Skip to main content

IdeaLab Delivers Cutting-Edge Technology To Teens In Logan Heights

Teens use computers in new IdeaLab at Logan Heights library, July 29, 2019.

Photo by John Carroll

Above: Teens use computers in new IdeaLab at Logan Heights library, July 29, 2019.

Libraries are about a lot more than checking out books these days.

At the Logan Heights library, the cutting of a ribbon opened doors, literally and figuratively to a new experience, a new room filled with cutting edge technology, the David C. Copley Foundation Teen IDEALab.

Osmar Figueroa, 17, was all smiles as he looked around the room.

"The idea of making this place would be nice because more teens like us will have time to make YouTube Channels like over there, you can tell," Figueroa said.

This IdeaLab is an incubator for all sorts of ideas. Ideas these young people can work out with the latest in tech. There are sound recording booths, one for voice and instruments, another for keyboard composition and laying down a new beat.

There are two 3D printers. And there are the state-of-the-art computer stations where teens can do all sorts of things. The favorite on opening day was clearly video games.

Looking around the IdeaLab, you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s all about fun and games, but the director of the City of San Diego’s library system said it’s really about changing lives.

"These are kids in so many areas that would not, they don’t have access to this technology. They may not have this in school. They definitely don’t have it after school," said Misty Jones.

Jones said part of the reason the kids were so happy is that they had a hand in how it came together.

"They helped us design it, they told us what they wanted and we were able to deliver it," she said.

Most of the teens here are from economically challenged homes. For them, spending time in this room is fun for sure. But Jones says the bigger picture is about opening doors to avenues these kids wouldn’t have imagined possible.

"Even something as simple as playing a video game can turn into a career of developing video games. So, it’s about that exposure and exposing them to ideas that they never conceived that they’d be able to make a career of," Jones said.

One room in a branch library. As of Monday, a place for fun and games and moving forward, a place that will undoubtedly change lives.

Listen to this story by John Carroll.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.