- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 14, 2014

LUMBERTON, Miss. (AP) - Teenagers in Lumberton will have a place to hang out, read books, play games and maybe even watch TV, when the new teen room at Lumberton Library is complete.

Library manager Melinda Carli said an open side porch where patrons formerly sat to access WiFi is being walled in to make the teen room.

“Our teen (numbers) have really grown,” she said. “After school, the library will be full of teenagers.”

Carli said the library currently hosts a “tween” group once a month of children ages 11-17. She’ll be moving the books the tween group reads into the teen room.

“We have a whole young adult section,” she said. “It’s used a lot.”

She’s letting the tweens choose what kind of furnishing they want in the teen room.

“I let them pick what they wanted to go in it - what color shelving, what color rugs, lamps,” she said. “I want the library to be a cool place to hang out.”

The Friends of the Lumberton Library voted to allow Carli $2,500 for accessories for the room.

Deborah Gallagher, Friends president, said the group’s annual Jail Bail fundraiser was successful enough for them to pay to furnish the room.

“We’re going to have a TV out for them, games, chess board, lamps, a real nice carpet,” she said.

Gallagher said the room would be an appropriate place for teens to congregate.

“It will be a safe area for teens and the kids in Lumberton will have a special place,” she said.

Supervisor Warren Byrd said Lamar County Supervisors contributed $20,000 for the construction of the room, but he wasn’t sure all that money would be needed.

“I think we’re going to be under budget,” he said.

Byrd said Lamar County Building and Grounds supplied the materials, and a local carpenter was doing the work.

Carli said a deck also will be built, so other library patrons will still have a place to sit, even after hours, to use the WiFi.

She said she had always wanted to make the porch more than an outside area, and when she told Byrd about it, he made it happen.

“I just talked to him,” she said. “I told him it had always been a dream to use it as something more than a porch and I saw a need.”

Byrd said expanding the library was a vital thing to do.

“One of the most important things in Lumberton right now is this library,” he said. “It gives the children of all ages a place to go.

“(The room) gives the (teens) somewhere to keep off the street and something to do.”

Carli expects to hold a dedication of the room sometime around Nov. 1.


Information from: The Hattiesburg American, https://www.hattiesburgamerican.com

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