Thanks to generous private donations from the Hart family; the Friends of the Orinda Library, and additional financial support from the Contra Costa County Library system, Orinda teens now have their own designated teen area.
In 2014, newly hired library staff Melanie McCallum, Teen Services Librarian, and Adriana Nino, Library Assistant, were quick to notice that library space originally designated as the Young Adult area was instead being used exclusively by adults. With help from a subcommittee of Friends they investigated other area library teen spaces, conducted research on current thinking on library services for teens, attended workshops on design of library spaces, and presented a proposal to completely overhaul the “YA corner” to make it a space that teens would be excited to use.
Recommendations from the Youth Services group of the American Library Association for teen spaces in libraries are to first recognize that twenty-first century teens have the ability to select and engage in communities of their choice based on interest and identification with cultural, social and knowledge groups. A public library must provide a space for teens that builds upon the culture and size of the local teen community and facilitates user-friendly engagement in the space. The space should:
- Reflect the communities the library serves.
- Be proportionate in size to the percentage of a community’s teen population.
- Incorporate creative design and signage to make it evident that the area is for teens.
- Contribute to a sense of teen belonging, community involvement, and library appreciation.
McCallum polled teen users and non-users of the library for their opinions and input. Their comments helped to shape the final design:
“Teens don’t want to use the teen corner when adults are there.”
“Nothing about the space is very teen. It needs a TEEN sign.”
“Very beige and bare.”
“It would be much better with comfortable chairs and sofas. Upholstered chairs in a circle with an ottoman in the center.”
“Keep colors modern…think apple store.”
“Skateboard decks hung on the wall. 3D art on the wall. Teen art!”
McCallum’s design board shows the new color scheme, themes, skateboard deck art and graphics, along with contemporary furniture. New colors, furniture, rug, art and a completely new paint color scheme will all combine to create this lively and welcoming new Teen Area.
Friends of the Orinda Library and Orinda Library staff will host an opening day party for the finished space sometime this winter 2015. The newly formed Orinda Library Teen Advisory Group will be instrumental in planning activities and programs to take place in the new space.