“The idea is a kind of makers space but something that is going to be attractive to teens to come in and really be a part of that space,” Violette said.
Library Director Janna Hoglund said the space, which is on the second floor next to the Innovation Lab, houses some books and computers. Hoglund said the space is outdated, and library leaders want to upgrade the technology and equipment the library can offer.
Hoglund said the space will include an interactive touchscreen table, a digital wall with multiple interactive screens, and virtual and augmented reality equipment. She said the library plans to use the space to offer workshops and seminars for young adults.
“Our goal is to provide various educational opportunities to the local youth, including job preparation, career development, technological literacy, social literacy and different leadership experiences to prepare our local youth for the future,” Hoglund said.
The funds from the grant will be used to refurbish the space and purchase the new technology, Violette said at the meeting. She said this project is in line with the TEDC’s goal to increase youth and workforce development.
“This is really a new initiative for us, and we’ve grown this over the past two or three years,” Violette said.
Hoglund said this is Phase 2 of the Innovation Lab project, which opened at the library in January 2020. The Innovation Lab, which is a makers space offering various technology and equipment such as 3D printers, has increased community engagement with the library, Hoglund said. She said she hopes the young adult space will do the same.
Between January and February 2019, an average of 63 people attended technology-focused classes at the library, according to the meeting’s agenda packet. That number rose to 363 between January and February 2020 after the Innovation Lab opened, a report in the packet shows.
Hoglund said the library is still considering a name for the new space. She said she hopes the library can open the space in spring 2022, but the library is still finalizing the timeline.