The inclusive, annual event invites teens to celebrate their diversity in a safe and welcoming environment that honors self-expression

Sweet dreams are made of this.

The New York Public Library welcomes the return of Anti-Prom, its popular annual event for teens that celebrates personal expression. Created in 2004, the program is open to young adults aged 12 – 18 and offers an inclusive, safe space for attendees to embrace their sexuality, gender identity, culture, and style of dress. Following a brief hiatus due to the pandemic, the event comes back to the iconic 42nd Street Library on June 3 from 6:30 PM to 9 PM. 

Anti-Prom—and this year’s “Sweet Dreams” theme—focuses on providing teens with a joy-filled, light-hearted opportunity to come together and celebrate their dreams for the future. The festivities include music, dancing, and reverie, followed by a fashion show featuring dream-themed creations from teen fashion designers from the High School of Fashion Industries.

“Over the past few years teens have been robbed of the ability to connect with one another and the Library is determined to disrupt this atmosphere of isolation, ushering in a new era for New York City’s kids. Anti-Prom provides them with a collaborative space that celebrates their creativity and ingenuity alongside their peers. It is an honor to welcome them back to the Library and support them with a beautiful event that embodies acceptance and community,” said Library President Anthony W. Marx.

In response to the unprecedented challenges young adults have faced, the Library has launched innovative programs informed by teens and is planning a series of new, enhanced teen centers at branches across the city. The Library opened the first of these spaces in July 2021 at its flagship Teen Center at the completely-transformed Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL) on Fifth Avenue and 40th Street. These reimagined spaces will focus on empowering teens, offering activities that support their voice and social identity, explore areas of mental wellness, drive civic engagement, and discover opportunities that enhance their growth and success after high school. 

Local branches throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island have also reintroduced on-site programming over the past year to support the neighborhoods they serve. 

As the school year draws to a close, Anti-Prom celebrates the hard work and perseverance of New York’s teens. In the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building’s grand Astor Hall, they can dance the night away with music curated by DJ Carol C, hang out with therapy animals provided by Pet Partners, and enjoy each other’s company. 

A second Bronx-based Anti-Prom will also be held at Belmont Library on Friday, August 5 from 6:30 PM to 9 PM.

Registration for the teen-only event is not required, but is recommended as space is limited. Teens can sign up to attend or learn more about the event at www.nypl.org/antiprom. Masks are also encouraged but not mandatory. 

Anti-Prom was dreamed up by a group of librarians in 2004 who wanted to create an alternative to the traditional prom experience. Eschewing dress codes or similar requirements, Anti-Prom was designed to be free of prejudice—an event where teens could have fun together, safely and honestly. 

Major support for educational programming is provided by Merryl H. and James S. Tisch. Major support for children’s and young adult programming is provided by the Andreas C. Dracopoulos Family Endowment for Young Audiences. This program is organized in collaboration with The New York Public Library and Wellcome. It is part of Mindscapes, Wellcome’s international cultural program about mental health.

About The New York Public Library
For over 125 years, The New York Public Library has been a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library receives approximately 16 million visits through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at www.nypl.org. To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at www.nypl.org/support.