The Labs @ Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh give teenagers in grades 6-12 an after-school space to learn and use creative digital media like camcorders, microphones, and media software.

“I see the program as an opportunity for teens to follow their interests, developing them into true talent,” says Corey Wittig, a Labs mentor and CLP digital learning librarian.

Teen library patrons can work with mentors or just experiment with Labs equipment. Starting in April 2013, the Main (Oakland) location will feature a different theme—music/audio, design, maker’s studio, and film/photo—most days of the week. The three Labs branches (Allegheny, East Liberty, and South Side) will rotate these themes monthly. Labs mentors also conduct special programs and lead teen volunteers through mentorship certification and a community project. It’s all free.

“It’s the idea of connected learning,” Wittig says, noting that teens drive the programming. “It starts with getting them engaged with a topic they’re passionate about. You need some motivation stemming from them, or it won’t work.”

The Labs are open on select weekday afternoons and evenings and Saturdays, depending on location. Visit the Labs website or any of the four Labs in person to learn more.