Teen Tech Center to open at Kings Highway Library

February 26, 2018 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn Public Library President and CEO Linda E. Johnson says the new teen tech center will help young people in a variety of ways. Photos courtesy of the Brooklyn Public Library
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Teenagers will get the chance to design 3D games, create interactive poems and build robotic installations at one of the Brooklyn Public Library’s branches under an innovative new program starting later this year.

The Kings Highway Library, the front entrance of which is located at 2115 Ocean Ave., will become a Best Buy Teen Tech Center, according to Brooklyn Public Library officials, who said the program is designed to help teens explore the digital world.

The new 1,460-square-foot tech center, to be located on the library’s second floor, will feature technical equipment, workstations, meeting spaces and a music studio.

Participating teens can work on a variety of projects that could include creating artworks, producing music and animation; designing science simulations; writing interactive poetry, stories and films; building kinetic sculptures and robotic installations; and designing their own 3D games, library officials said. 

The Kings Highway Library site will be the first Best Buy Teen Tech Center established in New York City.

Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) President and CEO Linda E. Johnson predicted that the new center will help teens in several ways.

“The innovative space will allow teens to explore music production, animation, programming, robotics, and more and gain invaluable skills and confidence along the way. We are honored to have been selected as the site of the first Best Buy Teen Tech Center in New York City,” Johnson said in a statement.

The Kings Highway Library is the second busiest of the 59 branches in the BPL system, according to library officials.

The new center is funded through a grant from the Best Buy Foundation and ERI. Best Buy is a well-known electronics store chain. ERI is a company that recycles e-waste. Financial support for the Best Buy Teen Tech Center is also provided by the estate of Earle Muroff. 

State Sen. Simcha Felder (D-Borough Park-Midwood) pitched in by securing $55,000 in state funding for the Kings Highway Library that library officials said will be used for the new center.

“Throughout my career in government, I have always believed in the importance of investing in our local public libraries. That is why I was proud to have been able to secure technology funding from the New York State Senate for the Kings Highway branch in my district and why I am so pleased that Best Buy is now stepping up with their own private investment in the branch as well,” Felder said.

“We’re very excited to partner with ERI and the Brooklyn Public Library to provide local young people with the resources they need to further their education and prepare for tech-reliant careers,” said Andrea Wood, director of community relations at Best Buy.

John Shegerian, ERI’s co-founder and executive chairman, said the new center was planned with an eye toward helping teens prepare for jobs in technology. 

“We’re excited to continue to be a part of the great city of New York’s role as a leader in these areas and to provide support for this important, forward-looking project,” Shegerian said. 

The new center will add to educational programs that BPL already offers to help young people get the skills they need to enter the workforce. 

Those programs include Brooklyn Robotics League, Teen Youth Councils and T4, a project that has given 1,600 teens the chance to intern.

In addition to the Teen Tech Center, the Kings Highway Library will also be a site for the Clubhouse Network, a partnership with Best Buy that connects local teens with a network of young people in 100 club houses in 20 countries. 

“Between the rich assets of the community and the commitment of the entire BPL team to bringing this innovative program to life, I’m confident it will be benefit the youth of Brooklyn for years to come,” Clubhouse Network Executive Director Gail Breslow said.

The Teen Tech Center scheduled to open by the end of this year.


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