FRAMINGHAM – When the Christa McAuliffe branch library opened in February of 2016, one of the more popular features was a state-of-the-art teen center.
Almost seven years later, and the main Framingham Public Library on Lexington Street is getting is an upgraded and modernized teen center, too.
Thanks to the efforts of the Framingham Public Library Foundation, as well as a capital fund appropriation from the City of Framingham in fiscal year 2021, money was available for a new downtown library teen area.
Library Administration, especially the Library’s Head of Teen Experience John Garrigan, began planning for the space before the pandemic, and will celebrate the new space on Monday, January 30 at 5 p.m.
At 6 p.m. there will be the first-ever Teen Room Video Game Hangout.
“As our young patrons continue to emerge from the social-emotional challenges of the pandemic, we hope the Framingham Public Library Teen Room will provide a safe, welcoming, enriching environment for them to learn, explore, and connect,” said Library Director Lena Kilburn.
“This is a moment of celebration for our entire community who so generously supported this project. We’re so grateful to the Framingham Public Library Foundation for making this possible and seeing this through despite the pandemic. We are so thrilled to welcome our Teens to this fabulous space created especially for them.” said Kilburn to SOURCE.
“The Main Library is now has a welcoming space where sixth through 12th graders can study or hang out under staff supervision,” said Ruth Winett who is President of the Framingham Public Library Foundation. “We appreciate the generosity of the 125 supporters who over two years donated $92,000 to help build the Teen Room.”
“We also appreciate the hard work of the Foundation members and Trustees, and especially the Library staff to make the dream a reality,” said Winett, who is chair of the 12-member Library Board of Trustees. “We also thank Jim Paolini and his department for constructing this special space for teens. And of course we thank the Mayor and the City Council for allocating funds for the project.”
The Library’s Teen Room is one phase of the Main Library Space Plan, which will redesign key spaces within the building to develop spaces that meet the needs of modern library users, said Kilburn.
Phase 2 is upgrading the Technology Learning Center and the Homework Center, for students in grades K-12.
“Thanks to the community’s generous support, as well as a $150,000 earmark in the Massachusetts State Budget as requested by Senate President Karen Spilka, this new space will begin construction,” soon, said Kilburn.
The Technology Learning Center will provide a dedicated classroom and learning environment for all ages, with the goal of offering skill-based, real-world learning experiences that transform lives, said Kilburn.
In partnership with Framingham State University and others, the space will offer instructor-led classes, instruction by our professional librarians, and self-directed learning and collaboration for library users, explained Kilburn.
The Framingham Public Library Foundation is also fundraising for phase II, just like it fundraised to bring the bookmobile to the community.
A mini golf event inside the library is coming in April to raise money for the library, via the Framingham Public Library Foundation.
The new teen center at the main Framingham Library features bright colorful furniture, a gaming component, computers for students to do homework and projects, and a study room. The books in the area are centered on middle and high school interests including a section for graphic novels.
The Framingham Disability Commission recently granted the Framingham Public Library Foundation $12,000 for materials to increase access to the library and its services for all, said Framingham Disability Commission Chair Sheryl Goldstein.
“Hopefully, some of those funds can be used to benefit the Teen Center,” said Goldstein.
The Disability Commission also worked with the main Framingham Library for the ADA-compliant ramp at the Pearl Street entrance.
The public is invited to the event on Monday evening January 30. Mayor Charlie Sisitsky is expected to attend the 5 p.m. event.
Editor’s Note: In full transparency, the editor and owner of SOURCE is a vice president of the Framingham Public Library Foundation.