It’s 3:15 p.m.
Hundreds of students swarm down Alameda, and a significant number move towards the Belmont Library, which overlooks the busy street from its location.
The Belmont Library is the main destination of many students after school. There are working areas, a café, and computers for public use, alongside a Teen Room, where middle and high school students can hang out without disturbing other patrons.
“I think the best part about the Teen Center is that it’s a nice, comfortable place to do homework or hang out with friends,” said Crystal Li, a sophomore. “There’s no need to constantly whisper or worry about angry adults.”
Along with providing a welcoming environment for teens, the library offers weekly activities for teens, ranging from cooking classes to “Life Hacks” sessions, where students can learn about topics, such as how to balance budgets or how to fix cars, that will benefit them in the future.
“My favorite activities are the cooking classes because cooking is really fun,” said Li. “We’ve made some pretty delicious things, such as ramen, pizza, pie, and eggs.”
The library also offers opportunities for teens to get involved in the planning of these activities. The Teen Advisory Group, known as TAG, helps brainstorm and coordinate these events.
“The Teen Advisory Group (TAG), which plans activities for teens at the Belmont library, is a perfect partnership between teens and librarians to help bring fun, inspiring, creative, and collaborative programming to our teens,” said Kayla Figard, the Teen Services Librarian at the Belmont Library.
Many Carlmont students appreciate the results these programs have. They allow a break from the monotony of homework, while still being productive.
“I think [these programs] are wonderful and important,” said Ty Hall, a sophomore. “They pull kids away from constant screens, and encourage them to pick up a book.”
The library has become not only a place of study but one where teens can hang out and get involved in their community.
“The Belmont Library has catered to our teen population after school by not only providing safe spaces for study and hangout but also by providing meaningful teen driven programs,” said Figard. “The programs are diverse and we have something for everyone.”