By Doug Ireland
---- — SALEM — Every teenager loves to have a special place to hang out, sometimes at the local library.
Now, young people in Salem have a place of their own at Kelley Library, where the staff celebrated the opening of its new teen room yesterday. A pair of oversized scissors was used to cut a large red ribbon strung across the entrance.
What was once a drab-looking meeting room painted beige is now yellow. It’s equipped with two new computers, tables and chairs. There’s also a television, MP3 players and a PlayStation for teens who need a break from reading.
The library has expanded its collection of young adult books and audio books, according to library director Alison Baker. To top it off, new teen librarian Brittany Tuttle just started work yesterday, she said.
While the library has had a children’s room for years, teenagers needed their own place, Baker said.
Of the approximately 40 young people who use the library each day, about 20 to 25 are teenagers, she said.
“The overall goal was to make the library a little more (attractive) to all teens,” she said.
Some items, including the TV, PlayStation and shelves, were used, Baker said.
It didn’t take long for the new room to draw interest. Local teens stopped off there yesterday afternoon after school ended.
Sophia Kayanja, Andreliz Perez and Deanna O’Dwyer laughed as they enjoyed reading magazines in the teen room.
Baker said library trustees had been considering a teen room for years, but it just never happened.
Last summer, library trustee and Lions Club member Annette Cooke stepped in and suggested the library and club work together to achieve the goal.
“We felt it was a wonderful idea and decided to get behind the whole thing,” Lions Club president James Morin said.
The Lions Club donated $6,900 to help make the teen room a reality, he said.
The money was used to renovate the old meeting room, which included removing a wall and asbestos, he said. The rest was used to purchase items needed for the room.
“It ties into our mission,” Morin said.
He said one of the international service organization’s goals is to help the sight and hearing impaired. What better way to do that then help the local library, especially by provide more books and audio books, he said.
“It’s all about being involved in our community,” Morin said.