The opening of Hartford Public Library’s new YOUmedia lab has drawn the attention of leaders at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and Hartford Public Schools. On October 30th, the Foundation’s President Linda Kelly and HPS’s new Superintendent of Schools, Beth Schiavino-Narvaez joined Matt Polland to see first-hand, Connecticut’s first YOUmedia lab. The 3,500 sq.ft. renovated space, designed by Hartford architects TSKP STUDIO is planned specifically to attract Hartford’s teen population and provides stimulating, technology-rich ‘maker’ spaces where teens can gather and explore various ways of self-expression as individuals and in collaboration with each other.
HPL’s YOUmedia lab is currently open to teens after school, evenings and on Saturdays. The room features a recording booth, digital music composition stations, a ‘maker area’ w/ worktables and 3-D printer, a large-screen gaming area, a large screen viewing area, power and data throughout the space, as well as industrial-style work tables and soft seating in unusual shapes and colors.
“The beauty of the project was that very little alteration of the building was required, noted TSKP STUDIO’s architect, Diana Lanser. “This would hardly be called an architectural project, but it did require a lot of architectural coordination for the lighting and power requirements throughout the space, as well as building code requirements related to new uses within the space”.
With HPL’s new lab up and running, there is energy behind collaborative programs that the new YOUmedia lab manager, Tricia George will be developing with Hartford teens and with local high schools. The concept of the YOUmedia space is believed to enable the building of academic and career competencies in young people; to foster collaboration and social interaction; to create mentoring opportunities; and to broaden the range of tools with which teens from all economic backgrounds can express themselves.