digilab-2016Bridging the Digital Divide: GVPL DigiLab program puts new technology in the hands of teens thanks to funding from United Way

Victoria, BC — Toting a tool kit of technology for teens, Greater Victoria Public Library launched a new program on Friday, February 19. The DigiLab allows teens to explore their artistic sides and try out new technologies—like filmmaking equipment—with their peers.

DigiLab programs are designed and led by teens, for teens and will move to different locations around Greater Victoria. The official launch at GVPL’s Esquimalt Branch saw five teen leaders guide 55 participants through activities with video cameras, a green screen, photo booth, button maker and craft supplies.

 DigiLab was created after a group of teens, through United Way’s Youth in Action project, approached GVPL with an idea: to develop a program in which youth lead and design activities for other youth. Thanks to funding from United Way, GVPL staff worked with the teens to choose equipment and supplies for the DigiLab kit.

“The DigiLab allows GVPL staff to put new technologies into the hands of teens at different venues around Greater Victoria,” says GVPL CEO Maureen Sawa. “Youth can use the DigiLab to explore their creativity, build leadership skills and connect with new people. The program is a great example of the ways GVPL extends the reach of the library and responds to the needs of the community.”

GVPL board chair Kevin Murdoch attended the DigiLab launch and was impressed with the teens. “These high school students asked for a technology-based program they could lead themselves, and the DigiLab is the result of their vision. They took initiative to get this program up and running and were keen to be exploring technology with friends on a Friday night.”

“Programs like Youth in Action, that are designed for youth, by youth, are needed more than ever because they give young people the chance to grow into the leaders of tomorrow,” says Patricia Jelinski, CEO at United Way Greater Victoria. “Thanks to the input and hard work of our Youth in Action participants they helped shape 10 new projects that will benefit the community now and long into the future. One such program is the DigiLab at the Greater Victoria Public Library. Not only does the DigiLab provide young people with an opportunity to generate their own art, but also a chance to lead, teach and share ideas in a supportive environment. We are pleased to be partnering on this initiative.”

Upcoming DigiLab events are posted on the GVPL website and are listed in the program guide. Registration is required for teen leader positions and to participate. Visit gvpl.ca/digilab.

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Media Contact

Jessica Woollard, Communications Officer, Greater Victoria Public Library
Office: 250-940-4875 ext. 346 Mobile: 778-679-7228 or jwoollard@gvpl.ca


Heather Skydt, Communications and Marketing Director, United Way
Office: 250-984-2269 or heather@uwgv.ca


About Greater Victoria Public Library

Greater Victoria Public Library aims to build community and support literacy and lifelong learning by providing free access to information, space, tools and expertise. GVPL provides services and collections in 10 libraries and online at www.gvpl.ca to more than 315,000 residents in 10 municipalities.

About United Way Greater Victoria

United Way “unites” the generosity of people – business, labour, government and individual donors – with the skills, knowledge and expertise in our community to help those in need. This collaborative approach is building a stronger, more resilient community to serve current and future generations.

As the region’s largest non-government funder, we assist charitable organizations by identifying and funding programs to address immediate needs and underlying causes of our community’s most pressing social challenges.

We are active in our community all year round through fundraising and community building, and provide multi-year funding to create a strong and stable network of services. For 79 years we have served this community and raised over $150 million. Our work, as a community leader, is as relevant today as it ever was. And with the ongoing support of our donors, we will continue to changes lives. Together, We Are Possibility. For more information, visit uwgv.ca.