The space is part of NYPL’s Teens 360º Initiative, a Tisch Youth Education Program, and is the first of several teen centers opening this year
The New York Public Library (NYPL) is building on its support for the next generation of New Yorkers with the grand opening today of a dedicated teen center at its Bloomingdale branch at 150 W. 100th Street in Manhattan. The Bloomingdale Teen Center, which was funded primarily by New York City Mayor Eric Adams, is the first of several new teen centers that will open this year in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island (the boroughs served by NYPL). All of our teen centers are part of NYPL’s Teens 360º Initiative, which offers a holistic support package for teens, including academic resources and mental health support. Teens 360º is a Tisch Youth Education Program, led by Brian Bannon, the Merryl and James Tisch Director of Branch Libraries and Education.
These teen centers come at a crucial time. Many students are still struggling with learning loss and social isolation as a result of the pandemic. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released in February found that 42 percent of high school students experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness in 2021, with 22 percent considering suicide.
The afternoon event featured remarks from NYPL President Anthony Marx, Merryl and James Tisch Director of Branch Libraries and Education Brian Bannon, local teens, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, New York City Council Member Chi Ossé, Chair of the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Intergroup Relations, library staff, and community members.
After the ceremony, teens were invited to enjoy button-making and silkscreen stations, a photobooth section complete with props, and they received their very own baby plant and a free book to take home.
The newly-enhanced teen center at Bloomingdale Library is one of 14 city-funded spaces to open in 2023 (another five sites are with private partners, outlined below). Mayor Adams announced funding for these sites, and expanded support for teens across the five boroughs, late last year. Designed to offer teens welcoming and inclusive spaces that meet their educational and social needs, all of the centers will focus on interest-driven learning that supports digital literacy and technology skills, teen empowerment and civic engagement, the exploration of teen voice and social identity, mental wellness, and mentoring opportunities.
Other city-funded branches opening this spring include:
- Macomb’s Bridge Library in Harlem
- Van Cortlandt Library, Arline Schwarzman Building in the Bronx
- Mott Haven Library in the Bronx
- Parkchester Library in the Bronx
“Libraries are inherently about providing community and a safe space to access knowledge, and today we are making good on that mission for New York City’s most important asset – our young people. The new Teen Center at Bloomingdale, as well as the many Teen Centers we are slated to open this year, will give our young people a space to call their own while helping them build skills for the future. Teen Centers like Bloomingdale show exactly why public libraries matter and are an investment in our city’s future,” said NYPL President Anthony W. Marx.
“The New York Public Library has made it our mission to support the next generation of New York City leaders, and today we are taking it one step further with the grand opening of our Teen Center at Bloomingdale Library. This is a beautiful new space where teens can do homework, use our latest tech, access resources to navigate college and career choices and learn new ways to express themselves, whether that’s 3D printing or writing poetry. And of course – have lots of fun! This is the first of many teen centers the NYPL is opening this year, and we can’t wait to see what our teen patrons create in the months and years ahead,” said Brian Bannon, The New York Public Library’s Merryl and James Tisch Director of Branch Libraries and Education.
“Libraries were our rock during the height of the pandemic. Now, they play an equally-important role in fighting the learning loss our youth experienced over the last several years. The new Teen Center and others like it will carry out this critical work while providing much-needed community spaces. As New York charts a course from the depth of the pandemic to a strong recovery that invests in our youth, the public library system will continue to be the wind in our sails,” said New York City Council Member Chi Ossé, Chair of the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Intergroup Relations.
“While a City Council member, I was proud to award the Bloomingdale Branch discretionary funding for their teen center, and I’m blown away by how incredible the space is. Inclusive, state-of-the-art centers like this are what our teens need as they recover from the devastating impact of the pandemic on their educational and social development. Teens deserve dedicated spaces to further their education, celebrate themselves, and be in community with each other and mentors,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine.
“Growing up, I spent my afternoons and weekends at Morningside Heights Public Library—reading, stocking shelves with books, and helping seniors with technology. The library was a home away from home for me — a place where I learned, volunteered, and engaged with my community. I am so thrilled for the opening of this brand new, state of the art teen center at Bloomingdale Library. It will be a valuable resource and safe haven for our youth, families, and neighborhood for decades to come,” said Council Member Shaun Abreu.
In addition to the City’s support, the Library has also partnered with Google.org and the Best Buy Foundation and the Joly Family Foundation to open additional teen centers throughout the system. The spaces will offer vital resources and expanded services for young adults to build strong foundations for school and later in life.
The Best Buy Foundation has been a leading advocate for advancing digital literacy through its Best Buy Teen Tech Center Initiative. The foundation, along with former CEO Hubert Joly (a trustee of The New York Public Library) through the Joly Family Foundation, have committed $3 million in funding to open teen centers over the next two years, beginning this spring at Grand Concourse Library in the Bronx, in partnership with The Clubhouse Network, a collaboration with the MIT Media Laboratory.
The partnership with Google.org includes the development of four teen centers, which will focus on digital literacy and technology skills. The centers were funded by a $1.5 million grant from the company and will be located at the following NYPL locations:
- Bronx: Woodstock and Wakefield libraries
- Manhattan: Countee Cullen Library in Harlem (scheduled to open in later this year)
- Staten Island: West New Brighton Library
NYPL has committed to enhancing services for teens across the system, which began with the launch of expanded services at NYPL’s flagship teen center in the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL). Implementing the Library’s initiative, Teens 360º (a Tisch Youth Education Program which launched in 2021), these dedicated centers will focus on interest-driven learning and innovative programs informed by teens themselves to support digital literacy and technology skills, teen empowerment and civic engagement, the exploration of teen voice and social identity, mental wellness, and mentoring opportunities.
More information about the initiative and the programs and services created for teens is available here. Teens 360º is a Tisch Youth Education Program, led by the Merryl and James Tisch Director of Branch Libraries and Education. Major support for NYPL’s 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. Lead support for Teens 360° is provided by the City of New York. Additional support is provided by Arthur W. Koenig, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Evan R. Chesler, and Michael ByungJu Kim and the MBK Educational Foundation.
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. 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 nypl.org/support.
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