The Lab and the Life Long Learning Endeavour: Establishing Learning Environments

Sven Totté, Director for Business Area Public Library, Axiell:

Sometimes dreams come true. “Everyone” is able to construct anything computer based and reach out with their innovations to anyone in the world. And the software could come in many shapes. People build software programs to learn how to play a synth, they program the synth itself, they create a new design for a cheese cutter (with the help of a 3D printer) and may even put together a design thinking project manager software for “Change in your Neighbourhood”.

Lately it has been a much hyped activity in the libraries to establish “Maker Spaces”. We think it is a good thing that these maker spaces are not focused only on software, 3D printers, laser cutters and such. Still, being fly catchers for the tech cool community the concept is good but it can be so much broader. A lot of libraries and museums have had labs for years even before the years of computers and internet. Art museums around the world are well known having art labs for kids.

To establish a physical lab, for programming, yeast culture, knitting or poetry writing is a good thing. Most people love to develop a skill. These lifelong learning labs should be a regular and intense program activity in all kinds of libraries and museums sharing knowledge.

The libraries and museums can thereby actively support the individuals and the community in shaping and elevating the creator in all of us.

The physical lab can very well cooperate with a digital presence where the particular knowledge and progress is presented, shared and discussed. The site can have specific pages and forums for the different labs but also generic pages for different subjects. Generic subject pages can very well be produced regionally or nationally.

The labs are specifically good in creating engagement and involvement. Any attendant will probably be an ambassador for life after the one, two first sessions. It’s the most powerful marketing process.

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