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White Plains Funds Library Redesign Aimed at Teens

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- White Plains teenagers, including Khalid Williams, say they look forward to a teen space now that the Common Council has voted to help finance redesigning the library's first floor.

"I'd definitely go to something like that," said Williams, 16, who currently goes to the library a couple of times a year. "Right now what they have is a lot of books for adults and kids, so more for teenagers would be good."

The Common Council unanimously voted to issue $162,000 in serial bonds Monday, which will be added to the $65,000 the White Plains Library Foundation has already raised for the library renovation.

The $227,000 will be used to put the project out for bid and fund the redesign, according to Library Director Brian Kenney. The construction, which is slated to begin in January 2013, would chop the three-year remodeling process into phases to ensure that regular library services are not interrupted during the renovation.

Financing the design now will allow the library to apply for some of the $600,000 the state awarded the Westchester Library System and compete for funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, according to Kenney.

Moving forward will also help the library capitalize on the momentum the Library Foundation has captured while collecting donations from more than 1,200 households for the project since 2007.

"We have a lot of pent up interest, I would say, from a number of citizen fund-raisers who have come forward," Kenney said. "The core part of this, the first phase of this, is The Edge, which would be a library for teens similar to what we constructed back in 2005, 2006 for children."

Kenney says The Trove has sufficiently helped pre-schoolers prepare for school, but the library is lacking the resources for one of "the most important" service areas.

"When it comes to middle school years, in a way, we’re not giving them a home, or a place in the library right now. And this would really transform that," Kenney said. "We talk about making this more of a destination in the city here both for families and young people and a re-thought, renovated library with strong facilities for teens, as well as eventually for adults, I think is an important economic engine."

Asjea Bowry, 17, agreed that her peers could use a space at the library.

"If it came earlier, I would've enjoyed it. Because it's senior year, it's too late," Bowry said.

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