seen more than 120 unique visitors who have completed more than 225 projects. Because of this success, Denver Public Library is planning an expansion both in space and services. That's where you come in! 

With your help, we can make the ideaLAB even better with cutting edge programs, equipment and resources that our participants have requested. We know they are the authorities on "the next big thing" and we are listening to where they want to go. 

Our wish list:

Your contribution will help enhance the ideaLAB with the software and equipment our teens say they need to maximize their experience:

3-D printer and PLA-based supplies   $3,000
Button maker and supplies     $450
Video Copilot Ultimate 3D Bundle    $595
One year Dropbox Pro account    $100
Pioneer DJ set  $1,200
Screen printing kit & extra screens    $100
Art supplies    $100
3D Scanner     $1,400

Total  $6,945   + crowdfunding fees   =  $7,500

And if we reach our goal, keep giving, because the wish list continues:

Cinema 4D software  $3,695
Four additional computers  $8,000
Light diffusers with stands    $100
Portable green screen with lights    $130
Little Bits    $250
Three FL Studio licenses    $600
FL Studio plugins    $840
Two Z-Mesh licenses  $1,600
Two Wacom tablets  $1,000
Hanging Motor Flexible Drive Shaft Drill    $550
Sewing machine and supplies     $300

Your money will be well-spent!

Community Impact:

As access to technological resources has increased the notion of the “digital divide” is shifting from access to participation. Simply having access to a computer with Internet does not build the media and technology literacies needed for success in the 21st century workplace. What matters in today’s environment are rich, complex experiences, where youth are deeply involved in creating something new while learning skills such as inventive problem-solving and design logic. This broader definition of literacy includes communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. DPL’s ideaLAB helps teens develop these new literacies to their fullest.

With Denver’s 2012 graduation rate reaching only 56%, it is clear that teens need creative solutions to help them stay engaged in school. DPL’s ideaLAB provides resources and programs to help teens recognize the value of education, both in a formal school environment and in less structured settings such as the library. By exploring their interests, teens gain concrete technology skills and conceptual soft skills that can be used in pursuing future education and employment. By becoming active participants in digital culture productions, teens develop the autonomy and self-knowledge necessary to succeed later in life.

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