Ask and ye shall receive: Milton Public Library launched two new programs for area youths, “Teen Space” and “Game Gathering for Developmentally Delayed Young Adults,” last month after teens requested a place to hang out after school.
When the teens approached library director Susan Larson about a teen space, and local mother Tina Garrow said she’d like to start a game night, the library crew was all ears.
“There’s a real need for dedicated space for teens because they need to be able to talk,” Larson said. “That can disturb other people in the library; you want to create a welcoming place for them and a welcoming place for others.”
Plus, these programs help further the library’s goal to be a community space, Larson said, adding they use existing resources and bear virtually no burden on the budget.
Teen Space is offered from 3:30-5 p.m. each Monday in the community room. Miltonians ages 12-17 can drop in at their leisure to work on homework, listen to music and chat with friends in a safe, supervised setting.
“I want them to have some ownership of the space,” teen space coordinator Margery Vagt said. “I want them to feel like part of the community and to understand the community cares what they’re doing, where they are and that they’re safe.”
Eventually, Larson said she’d like to get some computers or tablets for the program, but they’d likely require grants or donations. Her dream is to acquire a ping-pong table for the young library patrons’ entertainment.
Vagt also hopes to host some events like a video game tournament in the teen space. At a past meeting, teens baked personal pumpkin pies to celebrate the holidays. But Vagt’s priority is to listen to what the teens want.
“We see this as evolving,” she said. “I’m anxious to see what the teens want from it.”
Also new last month, the library will host a monthly game night for developmentally delayed young adults. Garrow wanted a place for her son and his peers to meet after aging out of the school district, assistant MPL director Kathy Dulac said.
The idea is for developmentally delayed young adults to socialize over various card and board games.
“There’s not a lot out there for that population,” Dulac said. “To have something local for people in town just so they can be with their peers [is important].”
According to Dulac, developmentally delayed young adults often lose touch with their peers after leaving high school. Thus, the game night can help them keep in contact with friends and meet new folks. She hopes they will enjoy the program and that, in time, it will expand.
The game gathering is held the first Wednesday of each month for young adults aged 14-25, with a support person if needed.
Though both programs are in their infancy, the librarians are eager to continue growing them to meet the town’s needs, Larson said.
“One of my favorite proverbs is, ‘Do not despise the day of small beginnings,’” she said. “We’re just going to see how it goes.”