A Queens library is expanding with a new teen center that is sure to keep young visitors busy throughout the year. NY1's Rocco Vertuccio filed the following report.
Cool maybe the last word that comes to mind when teenagers describe a library, but the Queens Library could soon be be the coolest place in the neighborhood.
The Cambria Heights branch is building a teen center inside as part of the library system's mission to reinvent itself as times and teens change.
"We can offer a program at 9 o'clock, 10 o'clock so we can modify our program schedule around the kids and get them off the streets and have them do something that's fun and entertaining," said Queens Library President & CEO Tom Galante.
The center will be located in a 4,000 square foot space in the library's lower level. It will feature computers and a reading lounge. And here's where the cool part comes in: A gaming area with Wii and Xbox, even a recording booth where teens will be able to record musical performances.
"This is so exciting because we have so many talented adolescents here. I mean, these are musically inclined, theatrically inclined. And they are really looking for a space to express themselves," said Pascal Hogarth of Friends of Cambria Heights Library.
And too much talking won't be a problem. The kids will be encouraged to socialize and hang out and learn at the same time.
"You can have fun while you're learning different things. You can learn how to dance. And I hope that we can introduce people to ballet," said Friends of Cambria Heights Library President Philippe Hogarth.
"It's actually gonna make more children out there, it's actually going to draw them closer to the library," said one Queens teen.
The center will also help make the library 44 percent larger. As the teens move downstairs it will create larger areas for adults and children upstairs.
Construction kicked off Friday with a ceremonial wall breaking.
The $1.3 million for the project came from City Councilman Leroy Comrie.
The center is expected to open next spring, and will break the mold for similar projects.