Other than at home and school, teens often look for a comfortable place to spend their time. Public libraries are places where teens can relax, do their reading and homework, and use free internet. Fifteen-year-old Carlton White started to come to the Kansas City Public Library, Central Branch, in the summer of last year. Since then, he has been coming regularly and even spent time volunteering for the Library. Today, we interviewed White about how he thinks about the Library.
Central Youth Services: What do you love about the library?
Carlton: I just love everything!
Carlton's eyes brightened with excitement.
“My mom knows about the library and she brought me here. At first, I walked around and found some books to read. I like comic books, Spiderman, and superhero stuff.”
Later, Carlton and his mom, Katrina, volunteered for the library. Carlton enjoyed his volunteer work at Central Youth Services Department.
“I worked about 2 hours per day first, and then 5 hours. I shelved books, put seals on DVDs, and put stickers on movies and books.”
I asked Carlton about his favorite subjects at school.
“Math is easy and I’m doing well with social studies, but science is one of my favorites.”
In June and July of 2013, Carlton participated in the Kansas City Digital Media Lab prototype project that took place at Union Station. The grant-funded Lab encourages young people between the age of 13 and 18 to have hands-on experience with technology, including computer programs, games, and audio-visual equipment.
Central Youth Services: How did you get involved with the Digital Media Lab project?
Carlton: Andrea Ellis (digital youth engagement manager) told me about it. She wanted me to try it out. So I gave it a try. I enjoyed learning everything about game design. I went on Google and looked for information about game design. I tried Game Star Mechanics  and started to build my own game.
As you can see, Carlton’s life is pretty busy with school work and library activities. He is often found working on school projects and helping his mom with chores. When I asked him about his hobbies, Carlton shyly smiled and told me, “I don’t have particular hobbies. I do my school work here (at the library), and that’s all.”
Carlton with Andrea Ellis in front of the teen room
To learn more about the KC Digital Media Lab, click here .
About the Author
Sukalaya Kenworthy is a youth associate at the Central Library. Sukalaya has a bachelor's degree in English and a Master's degree in Teaching English as a second language. Sukalaya's hobbies are reading and writing.