Giving teens the space they need, at the library

Jan 22, 2014

For many teens in Alameda County, the library isn’t just a place to study, it’s become a space for them to get away from mounting pressures from school and their social lives and a place where they can just relax and be themselves. For example, Oakland teenagers can come to the Asian Branch once a week, for game day.

Anna Xu is a teen advisory member at the library. She and the teen advisory group brainstorm ways the library can help meet the teens’ needs.

“We have social parties here, we have game days, and it’s really great. We all feel like we are part of a community, no one’s excluded. It’s not like there’s just nerds coming here to read. There are different types of people.”

Jeanie Austin, the teen librarian, organizes the game days at the library. She hopes game days will change the ways teenagers are thought of in society.

“The fact that we had this group of 30 teens show up and basically run whatever’s happening, and for the most part are even tidy, is surprising in a teen. Their lives are really complex, and that they’re capable of dealing with those complexities. So just recognizing that teens have those resources, and when they’re given the space to utilize them they will.”

To hear more about game day at the Asian Branch library in Oakland, listen to the full story above.