IT'S no coincidence that Room 14, when spoken aloud, sounds an awful lot like "room for teen."
The new second-floor room at West Vancouver Memorial Library, which officially opened on March 6, was created by teens, for teens.
"It's a new space in our community where teens can create and connect," said Shannon Ozirny, head of youth services at WVML. "They can do work like putting together a digital portfolio for a university application, play around with a video they've taken on a smart phone, or simply hang out and study with friends."
To create a space that would meet the needs of its intended users, the library engaged close to 400 West Vancouver students in grades 6 to 12 through a three-phase consultation process.
First, the library conducted a survey and held focus groups and one-on-one interviews with teens.
Second, the library brought in a firm that specializes in community-led design so teens could work with artists to depict the kinds of activities they saw themselves doing in the space, as well as the look and feel of the room.
Finally, the library held a colour workshop with an interior designer for the teens to come up with their preferences for fabrics and paint.
Multi-coloured, overstuffed beanbag chairs tossed between the bookshelves and desks of Room 14 make the teen hangout look more like a cozy living space than a serious study spot.
"It's terrific that the teens are shepherding our library into a new era," said District of West Vancouver councillor and library board trustee Craig Cameron. "They have created a place, a home away from home, where they can come and gather, build their community, and build themselves."
Room 14 has five zones: a hangout area and group study area in the centre, individual study areas and computer terminals on each side, a fiction reading nook and a meeting room designed to maximize the space's natural light. The book and DVD collections, which the teens rated as their primary reason for coming to the library, are around the perimeter of the room.
There are plenty of outlets for electronic devices, free wireless Internet and computers that support digital content creation. Using software that can manipulate graphics and sounds, teens can produce materials with images and audio as well as more traditional text formats. Room 14 also lets teens showcase their digital creations on a 55-inch multifunctional monitor that can be connected to laptop or tablets.
Funding for the project was contributed by the West Vancouver Memorial Library Foundation and the District of West Vancouver.
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