Hi! My name is Donnie Storms, and I’m the Youth Services Supervisor at the La Plata Branch of the Charles County Public Library. If you or your parents have attended a meeting of the Charles County Commissioners recently, you might know that CCPL is currently making strides towards getting a new building for the La Plata Branch! While this project is in the VERY early stages and is still quite a few years away from being a reality, it’s never too early to start thinking about what we’d like the new library to look like! As the Youth Services Supervisor, one of my top priorities is expanding our Teen Department. Below you’ll find five things I’d like to see us include in the new library (either right away or somewhere down the line). Keep in mind, though, that all CCPL libraries are YOUR libraries! If you have ideas and things you’d like to see, you can always send us a suggestion using the form found here.
When someone says “library”, I’m sure the very first thing to come to mind is books, right? Currently, our young adult section and our juvenile literature section are right next to each other, with our teen section really only consisting of our selection of YA books and not much else. This isn’t very conducive to teens hanging out, and we WANT teens to hang out! I’d really like to devote more space to a “teens only” section, with all kinds of comfortable seating so that our teen patrons have a place to come after school or on weekends. Rather than coming into the library, finding a book or two and leaving, we’d love for our young adult patrons to stay for a while, whether they’re reading, studying, or just hanging out!
Teens Only Computers
One of the most popular things for teens to do in the library is use our computers. With free access to high speed internet, teens can often be found on our adult computers, using them to play games, watch videos, or listen to music. Of course when you come in with friends, you want to show them the hot new video you’re watching, right? Or maybe you want to discuss strategy for the online game you’re playing together. Whatever it is, it’s hard to do that when adults are trying to do work and constantly ask you to whisper. We understand that when you’re hanging out with your friends, it’s easy to lose track of the volume of your voice. So while we’re still a library, and expect reasonable indoor voices to be used, we would like to create an environment where the occasional exclamation isn’t met with angry glares from other patrons.
It might surprise you to learn that the library owns a lot of really fun electronic games! From our PS4 and Nintendo Switch, to our Pandora’s Box arcade stick and Oculus Quest, the library has made efforts to stay as close to “cutting edge” as we can when it comes to electronic entertainment. Unfortunately, because of the layout of the current branch, it’s hard to bring out our toys to share, so we only use them for specific programs. Ideally, our new branch would feature an area where we’d be able to set up our consoles during set hours and allow patrons to play games like Madden NFL, NBA 2K, and Beat Saber on any given evening.
Quiet Study Rooms
One thing that La Plata doesn’t have a lot of right now is space to study. We have some tables and a couple study carrels, but there isn’t really any place you go to escape the everyday comings and goings of the library. Maybe you and a friend need to go over your notes for the big exam coming up. Maybe you have to write a 10 page paper due in two days and you’re only on page 4. We know that for a lot of people, having absolute quiet can make or break your concentration, and in turn make or break your performance on a test or project. We’d love to provide that quiet space for individuals, pairs, and small groups!
Did you know that CCPL has recording equipment at two of its branches? We do! Our Waldorf West Branch is the home to the SOAR Innovation Space, while our P.D. Brown Memorial Branch houses our Drop the Mic Recording Studio. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could add a third branch to the list? Our Charles County teens are a creative bunch, and we’d love to give them another place to write beats, mix tracks, or even record a podcast!
These are just some of the ideas I’d like to see incorporated into our teen section in our new building. As always, though, we want to hear from you! What things would you like to see in the new library? Let us know, and maybe we can do what we do best at the library: Turn imagination into reality!