Midland library unveils new space made for teens, by teens

The Midland Public Library has unveiled a new space for teens to reach out to an age group that often loses touch with the local library.

The process for the new teens-only space goes back to 2018. With the help of its teen advisory group, library staff conducted a year-long consultation process, reaching out to teens to see what type of atmosphere would make the library more appealing to them.

"This is a space that is truly designed for teens, by teens," said Jennifer Paquette, the library's adult & teens services coordinator. "I just was the one who helped them along the way."

The space includes a study bar with charging ports for various devices, a big television and a Nintendo Switch. There is also a snack space, plentiful comfortable seating and a bulletin board where news about community initiatives for teens can be posted.

"A space for teens and tweens is really important because it's a space for them to be themselves and to connect with us for other community resources for youth," said Paquette.

The space was entirely designed by teens, including the selection of carpeting, artwork and various décor.

Paquette says the space was a passion project for her, seeing as this age group often loses interest in the library, thereby losing out on various vital resources available.

"When you think back to visiting the library as a child, your parents bring you, and that's when you start to use the library the most," she said. " So we knew that to keep those folks interested in lifelong learning and literacy that, we needed to have a space that could accommodate them and to help them transition into adult users and lovers of literacy and lifelong learning."