Posted by: whimsicallibrarians | June 17, 2008

downUNDER teens

This summer is going to be really exciting for us here at the Branch.  We will be designing a new space for the teens who visit us after school.  Because our library is next door to a middle school there are some afternoons when we can have between 20 and 50 middle schoolers here.  They are filled with energy and can be noisy and boisterous, who wouldn’t be after spending a day in school. The library has become a place for them to kind of “crash”.  Unfortunately, we’ve had a very small space designated for them, obviously a place that couldn’t accommodate that many teens. 

We needed some type of makeover and new space.  We needed an identity and a concept for our teen area.  I had worked in the past with a designer named Peter Robinson, whose company Mildly Delirious has worked with many libraries throughout the country, helping them define their library space. I think he’s pretty brilliant. He doesn’t look at a library as an institutional place (typical library building)  but as a space that defines the community it is in.  I asked Peter if he could visit (he lives in West Palm Beach, Fl.) and he came this past winter.  He met with a group of teens, our teen librarians and some library staff.  He has helped us put together a plan for a very cool space.  We’re calling it downUNDER teens. Very appropriate since we’re going to develop the area in a large space we have downstairs. (study rooms and meeting rooms are part of the space.)

Friends of the Library, what would we do without them.  They advocate for libraries, sponsor awesome programs at libraries and fulfill wish lists and dreams of the library staff.  I am so thrilled that our Friends group has offered to pay for many of the things we are going to need for our new teen space. We are going to be meeting with a few Friends members who are going to help us reach out into the community, tap some contacts, for possible donations for the space.  We hope to have an HD TV for gaming, computers for designing newsletters, podcasts, and YOUTube productions. We’re also looking at perfectly designed furniture where teens can work together as groups, collaborating on homework assignments or other creative endeavors, and is hopefully indestructible!  I’m going to dream big and say we’d also love to have college students volunteer two or three days a week to mentor the teens and help them with the computer lab aspects of the space.

I’ll keep you posted on our progress.  Thanks Friends of the Fairfield Public Library for being so supportive and so generous!


p.s. If you’ve been following my garden exploits we are “growing” along so smoothly.  No mishaps, no animal invaders and just enough rain to make everything grow, grow, grow!



  1. Hi Nancy,

    I know you enjoyed working with Peter again – you will undoubtedly have a great teen space.

    I sure hope those folks in Connecticut appreciate how lucky they are to have you!

    All the best, Tina

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