Teens are still getting used to what is available at
(digital media labs at four Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh branches), says Corey Wittig, the Labs' digital learning coordinator -- and that's understandable, he adds.
At the main library branch in Oakland, where the Labs opened at the end of September and maintain their most extensive hours, "I think there's a little bit of a warm-up period where we become familiar faces," he explains. "It's important for teens to get familiar with new staff."
That includes two new part-time mentors for the kids: Molly Dickerson, who has a background in photography and a University of Pittsburgh library degree, and Andre Costello, a local musician who studied graphic design at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.
The other Labs are housed at the Allegheny, East Liberty and South Side branches. All offer computer equipment to help teens undertake filmmaking, photography, graphic design, music and animation projects.
The Labs' October workshops focused on making videos, with a scary movie challenge for which teens wrote a scene and created trailers. In November, workshops will center on music and audio recording, including podcasts and other projects. December's "Holiday .Gif" theme will teach ways to create holiday-themed technology gifts -- including animated .gif files. January's theme is photography, while February will focus on graphic design and March on programming.
So far, the Lab in Oakland is the only one that also has open hours for any project a student cares to pursue. There, for instance, one group of teens spent October shooting a video of an X-Files
-type thriller. Says Wittig: "Even in a workshop, depending on whoever stops by, it can take any number of turns."
Writer: Marty Levine