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April 2008

What’s New · TeenSpot

We’re thrilled to announce that TeenSpot, a department created just for teens, is open for business at the Main Library!

About the department

From its home on the second floor of the North Building, the TeenSpot offers teens a welcoming, comfortable place to hang out with their friends, work together in groups, eat, browse the department’s collection, and access a broad variety of technology resources.

The layout of the department—nearly 8,000 square feet—is the result of collaboration between architects, planners, library staff, and area teens (for more details about the planning, see the Q&A with TeenSpot’s Manager below). Here are some of the cool features you’ll find in the new department:

  • Vibrant carpeting and wall colors
  • Open floor plan with lots of natural light
  • Two study rooms that can be used by teens working and studying in small groups
  • Vending area featuring restaurant booths for eating and snacking
  • Lounge area with comfortable seating that be easily be re-arranged to accommodate teens studying, reading, or working in groups
  • Eight foot movie screen for showing movies during monthly anime club meetings
  • Large magnetic poetry board for spontaneous acts of creativity

The Collection and Technology

The TeenSpot collection reflects the broad variety of available formats for material of interest to teenagers. It includes a large selection of fiction and nonfiction, biographies, books on CD, manga, graphic novels and anime DVDs.

Two dozen computers are available for teen customers to use in the department. These computers feature a wide variety of technology and software applications, including:

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 7
  • Microsoft Office Word, Powerpoint, Access, and Publisher
  • iTunes, Windows Media Player
  • Windows Movie Maker
  • Audacity Audio Editor
  • Windows Live Messenger
  • Overdrive Media Console
  • Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing Software

All the computers also have multiple USB ports, media card readers, headphone slots and DVD/CD burners.

Q&A with teens about TeenSpot

Paula Brehm-Heeger (TeenSpot Manager) interviews Malcolm and Trent, former members of the Main Library’s Teen Advsiory Group:

Paula interviews Wendy, Annie, Jamison, and Jenna, members of the Main Library’s Teen Advsiory Group:

Paula interviews Meghan and Gabby, members of the Main Library’s Teen Advisory Group:

Q&A with Paula Brehm-Heeger

Teens were quite involved in developing the design for TeenSpot. Can you tell us a bit about that?

The planning for the TeenSpot began last spring with a series of focus groups that gave teens from various branches and neighborhoods the opportunity to provide input and ideas on the layout of the department and how things could be arranged for maximum teen comfort and use. We took general feedback from many of these focus groups back to the Main Library’s Teen Advisory Group. The Teen Advisory Board then worked with library staff and designers to make more specific decisions based on the general feedback (and their own opinions, too!). So really, the layout, colors, furniture and features of the TeenSpot are all rooted in teens’ ideas and opinions!

Name your five favorite things about the new department.

Just five?!

  • I love that this is going to be a real destination for teens. A place they can come and feel welcome. It’s true that teens will be using many areas of the Library but the TeenSpot will function as “home base” where everything—the floor plan, staff, etc.—is really focused on their needs.
  • I think the wide variety of formats attractively displayed and easily accessible in one place is going to help teens find their information easily.
  • The new computers are great! Teens will now have access to tools for schoolwork like Microsoft Office and PowerPoint, along with the ability to access their favorite websites and even iTunes!
  • The new study rooms are a very cool feature of the TeenSpot. For use only by teens (or those working directly with them) these study rooms feature clear glass walls—a few with large writeable surfaces—that allow teens a feeling of privacy for quiet group work while still providing the opportunity to be a “part of the action” of the TeenSpot.
  • The “lounge area” of the TeenSpot has got to be on my list! This is the most informal zone of the TeenSpot and will give teens a place to talk to friends, eat, and work in groups without disturbing other library users. It’s like having their own room here at the Library.

It looks like there’s going to be plenty of space for special programs and events in TeenSpot. What kind of programs do you plan to offer?

Right now we're planning to do several things on a monthly basis, including an anime club and a writing/journaling workshop. Poetry slams and weekly events will also be a part of our schedule, as will book-related activities! We are also hoping to have a monthly “guitar hero” event, too.

As President of the Young Adult Library Services Association, you recently had the honor of being a part of the Youth Media Awards announcements, often called “the Academy Awards of Young People’s Literature.” You announced the winner of the Printz, Margaret A. Edwards and Odyssey Awards Award. What was that like?

Really a once in a lifetime experience. The energy in the room is electric and it was quite a thrill to be one of only a handful of people to know the winners first thing in the morning! Announcing the titles and listening to the wildly enthusiastic response made me appreciate all the more the thousands of amazing librarians and advocates out there working every day to connect young people with the right book at the right time. It’s a great time to be a teen librarian and our commitment to serving teens in the form of the new TeenSpot will surely keep us at the top of the list of the most forward-thinking, best libraries in the country!