Library looks to add niche just for teenagers 

Local teens will soon have a dedicated home away from home at the main library.

Library Director Dave Genesy has been pushing for three years to create a space for the 100 or more teens who visit the library every day. The Redwood City Council voted unanimously Monday to approve renovations on the second floor of the library, which will include an area for teens, as well as a new space for the literacy-based Project READ anda new section where locals can learn how to become U.S. citizens.

The plan comes on the heels of renovations in other parts of the library, including a new children’s center that opened last November. Since the center reopened, attendance among young children and their families has increased 25 percent, according to Genesy.

Teens, meanwhile, have no place where they can be, well, teens.

"They want some place they can hang out with their friends and not have to worry about making too much noise — some place dedicated to them," said Chuck Ashton, youth services manager for the library.

Redwood City-based Kastrop Group won the $66,500 contract to finalize designs and prepare blueprints for the second-floor update. The renovations, which should get under way sometime this summer and take roughly a month to complete, also include a renovation of the building’s heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system and the addition of 50 new Internet stations for teens and for Project READ’s patrons.

Adding computers is crucial — the second floor’s 30 stations are constantly used from the time the library opens in the morning until it closes at night, Genesy said.

Updated facilities will also be a boon for Project READ, which sees up to 500 students each month whose ages range from young children to locals in their 80s, according to its director, Kathleen Endaya. Because so many of the program’s tutors are teenagers, having the teen area next to the literacy center creates a natural flow for visitors in both areas.

Endaya is looking forward to seeing the second floor get the kind of beautification treatment that has drawn so many new patrons to the children’s area and other parts of the library.

"This library has a very welcoming and warm feeling, and we want to build on that and promote it," Endaya said. "It’s going to be a very busy learning environment for all ages."

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Beth Winegarner

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