Just in time for summer, Hillsdale Library opened its newly constructed teen space. The new space features power outlets with USB ports; a dry erase table; comfortable furniture; a collection of teen games, magazines, and graphic novels; and flexible space for future displays of artwork or other teen items.
The project was led by Hillsdale Youth Librarian Barbara H., who saw the potential for a space that could serve teens in the community. The library had inviting work and study spaces for adults, and reading and play spaces for children and families, but no welcoming areas for teens.
"We really wanted teens to know that they are a priority and part of our community,” said Barbara. “Before, all we had was a small corner with bean bag chairs. It was popular with teens after school, but the area was surrounded by children’s nonfiction books and was often in use by young children with their parents."
Library staff gathered input from teens in the community, including from students at nearby Wilson High School and Robert Gray Middle School, about what features they’d like in the space. Then, the staff worked with Hillsdale’s Teen Council — a group of teen volunteers that select programming and organize events, build teen displays and consult on decisions that affect teens using the library — to make detailed selections for furniture and carpet colors.
Staff reconfigured the area, including removing shelving, and built the teens a comfortable and flexible space to gather, read, do homework and collaborate on projects.The space complements the “teen lounge” at Gresham Library that opened in October 2017.
This summer, the new teen space will be put to good use as Hillsdale welcomes more than 40 teen volunteers to assist with the annual Summer Reading program.