Saratoga Library debuts new $60,000 teen area

November 17, 2009 — by Kevin Mu

Dozens of Saratogans gathered in the Saratoga Library on Nov. 3 to celebrate the opening of a newly renovated teen center.

The new center, located in the adult section of the library, boasts all new furniture, including distinctive desks and tables, swivel chairs and red leather sofas. Its $60,000 cost was funded entirely by the Friends of the Saratoga Library (FSL), a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the Saratoga Library.

To thank the Friends of the Saratoga Libraries, the library held an official ribbon-cutting in the new teen center, where FSL members and librarians expressed their care for the community’s youth.

Community librarian Barbara Williams addressed the kids, saying, “We [librarians] may tell you to be quiet, and we may tell you to get your feet off the furniture, but we love you and that’s why [this center] is here.”

Saratoga mayor Chuck Page also gave a speech and presided over the ribbon-cutting.

“The center is great,” said Page. “Before this, teens never had a place in the library where they could really gather after school, so it’s good that we now have an area for teens designed by teens.”

Page also hopes that the new center will attract more teens to the library.

“The library is a great resource, but unfortunately people rarely use it,” he said. “Getting a library card opens up so many possibilities.”

According to Williams, a change was necessary because the library’s original teen center was too small to accommodate the large number of teens and preteens who flood the library every day after school. That change has been met with the collaborative efforts from FSL, librarians and teens from the community as well.

The teen advisory board, a group of Saratoga teens that offers a younger perspective on library issues, also worked with FSL in starting the project and choosing the furniture.

“[The center] really marks a place for teens to go,” said advisory board member Tara Fatemi, a senior. According to Fatemi, new carpets will also be installed in the future to give the center a more distinctive personality.

Fortunately, these individuals’ hard work has paid off in full—the center has drawn overwhelmingly positive feedback.

Junior Alison Shen visits the library occasionally and was pleasantly surprised when she saw the changes. “I worked there and it was a big improvement over what the library originally had,” Shen said. “I think it’s going to be my new spot to read when I come here.”

Those in charge of the project were also ecstatic with the final results.

“I’m really pleased with the results,” said Williams. “I know that a lot of middle schoolers who come here aren’t necessarily here to study, but for students who want to study, this center provides an environment to do so. And I’m hoping we can help a lot of kids to utilize the library to its full extent.”

Terrie Creamer, the president of FSL, also felt the cost of the project was well worth the money spent

“I think it’s gorgeous,” Creamer said. “I would love to come here and just curl up on the sofa with a book.”

Besides accommodating the large number of youth, the library’s other main goal in creating the new center was to spread its myriad of resources out into the community.

“We wanted to build this new center to promote information literacy, whether it be voter literacy or media literacy or parent literacy,” Williams said. “The library is the center of our community, and by improving it we are making our society better as well.”

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