“Kids come to the library to see other kids; they want to hang out, so we decided teens were going to have their own space,” related Cathy Paulsen on a recent tour of the new Teen Room, and the new Children’s Room, too. Paulson heads young adult services at the Chappaqua Library. A new Teen Room followed a strategic planning decision to meet the challenge of creating an optimal space for the pre-teens and teens who descend into library spaces after school. “There are groups of kids who come; many are middle schoolers from Bell who make heavy use of the library. I can have 200 kids here at times.”
Instrumental has been the support from Friends of the Chappaqua Library. According to Katherine Whymark, Friends’ President, “While the library was still not open to the public during the pandemic shutdown, the Teen Room approached the Friends in the fall of 2020 to complete the project with new technology… and, we said yes.” The now new and inviting space with comfortable seating comes “complete with smart boards hooked up so the kids can work on assignments,” said Paulsen.
“The smart boards we funded have already been put to great use; one is wall mounted and permanent to the Teen space,” added Whymark. “The other is mobile and can be moved and used throughout the library, by all departments.
The new space continues to evolve and may include a café’ and even one novel item: sewing machines! “Kids are really into repurposing things,” said Paulsen. We can work with WLS (the Westchester Library System), and teach them how to sew.”
The Friends funding covered $15,000 of technology for the new Teen Room, including eight new chromebooks, three drawing pads and two Google Jamboards (identical to the tools used at the middle and high school).
A new garden–located outside the room’s slider doors–drew teens planting seeds with help from staff and community garden volunteers. The kids help maintain the garden which produces potatoes, squash, flowers, cilantro, basil, parsley and more.
The Teen Room and its initiatives are just one aspect of funding from the Friends, a non-profit 501c3 group and fundraising arm of the library which generously approved over $60,000 for new furniture and technology tools for the renovated Chappaqua Library.
The Friends fundraise year-round to support initiatives for the library that are above and beyond the operating budget. The current construction has been going on since 2018, as part of the bond for all the Chappaqua School buildings. The Chappaqua Library building is a school district building, but it is run independently.
Children’s Room Highlights
The Friends’ funding has included over $35,000 for the new Children’s Room, including the custom service desk, two built-in benches, and reupholstering two couches and a chair. According to Robbin Friedman, head of children’s services: “The children’s room staff are so delighted to sit at our beautiful new service desk in our light-filled room, thanks to the Friends. With refurbished couches and a brand-new window-seat bench, we look forward to seeing the community enjoy our new space as much as we do.”
A remaining $10,000 was allocated to new study room furniture, including a conference table, eight chairs, and a glass white board. The new study room is adjacent to the new Teen Room, and the furniture is in the process of being ordered. With more and more patrons wanting to sit outdoors, the Friends also funded four new outdoor tables and 16 new chairs, along with a rented tent for the courtyard during the summer. The gated courtyard is open to all library patrons, and access is available from the library gallery.
The Daniel Silva Interview
The Friends were back to active fundraising with a first virtual author interview fundraiser. The event held July 20 featured The Cellist, Daniel Silva’s new spy novel. Ronni Diamondstein, Chappaqua Library Board President, interviewed Silva. “This opens the possibility of more virtual author fundraisers in the future, as well as hybrid events (blended virtual and in-person attendance),” said Whymark.
At press time, a pop-up book market was planned for the train parking lot in August.
The Friends Annual Book Sale is returning April 25, 2022, promising over 30 miles of used books to purchase!
The library is now open to the public Monday –Thursday, 10 a.m. – 7:30 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Come see all the new furniture and new spaces!