Cleveland Public Library Opens Ohio’s First Best Buy Teen Tech Center, Grand Opening November 14

 Cleveland Public Library’s Rockport Branch will host a grand opening for its new Best Buy Teen Tech Center on Wednesday, November 14, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. As the first of its kind in Ohio, the Teen Tech Center is a dedicated space for youth to learn more about video and audio production, computing, graphic design, programming, and more. This initiative complements the Library’s ongoing work with digital literacy, hands-on learning, STEM education, and civic engagement.

Last year, Cleveland Public Library was named a recipient of a Best Buy Teen Tech Center grant, which provides funds for construction, equipment, furniture, and staffing for an interactive, state-of-the-art learning center for teenagers. The Teen Tech Center at the Library’s Rockport Branch will offer teens the use of a professional recording studio, a 3D printer, a laser engraver, digital SLR cameras, GoPro cameras, Oculus Rift virtual reality system, and Adobe applications including Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, CorelDRAW, and more. Teens can also make buttons, t-shirts, stickers, magnets, and jewelry at the facility.

Best Buy launched its Teen Tech Center program in 2012 to provide dedicated spaces where youth can explore technology, collaborate, develop new skills, and prepare for the future. In partnership with The Clubhouse Network, Best Buy currently supports more than a dozen Teen Tech Centers nationwide, with plans to add more. As the 2017 grant recipient for the Cleveland metropolitan area, the Library is pleased to help welcome a Teen Tech Center into the community.

“Cleveland Public Library is working to prepare youth to meet the challenges of a complex global economy and gain the skills they need to succeed in a rapidly changing world,” says Cleveland Public Library Executive Director Felton Thomas, Jr. “As a part of the network of Best Buy Teen Tech Centers, we’re proud to provide teens with access to mentors as well as a combination of digital media and traditional tools.”

Jill Pappenhagen, the Best Buy Teen Tech Center Supervisor at Rockport Branch, says the September 12 grand opening is an opportunity to see the room in action. Attendees are invited to tour the facility, watch demonstrations, and speak with youth members about their projects. Pappenhagen adds that the Teen Tech Center, informally known as the Clubhouse, is a vital addition to the community and will help serve underrepresented youth.

“We have a technological divide in Cleveland, but I think this facility will bridge that gap and help kids consider new careers and possibilities for the future,” she says. “I love to see the excitement on kids’ faces when they become creators and not just consumers of technology.”

The Teen Tech Center is open from 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, and Thursdays; 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays; and 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays. Youth ages 10-18 may drop in at any time during these hours. There is no cost to use the facility or equipment.

The Rockport Branch is located at 4421 West 140th Street in Cleveland. The Best Buy Teen Tech Center grand opening event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.