Volunteers create teen space at Lynn Public Library
Fourteen teens gave up a day off Monday to move furniture at the Lynn Public Library as part of the Lynn Community Association’s second annual Martin Luther King Day of Service.
“I can’t believe this day is here,” said Chief Librarian Theresa Hurley. “I have no words. The kids are absolutely fabulous.”
Hurley has been dreaming of setting up a teen room for nearly a decade. She calls the group the most underserved population in the library.
“They don’t quite fit in the children’s section and they don’t quite fit in the adult section,” she said. “But they’re our future.”
Hurley pointed to one volunteer, Stephen Chapman, 16. She said she has known him since he was a small child coming for story times and she was a branch librarian. It thrills her to know, as a teen, he has a place to go in the library, she said.
The volunteers moved bookshelves, polished furniture and re-arranged tables to create a room amid the second-floor reference section.
“We couldn’t have done this without them,” Hurley said.
Betsy Sanchez, 18, said she had no problem giving up a day off to pitch in at the library, particularly since she will use the room.
“When you come to the library you’re surrounded by other people,” she said. “Now we’ve got our own space at the library.”
Corinn Bacon, 16, admitted that she usually looks up books and information that she needs on her computer from home but, like Bacon, she likes the idea of knowing the library has a room just for them.
Hurley said the work the volunteers from RAW Arts were doing was just the beginning.
“Tomorrow it won’t be like ‘here it is,’ but it will be a start,” she said. “The area will be cordoned off and we have overstuffed bean bags, then we’ll slowly add computers and all the things they need.”
The library was just one project that volunteers tackled as part of the day of service. Community association member Jesse Jaeger said about 120 volunteers worked on nine different projects across the city.
Some of the projects included cleanups at the Ingalls and Brickett elementary schools and the YMCA, Girls Inc. volunteers painted at Lynn’s emergency shelter, Food Corps members served at My Brother’s Table, and community members put together personal care packets for patrons at My Brother’s Table and the shelter.
“Last year, we had three projects and 40 to 50 volunteers so we’ve more than doubled the effort,” Jaeger said.
During the lunch break, volunteers made their way back to Girls Inc. where they were treated to pizza and had the opportunity to watch President Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony, he added.
Jaeger called the day an all-round success and said the group is already thinking of ways to make next year even bigger.
“We’re already brainstorming what we possibly pull off for next year’s project,” he said. “We definitely want to make this an annual event.”
Click here for more great news for The Daily Item.