Boston Public Library Foundation

Guest Post: How the BPL Teen Room Helped Me

by Russell Hansen

Hi, My name is John Nguyen and I wouldn’t be where I am today without the Boston Public Library.Nguyen_Vert_PhotoCreditGinaPerille

I’m a sophomore at Northeastern University, studying neuroscience on a full scholarship – a life I would never have imagined a few years ago. So before I’m swamped with midterms, I wanted to say “thank you” for the friendship that changed the life of a shy kid from Dorchester.

My parents came here from Vietnam. I grew up in Dorchester and started visiting Fields Corner branch library in sixth grade. When the books I wanted at the bookstore were too expensive, I knew I could get them at the library for free. And if they weren’t right on the shelves, I could ask for them through an interlibrary loan. When I first came to the Central Library in ninth grade, I was excited to see the Teen Room – a space dedicated to readers my age!

I began traveling to Central Library to check out books (mostly fantasy). Jessi Snow, the teen librarian, helped me find what I was looking for, and recommended many more. I’d often take home 17 books at a time! I was incredibly shy back then. But Jessi made me feel so welcome; I started talking to her about other stuff, not just books. I also began to make friends with the other “regulars” in the Teen Room. I met kids from all over Boston. The library became my second home.

I also took a free workshop in the Teen Room on prepping for the Scholastic Aptitude Test. I’m sure that helped me get into Northeastern – and receive a full scholarship, too! So I’m not exaggerating when I say that the Boston Public Library has changed my life.

But for now, please support the services for patrons of every age. Click here to give the most generous gift you can today to the Boston Public Library Foundation. Thank you!

Your friend,

John Nguyen

Photo courtesy of Gina Perille, Boston Public Library