Just in time for “Teen Read Week”, Evanston Public Library, located outside of Chicago, has completed a major remodeling of their teen space. Named “The Loft”, this 2000 square foot area provides a warm, friendly atmosphere where teens can gather to socialize, study, and participate in library-sponsored programs. According to Christie Chandler-Stahl, young adult librarian, the public’s response “…has been overwhelming. Teens love it, it has been busy, and we are so excited about all the opportunities it affords.”
Grand opening festivities, open only to Evanston teens, were held the weekend of September 7th. They included a performance by USA: Underage Sugar Addicts, a highly-regarded youth improv group; an Extreme Duct Tape class, where teens learned to make various objects out of duct tape; a workshop taught by Manga artist Addie Afable; a Nintendo Wii contest with the local high school superintendent; and a discussion of the city-wide reading initiative, Of Beetles and Angles: A Boy’s Remarkable Journey from a Refugee Camp to Harvard, by Mawi Asgedom.
Quite different from a traditional library setting, a portion of “The Loft” is furnished with comfy chairs and couches, where teens can relax and chat with friends. Alternately, teens looking for a place to study can make use of new computer stations and quiet study rooms. A stage, complete with spotlights, is available for poetry slams, reader’s theater productions, and open mic events. In addition to this, a cutting edge media center, used for art displays, movies, and gaming lines one wall; and in honor of this year’s “Teen Read Week” sub-theme, “LOL @ at your library ®”, humorous teen fiction and nonfiction are on display.
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