One of the major perks for teens using my library are our study rooms. We have two of these rooms, which are nicely encased in glass and hold 4 and 6 teens respectively. They’re off limits to anyone not in the age range of 12-19 years old, so they’re a pretty prized section of the library. I have a lot of adults tell me that they “wish the library was this cool back when they were younger.”
We call them study rooms, but they’re so much more than that. Our teens have used them to work on DJ mixes, to make a hip hop album, as a place to share, and more. I encourage the teens to explore the rooms in different ways. The library is a place where magical things should happen, and these rooms, with their amazing surroundings and great view of the city, offer as much inspiration as the user wants to take from them.
However, it’s been hectic as of late. The rooms have become less about creativity, studying, and exploration and instead are now a dumping ground for backpacks and the weary high school student. There’s also this odd notion that the rooms are soundproof and that we can’t see into them, which is not the case at all. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. We do have policies/guidelines in place for how the Teen Study Rooms are managed, which are clearly posted on our site and in the library. I’ve worked hard on them for the last year and half, making sure that they’re not these stupid and unnecessary rules but instead guidelines for how to respect the space. Because that’s really what we’re here to do in teen libraries. We’re here to help teens grow into respectful and thoughtful adults.
Does your library have study rooms? If so, how are you managing them? How do you achieve a balance with the people using the rooms?