From the Director - July/August 2013
Your library is constantly improving and come July, our most innovative space to date opens. Our new Teen Center on the first level at Main has created quite a buzz and received rave reviews already.
The space is a contemporary, high-tech space for teens to do, what the experts call “Hanging Out, Messing Around and Geeking Out.” Those in the know call it HoMaGo for short. Maybe it’s because we’ve all seen groups of teens, heads down, staring at their smart phones and texting the person next to them that we make assumptions that they only use technology socially and recreationally. However, three years of research by University of Southern California and University of California, Berkeley found that teens use technology for self-directed, peer to peer learning. Think about it: the online world opens up many more opportunities for teens to express themselves creatively and productively and for them to connect to others-- activities they’d be doing offline anyway. Now they can extend those friendships in deeper ways or explore interests and find information that goes beyond what they have access to locally.
In our Teen Center, we’ve designed programs and opportunities for teens to experience HoMaGo activities with the help and assistance of mentors and caring staff. We’ll encourage teens to hang out with their friends here, to tinker with new technologies or to totally geek out getting deeply involved in areas where they have an interest or talent, from filming and editing their own movies to recording music or their own original spoken word pieces.
They’ll also have a wide selection of the best books and media for teens right at their fingertips. We’ve invited partners like The Nickelodeon, IT-oLogy and Trustus Theatre to use the space and know, with their support and expertise, we’ll have a wide range of programs for teens this summer and beyond. And let me remind you that the library’s teen programs-- in the new Teen Center and in all of our locations-- are always free.
We’re excited about this space and the opportunities for out-of-school time learning the space will provide. We think that when libraries help teens connect their personal interests, peer learning and academics, we’ve created a sweet spot of meaningful learning that will make a lasting and life-long impression.
Melanie Huggins, Executive Director
I just finished: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I’m just starting: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
I can’t stop listening to: Mother by Natalie Maines
You don’t want to miss: PRESS PLAY! Teen Cinema Series: 6 p.m., Thursdays at Richland Library Main