MORE THAN BOOKS AND BUILDINGS
Take the Blue Line to the 181st station. At the nearby school, 96% of students qualify for free lunch. Only half of students finish high school. Families are wrestling with poverty, limited opportunities and one of the highest violent crime rates in our community.
Just one block south, step through the glass doors and into an alternate reality. The makerspace is bustling, the energy palpable. In one corner, teens tackle homework with help from their peers. In another, a 3-D printer hums to life, powered by the imagination and newly-acquired CAD skills of a teen participant.
When the Rockwood Library Makerspace opened its doors in 2015, it brought technology and opportunity to a neighborhood often invisible to those who live further west. This library, long a haven for at-risk families, needed a safe, inviting place for teens to socialize and constructively engage with each other.
The Rockwood Library is home to Multnomah County Library's first Teen Makerspace, a new STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) lab, staffed by industry volunteers. It is a lifeline and a road forward for teens in this community, cultivating problem-solving skills, maturity, and a connection to the world beyond their front door.