KQED Partners with Local Library on an IMLS Grant to Engage Youth through Digital Learning Lab
March 23, 2012
In November 2011, KQED of San Francisco, California was a recipient of the joint Institute of Library and Museum Services (IMLS) and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Grants for Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums program to build a digital learning lab. In partnership with the principle actor, San Francisco Public Library, as well as fellow community organizations including the Bay Area Video Coalition and California Academy of Sciences, KQED will receive $5,000 of the full $100,000 award to design digital curriculum for a new teen center/learning lab. This new teen center is still in the planning and pre-production phase; however, KQED is working tirelessly with the project’s partners to ensure a strong digital media component is incorporated into a system that better serves the youth in the bay area.
KQED will assist its partners to design a center that integrates hands-on learning to help teens achieve the 21st Century skills necessary to succeed in all walks of life. A joint press release highlights the goal of the project as a way to engage teens through a digital and online environment. The learning lab will provide digital resources and build a framework for a learning platform inspired by creative and critical thinking skills. All of these objectives will underscore the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.
This is not the first case of a partnership between KQED and San Francisco Public Library. The two have a long history of working together given KQED’s dedication and expertise in media literacy. The station has hosted numerous trainings and workshops related to media literacy, and KQED is the largest production unit of STEM materials in Northern California. It was only natural for a partnership with San Francisco Public Library to be born and strengthened over the years. It was through this working relationship that KQED was eventually approached by San Francisco Public Library to use their public media expertise in this digital learning lab project.
If it were not for the successful relationship with San Francisco Public Library, the resources KQED provides would not have been as overtly known. Strong partnerships are especially critical in times of reduced funding opportunities. Tim Olson, Vice President of Digital Media and Education at KQED, emphasizes the importance of building relationships over time; “continue to check strategic priorities and see if they match with your organization’s,” he says. Networking with those who possess similar goals is key; it has the ability to improve the quality and impact of the desired project.
IMLS granted 12 organizations a $100,000 award for proposals that create a digital learning lab for teens. Three of these grantees include partnerships with public media. Twin Cities Public Television is partnering with Saint Paul Public Library, and WOSU with the Columbus Metropolitan Library. A second round competition for this program is expected for the spring. This is a great opportunity for stations, so be sure to start building relationships with your local library or museum and be on the lookout for application details later this spring.
Read more on the IMLS Grants for Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums.