View Public Library won the 2005 Helen Putnam
Award for Excellence from the League of California
Cities for its Teen Zone, a homework center that
local teenagers helped to design.
took a dark, dingy reading room and turned it into
a bright, attractive octagonal space with a
fireplace, a teen media center, and tables for
group study, says Karin Bricker, youth services
supervising librarian. We spread iron filings
on the walls and then painted over them, so now
kids spend hours making poetry on the walls with
magnetic words. We also have a bulletin board that
displays the best local teenage art.
says that the library consulted junior high and
high school students from the very beginning,
asking for their help in planning the Teen Zone. A
teenage advisory panel meets once a month to
continue improving the center.
grant-funded teenage homework assistant helps
students with their homework in the Teen Zone,
which also has a half-time librarian assigned to
it. The library works closely with local schools,
which provide the library with current school
textbooks, so that students do not have to carry
their textbooks to the library. The library also
sponsors an inter-generational program of knitting
and crocheting and an informal teenage book club
that meet in the Teen Zone.
Teen Zone is open from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. on
weekdays during the school year and two weekday
evenings per week. It also is open on weekends.
The Teen Zone is open whenever the library is.
View is a community of 70,000 near San Jose. The
public library, founded in 1905, opened its
current facility in 1997 and has 60,000 square
feet. The Helen Putnam Award for Excellence was
established by the League of California Cities in
1982 and recognizes innovative and effective civic
programs in California 477 cities.