In an effort to provide a location for local teens to gather and socialize, the Milford Public Library has created the Teen Center for youth aged 13 to 18. It is specifically designed to be a safe place for minors while also providing them with educational experiences.
“The center was developed with stations for science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics,” Peggy Tew, M.I.I.S., Assistant Director of Young Adult Services Librarian, said. “Each station includes kits that teens can choose based on interest and experience level. The kits will include makerspace (crafting), coding, 3-D design and printing, stop motion animation, mechanics, science, alternative energies, engineering and robotics. In addition to the continuous hands on learning experiences, we also offer regularly scheduled programs, including lectures by STEM professionals. Proposed lecturers will include civil engineers, biomedical engineers, network engineers, scientists and more with the intention of providing age appropriate, interactive local TED-type talks.” The center also offers career counseling, college information sessions, homework help, exam cram and FAFSA information sessions.
The Teen Center is open from 3 PM to 8 PM Monday through Friday. Ms. Tew offers one-on-one and collaborative programs on specific days during the month that are hosted by the library but may not necessarily take place in the Teen Center. Pamm Swadley, one of the Library Assistants and a retired Milford School District teacher, offers Teen Homework Help. There are also Teen and Young Adult Anime Clubs as well as Teen and Young Adult Graphic Novel Clubs.
“The Anime and Graphic Novels Clubs are an opportunity for local fans to read, watch, discuss and later create anime and/or graphic novels,” Ms. Tew said. “The anime club focuses on Japanese animation, will later move into reading Manga and eventually creating our own Manga for possible inclusion in our Teen Collection. The Graphic Novel Club is similar in that it is an opportunity for fans to read and discuss popular novels. However, our GN Clubs read more titles like Ms. Marvel, Captain America and Deadpool.” Ms. Tew said that the clubs are separated by age due to the content included in the anime and graphic novels. The Teen Clubs are based on series appropriate for teens aged 13 to 17 while the Young Adult program are centered around materials for a more mature audience who are 18 or older. Ms. Tew said that all ages are welcome in the Young Adult Clubs, whether they are “18 or 105.”
The Teen Center also offers a Robotics Club and TinkerCAD, which is a digital design tool. There is also Hour of Code which is an introduction to computer coding. The Center has a Doctor Who Fan Club, Coloring Night and movie night. The Doctor Who Fan Club watches new and classic Doctor Who episodes and then branch out into discussions about what they watched and what they would like to do next.
“Coloring night is a good night for stress relief with materials laid out in the library and anyone can join in the fun,” Ms. Tew said. “The Teen Advisory Board gives teens the opportunity to discuss issues in the library and offer suggestions to our Teen Services Librarian on what they’d like to see in the library, whether that is new books, different authors or programs. Teen Games Unplugged is really just a fancy way of saying ‘games without screens and plugs,’ or board games. This has been a surprising hit here at the library with several regular teen patrons asking for it every day.” The Teen Center also hosts Movie Nights which Ms. Tew calls “Geek Friendly,” with titles like “Dr. Strange. In October, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1” will be screened and “Vol. 2” will air in November.
Ms. Tew said that the decision to create a Teen Center at the library has been welcome in the area, providing an outlet for young people to not only stay active, but also to provide them with additional educational opportunities.
“This wouldn’t have been possible without the love and support from our wonderful community, Kay Hudson, the Library Director, and our forward-thinking Board of Directors,’ Ms. Tew said. “I want to thank all of them for helping bring this to Milford’s teen population.
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