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Save the Earth HIVE Pop-Up San Francisco

San Francisco Public Library, CA
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Innovation Summary

SFPL collaborated with local community and media arts organizations to produce the first San Francisco Learning Network Pop-Up event, engaging hundreds of youth for 2 days of interactive digital learning activities. Fourteen partner organizations utilized the event to pilot a potential citywide HIVE learning network in the Bay Area.

Problem Statement

San Francisco Public Library was one of 12 first-round recipients of the recent Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums grants awarded by IMLS and supported by the MacArthur Foundation. While the development of a physical lab space at the SFPL Main Library was one important project objective, an equally critical goal was the creation of a citywide network of organizations working together to support the educational needs of local youth and formalize pathways of connected learning for them to follow. Like many urban centers, San Francisco has a wealth of community-based, civic, and non-profit organizations that work with youth. However, true collaboration, connection of resources, and sharing of joint outcomes that directly benefit the youth in these programs can be difficult to achieve due to a variety of factors: differing audiences, administrative/funding requirements, and the general challenges of communication across organizational boundaries. As a public library with locations in every neighborhood, an infrastructure to support resource-sharing, and many strong partnerships already in place, SFPL is uniquely positioned to facilitate the development of a citywide digital learning network that leverages the strength of each organization to advance a broader shared vision. To build interest and momentum for a potential network, SFPL proposed a pilot event that could help the partners experience the benefits and challenges of working together, while launching the network in a tangible way.


The ultimate goal in San Francisco is the building of a learning network from the ground up, creating a community dedicated to providing opportunities for interest-driven learning. Our innovative approach was to create an event that could serve both as a test for the network and a catalyst to inspire engagement around the network, involving youth and service providers in the conversation. Key steps included: • SFPL identified influential partners for the effort, including the Bay Area Video Coalition, an innovative leader in youth-driven digital media, California Academy of Sciences, and KQED, the Bay Area’s largest public television and radio station. In addition, SFPL engaged the broader community of youth-serving providers/programs such as Mozilla Hive NYC, Project Level, TILT, Type-A-Machines, Anticlockwise Arts, Children's Creativity Museum, Sunset Neighborhood Beacon Center, WritersCorps, Walt Disney Family Museum, schools, and the Public Utilities Commission. • The organizations worked together to develop goals for the event, which were both programmatic (articulating clear learning objectives for the youth participants) and organizational (testing how to collaborate to expand the scope, reach, and impact of what each partner does well already). Twenty teens from the Bay Area Youth Board were engaged to create an event theme, SAVE THE EARTH!, and promotional materials. • Logistics for the event involved transforming a locality (library interior/exterior and playground) into a digital media learning village where only space and WiFi existed before. • Putting the connect in “connected learning,” the partnering organizations developed strategies for moving youth through the activities and providing multiple digital/analog options (listed below) and ensuring that learning (and rocking out) objectives were being met, while thinking about making the world a better place.


The “Save the Earth!” HIVE SF Pop-Up achieved the following outcomes: • More than 250 youth and 14 organizations engaged in a variety of mashed-up learning activities, such as: o Claymation workshops using ipads (Children’s Creativity Museum); o Popcorn programming workshops (Mozilla HIVE NY) creating remixed videos, using a web browser to combine video and audio with open web content; o DJ skills/turntable lessons (Project Level and 106KMEL); o Digital flipbook station (Project Level); o Mobile citizen journalism lab (KQED and TILT); o 3-D printer design demonstrations (TypeA Machines) using both clay model and digital prototyping options; and o Lego prototyping station where kids could build and discuss their designs. • Technology/equipment was tested in action, and in a library environment. o 16 laptops, ipads, Xbox Kinnects, DJ turntables, a Public Address system, 3D printers, video cameras, projectors, extension cords, power strips, etc. o Digital youth journalists uploaded stories and creations live to the HIVESF “Save the Earth!” tumblr and captured other students' work through photos, sound interviews, and text. The site hosted dozens of student entries that included photos, embedded audio interviews from SoundCloud, video, text, and even Mozilla Popcorn projects. • Community buy-in was achieved. The participating organizations created and implemented engaging youth programming as a collective. A formal evaluation allowed for reflection afterward. • Momentum was created; partnerships were energized. The event, while challenging to implement, was ultimately successful in building excitement for a formal learning network and catalyzing the conversation around creating a Bay Area HIVE.