Good Neighbor Gift: Teen Center

By: Amanda Crawford Email
By: Amanda Crawford Email

There's a big room at the library in Harrisonburg that's full of junk and storage, but Clare Eiken, the Youth Director at Massanutten Regional Library, has big plans for it.

"The library isn't just a place for books," says Eiken. "It's not just a stuffy old place. It's where it's happening."

There's story time for kids and space for adults, but something is missing.

Right now if teens, or even 'tweens,' want to come to the library, they'll find their books out in the hallway, on shelves that Eiken says are filling up fast.

There's not even space for them to kick back, unless they want to join the little kids in their section.

"At that point of their age, they want to have their own space, but as a parent, you want to know they're safe, and we can provide that," explains Eiken.

That brings us back to the storage room, or as Eiken calls it, the future teen center.

"We want them to be excited and to have a sense of empowerment that they helped to make this happen, because the reason we're doing this is for them," says Eiken.

She knows that teenagers are opinionated people, and that's why she needs their help to make the teen center, not just a reality, but a success.

"They will be part of this renovation process and they will have a say in what we do," adds Eiken.

She says this project gives teens a voice in the community and a chance to leave a legacy.

"This is not just a project that's going to impact kids today," comments Eiken. "It's going to impact kids down the line. It's going to impact kids for years and years to come. It's not going to go away."

Eiken says the space they want to renovate is 3,500 square feet, handicap accessible and already meets all mandated fire codes.


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