In May 2015, we turned our computer lab into a teen room and we were excited! All the usual suspects were there: gaming, crafting, dry erase wall, lounge furniture, pub tables and chairs, and computers. We were averaging about 500 teens a month.
Why are we changing in just over a year? We found that our teens weren’t using the room as it was intended. Teens were using it as a hang out and hanging out is fine but when it incites fighting and bullying, we had to find a solution.
Our solution, mostly our director’s solution, was to provide a space that encouraged teens to engage in constructive activities. Simply placing Little Bits on a table was not enough to get their attention but hosting month-long workshops with Little Bits may get their attention.
So our journey began in Mid July and the makerspace is slated to open September 6th.
Month 1: Finding Furniture on a Budget.
We were given $3000 for furniture and since one table costs $3000 from Demco, we turned to Ikea and Worthington Direct. Ikea’s wood tables are pretty sturdy so that’s what we purchased from Ikea and we kept our Demco chairs from the old teen room (Always get library grade chairs).
We decided on tables, chairs, mounted iPads, and shelving to hold crafting and maker tools as our room layout. We will have raised tables for people who like to make while standing. We will have shorter tables for small groups and picnic style tables with benches.
What Equipment Should We Get?
Once again we have a modest budget of $5000 so we chose to focus on coding, 3D printing, and circuitry. Here’s our list of equipment. (Please note-we already owned a 3D printer)
We will have themed months and September is Electricity. We decided to do activities everyday to cut down on the “I am doing something” but they’re really just scribbling on a piece of paper and being loud.
Our room is called The Hive (our high school/town mascot is a bee). Our programming is called the Nectar Collective. We are planning a brochure to send to schools, we will make a monthly activities calendar to give to patrons who use the room, and we’ll get some business cards for community/school visits.
This has been a long and exhausting month. The teen room remained open and the summer reading club was in full swing during the entire planning process so that added to the pressure but my co worker and I tried to come to work with the realization that we are going to start the school year with a new room. We will be able to provide educational yet exciting programs to our teens.
Next week: Repainting the room and assembling the furniture.