Some teens are naturally drawn to libraries. For others, the stacks rank somewhere between the dentist chair and principle’s office on their list of favorite destinations. Corey Wittig hopes to change that. He’s hard at work crafting a digital learning curriculum at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. The program will provide a valuable service to teens, but it has the ability to do much more than that. If successful, the new curriculum will transform the entire way teens look at their local library – from a place where they’re forced to study to a space where they can meet, interact and create some pretty amazing things.
Corey’s new, innovative curriculum will revolve around STEAM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) and offer workshops and after-school programs to area students. Teens will immerse themselves in the fields of filmmaking, photography, music composition, art and design, and possibly even video game design. In doing so, they’ll gain access to equipment and knowledge not readily available to them at home or at school. More than that, they’ll be given a community where they can explore their interests with peers and mentors who share their excitement.
The digital learning program is just one more way in which the library hopes to create a welcoming space for teens. Corey explains, “Our model of teen services is all about providing teens with a place to explore their interests and interact with their peers – somewhere they choose to opt in. School is not a choice and neither is home, but the library can be (for teenagers) the first place a person gets engaged. That’s the world we want to create and foster, and I’d say our programs often provide that. The plan for the project is to provide teens with more opportunities to learn and grow, but, this time, through digital technology.”
It’s a project that could transform more than just a corner of the Carnegie – for many teens, it could just change the world. For now, the average Pittsburgh teen might not list their local library among their favorite hot spots, but thanks to Corey Wittig’s hard work, it won’t belong before they change their minds.