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The Underground

Louisville Free Public Library

Innovation Leader: Peter Howard, Teen Services Supervisor, peter.howard@lfpl.org

Problem Statement

How can LFPL reach more teens and meet their need for homework help, access to technology and a safe place to gather with friends?

Innovation

Create a state of the art teen center in space remodeled as a result of the 2009 flood. The Underground is a safe haven for teens ages 12-19 to access library resources and includes:

  • A modern design with dynamic color scheme
  • Comfortable seating and accent lighting that provide a fun, laid-back vibe
  • Flexible meeting space for programs, homework help, and socializing
  • A collection of print and audio resources, including graphic novels and Manga and Playaways
  • Touch screen computers with web cams and other technology
  • Imaginative programming around education, reading, technology and creativity
  • Exhibit space for teen generated artwork

Progress

  • An average of over 100 teen patrons a day, up from approximately 25 before the Underground
  • A diverse representation of many races and cultures including African-American, Somali, Afghani, western African, Hispanic, and Iranian
  • Students come from public, private, and home schools
  • Activities including crafts, trivia quizzes, puzzles, board games, electronic gaming, celebration of world cultures, ACT prep, and job searching
  • A sense of community for teens that includes adults they respect
  • Pride and ownership of their space for the many teen patrons who have now become regulars