An Exciting New Library For Teens
I was in the library with my children yesterday. I thought I would check out the teen room since my son is not that far from becoming a teen. Wow….how underwhelming! The adult areas were better decorated and more cheerful looking. Then, I came home and read this about the San Francisco Library. It’s a bit of a drive, but once the renovations are done I definitely plan on taking my kids to check it out!
The teen center, a lifeless space distinguished from the rest of the library by only a colorful mural and tables designated for teens, is set for an extreme makeover.
Armed with a $100,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation awarded in November, the library has chosen 17 high school students to help design and equip a center where a teen can be a teen.
Instead of an area filled merely with clunky PCs and tables where one young adult was seen knitting on a recent weekday afternoon, the teenagers envision an enclosed space where they can learn to be DJs or video editing wizards and try their hand at coding using state-of-the-art technology.
I love that they are not just adults designing for teens, but TEENS designing for teens. My teenage years were not that long ago, but the world has changed dramatically since then. My world was like the dark ages compared to the technology available today for young people to explore and learn.
Mason Michelsen, 16, said he found out about the teen advisory board through his mom. A senior at City Arts and Technology High School, Mason spent last summer as a member of the DJ Project, a nonprofit that bills itself as “a creative learning experience for the hip-hop generation.” He’s hoping the lab will contain sound and mixing equipment, and he’s willing to be a teacher.
But, ultimately, what hasn’t changed is that desire fro relationships with others our own age and with those that we can look up to–mentors! They are basing their designs and future programs on a library in Chicago.
The teens are drawn in by the opportunity to check out the cameras, design equipment and recording studios, but end up staying thanks to the mentors, according to Eshleman.
“You sort of walk in thinking a lot about the technology, and this is a digital space, but what the youth really talk about is the relationships they establish with each other and with the mentors in this space,” she said.