For students in grades 9-12

In the southeast corner of the Main Library’s second floor is an after-school destination intended specifically for library patrons in grades 9-12. The space features colorful tables and chairs, comfortable and flexible furniture, and a big-screen TV.

The 2021-22 Leading Edge Teen Advisory Board members in the space they helped design.

‘The space is perfect for us!’

“This space is perfect for us!” says Oak Park and River Forest High School teacher Claire Downs, who visits every other Friday with her students. “We don’t have to be especially quiet, we can move around a bit, and we have access to many fun things like games, video games, books, etc. I think it is important for my students to visit and be comfortable in new spaces. I also think it is valuable that they learn how to appropriately use community spaces like the library.”

Claire and her students are from the Transition Education with Access to Mainstream (TEAM) program, which is for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities who require the most amount of support.

Community-based instruction is a big part of the program, Claire says. “One of our favorite community outings is to visit the library. We like it because it’s close by and free! We usually walk to the library while practicing street safety and awareness.”

Every other Friday during the school year, Oak Park and River Forest High School teacher Claire Downs (middle photo, second from right) visits the Main Library with her students.