Corridor teenagers are playing an
integral part in making the Tempe Public
Library more teen-friendly.
called Teen Friends of the Tempe Public
Library was formed in early 2004 to
allow teens to contribute to the
consists of roughly 25 members, ranging
in age from 12-18. Meeting monthly, the
members brainstorm ways to improve the
library’s appeal to young people.
help in a lot of different ways, look
for ways in the community to help—a
whole variety of things in both the
library and community,” said librarian
library, which has been seen by some as
scaled to its older patrons, appears to
be benefiting from the youth injection.
Those running the library see
accommodation to the younger class as
essential, a feeling shared by the
are different from adults; we need to
accommodate teens, [make them] think of
the library as a friendly place to
come,” said O’Brien.
ultimate goal is to make the library a
veritable hotspot, somewhere teens can
go not only to research and study, but
as an alternative to the mall.
accomplish this, the group holds
projects such as book sales and a
Halloween festival, which acts as a
substitute for trick-or-treating.
Immersing themselves in all kinds of
volunteer work, the teens make their
presence known at the library.
even called upon on occasion to act as
unofficial advisors to the library’s
higher-ups. The impact is made through
their presence, making the teens
usefulness undeniable. Outsiders have
also recognized the group’s efforts, who
sing their praises.
knocked my socks off…I’m just so
impressed,” said O’Brien. “[They’re]
nothing like I was when I was a teen.”
community organizations also recognize
the teens’ efforts.
Community Council awarded its 2005 Tempe
Youth Volunteer of the Year award to
Ringness, a member and volunteer of the
library for five years.
group strives to make the library better
for the members’ peers and generations
to come, they develop personally as
they make a difference to themselves,”
said O’Brien. “[They get] a sense of
place, belonging, making a difference--a
sense of satisfaction.”
is a big part of being in the group,
which helps to attract new members, who
they are always looking for.
Membership forms are located at the
library checkout desk and in the Youth
Library. There is a membership fee of
$5, which goes towards snacks and
For more information, contact O’Brien at