Because Oak Park Public Library is always working to serve our community in better ways and because many library users are between the ages of 9 and 18, the library has completed some “do-it-yourself” improvements in areas for teens and tweens in the Main Library. In December, Oak Park Public Library created a new first-floor space for tweens, kids ages 9 to 13 who are on the cusp of adolescence. In January, the library reconfigured the second-floor teen area. By moving shelves, materials and computers, adding more seating and applying fresh coats of paint, the library has created more defined and refreshed spaces for its younger customers.
The overall goal of the recent changes was better spaces for younger customers to interact in, feel proud of, and inspire a love of learning, reading and being at the library. With these low-cost changes, tweens and teens gain more seating in more defined areas, and a Teen Services librarian will staff a dedicated service desk during hours of peak use. Middle school students get more first-floor space, games, resources and choice on where to be: stay downstairs or head upstairs to the second-floor teen area. First-floor changes help direct little ones to the open, light-filled areas near the windows - perfect for our customers who need a little more room to roam and spread out.
Over the next few months, Oak Park Public Library will watch and listen closely to learn more about how these new spaces are best used to assess if additional tweaks should come.