Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bean Bag Chairs Are Still In

How would you re-design the teen space in your public library?

The Washington Post home section took on the challenge for branches in Bethesda, Quince Orchard, and Chevy Chase.

There was no teen section of my library when I was fighting my way through adolescence. The kids' area was downstairs---it had one of those modern sunken reading areas; everything else was upstairs. (Including the Anne of Green Gables books and all the SF I wanted to read.) When allowed up there, I remember making a bee-line for Seventeen magazine.

Would I have hung out in a designated YA section? Maybe. For the whole cliched teen thing, I preferred buying a cherry Icee at the Family Pantry and standing there giggling over Teen Beat without buying it. The library was an alone kind of place for me. I liked being free to slink up and down the aisles and find books without the social judgment that so pervades the teen years. If I had to carry my selections to a designated shag rug and bean bag chair, I might have thought twice about what I picked out.

But libraries now are more social than ever. It's about studying together, and book clubs, and "meeting people" as one teen in the article said. As long as teens still get to be alone with a book at some point, I'm okay with that. One body to a bean bag, please!

P.S. Awesome it is. Check out the Jabba the Hutt bean bag chair. And other rejected Star Wars merchandise at Geekologie.

1 comment:

  1. It's funny because I create these types of public spaces for kids and families here at WPL, but I also always make sure there are nooks and comfortable places to hide and read because I have always been someone who prefers an out-of-the-way corner. I like libraries that do both for people--that way people who want to be introverted and people who want to be extroverted can all do their thing and be relatively happy.


R-E-S-P-E-C-T (or you will be deleted)

You can receive followup comments to this conversation by checking the "notify me" box below the comment window.