Saratoga County

Library unveils teen center

Young people ages 12 to 18 have a new space in Saratoga Springs Public Library that features six

Ashley Poulin, teen services librarian, stands last week in the teen center opened in August at the Saratoga Springs Public Library.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Ashley Poulin, teen services librarian, stands last week in the teen center opened in August at the Saratoga Springs Public Library.

Young people ages 12 to 18 have a new space in Saratoga Springs Public Library that features six computer terminals, a large flat screen television and computer games.

What had been staff offices in a large, glass-enclosed room on the library’s first floor is now the new teen center.

“It’s being used more than we really anticipated,” said library director Issac Pulver. “We are pleased.”

The library’s young adult area had been in the building’s southeast corner but was not used as much as library officials would have liked. The library is located at 49 Henry St. in downtown Saratoga Springs.

So the periodicals section, which includes newspapers and magazines, was moved from the library’s northwest corner to the southeast corner and the new teen center was created.

The teen center, which the young people will eventually name themselves, was opened on the last day of August.

“It’s busiest after school,” said Ashley Poulin, a part-time teen services librarian. “A lot of parents seem happy with it, too.”

Pulver said the key to its popularity is that the young people like Poulin and teen center librarian Trevor Oakley.

Older library patrons like the teen center because the youths who used to use the computer center on the library’s second floor now have six computer terminals and a printer of their own in the teen center.

“We have had no volume complaints yet,” Poulin said.

As Poulin talked to a reporter, one boy was playing the computer video game called Guitar Hero. The figure of a guitar player was shown on the flat screen television and the boy played a small guitar-shaped controller that was attached to the television and created music and movement on the screen.

The music, however, could not be heard outside the thick glass walls of the teen center.

On Monday, 33 youths used the teen center between 3 and 8 p.m., the hours when the center is open. On Tuesday by 5 p.m., about 20 young people had been in and out of the room.

Four people were using the room when a reporter visited. A girl and a boy appeared to be doing homework on a central table, one boy was using one of the computer terminals and one boy was playing Guitar Hero.

“It’s definitely being used,” Poulin said.

She said students come in the evening to do homework or play video games.

She said in the late afternoons as many as 18 or 19 young people may use the room, which has a capacity of 28 people.

Pulver said the former teen area in another corner of the library is getting much more use as a periodical and newspaper reading area.

“We have people in every corner of library all day long,” Pulver said.

Moving the teen center was one of the recommendations made in the library’s long-range master plan of 2006.

Putting the teen center in an enclosed area was not part of that plan but has worked nicely, Pulver said,

The teen activities librarians have a series of special programs for the young people, including things like how to write a college entrance essay. They also plan “fun” events such as computer and video game competitions and parties.

A Teen Advisory Group, which is made up of teenagers, decided what color to paint the new teen center (light blue-green) and coordinated the painting work using members of the Saratoga Springs High School honor society to do the work.

Pulver said the Friends of Saratoga Springs Public Library donated $10,000 for the teen center. This money was used to purchase the computers, the flat screen television, the more expensive video games and new furniture.

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