When we completed renovation and expansion of the Patten Free Library in 1998, public libraries rarely provided separate spaces for teens. In the past twenty years, books and other library materials written expressly for 13-to-18-year-olds have proliferated and collaborative learning has become part of schoolcurricula at all levels. Today, librarians, educators and other experts recognize that dedicated library spaces for teens are critical to their emotional, social and intellectual development.
Starting in 2014, Scattergood Design collaborated with the Library to create a distinctive Teen Area without expanding the building, in a section of the existing Non-Fiction stacks. Offering a range of seating, study and “maker” spaces, the space features a two-story “pilot house” study carrel that recalls the tradition of ships constructed downriver at Bath Ironworks. With floor-to-ceiling glass partitions and suspended fabric “fireflies” for acoustic absorption, the space is used for a variety of programs, including films and music. Renovations also enhanced the adjacent casual reading area and created a new, flexible service desk and group study room in the Reference Room.