Archived Story

Teens dig new hangout at library

Published 11:08am Wednesday, October 16, 2013 Updated 11:09am Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Local teens have a new hangout in Fergus Falls: The teen area at the Fergus Falls Public Library, complete with some new comfy chairs and tables.

“Our space before wasn’t really a space,” said Arielle Krohn, youth librarian. “It’s not a huge space, but it’s a space for them.”

The library held a ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday afternoon to officially welcome the four chairs, a couple tables and new book shelves housing the young adult materials.

The space is reserved for teens after 3 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.

“It creates a space for them to call their own,” Krohn said. “Teens don’t necessarily want to sit in the children’s section or with the adults.”

A few of the library’s NINJAS, the teen advisory group, helped with the ribbon cutting and said their thank-yous during the presentation.

“I really like the furniture, and it’s really comfortable,” said Mary Grotberg, 13.

Krohn has already seen many teens use the space to do homework, read or just work together.

“A lot more comfortable, that’s for sure,” said Dawson Rodriguez, 13. “And it’s not as crowded. It definitely makes reading books or roaming around the library a lot easier for us teens.”

NINJAS has had different names in the past, but the goal has always been the same.

“Teens to come to the library, to work together to try to make it a better place for themselves and for their peers,” Krohn said.

The teen space was donated by the Fergus Falls Noon Kiwanis, in memory of Merald Enstad, a longtime Kiwanis member who passed away in August 2012. Enstad’s granddaughter uses the library with her children.

Chad Miller, past Noon Kiwanis president, was tasked with finding the next big project for the group to fund. He contacted Library Director Erin Smith because he knew that’s where he wanted to do something. It fits well with what Noon Kiwanis strives to accomplish.

“Our goal is to help the children of the world,” Miller said.

Reading and the library is really a powerful tool to do that, he said.

Miller loves seeing the new teen space. From what it was before, just a couple of bookcases, teens can work collaboratively together.

“I think it’s just a much more conducive and inviting place to sit,” Miller said.

Back in April, the Fergus Falls City Council approved an interest-free loan of $9,000 to the Fergus Falls Noon Kiwanis to pay for the library’s new furniture. Noon Kiwanis will fund the project through donations.

In February, the Noon Kiwanis Board unanimously approved a contribution of $9,000 to the library, conditional on the acquisition of financing to fund this gift. The group has committed $3,000 for three years to the project. The funds come from Noon Kiwanis fundraisers, with the biggest one being its pancake feed.

Improving the library’s teen area began with the creation of the library’s teen advisory group NINJAS, which formed in 2011. The teens in the group expressed discontent with the lack of comfortable seating and appropriate shelving for the library’s collection of teen materials.

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