Teen room opens at Norway library

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NORWAY — The new teen room at the Norway Memorial Library opened Friday with scores of teenagers, adults, music, food and a lot of ideas for creating a room where teenagers can comfortably study and socialize after school.

“It’s cool. I think it’s a good idea,” said Ian Allen, a freshman at the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School whose mom told him to stop by during the grand opening.

The idea for the teen room came out of a teen summit several years ago where students expressed the need for a room that they could go to. With space available in the downstairs of the library and a desire to have the older students who converged on the first floor of the library after school have a space of their own, library officials went to work.

With a $10,000 grant from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, work commenced to transform a downstairs room that was used for storage and meetings into the teen room that will provide space for teenagers to study and socialize after school, said Allison Rosenblatt, head of teen library services.

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Library Director Ann Siekman said the money was used to totally revamp the room including, repainting and new lights. The group hopes to buy comfortable chairs and other furniture for the students to relax in.

“We’ll take it one step at a time and get the kids involved,” she said.

Jamie Buckley, a ninth-grade student at the high school, sat with friends and classmates Dana Murphy and Valleri Keene listening to several performers Friday.

“It’s really good,” Buckley said. “We’ll come everyday.”

The room will be open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 2 to 5 p.m. for students in grades 7 through 12.

While the room has not been named yet, posters have been placed on the walls asking for student input into what type of programming the young people would like to see.

“I’m really excited to see what they’ll come up with,” said Rosenblatt.

Ruby DayBranch, another high school student and performer at the grand opening, said, “I want people to make groups and come together about what they are passionate about.”

For her, DayBranch said she would like to see a songwriting group.

ldixon@sunjournal.com

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