Minneapolis Central Library

Teen Central At-a-Glance


The Emma B. Howe Teen Central is a one-of-a-kind space in the Central Library designed with the participation of 175 youth in Minneapolis.  The loft-like space overlooking Hennepin Avenue was created to welcome teens, engage their recreational and personal needs, provide after-school help from tutors, and support their educational goals.


Teen Central is built on a principle of youth participation. Teens were involved in the design of the space and continue to play a vital role in programs and services for teens at the Minneapolis Central Library.  A Teen Advisory Group meets regularly, offering feedback on services in Teen Central, planning and hosting programs, and reviewing new and forthcoming teen literature.


Teen Central has unique rules set by the Teen Advisory Group. The space is reserved for teenagers in grades 6-12. Customers older or younger than these ages are asked to select the materials they need and visit another Central Library department for assistance. Adults and Children are not allowed to use computers in Teen Central, and must be accompanied by a teen in order to use seating. Food and beverage are permitted. Music may be played in the space using the stereo or on computers.


The room is reminiscent of an urban loft, featuring: a unique L-shaped design with a living room area and study area; eclectic tables and seating; colorful bean bag chairs and small sofas; grey concrete floors with several bright area rugs; overhead hanging lamps in a variety of colors; a 325-foot long, custom-made bright red Tamo wood serpentine shelving unit; and interchangeable sliding art panels on the north window, designed to accommodate different types of artistic expression, such as chalkboard design.


Unique features of Teen Central include laptops teens can check out and use in the space; a vending machine; TMZ (Teen Meeting Zone), a room for use by smaller groups of teens, featuring walls made of silver metallic whiteboard; and a sound system that includes a collection of CDs chosen by the teen advisory council, three CD players and three jacks for a variety of media devices. Each of the three stations connects to ceiling speakers in three separate areas of the room. Music can be heard only by teens sitting within the immediate vicinity of the speakers.



Teen Central’s collection includes materials popular among teens, including magazines, compact discs and non-fiction books about a variety of topics such as current music celebrities, sports, drawing, poetry and a large collection of comic books. The Teen Central collection numbers about 10,000 volumes.


Large selection of graphic novels and manga; popular materials including music biographies, poetry and short story collections; informational titles relevant to teens including health, sexuality, religion, job and careers, and crafts. 


Flagship collection of contemporary teen literature in Teen Central. Older titles, dating back to the 1950s, are housed in the 1st floor Fiction Stacks.


Music CDs in Teen Central are selected solely by the Teen Central Teen Advisory Group. Group members travel to the Electric Fetus, a local music store, each year to purchase a wide range of music CDs popular with teens.

Video Games:

A pilot collection of circulating video games was started in 2007. Titles are selected by the Teen Central Teen Advisory Group.


Principal Librarian: Susan Glenn sglenn@hclib.org  612-630-6027


Resource Librarians:

Marcelyn Sletten                      Senior Librarian




Christy Mulligan                      Teen Central Librarian




Camden Macomber                 Librarian