Teen Center fulfills 9/11 hero’s last wish

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On Wednesday, July 27, the Bayport-Blue Point Library held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly christened John McNamara Teen Center.

Local charity Johnny Mac Foundation has been a robust supporter since the inception of the state-of-the-art library on Blue Point Avenue and Middle Road, and even has its foundation headquarters on the premises.

The Teen Center room has a history even older than the building of the library.

Its namesake, John McNamara, was an FDNY firefighter who tragically died from 9/11-related cancer.

Widowed in 2009, Jennifer McNamara followed her husband’s wishes and created a foundation in his name to accomplish a list of “wishes” he had left behind.

The Teen Center is an interpretation of McNamara’s final wish for a community center where the youth of the community could have positive experiences.

“He [John] went to a youth teen center in Brooklyn and credited that for keeping him on the straight and narrow,” said Jennifer McNamara.

Jack McNamara—John and Jennifer’s only son, who is a teenager himself—has tremendous pride for the center and can be seen at the library with his mom, just to observe the comings and goings of other community members.

“It was part of our original plan to have a teen room.  We desperately needed to address this service niche to our patrons,” said Mike Firestone, director of the Bayport-Blue Point Library.

The room was envisioned as having an open space that allowed district teens a place of their own, “having all the perks that come with a 21st-century library, without losing the connection to our dedicated YA staff,” said Firestone.

To make the room teen-friendly, it was carefully curated with the type of books, activities, and accommodations that would speak to a teenaged demographic. 

The center has all the latest young adult book collections, as well as all the recommended/mandatory books assigned from the local schools.

In addition, the space has computers, games, music, photo printing machine, connection to the Makerspace, 3-D printers, laser engraver, poster printers, sewing machines, and additional arts and crafts supplies.

“We anticipate that these rooms will be able to handle any change in philosophy or public demands in the YA sector of libraries.  We welcome the usage and the feedback from our consumers,” said Firestone.

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