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St. Paul libraries gets $100,000 national grant for digital learning lab

They St. Paul Library system is getting a national grant of $100,000 to set up a digital learning lab for middle school and high school students.

The goal of the lab: to improve digital literacy and to engage young people in hands-on learning.

The grant money is coming from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; St. Paul is one of 12 cities nationwide to get funding to plan and design learning labs.

The St. Paul Library, the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department will provide an additional $65,000 in in-kind support.

The plan is to create a learning lab in the Payne-Maryland project, (a multi-agency community center), a mobile lab and an online student network.

St. Paul Public Library Director Kit Hadley said in a statement:

“We’re thrilled to be included in this critical initiative because it will help us engage youth in our community in a way that inspires their creativity and piques their interest. Through this new model of service in partnership with Parks, we’ll be able to provide access to digital technology not only for creative expression, but also to help youth develop necessary workforce skills.”

U.S. Sen. Al Franken also weighed it:

“In order to compete for the jobs of the future, Minnesota’s children will need the best education money can buy. This funding will allow Saint Paul’s libraries and parks to create learning labs where our kids can get the skills they need to succeed in a 21st century economy.”

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