The public library is a great place to stay cool over vacation, but teens who frequent it lately have discovered that tech based activities spark summer interest in students.
At San Antonio public Library’s Central downtown branch, five teens spent part of an afternoon working with a special project. They were not reading or playing video games.
Using conductive thread, a coin cell battery and sewable battery holder they created soft circuits. Within an hour, they had crafted fun wearable technology with LED lights.
“They’re adding color or electronic brightness to whatever they end up making,” teen services librarian Caroline Mossing said.
“It could be for a hair bow or zipper pulls. We’ll see.”
Increasingly portable, accessible technology and do-it-yourself advocates have fostered a rise in tech-based activities for children and teenagers at home or in public venues.
For six weeks this summer, SAPL is hosting its first Google Maker Camp, where teens ages 13-18 can explore, create and share in an easygoing yet educational space.
“I learned about it last summer and it sounded like a really fun thing to do. I pitched it to (SAPL teen services coordinator Jennifer Velasquez) and she got excited about it,” Mossing said. Google and Make magazine sponsor the camp.
The library applied to be an affiliate. Google approved and sent supplies for specific projects. Google Hangout live chats allow teen participants to engage peers and professionals elsewhere about the creative process, if they so desire.
SAPL’s Central and Igo branches are using their regular Tuesday and Wednesday teen activity sessions in conjunction with maker camp activities.
Additionally, camp participants at the Central branch may take part in virtual reality “trips” on Friday afternoons, and interact with experts at each “destination,” such as Cartoon Network or the Lego Billund resort in Denmark.