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 is 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 with few resources for young people. This library, long a haven for families facing barriers, needed a safe, inviting place for teens to socialize and engage and learn with each other.
The Rockwood Library is home to Multnomah County Library's first Makerspace, a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) lab staffed by industry volunteers. It is a lifeline and a road forward for teens in this community, giving each one the opportunity to cultivate problem-solving skills, maturity, and a connection to the world beyond their front door. In the years to come, our library will have eight additional STEAM makerspaces, made possible by gifts to The Library Foundation.