Made at the Library

Over the past year, I’ve gotten to watch a group of teens that come into the library grow into full fledged hip hop artists.

It all started with The Telling Room, a nonprofit writing center in Portland, ME, and their 2011 program Play. Their amazing Young Leaders and Writers workshop was the start of a collaboration between three teens (Chrispo, Emmanuel, and Ali) with local hip hop artist Sontiago (aka Sonya Tomlinson).


The group of teens started coming into the library on a daily basis and used our study rooms as their rehearsal space.  They would freestyle over beats and furiously scribble down lyrics on scraps of paper.  It was through them that I met Sonya and ideas about future collaborations came to fruition.  Since the teens were already using the library as a rehearsal space, we couldn’t see why the teen study rooms couldn’t be used as a recording space as well.

The recording happened over two weeks in May 2011.  Sonya brought in her 8 track recorder and for a few hours the team camped out in our study rooms.  Verses and beats leaked out of the study rooms, and during their time spent in the library creativity flowed through the air.


Last week, Chrispo came into the library and came up to the teen service desk.  He had the final mix of their song all ready to go and needed to get it online.  I gave him some extra time on the computer so he could make a quick YouTube video to share it with his friends and family.  I’ll end here and let their creation do the talking…

Wouldn’t it be great if libraries could do this kind of stuff all the time?

-Post by Justin Hoenke,Tame the Web Contributor