Written by Francesca Del Prete & Keith Ranaldi with words from highschool students Debbie Adekunle, Richard Orellana & Andrea Gonzalez

April 13, 2020

In mid-March, just as the Covid-19 pandemic approached the United States, PVD Young Makers student interns and staff became aware of  The Uncensored Library,  Reporters Without Borders’ “attempt to circumvent censorship in countries without freedom of the press”.  This project proved how liberating technology can be for humanity and that we too could be a part of the movement.

Weeks later, during our times of social distancing, PVD Young Makers staff and interns came together to recreate the sense of belonging we experience weekly in Providence Community Library locations.  We embarked on a mission to keep in contact with each other and library patrons by creating a new way to meet up, share ideas and make progress together. 

Debbie Adekunle, PVD Young Makers Intern and Classical High School Junior says: 

“This project is important because it will eventually allow us to connect with our PVD Young Makers (students) and provide a resource that is both intellectual and helpful with connecting with friends and families we can’t see during these trying times. It can also be an escape from this tough reality for many students or the highlight of their days because right now their days are basically online school and interacting with the same people.”

Welcome to PVD Young Makers Minecraft Realm- a place where we build together, create weekly design prompts, share notes and express our personal styles through original architecture.

Shown here are two of PCL’s neighborhood libraries: Washington Park Library and Olneyville Library.  Inside of Olneyville Library (right), PVD Young Makers Intern & Freshman at Classical High School, Richard Orellana, built a makerspace that accurately represents Olneyville’s makerspace in real-life- fully equipped with tool cabinets, storage closet, and even a 3D printer.

“I think the best part is that there is basically no learning curve.  You can kind of just do anything you dream of. Of course, there are still little tricks and optimizations and stuff, but none of it is necessary to enjoy the game.”  Richard Orellana

A huge shout out to Richard from the PVD Young Makers Staff! Richard spent time educating our staff on how to play the game via Google Hangouts- he also provided us links with resources to learn more.  We are extremely excited to experience intergenerational learning within this game as us adults learn more and more from our tech-savvy youth. 

Another shout out to Andrea Gonzalez for reminding us to stay kind and positive during these times. Click here for a tour of her latest creation.

Andrea Gonzalez, PVD Young Makers Intern and Providence Classical High School Senior created “Rainbow Kindness Tower”- a place where staff and interns can share their favorite music, spawn (breed) their favorite animal, and write what we love about each other.

When asked, “Why is this project important?” Andrea wrote: 

“As PVD Young Makers, we are always focusing on personalized learning. We have been with our students for so long, they have become family to us. Some of the kids that come to the libraries don’t have as many activities at home, they have their best friends in the library, and they have trusted adults as well as teens that they can talk to when they are sad. As an educator and a friend, I miss my students, I care for them and wish we could all be learning and doing activities together again. 

I think this will be a wonderful opportunity, since not only will we be able to teach in new ways, but we will also encourage them to enjoy a new way of learning while having a lot of fun. The Minecraft community is quite popular in the libraries and I think we will all grow together and get through this.”

More on The Process

IT Director David Sok and Assistant Mike Crispino moderate PCL’s Minecraft Realm (minecraft.provcomlib.org) and created an option to warp to a PVD Young Makers Realm (/warp PVDYM). Creating this Minecraft realm requires constant troubleshooting and we are lucky to have these two techies on our team!

PVD Young Makers staff Francesca DelPrete and Keith Ranaldi will continue meeting weekly with PVD Young Makers interns to show how we can utilize this world to tell our story and connect with community members during times of social distancing.  

This article is meant to showcase our work in progress and most importantly share student voices. We hope to be able to share more with the public as we move through the design process.

Stay tuned for more updates on how our Minecraft Realm grows!