What is your role in Teen Central?
When teens come in to the space and are interested in making something, my role is to help them access and understand the technology that will allow them to do that. Traditionally, people came to libraries to learn through reading; now, a big part of learning is doing. Because computers are such a large part of our world, teens need to understand how to create things with technology to succeed in college and jobs. The Teen Central Lab has free technology that many teens don’t have access to otherwise, and we can show them how to explore and use it.
What technologies are in the Teen Central Lab?
The Lab has all the tools a professional designer uses in the workplace to create digital artwork, including the latest versions of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. There are tools for web design, coding, and 2D animation as well, including Flash and Fireworks. For teens who want to make movies we have Final Cut Pro, which is used by professionals in the movie making industry. We also have GarageBand and FL Studio, two great programs for recording and mixing music. Teens can also use 3D design software and then print their creation with the MakerBot 3D printer.
What technology-themed programs do you offer in Teen Central?
We offer classes on all of these technologies. The Teen Librarians are also on hand whenever a teen comes in and wants to learn and explore. We are responsive to what teens are interested in and build programs based on that. Technology is constantly changing, and when new products and programs arise, we will provide access to those technologies and hold programs to help teens learn how to use them.
Every teen is unique, and Teen Central has something for everyone. We’ve had kids come in who are taking college classes in graphic design and need to use the Lab for homework, while some just want to learn how to use the technology in general. Others have a YouTube channel and they use our camera to create a video and then edit it with our software. Some work with Anime Studio to make their own manga. Teens also come to check out laptops to browse the internet or do homework. They hang out with friends, play video games, and watch movies in the media lounge. We also have quiet spaces for teens who want to read or study. Teen Central is their home away from home.
What has most surprised you about the public’s reaction to Teen Central?
Teens get excited about the potential for what they can do here. Teen Central is not only a beautiful space but it’s also a useful space. Teens can create things and share what they’ve made. They have the freedom to explore books and technology. Teen Central can support any teen’s interests.