Making and Learning

Through workshops, classes and studio time youth learn how to code, sew, design, use vinyl cutters, 3D printers, laser cutters, electronics and assorted other tools and materials to bring their ideas to life.

Our Foundation

At PVD-Young Makers, we work with ‘students’, both young and old, over extended periods of time teaching technical, artistic, and design skills while cultivating the personal attributes required for success in life. Grit, self control, empathy, problem solving, and resilience are attributes that will foster success in any pursuit. PVD-YM participants have access to Maker tools, tutors, workshops, classes and more at all 9 Providence Community Library locations & the Rhode Island Museum of Science (RIMOSA). Each of the 10 locations offer laptop computers, a range of powerful design and manufacturing software, a laser cutter/engraver, a 3D printer, vinyl cutter & heat press, electronic components (micro-controllers, breadboards, LED lights, sensors, MakeyMakey, etc…), hand and power tools, and most importantly — a team of MAKERS who are there to HELP! Continue below to see how this foundation informs our educational Philosophy of Maker Centered Learning. If you have any questions feel free to email

Our Philosophy

We use tools and technology as a platform for empowerment. Youth are encouraged to discover their passions through play. Play means having time to fiddle, tinker and experiment with materials in an encouraging environment supported by a coach. Once passions are cultivated students naturally discover their purpose and find meaningful ways to connect with community.

We believe learning takes time. We build a reflective practice in our students by emphasizing personal qualities such as grit, creativity, and empathy.

We believe students of all ages are capable of learning how to use powerful technology and materials to create. We believe in collaboration across sectors, ages and economic spectrums. The path to a better future requires collaboration and equal opportunity.

Our tag line is Make | Learn | Do.

Make (ing) is the messy part of learning. The process. The spilled paint. The crossed wires. The misused words. All the little, and big, mistakes which in the end, with persistence, patience, and a supportive community, add up to the project or the product or the experience.

Learn (ing), or learning, is the process of reflection. “We do not learn from experience, said the esteemed educational philosopher John Dewey, “We learn from reflecting on experience.” To this end students who fully engage in our program will develop portfolios to facilitate learning and reflection.

Do refers to taking action in the community. Bringing newfound skills to life with confidence purpose. This is our expectation for all our youth.

The book, Maker Centered Learning, written by the research team from Harvard’s Agency by Design, spent three years investigating making and learning across America. They concluded that enhanced agency is the primary outcome of making. Skills are acquired, but the most significant outcome is increased confidence, the ability to think for oneself.

Projects by Young Makers

Jacob & Katie's Laser Etched Dancer

Jacob & Katie were two of our first PVD-YM patrons to earn a Badge/Certification for the laser cutter at PCL –  Rochambeau Branch. Jacob & Katie are both trained Dancers, so naturally topics & themes relating to dance infiltrated their work. Despite this Project being one of their first attempts at burning “Photo-Quality” image content onto wood, the result is one of the best executed etchings I have ever seen. The differences between the lighter and darker areas are not only a result of variations in burn and texture, rather, they vary greatly in both depth and density. The combination of all these effects serve to give the dancer the appearance of being 3-Dimensional — like she could step right off the wood!

Laura's RI Earrings

Laura came in wanting to learn to make jewelry with the Laser Cutter. She made these Rhode Island earrings on her second visit!

Ronnie's Knight Armor

A sophomore, Ronnie had always wanted to learn to make traditional plate metal Armour. Here is his finished Steel & Copper helmet & prototype Steel & Leather Chest Plate.

Wyatt's Project

A 3D Printed, working scale model, of the Human Eye and the Iris.

Carla & Ellens LED Pin & Drawstring Bag

Carla, the Lead Youth Librarian at PCL – Fox Point Branch, worked with Ellen to measure, cut & sew, their very own drawstring bags. Additionally, Carla & Ellen also made the pins they are wearing. They involved soldering an LED bulb & a coin cell battery clip to the pin back; which doubles as the circuit board. When turned on the LED light blinks or flashes as you wear the pin! Click the Link Below to order your own LED Pin Kit for only $3!

Our Tools


PVD Young Makers uses a badging system to certify young makers on tools and to provide pathways towards mastery of a subject or interest.
Read more about badging

Our Locations

PVD Young Makers has locations in all 10 Libraries around the City of Providence.

View all of our locations