Enlightening and Inspiring Generations with Generations of Ideas

Project Next Generation: Free Humanities/Tech Program for Youth 11 - 14

The LaSalle Public Library has been awarded a grant from Project Next Generation (PNG) for youth in grades six through eight.   The grant is the vision of Illinois Secretary of State, Jesse White. 

Its focus is for public libraries to provide after-school programming that allows youth to leaern emerging technologies, and participate in an important Illinois humanities project via adult mentors. In addition to technical knowledge, the funded grant programs also strive to help participating students develop self-confidence and the ability to work both collaboratively and independently. 

This year's PNG program will allow participants to use technology to connect with the past, present and future.  In the first half of the eight-week program, youth will work as a team, as they learn the features and use of digital cameras, recording equipment and video editing technology to produce high-quality archival interviews for the Illinois Veterans History Project.  Youth will aso acquire critical skills necessary to successfully interview individuals including an understanding of question development, preparation, pacing, listening and engagement.  The 30-minute recorded interviews will be uploaded to the Illinois Veterans History Project site, and, will also become part of the Library's local history collection.

Building on both the technical and collaborative skills learned with the Illinois Veterans History Project, youth will continue to connect with the past, present and future with one of two four-week projects. One group will work collaboratively in their exploration and use of 360 degree Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality technology.  The second group will explore 3D Design and Printing including CAD software that facilitates development of CAD drawings via photogrammetry.  Both groups will create finished pieces that can be shared via community and/or classroom presentations.  

We are delighted to be collaborating with Illinois Valley Community College faculty and resources to offer youth exceptional STEM learning.

This program is open to all youth, ages 11 through 14.  Participation, however, is limited to a total of 20 students, with 10 participants in each group. There will be eight sessions in each program, meeting for two hours. Because of varying school dismissal times and travel times to the Library or IVCC, students need to be at either location between 3:30 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. to begin class time at 4:00 p.m.

Group One
Illinois Veterans History Project and 360 Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality
Mondays: 2/26, 3/5, 3/12, 3/19, 4/9, 4/16, 4/23, and 4/30. 
Classes will not meet on 2/19 or 4/2. 

Group Two
Illinois Veterans History Project and 3D Design and Printing
Thursdays: 3/1, 3/8, 3/15, 4/12, 4/19, 4/26, and 5/3
Classes will not meet on 2/22 or 4/5.

The program will also include a free field trip to Springfield, Illinois, scheduled for Saturday, April 21st.  Chaperoned, qualified, CDL transportation will be provided, as will lunch, for a visit to the Abraham Lincoln Presidental Library and Museum.  Any admission will be provided by the grant.  Details will follow. Concerns of food allergies or selection should be discussed with PNG staff before confirmation of participation.  This will be considered a "working" field trip, one in which youth will use technologies to complete aspects of their projects. 

When the programs are completed, if time permits and arrangments can be made, it would be a wonderful addition to the students' achievements, if each could make a presentation to his/her class, and/or make a community presentation, possibly to Rotary. 

There is a good deal of learning that PNG will be providing each week.  It is very important that youth, who register to participate, make the commitment to their team, to attend each of the eight after-school sessions, and to attend the field trip.  To complete registration, a student and his/her parent/guardian should contact Cristy Stupegia, Library Director, at 815-223-2341. 

This is a unique opportunity, one which we believe will offer youth a deeper understanding of Veterans and their contribution over the decades, in addition to hands-on tech learning.  More broadly, and perhaps, most valuable, participants will learn the nuances of leadership and teamwork, and gain confidence to pursue challenging goals. 

Funding for Project Next Generation was awarded bt the Illinois State Library, a Department of the Office of the Secretary of State, Jesse White, using funds provided by the U.S Institue of Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).