Back to School: Teen Underground, a place to call their own

Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 8:32 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Teenagers typically like to have their own space away from their everyday lives, and as school gets ready to start back up, they will be looking for a spot to call their own.

To give parents peace of mind, the Anchorage Public Library has a spot just for them — the Teen Underground. The name might be a little misleading, but the purpose is not.

“I often like to introduce it like, ‘welcome to the TU on the 3rd floor,’” said Jon Ebron, a teen services librarian with Anchorage Public Library. “I didn’t name it just cause I love that it’s teen underground and well above the ground, but it is a place for teenagers, typically 12 to 18, to congregate in the library with minimal supervision so they can just be themselves and enjoy the library space.”

Ebron is responsible for managing that space and said teen’s interests vary, so he’s always open to doing what the teens want.

Resources at the Teen Underground can be used for school work or fun, and it’s all free.

Ebron showed how user-friendly some of the online resources are and said his favorite tool to use is World Book, which is essentially an online encyclopedia. Another digital resource is Learning Express. It offers free test prep, tutorials and e-books.

“If you have any sort of test or if you just want to get better at some skills that you already have, it’s a way for you to test prep and track your progression as you go along,” he said.

Teens can also earn volunteer credit by turning in book reviews or by helping out around the library. Teen Underground at the Z. J. Loussac Library is 1 of 5 spaces offered around the Anchorage area for teens to hang out. The other locations are in Muldoon, Mountain View, Eagle River and a branch in Girdwood.

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