There is going to be some big changes coming this summer at the LeClaire Community Library. Thanks to grants from the Morency Family Foundation, LeClaire Chamber of Commerce, Enrich Iowa Funds, Friends of LeClaire Community Library and the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust we are totally remodeling our teen space.
While the library is open to everyone, our user base is divided primarily between two groups: adults and young children. Teens are relegated to a nook that includes books, a couch, and two computers dedicated for their use. Jennifer Velasquez wrote in American Libraries of the American Library Association (ALA) that “… a teens-only area sends the message that the library values teens by reserving a space in the library where they can take ownership.”
The library convened some focus groups with area youth and has consulted with Pleasant Valley Junior High School librarian Anita Roche to look at our space. Some of the feedback we received is that teens want both privacy and a place they can congregate with friends. They want modern furnishings, preferably with power outlets so they can plug in their devices.
The director has also spent some time at the Bettendorf Public Library’s recently remodeled teen area observing patrons and talking to staff. The kids have really taken to the new booth setup which is ideal for collaborative work. The beauty and success of Bettendorf’s teen lounge inspired us to re-evaluate our own inadequate space.
The Friends hired the nationally known firm Kimberly Bolan and Associates to redesign the teen space. Bolan recommended booth and lounge chair options, new computer tables with tabletop plug-ins for laptops, moveable room dividers, and two new shelving units on casters for greater overall flexibility. The results promise to be transformative.