For my community profile, I am looking at the Kensington branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. The building itself was recently designed and just built in 2012 making it the newest branch in the system. Inside the library feels modern, clean and new. The windows, high ceilings and sky light fill the space with natural light. While there is an area for teens, it is not specifically designated or marked as a “teen space”. The far side of the building (near the windows shown in the photo below) houses the YA collection, 8 YA computer terminals, and large tables and chairs with charging stations. The lower level has an impressive meeting room/ performance space where most programs are held. There was a bulletin board and flyers spread on top of a book case. I did not see any artwork or book displays designed for teens.
BPL has 60 locations. All branches are listed in a drop down menu on the homepage. You will find a page that looks like this for each location containing contact information, upcoming events and programs, neighborhood history and photos.
Specifically for teens, there is the Teen Zone www.bklynlibrary.org/teenzone. I think it may be difficult for users to find because it is somewhat hidden in the left hand side menu. On the Teen Zone you have books, websites, and homework help resources. Highlighted at the top of the page is the Ned Vizzini Annual Writing Contest and this year’s winners. Teens can find out about library programs and events and how to apply. Right now opportunities include the Brooklyn Library Youth Council , Virtual Investment Club, T4 Program, volunteer positions, and internships. Towards the bottom of the page is the Opportunities Abound link which provides more information on applying to college and financial aid as well as more programs and internships. The page is rather static and only updated occasionally. While it provides good information, I would not consider this a teen “space” where teens can connect with each other, as YALSA ‘s Call to Action Report suggests.
According to the Pew Research Center, “phones and other mobile devices have become a primary driver of teen internet use: Fully 91% of teens go online from mobile devices at least occasionally. Among these “mobile teens,” 94% go online daily or more often.” It only makes sense that the library would reach out to teens via their mobile device. BPL does have a mobile app called My BPL. It lets users explore the catalog, manage their holds and checked out items, and find basic branch information such as directions, hours, and contact information. I am unaware if many teens actually use this resource or not.
When it comes to social media, BPL now has several channels that teens can connect with tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc. There are blogs and podcasts and youtube channels. It’s surprising that with all of these networks none are specifically geared to teenagers.
Lenhart, Amanda (April 9,2015). Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015. Available at http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/09/teens-social-media-technology-2015/