May 18, 2005
For many teenagers, going to the library means being hushed by a librarian and studying on an empty stomach.
But when the Knowasis: Thunderbird Charities Teen Learning Center opens in the fall, teens won’t have to worry about being quiet or sneaking in contraband food.
Knowasis, housed in the Scottsdale Civic Center Library downtown, will be a hangout and homework area for teens.
It will operate in the former periodicals room and will offer Internet access, a plasma TV, study rooms, the library’s complete teen fiction collection, books about career and college opportunities, a lounge area, a stage for teen bands and copies of 40 teen magazines.
Teens also will be allowed to eat and drink and will not have to worry about whispering, said Medina Zick, teen coordinator for the library.
"It’s not going to be a big ‘shush’ zone," Zick said.
"It’s going to be much more relaxed."
Zick said many teens are turned off by libraries because of their food bans, which is why Knowasis will include vending machines.
"We’re all like, ‘Ooh, food,’ " she said.
"It’s a big library taboo."
The projected cost of the teen center is $570,000, so far paid for by donations and fundraising efforts.
The center is named for Thunderbird Charities, which donated about $100,000 toward construction.
On Monday, the room where Knowasis will be located was empty except for work crews.
Paint colors will vary from bright blue and green to pink. Lounge chairs will be modern, yet functional.
Many of the design and architectural decisions are being made by the library’s teen advisory board to ensure that the center will be teen friendly.
The board’s president, Jake Morgan, 16, said the center will provide an interesting space for teens.
"As a teen, you don’t want to go in youth section, where there are picture books, and you’re not sure if you want to go to the adult section, either," he said.
"(The center) will almost be like a second living room — a place where you can go and put your feet up."
He said the center won’t be like a typical library.
"The stereotype people often have of a library is of a strict librarian who demands silence — not a very friendly place," he said.
"But this is here for teens. It’s a safe place you can come and just be yourself