Becky Fyolek and The MCPL Ground Floor: A Space for Teens to be Themselves

Braden Marksberry, Contributor

The space is more than fun — It’s alive. A place where you can smell popcorn and hear the “Super Smash Bros theme” playing in the background. A place where even the quiet introverts have a space of their own and the artsy kids can work as they please.

This is the Ground Floor at the Monroe County Public Library (MCPL).

But it’s not just any ground floor. It is THE Ground Floor, where most, if not all teens, it seems, can find a niche.

Becky Fyolek, co-manager and helper of the space, has helped create this home away from home.

“Here at the library I help support programs, leave reviews on booklets, and I go on outreach visits to help support the library,” she said.

If you’re a gamer, you’re probably obsessing over some “Overwatch” in the game area, a place with two large TVs and a top quality desktop (specifically made for quality video games) lay in place.

If you’re into the visual arts, then you might as well be in the art space used for painting and drawing.

If you just want to read a book, there’s a quiet space for that too (but come on guys, it’s a library, spaces like that aren’t hard to find).

Fyolek also described the space next door, called “Level Up.”

“Level Up is an all ages space,” Fyolek said. “We have a video studio and two sound studios for people interested in that, along with four Mac desktops for specifically video editing.”

The space itself has a very different atmosphere then the teen space. Despite being only ten feet away, it seems like everything else is more quiet and isolated. This is a place where people are recording music in small sound isolated rooms and editing videos with an actual green screen. This is quite a sight on its own without the teen space right next door, not to mention the various Mac desktops laid around for people to check out.

“I do a lot of audio recording in the Level Up studio,” Harmony student Keller Mckean said. “I’m coming here more and more often.”

Then, in the art space we lay eyes on Wolfe Allen at work on some virtual pixel art. Allen, a student at the Academy of Science and Entrepreneurship, likes to hang out with friends and work on bead rolling art.

“It’s a place where I can be creative and stuff,” Allen said. “The rest of the Ground Floor is really just videogames and stuff, but in the art area I feel like being creative.”

Lilly Mcneil-Kitscher, also a student at the Academy, comes to the Ground Floor often too.

“Every day except for Wednesdays I come here and I hang out with my little brother,” she said. “I usually just float around through the area […] there’s a lot of people here who are my age, so I like to hang out with them.”

Whether you’re seeking a book and a cup of hot chocolate, or whether you’re looking for a computer screen and a few crayons to draw with, you’ll find a place to be yourself. A place to be a teen.

It’s quite a space Fyolek has helped create.

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