The new space joins dozens of new or enhanced teen centers funded by the Mayor that have opened over the past year at libraries across the five boroughs
Mayor Eric Adams and the heads of New York City’s three public libraries on Wednesday announced the opening of a new teen center in the Mott Haven Library in the Bronx. The new teen center is the result of a $15 million investment in the City’s public libraries made by Mayor Adams one year ago and is the latest of 30 dedicated teen locations that will open this year across the five boroughs thanks to city funding provided by Mayor Adams, as well as private donors.
Adams, The New York Public Library President Anthony W. Marx, Brooklyn Public Library President Linda Johnson and Queens Public Library President Dennis Walcott cut the ribbon on the new teen center along with Borough President Vanesa Gibson, and local teens at the new space.
“Investing in our city’s youth is essential to building a safer, more prosperous city, where everyone has the chance to succeed. Last year, we made a $15 million investment in our city’s public library system — helping to provide these critical support systems with the resources to thrive. The new teen center we are opening in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx today will help young people connect in person, learn new technical skills, and collaborate with one another in a safe space as they broaden their horizons. We appreciate the chance to partner with so many organizations committed to our city’s youth across all five boroughs. This is just another example of how our public and private sectors can work hand-in-hand to help young New Yorkers reach their full potential, said New York City Mayor Eric Adams.
The Library’s new teen center aligns with Mayor Adams’ goal of empowering young people in historically underserved communities. The city’s three libraries are also committed to supporting young people. Over the last year—in large part thanks to the Adams’ Administration’s historic investment—NYPL saw a 116% increase in teen program attendance and a 21% increase in the circulation of teen materials. Queens Public Library’s teen program attendance grew 176% and teen library card sign ups rose 33% between FY 23 and FY 22. Brooklyn Public Library had a 70% increase in teen internships and its teen programming attendance increased by 84% over the last year.
The grand opening party included pizza, mural painting, button making and other activities to celebrate the new, state of the art space. Mayor Adams received a tour of the space from branch staff and Bronx teens, enjoyed the Library’s new recording studio, and received a portrait drawn by Teen Ambassador Nana Adwoa Agyemang.
The New York Public Library, which serves the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, has opened a total of 19 new or newly-enhanced teen centers this year, the result of public-private support. The design and renovation of fourteen of the new teen centers were a direct result of the Mayor’s funding, which was also used to hire additional staff to support the new spaces and created 31 new jobs for teens through the Library’s new Teen Civics Ambassadors program.
Queens Public Library earlier this month opened three renovated and enhanced teen centers at Cambria Heights, Central and Flushing libraries, and a brand new teen center at Long Island City Library – modeled on its standalone teen library in Far Rockaway which opened in 2008. Each site gives teens access to a variety of tech equipment and software and offers instruction on coding, 3-D printing, podcasting, audio and visual recording, editing, beat-making, and robotics, and tech mentors provide one-on-one guidance to prepare them for the 21st century job market. An additional 13 QPL locations feature some of the new tech resources and programs to engage more young people throughout the borough. QPL also leveraged the Mayor’s investment to hire dedicated staff to guide teens as they navigate the everyday challenges of adolescence and offer new programs focused on peer-to-peer learning, mental health, college and career readiness, civic engagement, and social justice.
Brooklyn Public Library is opening three new Teen Tech Centers in Saratoga, Bay Ridge Libraries, as well as in the Adams Street Library Annex. These dedicated spaces join existing Teen Tech Centers in Kings Highway and Crown Heights Libraries, and offer teens opportunities to be creative, learn at their own pace, socialize with peers and acquire skills for everyday life. The centers also offer technology instruction and elective workshops— including web design, music, programming languages, animation, podcasting, and robotics. BPL has expanded its resources for teens with a focus on bolstering its programs across the system. Programming includes Teen Takeovers — an additional component of the library’s mayoral-funded teen initiatives. Through the program, branch teen councils plan programs for several nights throughout the school year for which library branches across Brooklyn stay open for extended hours just for teens. More than 1,400 teens have attended the program over the past year. Thanks to mayoral funding, BPL has also expanded its robotics league and teen internship programs, including Today’s Teens Tomorrow’s Techies.
All of the teen centers are designed to offer teens welcoming and inclusive spaces that meet their educational and social needs and 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.
“As a free and inclusive resource for all New York City students, it is vital that our libraries create new opportunities to engage with teens and offer greater access to tools that will help them succeed in the 21st century. But we can’t do this work alone, which is why I am so grateful to Mayor Adams for his investments to make The New York Public Library a safe space for teens to learn, explore, and grow in the 20 teen centers throughout the system. Today we celebrate with Mayor Adams the grand opening of the newest teen center funded by his Administration at our Mott Haven branch. Like the others that came before it, this teen center is equipped with creative tech tools like 3d printers and pens and digital media resources like MacBooks and iPads. It’s also a fun, inviting and relaxed space for young people to hang out, which is equally important. Thank you Mayor Adams for your commitment to supporting the next generation of New York City leaders,” said Anthony W. Marx, president of the New York Public Library.
“New York City’s libraries already offer far more than books, and now teens will have more physical spaces and programming designed to inspire, educate, and so much more. I am thrilled to see this $20 million public-private partnership come to fruition with more opportunities for skill training, civic engagement, and peer connections across the vibrant communities in all five boroughs,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer.
“The newest Teen Tech Centers will ensure even more young people have access to safe spaces where they can socialize with their peers, sharpen their digital skills and discover more about themselves and the world around them. I’m thrilled that our libraries will play an integral role in empowering the next generation of leaders, and grateful to Mayor Adams for his steadfast, generous support of teen programming across the city,” said Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO, Brooklyn Public Library.
“Teens need dedicated spaces where they can connect with peers, lean on caring adults, learn new skills, experience state-of-the-art technology, and develop their interests. We are so pleased to offer our young people new, welcoming, safe places they can call their own, and we are grateful to Mayor Adams, his administration and Google.org for funding our teen centers and for being tremendous supporters of public libraries,” said Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott.
Along with the City’s support, additional teen centers have opened at libraries throughout the five boroughs as a result of partnerships with Google.org and the Best Buy Foundation and the Joly Family Foundation. The spaces will offer vital resources and expanded services for young adults to build strong foundations for school and later in life.
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.
About Brooklyn Public Library
Brooklyn Public Library is one of the nation’s largest library systems and among New York City’s most democratic institutions. As a leader in developing modern 21st-century libraries, we provide resources to support personal advancement, foster civic literacy, and strengthen the fabric of community among the more than 2.7 million individuals who call Brooklyn home. We provide nearly 60,000 free programs a year with writers, thinkers, artists, and educators—from around the corner and around the world. And we give patrons millions of opportunities to enjoy one of life’s greatest satisfactions: the joy of a good book.
About Queens Public Library
Queens Public Library is one of the largest and busiest public library systems in the United States, dedicated to serving the most ethnically and culturally diverse area in the country. An independent, non-profit organization founded in 1896, Queens Public Library offers free access to a collection of more than 5 million books and other materials in 200 languages, technology and digital resources. Each year, the Library hosts tens of thousands of educational, cultural, and civic programs and welcomes millions of visitors through its doors. With a presence in nearly every neighborhood across the borough of Queens, the Library consists of 66 locations, including branch libraries, a Central Library, seven adult learning centers, a technology center located in the nation’s largest public housing complex, four teen centers, a standalone teen library, two bookmobiles, and a book bicycle.