Junior League raises $165,000 for library teen room

HARLINGEN — The entrance opens into the Thought Spot, leading into the Idea Lab and commons area before widening into the Media Lounge.

Welcome to the Harlingen Public Library’s Teen Room.

For two years, the Harlingen Junior League has been working to raise $165,000 to help create the 1,200-square-foot span featuring computers and digital screens just for teenagers.

“It was a real awesome collaboration of women with different talents,” Amy Muñiz, an interior designer, said yesterday.

The library’s staff developed the project, Director Dauna Campbell said.

“We want teens to have ownership in the library,” Campbell said. “They don’t fit into the children’s area and they don’t quite fit in the adult area.”

For about 100 women, the project has been a celebration of the Junior League’s founding in Harlingen 70 years ago.

“I thought it really fit with our history and mission,” past President Rebekah Batot, an attorney, said. “Our specific focus is on the children of Harlingen and helping develop them educationally to meet their needs so they can be successful.”

Now, construction is about two weeks away.

Overlooking the City Lake, the teen room will feature computers, books and spaces designed to spark conversation.

Last summer, Muñiz helped survey more than 50 teenagers to help her design the area.

“It was important that every space foster communication and exchange and most importantly ideas,” Muñiz said. “They needed a place that was not home and not school — a third place to have that conversation.”

The area will include an “idea lab” featuring a round table surrounded by chairs.

“It’s a place for them to collaborate on projects together,” Campbell said. “We’re going to put outlets just about everywhere. Everyone needs to be plugged in.”

Nearby, a commons area will give teenagers a place to reflect on their projects.

“They can hang out or work on projects by themselves or with another person,” Campbell said.

The area will include other spaces such as a media lounge, a “thought spot” and a “quiet pod.”

“We wanted to make sure there were plenty of spaces for kids to communicate with each other,” Muñiz said

Campbell said construction is expected to be completed by fall or early winter.