Welcome to the first ever Teen Space Spotlight, where we shine the spotlight on teen spaces in library settings throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Alameda County has supplied us with our first two spaces, the Juvenile Justice Center and Camp Wilmont Sweeney. Both have library spaces that are maintained by the Social Justice Services Department of Alameda County.
Juvenile Justice Center
In partnership with the Alameda County Department of Probation and Alameda County Office of Education, the Alameda County Library manages a library space at the Juvenile Justice Center in San Leandro. The AC Library’s Social Justice Services team holds library hours several days a week, brings in local and nationally known authors, artists, and activists, and possesses a fantastically deep and diverse materials collection. Youth held at the facility visit the library for educational and recreational materials, and are encouraged to decompress, chat with staff, and, at least temporarily, forget their worries and just be. The ability to enter a library space and see yourself reflected in the books and images that surround you, to walk into a book’s pages and relate to what you see and feel—these are experiences we all need. And it is these experiences that lead to lifelong readers and library users. Camp Wilmont Sweeney
Located just below the Juvenile Justice Center is Camp Wilmont Sweeney, where a smaller population of teens are housed prior to release. The library here is adjacent to the gym, and overlooks the San Francisco Bay. Its collection is similar to the one at the Juvenile Justice Center: New Releases; African-American Fiction & Non-Fiction; Latino Fiction & Non-Fiction; Comic Books & Graphic Novels, Science-Fiction & Fantasy; Biographies & Memoirs; Art Instruction & Science Encyclopedias; Inspirational Guides; Histories; Career Guides & Prep Tests. The library is open several days a week, and on any given day there’s always someone working on homework, beginning a puzzle, asking for book recommendations, playing chess, and browsing the collection.