By LESLIE COLLINS
September 5, 2012
Thanks to a grant through the Library Services and Technology Act, the North-East Public Library will soon be adding computers to its teen section.
Kansas City Public Libraries received a $4,454 technology mini grant, which will be used to purchase eight public access computers to be used in the teen areas at the Trails West and North-East branches.
“It’s a pretty big deal,” said Meghann Henry, youth services librarian at North-East Public Library. “Currently, we have computers for 12 and under and we have computers for adults, but in the community we serve, so many people need to use the computers for job applications, for searching the Internet for health and wellness and all these other important needs.
“And the teens want to use it for social media and for talking to friends, so giving them that space will give relief to the adults, so they can focus on the work they’re doing on the computers and won’t be upset when the teens are on the computers on facebook or playing video games.”
North-East library will receive two to four computers at the end of this year, and adding the computers will further the library’s goal of creating a space just for teens, Henry said. If funding is secured, the library would also like to add additional furniture in the teen section, like bean bags, couches and rugs, and spruce up the teen section with colorful paint and artwork.
It’s all about creating a welcoming space for teens, she said. A number of teens already hang out at the library on a daily basis after school, Henry explained.
Other goals for the teen area include offering more programming geared toward that age group and allowing teens to use the library’s Flip video cameras to create movies.
“It’s integral to the mission of the library to provide a safe space for teens to hang out and to provide them access to information,” Henry said. “To know where and how to access information is crucial to their futures and the futures of our community, too.
“Maybe they’re not using the computers for research every day, but being here lets them know they have access to it when they need it or want it.”