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San Diego Creative Economy: Library Filmmaking

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San Diego Creative Economy: Library Filmmaking

San Diego Public Library

Workforce and Economic Development | 2023 | Honorable Mention

Innovation Synopsis

With Media Arts Center, SDPL launched a quarterly workforce development program to train young adults age 16-30 on filmmaking. After graduating from the six-week training program students are deployed into branches to complete a paid internship program creating videos highlighting programs, capturing patron anecdotes and telling the library’s story.


Our branches need assistance capturing and communicating their story, our entry level positions have high attrition, and we have a need to support the creative economy workforce. To address these challenges, 29 interns went through the filmmaking training. Interns were selected by meeting equity based metrics, including participating in the foster system, justice involved, low income, unemployed, or residing in or attending school in a community of concern. Interns were deployed to our branches to capture and share stories.

Key Elements of Innovation

Our collaboration with Media Arts allows us to train the next generation of library workers in a documentary style of storytelling that we desperately need in our field. The program pairs the intern with a mentor in the creative economy that assists them throughout their internship with technical advice on their media projects. While in training the interns receive a stipend, transit passes, and a clothing allowance. The intern graduation includes a red carpet, film festival style screening of their documentaries.

Achieved Outcomes

31% of interns were unemployed prior to the program. 18 out of 29 interns (62%) have onboarded with the City, with another 28 students scheduled to complete the training this year. Our partners at San Diego Workforce Partnership shared that the typical training program attrition rate for our target audience is roughly 50%, so we have exceeded the local average. The last cohort survey shows 92% of interns applied a new skill and 100% reported they completed a task they could not do or could not do as well before.