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Public Library

Legler Benbough Teen IDEA Lab

IDEA Lab logo

Legler Benbough Teen IDEA Lab
Valencia Park/Malcolm X Branch Library
5148 Market Street San Diego, CA 92114
Phone: 619-527-3431


Current Hours

Monday & Tuesday

2:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Wednesday & Thursday

2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Patrons over the age if 18 must call or email in advance to schedule an appointment.


Offering advanced technology and training programs for teens ages 12 to 18. The Legler Benbough Teen IDEA Lab is located inside the Valencia Park/Malcolm X Branch Library.
IDEA stands for innovation and digital expression activity. This space is designed to provide youth with the opportunity to build 21st century job skills. 
Adult hours reservations can be made by contacting the Library.

Multimedia Lab

iMac computers in the Legler Benbough Teen IDEA Lab

Multimedia Lab
Workstations with Adobe Creative Cloud. Photoshop to edit photographs, Premiere Pro to edit videos, Illustrator for vector graphic design, and much more.
iMac Workstations
Windows Computers
Wacom Tablets
Green Screen
JVC 4K Camera Recorder
Adobe Creative Cloud Suite

Recording Studio

Recording studio at the Legler Benbough Teen IDEA Lab

Record at the Library
Use our recording studio to record your band, make electronic music, or record podcasts.
iMac Computer
MIDI Keyboard
Logic Pro X
Adobe Premier
Garage Band
Pro Tools


Makerspace at the Legler Benbough Teen IDEA Lab

Collaborative Space for Makers
Imagine, design and fabricate almost anything with our makerspace equipment.
Sawgrass 1000 Dye Sublimation Printer
LulzBot TAZ Workhorse 3D Printer
Silhouette Die Cutting Machines
Heat Press
Button Maker
Brother Sewing Machine


About the IDEA Lab

Legler Benbough Idea Lab Ribbon Cutting CeremonyThe Legler Benbough Teen IDEA Lab is a multimedia center where youth can learn new skills in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) in a safe, welcoming and collaborative environment. During open hours, dedicated staff are available to assist teens using the advanced equipment.
Educational programs will be offered in collaboration with partners Admit One College Prep, the LEAGUE of Amazing Programmers, FAB LAB, Media Arts Center San Diego and Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego.
Funding for the project was provided through a combination of private donations and public funding. Working with the San Diego Public Library Foundation, local non-profit the Legler Benbough Foundation invested $1 million to create the teen technology lab, fitting with the organization’s mission to improve the quality of life for San Diegans.
This project is also funded with $500,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to the City of San Diego, in addition to PEG (public, educational and governmental) cable television franchise fees.

Lab Policy

Teens ages 12 to 18 are welcome any time during open hours. A library card is not required. Lab resources and programs will be offered for adults during specified dates and times.
Food is not allowed but drinks are permitted in covered containers. We encourage respect of the equipment, staff and one another. We have zero tolerance for theft, vandalism, violence, profanity and illegal activity. Violations of our library Rules of Conduct could result in having lab privileges revoked.
Photo of Apple iMac computers inside the Legler Benbough Teen IDEA Lab at the Valencia Park/Malcolm X Library.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is an IDEA Lab?
IDEA is an acronym for Innovate, Discover, Experience, and Achieve. The purpose of SDPL’s IDEA Labs are to inspire interest in science, technology, design, and 21st century skills in those who visit one of our makerspaces. A library makerspace gives community members access to tools, technology, and social connections that may not be easily accessible otherwise.
Who can use the IDEA Lab?
The Legler Benbough IDEA Lab is intended for teens ages 12 to 18. Lab resources and programs will be offered for adults during specified dates and times.
Do I need a library card?
A library card is not required to use the IDEA Lab.
What resources do you offer?
We have a recording studio, 3D printers, recording studio, a die cut machine, and iMac computers.
How much does it cost to use the equipment?
We provide filament, vinyl, and other materials for equipment use free of charge. Patrons are welcome to bring their own materials.
Do you offer tours or class visits for the IDEA Lab?
We encourage tours and class visits to the IDEA Lab. Class visits are by appointment only and can be made two weeks in advance. Students must have library cards to use the equipment. Call 619-527-3431 for more information.

Volunteer Opportunities

Anyone interested in volunteering for IDEA Lab Teen Council can contact staff for details.
For volunteer opportunities at other library locations, please click here.
Photo of two children playing video game inside the Legler Benbough Teen IDEA Lab at the Valencia Park/Malcolm X Library.


The following technology software resources list is compiled to provide you with suggestions for web-based, downloadable, open source, freeware and low-cost software to use on your personal devices.

Open Source 3D Modeling Software

AutoDesk Fusion 360 - 3D CAD, CAM, and CAE tool. It connects your entire product development process in a single cloud-based platform that works on both Mac & PC.
Blender - Home of the Blender project - Free and Open 3D Creation Software.
Design Spark - Resources & tools to aid engineers in design process.
OnShape - CAD system. Eliminates design gridlock & helps engineers do their best work.
OpenSCAD - Create solid 3D CAD objects. Available for Linux/UNIX, MS Windows/Mac OS X.
Sculptris - Sculpting software program, focus on the concept of modeling clay.
SketchUp - 3D modeling software that's easy to learn and incredibly fun to use.
Thingiverse - Download files and build them with your laser cutter, 3D printer, or CNC.
TinkerCAD - 3D CAD design tool. Quickly turn ideas into a CAD model for a 3D printer.

3D Splicing Software for Printing

Simplify3D - Compatible with hundreds of 3D printers. See videos.
MakerBot Print - Free software to prepare, manage, and share 3D prints.
Ultimaker Cura - Ultimaker Cura prepares your model for 3D printing.

Open Source Electronic Prototyping

Arduino - Enabling users to create interactive electronic object.

Computer Programming

Code Academy - An online freemium interactive platform that offers free coding classes in 12 different programming languages (Python, Java, JavaScript, Ruby, SQL, and Sass, markup languages HTML and CSS).
Hopscotch - An app that helps people learn how to code through a visual language. Optimized for coding games. The programming language centers around "blocks" that you drag and drop to build routines.
Raspberry Pi - A tiny and affordable computer. Learn programming.
Scratch - Create your own interactive stories, games, & animations.

Web Development

CodePen - A social development environment. Allows you to write code in the browser, and see the results of it as you build. A useful and liberating tool for developers of any skill, and particularly empowering for people learning to code. Focusing on front-end languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and preprocessing syntaxes that turn into those things.
Coffeecup - Responsive Web Design Tools and HTML Software.
W3Schools - A web developers site, with tutorials and references on web development languages (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, SQL, Python, W3.CSS, and Bootstrap), covering most aspects of web programming.

Free Graphic Design Software

GIMP - A free and open-source raster graphics editor used for image retouching and editing, free-form drawing, converting between different image formats, and more specialized tasks.
Inkscape - Professional quality vector graphics software (Linux, Mac OS X & Windows).
Krita - Raster graphics editor, designed primarily for digital painting & animation.
Silhouette Studio - Design & send to Silhouette electronic cutting machine.

Open Source Video Editors

DaVinci Resolve - Professional offline and online editing, color correction, audio post production and now visual effects.
Lightworks - Professional non-linear editing system for editing and mastering digital video in vari-ous formats, including 2K and 4K resolutions, and television in PAL, NTSC, and high-definition formats.
Shotcut - Cross-platform video editor for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Photo Editors

Adobe Photoshop Express Editor - Get all the essential tools, including Lightroom and Photoshop, for crafting incredible images every day.
Fotor - Free online designer and editing tool catering to all your photographic and image creation needs! Add filters, frames, text, stickers and more.
GIMP - Free and open-source raster graphics editor used for image retouching and editing, free-form drawing, converting between different image formats, and more specialized tasks.
Pixlr Editor - A free robust browser photo editor. Have full control over your images, including layers and effects.

Free CNC Milling Software

Easel - 3D Carving Made Easy. Design, import, and carve for free from a single program with Easel.

Project Ideas & Resources

Instructables - Learn how to make anything with Instructables. Easy to follow step-by-step instructions, online classes, and a vibrant maker community.
Inventables Projects - Inventables: the hardware store for designers. We help designers buy the products they need.
MAKE - Celebrates your right to tweak, hack, and bend any technology to your will.