If the public library isn’t the first place you’d think of when contemplating where to build your first robot or create an animated film, then your idea of libraries evidently needs updating. As part of its commitment to tech training, the Brooklyn Public Library announced this week that its busy Kings Highway branch will be the site of a Best Buy Teen Tech Center, the first in New York City.
The center, which is set to open late this year, will provide teens with hands-on tech experience using up-to-date digital tools. “There will be a lot of special equipment–a recording studio, 3D printers,” said Karen Keys, coordinator of young-adult services for the Brooklyn library system. “They’ll be able to learn graphic design, website building, photography–basically everything technology-related will be something that teens can explore in that space,” she said.
The new facility will join a network of 15 other teen tech centers across the U.S. sponsored by the Minnesota-based electronics retailer. “They have this terrific model that they’ve developed for exploration and learning and creation–and of course we will put our own Brooklyn brand onto that,” said Keys. The Kings Highway branch, at 2115 Ocean Ave., was the logical place to put the new center, she said. “Kings Highway is one of our biggest branches and there’s a big teen presence. The library itself had always wanted to develop a space that was uniquely for teens.”
The teen center will advance the library’s other youth programs, which include the Brooklyn Robotics League, Teen Youth Councils and the T4 program, which has provided 1,600 teens with tech training and internships, the library stated in making the announcement.
Best Buy’s partner in funding the center is New York City-based ERI, a leading recycler of e-waste. Additionally, New York State Senator Simcha Felder secured $55,000 in state funding for the branch to complement the project.