The Athenaeum: Teen Wing Tour

Now that the dust has settled, the grand opening is over, and we’re all moved in, I thought I’d post some pictures and give everyone a virtual tour of the Teen Wing. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s been over a year of planning, fretting, and hoping for this beautiful space to come together. The pipe bookcases, the steampunk gears, the paint…I’m in awe of how perfect this new space is. I’m also incredibly thankful to The Oregon Cultural Trust, Google, Adams Design Center, LaRoque Design Company, ย and all of our donors and community partners for making this dream a reality.


Pretty snazzy looking, huh?

There are four main areas in the Teen Space, not counting the Digital Media Lab: The New Book Display, The Study Nook, The Lounge, and The Maker Bar.

The New Book Display


This area houses our bulletin board (with event flyers and a monthly calendar, a large pipe bookcase for displaying new books, and two cozy ottomans for sitting and reading.

The Study Nook


Three desktop computers for doing homework, surfing the internet, etc. Behind them, there’s also a whiteboard for collaborative study (off camera). The YA nonfiction collection – including a number of books on college and career prep, study guides, etc. – sits below the whiteboard.

The Lounge


AKA Hangout Central. Each day after school, the teens all rush upstairs to see who gets the couchย first. ๐Ÿ™‚ It has become a favorite spot for curling up to read or for playing the new Xbox One. The couch is on casters, which makes it easy to move when we need to open up the space for programming. The lovely gate leg table behind the couch expands to seat up to six teens – which is great for playing board games, doing crafts, or group study sessions. The TV doubles as a presentation screen for guest speakers and workshop leaders.

The Maker Bar


The Maker Bar is tucked along the outside wall of the Digital Media Lab. It seats three teens comfortably and has become a popular spot for doing homework. We purchased a Scrapbox Studio Tower and filled it with art and STEM activities: LEGOS, Strawbees, jewelry making supplies, yarn, knitting needles, crochet hooks, origami paper, charcoal, sharpies, drawing paper, watercolor paints…whew. You get the idea. ๐Ÿ™‚ In hindsight, I’d probably go with a cart, rather than a tower. Sadly, despite its efficiency, it was poorly constructed and I wouldn’t recommend it to others. But it’s been a joy to watch the teens making art and experimenting with all the supplies we’ve provided.

Bonus pics!ย 


The elevator door, which is undeniably awesome.


My custom desk and the door to the Digital Media Lab.

It’s been an incredible experience to watch this room be constructed. It’s hard to believe that, a year and a half ago, it was just an idea and a design I’d created using the SweetHome 3D program. I can’t wait to start offering regular programs for the teens in this wonderful space.

Here’s to goals accomplished!

Banned Book Bash

Oh, Banned Books Week: I forgot to plan for you. Forgive me, Book Gods, for I have sinned. Consider this my confession.

Despite my lack of planning, however, I couldn’t let BBW go uncelebrated. So I decided to throw an impromptu “Banned Books Bash.”

Station 1: The Food

Additional Confession: I am a fan of terrible, obnoxious puns. So our snacks for this program were all themed around the titles of banned books: The Chocolate War, A Clockwork Orange, The Catcher & The Rye.

Punny. So very punny. I couldn’t help myself.

Station 2: Banned Book Buttons

It is a truth universally acknowledged that teens are obsessed with buttons. The button maker never fails to be a favorite at any program. So I whipped up some Banned Book Week button images, let the teens additionally design their own images using templates, and then cut them loose to create.


Station 3: Blind Date with a Banned Book/Banned Book Mugshots

Every year, I create a “Blind Date with a Banned Book” display. I wrap the library books in butcher paper, leaving only their barcodes exposed, and write the reasons each book was banned on the butcher paper. It is a HUGE attention grabber at our library. Patrons love to try and guess which books are on the display, but we don’t let them rip off the paper until they check it out. ๐Ÿ™‚

So, naturally, I moved the YA section of our display into the room for our Banned Book Bash. I also created a mugshot poster so the teens could “get caught” reading banned books.

Station 4: The Movie

I pulled three banned YA novels that had been turned into movies and let the teens vote on which movie they wanted to see. They chose The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

The teens who came had a lot of fun and it was a great opportunity to talk about censorship and intellectual freedom. I think we’ll bring this one back again next year. ๐Ÿ™‚