Library Teen Space Reopening!

Library Teen Space Reopening!

by Ethan Atwell

If you have a teen and are trying to find something for them to do during these cold days, then look no further than Ames Public Library. The Library officially opened The Teen Space with limited hours in January after more than a year and a half being closed! The current hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays 3:30-6pm and Saturdays 1-6pm. As the teen librarian, I am excited to be offering such an amazing resource for our teens and the opportunity to interact with them. And the rest of the Library is equally excited!

The Teen Space is open to all 6th-12th graders and always has a youth services staff member present. Teens are able to hang out, play video games, work on homework, and more in the Teen Space. Adults and parents are welcome to check in on their teen for a couple of minutes while they use the space. The time teens can spend in the space is great for building social connections and making friends.

The staff are another essential part of the Teen Space. We make sure the space is clean and safe for all teens. We are able to help with research for a school project or finding their next great read. We can also assist teens in connecting with community resources and groups. Our wealth of knowledge is at the disposal of any teen who enters into the Teen Space.

In addition to the open hours mentioned above, there are other programs and events for teens in the Library.  Every Thursday afternoon is a dedicated video game time in the Teen Space. Teen Videogames features different consoles made available for use without having to check them out. Some of the most popular games are Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart, and Just Dance. As time goes on there is the potential to provide VR and different experiences for teens.

One Friday a month there is a Teen Anime Club. We watch a couple of episodes of one anime series each meetup. All the series shown are rated TV-G or TV-14 so they are appropriate for teens. Materials and books are provided for anyone who wants to practice drawing anime or manga. Teens are also free to discuss anything related to anime or manga, like favorite series, movies, characters, and such.

I also host a monthly Tuesday Teen Maker Challenge. During these challenges the teens test their skills in engineering, logic, drawing, painting, or science. These are drop-in opportunities, and teens can leave once they finish. Supplies are provided for each challenge and fun is guaranteed.

Teens can volunteer in two capacities at the Library. The first is shelving. These volunteers help assure library materials return to their correct location so they can be found later on. This volunteer opportunity is a great way to learn the inner workings of a library.

The second is as part of the Library’s Teen Advisory Group (TAG). TAG works with the teen librarian to decide on programs and events and then plan them. One recent TAG events was the Zero Waste & Sustainability Panel Discussion in November. It was incredible to hear from local experts on the topic. If you know a teen--or are a teen--who is interested in volunteering at the Library, then feel free to connect them with me via email at

As the year goes on keep an eye on the Library’s website and social media pages. It is there that you can learn when the Teen Space will open for more hours and more programs. APL is excited to be offering a dedicated space, programming, and staff for the teens in our community.

We hope to see you and all your teens in the coming weeks!