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Serving the Towns of Guilford, Branford and North Branford
Blackstone Library Offers Summer Maker Camps for Teens
Posted on June 12th, 2015

Made possible with a grant from the Library Services and Technology Act, Blackstone Library is offering free Learning Labs to teach teens 3D printing, circuitry, programming and sewing all summer long!

Branford, Conn: James Blackstone Memorial Library is proud to announce that they are the recipients of a competitive grant from the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), which combines federal and state funds to allow libraries to offer special initiatives. The Blackstone Library will use the LSTA funds to expand their MakerLab program offerings with Learning Labs for teens. The Learning Labs will be held in Summer 2015 and again in Spring 2016.
Learning Labs at Blackstone Library are free maker camps for young adults, ages 12 and up. There are three summer sessions. The goal of each session is for teens to learn new skills, meet other makers, gain confidence in themselves and their abilities, and, most importantly, to have fun. Teens who participate in the Learning Labs and who wish to help teach will be given the opportunity to sign up to be volunteer Learning Labs Leaders in the future. Learning Labs will run from July through September.
Session A is an introduction to 3D Printing. Participants will learn how to design, create and print 3D files with instructor Randolph Pareja. Mr. Pareja has previously taught 3D printing to young adults at the New Haven Free Public Library, and is looking forward to working with the teens of Branford. The 3D Printing classes will be held on Tuesdays in July, from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM (7/7, 7/14, 7/21, 7/28).
Learning Labs Session B will take place in August. This session will be taught by instructor Jim Davis, who has previously taught 3D printing, circuitry and Arduino at the Blackstone Library. Mr. Davis will teach participants how to use computer programming and circuitry combined with an Arduino board, sensors, LED lights and 3D printed objects to create a working electronic project. Arduino classes will be held on Tuesdays in August, from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM (8/4, 8/11, 8/18, 8/25).
The last of the summer Learning Labs (Session C) will be held in late September, allowing for a break for the start of school. This exciting session will show participants how to use conductive thread and LED lights to create a wearable electronic project. Teens will learn the basics of sewing and circuitry from instructor Zenaida Barrios, and will create a lighted project they can wear! Ms. Barrios has previously taught sewing to adults and teens at the Blackstone Library. Learning Labs Session C meets Tuesday, September 15 and 22, from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM.
Registration for all three sessions is required. Please call Youth Services to register, 203-488-1441, extension 323. The Spring Learning Labs session will begin in February 2016.
The Blackstone Library supports the philosophy of the maker movement, which emphasizes learning through exploration, creation, and innovation – all essential and valuable skills for teens. The Learning Labs promote ‘learning through making’ with a focus on technological and problem-solving skills that are crucial for success in today’s world. The Blackstone Library is committed to its mission to provide educational and enrichment programs to the town of Branford, and with the grant-funded Learning Labs, they give teens the opportunity to spend the summer learning new skills, connecting with other makers and ideas, and creating something of their very own.
The Learning Labs are made possible with a grant from the Library Services and Technology Act. In addition to instructor fees, the LSTA grant funds provide for the purchase of additional sewing machines for the library, as well as Arduino kits and circuitry supplies to be used in the Learning Labs. Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds are provided through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), whose mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Their grant making, policy development, and research help the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums deliver valuable programs and services to their communities.
Combined with funding from the State of Connecticut, LSTA funds support much of the crucial statewide library infrastructure that is crucial to helping our communities thrive, such as portions of iCONN research database, Connecticar vans and drivers that deliver over 3 million items annually, the Collaborative Summer Reading Program, library service for the over 7000 patrons who use the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, and project grants, such as Learning Labs, to libraries around the state.
Please contact the Blackstone Library at 203-488-1441 with any questions or to register for any of the Learning Labs programs, visit their website at

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