At the Newly Opened Teen Tech Center at Crown Heights Library (Left to Right): Ellen West, VP of investor relations and Google NY site lead, Maria Torres-Springer, New York City's Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development, BPL President and CEO Linda Johnson, a teen attending BPL teen programs, NYPL President and CEO Tony Marx, QPL President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott, Ashley Rajaratnam, Director of Social Impact at Best Buy, and William Floyd, Director of External Affairs at Google New York
Mayor Adams, New York City’s Libraries Partner With Google.org, Best Buy, Joly Family Foundation To Provide Nearly $20 Million In Funding To Support Teens And Young Adults Disproportionately Impacted By Pandemic
October 12, 2022
Partnership Features Major Expansion of Teen Centers at Brooklyn, New York, and Queens Libraries, Enhanced Library Services, Programs for Teens
Funding Will Help Provide Access to State-of-the-Art Technology, Academic Enrichment, Social and Emotional Support Services
NYC Kicking in $15 Million, $4.5 Million More from Google.org, Best Buy Foundation, Joly Family Foundation
NEW YORK — New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library, and Queens Public Library today announced a partnership with Google.org, the Best Buy Foundation, and the Joly Family Foundation that will allocate approximately $20 million towards opening dedicated teen spaces at the three facilities to provide vital resources and services in an inclusive and engaging environment for New York City youth. After navigating the COVID-19 global pandemic and an extended period of isolation, New York City teens are poised to receive substantial support from the city’s public libraries, which are building on recent efforts to enhance teen services thanks to a major new public-private partnership designed to help young adults create opportunities for future success. The libraries will have programming and enhanced learning opportunities to support skills and career development, allowing young adults to actively use their local library to reestablish peer communities and advocate for their future. As part of this announcement, more than 30 teen centers are opening throughout the five boroughs.
"After two years of isolation during the pandemic, our young people deserve a boost and today's announcement is just one of many of this administration's ongoing commitment to New York City youth. The teen centers offer young people a space where they can connect with each other in person, learn new technical skills and how to collaborate better, and receive social and emotional support,” said Mayor Adams. "By investing approximately $20 million in new funds in these teen centers, we are connecting our young people with extraordinary programs in technology to discover new passions and prepare themselves for future careers. This is public-private partnership at its best, and will provide our city’s youth with the best we have to offer.”
“Now, more than ever, teens in New York City need safe, dynamic spaces where they can find inspiration, explore new interests, sharpen their digital and tech fluency, and learn about post-secondary opportunities,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with the Brooklyn, New York, and Queens Public Libraries, Google, and Best Buy to invest nearly $20 million in additional funding for teen spaces and programming in so many vibrant communities across our city.”
“We are thrilled to be able to provide teens with safe spaces where they can connect with friends and neighbors, learn the skills they need to be productive and engaged citizens, and discover through our programs and books who they might become," said Linda E. Johnson, president and CEO, Brooklyn Public Library. “We are grateful to Mayor Adams, Google.org, and the Best Buy Foundation for their generous and enthusiastic support of teen programs in libraries across the city.”
“As a free and inclusive resource for all New York City students, it is vital libraries create new opportunities to engage with teens and offer greater access to tools that will help them develop critical skills for their education and success later in life,” said Anthony W. Marx, president, The New York Public Library. “Technology has a profound importance in the lives of teens, providing them with opportunities to learn, communicate, and express their individuality. With the generous support of our partners — Mayor Adams, Google.org, the Best Buy Foundation and the Joly Family Foundation — these new centers will introduce teens not only to the vast resources of The New York Public Library, but to ever-evolving technology in creative and welcoming spaces that encourage collaboration with their peers and provide extensive resources and services for their growth.”
“The pandemic has been particularly tough on teens, many of whom have lost ground academically, found their support networks disrupted, and faced unprecedented mental health challenges,” said Dennis M. Walcott, president and CEO, Queens Public Library. “This funding will enable us to provide more teens with safe, inclusive, and inspiring spaces and critical supports to master digital skills, unleash their creativity, develop new interests, connect with peers and caring adults, and discover opportunities for college and career success. From the beginning of his administration, Mayor Adams has made clear that libraries are essential to our communities, and we are grateful to him, his administration, and Google for investing in the promise of teens — and of libraries – to help fuel the recovery of our city.”
With the Adams administration’s investment of $15 million, New York City’s libraries will develop new or updated teen centers in underserved communities throughout the five boroughs. The funding will also be used to support the hiring of additional staff, as well as create jobs for teens at each system. Branches throughout the city will also offer holistic support for teens with enhanced programs. Today’s announcement is part of the city’s overall strategy to keep the city’s youth engaged and active, expanding opportunities that empower teens and help them find the right path for success.
In addition to the city’s investment, Google.org, the Best Buy Foundation, and the Joly Family Foundation will expand vital support for teens with additional dedicated centers and enhanced services that will allow young adults to build strong foundations to succeed both in school and later in life. The partnership with Google is part of the company's NYC Tech Opportunity Fund, and its $4 million investment in local computer science education previously announced last month. That investment will include a $1.5 million grant to fund the opening and expansion of six teen centers, which will play a considerable role in providing resources focused on digital literacy and technology skills. The centers are located in each of the five boroughs at the following library branches:
- Bronx: Woodstock Library and Wakefield Library
- Brooklyn: Crown Heights Library
- Manhattan: Countee Cullen Library (scheduled to open in early 2023)
- Queens: Far Rockaway Library
- Staten Island: West New Brighton Library
The Best Buy Foundation and the Joly Family Foundation committed to opening five Best Buy Teen Tech Centers in public libraries, with one opening this spring at the Grand Concourse Library in the Bronx and expanding to four more sites in the next couple of years. Their initial commitment will be upwards of $3 million through 2025, and will be funded by grants, technology donations, and innovative partnerships that provide career and post-secondary opportunities to teen participants. Best Buy Teen Tech Centers aim to advance tech equity for young people in underserved communities, connecting them with mentorship, training opportunities, and post-secondary and career resources to ensure they thrive in the future. The new sites join a location at Kings Highway Library in Brooklyn that opened in 2019.
As CEO of Best Buy, Hubert Joly, founder of the Joly Family Foundation, oversaw the creation of the Best Buy Teen Tech Center program. There are now over 50 Teen Tech Centers nationwide, with a goal to open 100 by 2025 to reach tens of thousands of teens from disinvested communities across the country. Each Best Buy Teen Tech Center provides access to a variety of resources, such as access to cutting-edge technology, including tools for film production, augmented and virtual reality, digital media, 3-D design, and audio engineering.
“The Best Buy Teen Tech Centers are there to serve New York City’s teens,” said Hubert Joly, former chairman and CEO, Best Buy, and trustee, The New York Public Library. “I’m proud that this partnership gives them the opportunity to channel their talent, energy, and ideas into brighter futures.”
“Google.org is proud to support the New York, Brooklyn, and Queens libraries to open teen tech centers that will give young New Yorkers access to training, guidance, and resources, creating opportunities for them to participate in the tech economy of the future,” said Ellen West, VP of investor relations and Google NY site lead, Google. “We are grateful for the partnership with the libraries, the Mayor’s Office, and the Best Buy Foundation on this important initiative.”
“Since long before the pandemic, our city’s teenagers have needed partnerships like this — that creates spaces for community, supports them in and out of school, and empowers them to build a future around what motivates and fulfills them,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “In no time, we will see the benefits of these programs in the transformation of New York’s youth and the better city they will in turn build. We are so fortunate that Brooklyn will be home to these teen centers, and I thank Mayor Adams, our public libraries, and our private and philanthropic partners who have made it all possible.”
"The past two and a half years have been especially devastating for teens across the city, so this new investment couldn’t come at a better time,” said Jonathan Bowles, executive director, Center for an Urban Future. “It will help thousands of teens get back on track to futures full of possibility, and it’s a wonderful recognition of the vital role that New York’s branch libraries play in ensuring an inclusive and equitable recovery."
“For decades libraries have been the central space for young people to engage and connect with literature and one another,” said Dr. Meisha Porter, former DOE Chancellor and president and CEO, The Bronx Community Foundation. “This partnership with Mayor Eric Adams, Brooklyn Public Library, The New York Public Library, and the Queens Public Library, Google.org, the Best Buy Foundation and the Joly Family Foundation will ensure that young people continue to have that dedicated space. The enhanced services offered in this space will also allow young people to have access to the digital tools and learning opportunities to ensure they have the 21st century skills needed to navigate the world.”