With the exploding popularity of young adult fiction like "Twilight" and "The Hunger Games," it’s not surprising that libraries are reaching out in new ways to their teenage patrons. The St. Louis County Library has created teen centers at five local branches: Cliff Cave, Daniel Boone, Indian Trails, Natural Bridge, and Tesson Ferry. The library has plans for teen centers at five additional branches as well.
“Teen centers are areas set apart within a library branch designed to help teens feel comfortable and welcomed," said Jennifer McBride, communications manager for the St. Louis County Library. "The areas feature unique furniture, bright paint, video games, computers, books, magazines, DVDs and CDs.”
Teenagers at local branches serve on Teen Advisory Groups that help select colors and furnishings as well as local branch activities geared specifically to teens.
You can’t miss the teen center at the Daniel Boone Branch with its purple and lime-green walls, lava lamps and funky seating. Teens can surf the web from the center’s computers, study at the diner-style seating, or just chill on a beanbag chair listening to an audiobook on the built-in CD players. The center is stocked with all kinds of media for teens--books, magazines, video games, music, DVDs, and audiobooks. The teen center has two computers (and there are plenty more located throughout the library), and librarians are nearby to help and answer questions.
The Indian Trails Teen Space is likewise well-equipped. It includes books and other media, two computers, a Game Cube with a good selection of games, and a huge selection of magazines (I counted 38)--everything from Teen Vogue to Spin to Cicada. The Indian Trails Teen Space is separated from the main library area by a glass wall. Both centers had plenty of teens hanging out reading, surfing the web, listening to music on headphones, or lounging on beanbag chairs with books.
As for Lauren, she wishes she would have known about the teen centers when she was a bit younger and before she could drive, she said. "I would have liked to go there with my best friend because it would have been a fun place to hang out with the books, magazines and computers."
Natural Bridge Branch
7606 Natural Bridge Road
St. Louis, MO 63121
Daniel Boone Branch
300 Clarkson Road
Ellisville, MO 63011
Tesson Ferry Branch
9920 Lin-Ferry Drive
St. Louis, MO 63123
Shannon Moore and her family have lived in a number of different cities throughout the U.S. but calls St. Louis home. With five children between the ages of 20 and 7, she values activities that can span a wide range of ages and interests. She loves reading and is a faithful fan of the library’s summer reading program. A stay-at-home mom for 20 years, Shannon now teaches writing at St. Charles Community College. She is a freelance writer and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Shannon blogs about childrens' books at www.greatbooksforchildren.com. Contact Shannon.From the calendar