Where do Beverly Hills kids go after school lets out and their parents are still at work or unable to pick them up until late in the evening?
Many of them spend the afterschool hours in the Teen Zone of the Beverly Hills Public Library, which observed the first anniversary of its expansion and renovation on Tuesday, March 19.
The schoolchildren spend their time playing video games and board games as well as doing homework on laptop computers provided by the library.
“It’s a little place for teens and tweens to hang out and talk to each other and have a good time,” said Library Services Manager Karen Buth. “It’s a place for kids to go and relax.”
Created in 2007, the Teen Zone seats an average of 20 to 25 kids daily, although it can handle 30 to 35, Buth explained.
Located at the far end of the library, beyond the check out counter, the Teen Zone is open from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. every workday except Friday, when the entire library closes at 6 p.m.
“There’s not much homework on Fridays,” Buth quipped.
But do the kids get in the way of other library patrons, especially those regulars at the reading room nearby?
“They’re not affected by the noise because the Teen Zone is a closed-off space,” Buth said.
Suzanne Raga, who grew up in Beverly Hills—she went to El Rodeo Elementary School and participated in the library's Summer Reading Program from 1995-1999—recently donated copies of a book on teens that she authored to the library.
The book’s title seems tailor-made for the Teen Zone: “You Rock! How to be a Star Student and Still Have Fun.”