Wayne County Public Library has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services to establish a Technology Learning Lab for middle schoolers in the Goldsboro area. The Technology Learning Lab will provide an immersive learning experience for students to gain technology skills and concepts usable in STEM related careers, including introducing students to Artificial Intelligence (AI). This project will provide middle school students who have been traditionally underrepresented in the STEM fields access to digital content and related resources.
“AI and other emerging technologies are becoming inseparable from all facets of the human experience. It is most practical that we foster skills and desires of higher learning of these technologies in young students. This grant and partnership will do that,” said Glenn Royster, Chair of the Information System Technology Department in which the Artificial Intelligence and Automation Programming major resides.
The Technology Learning Lab will be kickstarted with a one-week Summer Innovation Lab Camp. This camp will focus on design thinking and introduce students to basic STEM technologies. Participating students will use the design thinking process to identify an issue and create a prototype solution. At the end of the camp, students will demonstrate their prototype to local entrepreneurs and educators.
“Wayne Community College is grateful to Wayne County Public Library for inviting us to collaborate on its YouTech Learning Lab Project. We are excited to contribute to building digital literacy, increasing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math competence and confidence, and introducing college and career options to middle school students,” said Dr. Patty Pfeiffer, WCC Vice President of Academic and Student Services. “The college views the project as an invaluable opportunity for all of the students who will be involved, both the middle schoolers and our college students who will be creating programming for them, and the timing is perfect with the roll-out of our new Artificial Intelligence and Automation program.”
“The camp is just the beginning,” said Assistant Library Director Maegen Wilson, “after the camp the library will continue to work with students in Information Technology, Engineering, and/or Math programs at Wayne Community College through the college’s Work Based Learning program to deliver STEM-based career exploration programming twice a month alongside library staff.”
Director Donna Phillips said, “The Library is pleased to have received this SLNC Adapts Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant award. The 45 awards, totaling nearly $1.6 million, support local library projects that target high-need communities to address digital inclusion.”
This grant is made possible by funding from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (IMLS grant number LS-250229-OLS-21).
For more information about the programs and resources offered at the Library, contact Jessica Lozano, PR Coordinator, at (919) 735-1824 ext. 5130 or email her at Jessica.Lozano@waynegov.com.