Advancing Digital Empowerment
of Libraries in Europe

YouLab Pistoia: the place to develop your skills!

This December, the San Giorgio Library in Pistoia hosted the inauguration of the YouLab Pistoia, that was recently renovated and equipped with new seats and tables. Spaces have been redefined so that people can have more room and move around easily and there is also more space for new innovative equipment.

YouLab Pistoia, An American Corner is a project born from the collaboration between the US Embassy in Italy and the San Giorgio Library.

American corners are spaces in local institutions, supported by the US Government, to promote intercultural understanding and knowledge development.

When it was opened in 2015, the San Giorgio Library was chosen to host this new space for innovation, which – back then – represented a new kind of American Corner, as it was the first MakerSpace created within the walls of a public library.

“A Makerspace” is where people can come and learn digital tools that will help promote critical thinking and build new skills”.

            Karen Hartman (source)

The YouLab Pistoia offers – free of charge – library users the opportunity to use new innovative technologies and resources and to join training activities, such as seminars, courses, conferences and workshops, focused on digital literacy. Furthermore, the YouLab in Pistoia wants to expand the library’s offer and provides free access to a rich set of databases.

A group of mentors, coming directly from the local community, has been created and training opportunities to children, youths and adults are being offered at the library, such as courses on website design, logo creation, social media marketing, video-editing, robotics etc.

This is a great example of how a library can be such a beautiful open space where users can improve their digital skills, and not only!

“San Giorgio Library is a model for the XXI century library. Beyond offering books, videos and other materials for its community, it also has continuing education classes for life long learning. It brings people together from all backgrounds to collaborate and learn from each other”.

Karen Hartman (source)

As said by Maria Stella Rasetti (former librarian, library director and now Head of the Culture and Traditions, Tourism and Information Technology Service at the Municipality of Pistoia), the library and its community are very proud of being part of a such an important project. “YouLab is a sign of great hope for the city of Pistoia” (source).

The ADELE partnership hopes such example could be of inspiration to other libraries in Europe. A more detailed description of the activities carried out by the San Giorgio library, together with others coming from the ADELE network, is to be included in the ADELE toolkit among the “Collection of inspiring case studies to initiate the digital transformation of libraries”.

Stay tuned!

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