Tigard Library organizes new Teen Scene


Courtesy of Lisa Elliott

The Teen Library Council celebrates in the freshly painted alcove of the library’s new “Teen Scene.” The Council was involved in making the Teen Scene a reality.

By James Favot, Copy Editor

     Whether students are looking for a place to study or simply relax outside of school hours, the Tigard Library’s newly made “Teen Scene” offers something for everyone.

     Lisa Elliott heads the library’s Young Adult program as well as the Teen Library Council, a group of student volunteers who meet monthly to assist in library work and offer feedback on decisions being made in the library.

     Elliott had had the idea of creating a new, separate space for teens in the library for several years. The upstairs area previously shared between teens and adults proved to be problematic due to the noise level.

     “Even when they’re studying, teens can be really social,” Elliott said. “We wanted them to have a space where it was possible to do that.” Her goal is to allow teens to comfortably socialize and interact in the library without bothering other patrons looking for some quiet time.

     Until last December the library wasn’t able to allocate the funds needed to make her dream come true. But with the help of a recent lump sum, Elliott’s proposal was finally accepted and the work to create the new teen space (out of an already existing room in the library) began earlier this year in spring.

     Elliott says the activity in the Teen Scene downstairs shouldn’t distract too much from the environment of the rest of the library.

     “There’s still going to be quiet areas for people to study, and we [have] set up the room in a way that will welcome study groups,” Elliott said. In redoing the teen area, the library also made an effort to give the space a more distinct visual aesthetic that catered more toward adolescents.

     The work that went into creating the Teen Scene consisted mostly of relocating bookshelves and moving computers and tables into the room, but a reorganized environment isn’t the only thing new to the Teen Scene. Elliott hopes this place will become a sort of community center for teens.

     “I want teens to feel like this is their third space,” Elliott said. “They have school, they have home, and they have here.” To help support this vision, the library added new furniture, board games, TVs, and gaming consoles with the extra money.

     Additionally, the Teen Scene includes computers and study tables reserved for teens, as well as an alcove on the side of the room which was repainted and converted into an area for studying and relaxing.

     The Teen Library Council was involved in much of the brainstorming and creative input regarding the Teen Scene. Senior Luc Ta, president of the Teen Library Council, feels that the library has been receptive to their voices and gave an example of how the library has reached out to groups in the community to make the Teen Scene an enjoyable space for everyone.

     “We want to have students from IB Art Seminar or the National Art Honor Society come in and paint the walls of the new section,” Ta said. “We want to have teen community members add their art to the room.” The library also met with Key Club members in the summer to ask for their feedback on what could be done with the teen space.

     Sophomore Carter Halstead joined the Teen Library Council five months ago, just before summer started. Halstead is excited to see the Teen Scene evolve over time as the finishing touches are made.

     “I love that it’s a very welcoming environment,” Halstead said. “It just makes me want to be there.” Most of all, he loves how the area is open and spacious yet still provides adequate privacy for teens to be themselves.

     Ta says collaborating with so many people to make the Teen Scene a reality is just one of the reasons he volunteers to give back to the library.

     “The library has been close to my heart,” Ta said, noting that he has used the library ever since he was a kid. “I like that I’m making a tangible difference.” He appreciates the work that has been done so far to turn the Teen Scene into an accommodating environment.

     Halstead agrees, adding that volunteering with the library has been a great way for him to get to know many people.

     “There’s all these different people from different walks of life coming together for the greater good of helping out in the library,” Halstead said.

     Elliott hopes the Teen Scene will bring a renewed appreciation to the services offered by the library.

     “I just want them to know that this is a space that welcomes them,” Elliott said. “It’s a space where they’re safe, and where they can find the resources they need.”

     The library has always been a valuable resource to all students, but Elliott is most excited to see the Teen Scene buzzing with new activity over the next year.