Last weekend we celebrated the Windwitch release and Eden’s birthday in Nashville. Our posts from last Monday recounted our time spent in the Music City (here) and Susan Dennard’s Windwitch signing event at Parnassus Books. However, we wanted to do a separate post on one of the things that impressed us most about Nashville, the public library.
Now, the three of us have been pretty vocal about our book buying problems. (If you haven’t checked out our TBR shame posts check them out. Eden | Jenn | Caitlynn I wasn’t kidding. It’s a problem) However, we still appreciate libraries and all that they do for communities.
Up until traveling to libraries I have viewed them as something geared primarily towards adults. The teen and children’s sections seem small and unwelcoming in out home libraries. That is not true of Nashville’s library.
How hilarious is this section? I loved it so much I just had to take a picture of it.
The entire library was amazing. It was beautiful and huge. But, I want to focus on the Teen/Young Adult area of the library because it struck such a cord with me. It is a large are of the library devoted completely to teens. There was a sign that explained the code of conduct and listed the expectations of the library. But, there was another sign that really struck me. It stated that the Teen Center was for teens in grades 7-12 only. Adults and children are allowed to browse the books but they cannot utilize the other parts of the teen center. However, they also have a family day on Saturdays where families can enjoy the center together.
This idea made me incredibly happy. It truly is an area for the youth of Nashville to go read, do homework, and utilize their recreational time wisely. I remarked to Caitlynn that if we had an area like this in our library I would have gone to it much more frequently when I was younger.
The Nashville library has created a safe space for their teens. It is a place they can connect and be creative without feeling judge by adults. You can see this by the interaction of the teens that were present. As we were browsing a wall that held teen’s new year resolutions one of the many kids present pointed one out to us and stated that it was his. The resolutions varied greatly some were endearing others were heartbreaking and some were funny. You could tell these kids felt free to truly express themselves here.
As we continued to explore we found a variety of other awesome aspects of the teen center. They have study rooms available, a tv with new game systems, and “Studio NPL.”
The studio is amazing. It is everything I could have ever hoped for growing up. It was an area where teens are allowed to be teens, express themselves, and experiment with hobbies.
Within the studio teens have a wide variety of activities they can particpate in. These activities included STEM items like robotics and K’Nex build zone. Also present was a full music area. This area included amps, an electric guitar, drums, and microphones. Behind the “stage” area was a huge projector on which multiple kids were watching Jurassic World.
When we were exploring the library we knew we needed to make a post about this incredible area. Hopefully if more cities see the incredible space that Nashville has created. Perhaps a public outcry could motivate more public libraries to follow suit and attract the younger demographic of the city.
We have always felt that public libraries are a vital part of every community. However, we had never seen just how amazing they could be to the youth. Nashville Public Library, we would like to applaud you for being so amazing.
Do you use public libraries? If so, does your public library go above and beyond like Nashville’s?