Thursday, July 30, 2015

Library GrabBag: The NEW GPL TeenScene

Just a few years ago I wrote the following in a Year-End-Review for our library board:

"Once upon a time there was a Teen Room that was situated on the second floor of the Greenwood Public Library.  It was your average, every day type of Teen Room with books, tables, and colorful window decorations.  It was a good Teen Room, filled with the chorus of laughter and excitement during the after school hours when the teens magically appear.  And boy did they appear in large numbers, so large in fact that the nice sized Teen Room seemingly shrunk in size.

What if the teens were given a room of their own, away from the glaring stares of adults and the never-ending shushing of staff?  What if teens were allowed to be just that, loud, obnoxious, hilarious teens?

In a city nearby, there is a new Teen Room situated on the first floor of the Greenwood Public Library.  It is more than your average, every day type of Teen Room.  It is still filled with books, tables, and colorful window decorations.  There is still a chorus of laughter and excitement, and the teens are still magically appearing.  Boy, are they still appearing.  But this new Teen Room is special, different.

This Teen Room is a safe haven, a home away from home of many teens throughout Greenwood.  It is a place that one teen was willing to empty his bank account to save (when the library was facing financial troubles).  Staff are still learning from the "what if's" of a space just for teens.  What they've learned is that it can be a place where teens can loudly beat the Librarian during a competitive video game tournament, loudly challenge one another to an intense card game, loudly finish eminently due homework assignments, loudly attend a club or participate in a program that might have them dressing up as a zombie or racing around the room in a rolling chair, and loudly sit back and relax with their friends."

I wrote that three years ago, and we're still learning from the "what if's."  We're still mesmerized by the awesomeness of teens and how, when given the opportunity, they can and will do amazing things. The program continues to grow by leaps and bounds, but only because we have an administration that supports Teen Services, a Friends board that believes in our mission, and a community that understands the importance of libraries for all ages.  So thank you to our sponsors and staff for making our "new" Teen Room truly a place for teens (and especially for the dedicated, passionate Teen Librarians who have helped me build this thriving program: I'm talking to you Taryn, Becky, and Jessica!  It is not only a pleasure to know you, but to be inspired by you).   And thank you to our teens, especially our current Teen Advisory Board, for making what we do so much fun, for believing in service, and for bringing smiles and ideas that are infectious.

Before, it looked like a room meant for something else.  Now, there's no denying that it's a place just for teens.  A place for them to be loud, and obnoxious, and completely hilarious. [Sure, there's still a little work to do, namely actually getting a ceiling, but I just couldn't wait to share :)]

I've mentioned before that I love my job.  And let me show you why...

Before the chaos
Before the chaos
Before the chaos
The NEW Teen Scene GPL
The NEW Teen Scene GPL
The NEW Teen Scene GPL
The NEW Teen Scene GPL
The NEW Teen Scene GPL




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