Press Room

A Wednesday in Teen Central

by awilliams

Teen CentralWriting workshops; graphic design software; video games; and, of course, books – all this and more is waiting for teens at the Central Library’s Teen Central, which combines the best of traditional library resources with cutting-edge technology, housed in a welcoming, vibrant space. Since opening in February 2015, Teen Central has become the go-to place for area teens to not only read and study but to also learn and use advanced digital software, explore many interests, and hang out with friends.

When Teen Central’s doors open at 9 a.m., teens are already waiting to come in. It is a popular place for teens from nearby high schools to work on homework or relax during their free periods. On the morning of Wednesday, November 4, Kiahna Morales and Diamante Gause, both seniors at Snowden International High School, are studying in Teen Central’s diner-style booths. Kiahna has checked out a laptop – one of Teen Central’s most used resources – and is working on homework for her history class. She says she and Diamante visit Teen Central every day during their free periods to do homework, use the digital lab, and play video games. In the media lounge, a colorful space decorated with vintage video games, another group of teens lounge in bean bag chairs and play NBA 2K on the two eighty-inch monitors. Teens can access over thirty different games to play on Wii U, PS4, and Xbox.

YoungWritersProgramAround 2:30 p.m., as schools are letting out, Teen Central fills up with teens from high schools all over Boston. Each month, librarians offer a number of programs, including technology workshops and author talks. At 3 p.m., librarian Anna Draves hosts the Young Writer’s Program, a weekly event during the month of November which gives teens participating in National Novel Writing Month the chance to write together and exchange tips and tricks. Jordy, a junior at Snowden International, hopes to complete one hundred pages of a horror novel by the end of the month. On this Wednesday, he is using prompt cards to help him gather ideas for his plot. Anna Draves says that the Young Writer’s Program challenges the idea that writing is a solitary activity by bringing teens together to support one another.

At 4 p.m., Teen Central’s Teen Tech Mentors arrive. The Teen Tech Mentor program encourages peer-to-peer learning by training the mentors in the Lab’s TeenTechMentorstechnology – including software for coding, graphic design, 2D animation, and creating and editing movies and music – so they can in turn teach other teens these skills. Fahad Anwar, a freshman at Boston Latin School, and Teneh Exilien, a sophomore at Boston Latin Academy, are the inaugural members of the Teen Tech program. They have completed their month-long training in the lab’s technology and are currently assisting with technology workshops including Tween Tuesdays and helping other teens on a one-on-one basis. In the spring, they will each plan and lead four technology programs of their own. As part of this paid program, Fahad and Teneh will also participate in career trainings and create a resume which highlights their work as mentors. Teneh praises the program for giving teens the opportunity to learn technology through teaching others.

“There is never a dull moment in Teen Central,” says Jessi Snow, Team Leader of Central Library’s Teen Services. “The space is buzzing with activity all day. From the media lounge to the digital lab, from our great collection of books to dedicated space for studying and hanging out, there is something for every teen.”

Ongoing and upcoming Teen Central programs and events include the Anime Society, a Cosplay Design Workshop, and an author talk with young adult author Sister Souljah.

For Teen Central’s hours, visit http://bit.ly/1jhWCON, and find the full schedule of programs via www.bpl.org/calendar.