On Friday, October 13, the Tompkins County Public Library (TCPL) unveiled its brand new teen center. After having been delayed twice, the release party was held from 5 to 7 pm with little advertisement. Although the event was not a hit, doubling as a retirement party for the library’s former director and only attracting teens from a reading group held at the same time, the library’s renovations are a major improvement for young adults.
Unlike its previous home in the back walls of the junior section, the large and open space of the teen center—formerly the adult fiction section of the library—is a separate and distinct area. Fittingly, teens on the junior library council have chosen most of the design aspects for this new center, which can be seen in the electric turquoise “feature walls” and the vibrant carpet on the floor. From the bottom to the top, the long-awaited teen center is bigger, brighter, and better. In addition, technology has been incorporated in the form of four new computers that the TCPL website claims are “loaded with software to help you with your homework assignments.”
The Young Adult books’ new home comes with choice book selections from librarians on the shelf end caps. Specially curated lists suggest favorite titles of the librarians and titles appropriate for each grade. As the opening of the new center coincided with the month of October, a section was decorated accordingly with a Halloween theme. Seasonally appropriate books have also been selected and placed on display on small shelves, much like the junior sections display for children’s books.
Behind the shelves is a small graphic fiction section and further back, a wide-open space filled with chairs and tables. Rather than the traditional library rule of silence, talking is encouraged and the space was designed so that teens can “hang out, mess around, and geek out.” Unconventional “spinny seats” ordered online by the TCPL’s teen librarian of two years, Regina DeMauro, dot the open space. Her reasoning for these fun seats is that forcibly moving the static furniture does more damage than furniture that is meant to be moved. From the teens seen spinning wildly across the room, they appear to be a big hit.
Several booths line one of the walls where teens chat and complete homework. Each booth is equipped with a wall-mounted large flat-screen television and outlets in the center of the tabletop. A small rolling shelf sits in the back left corner of the room chock-full of board games. The space encourages group meetings with rolling white boards made available to teens; DeMauro’s office is in the back where she is ready to help with any problem you may have or just to chat for a few minutes.
The library’s new teen center caters spectacularly to its teen demographic. The TCPL has rapidly expanded its teen book selections and features many new releases chosen by librarians. The teen center is both cozy and open, and provides quiet study nooks and expansive spaces for collaborating on group projects. Open until 8 pm Monday through Thursday, until 6 pm on Friday, and until 5 pm on weekends, the public library is a great place for IHS students to go when the school library is closed. The teen center is no longer a home just for bookworms, but for anyone who is looking for a place to study, play games, or hang out and socialize.