Teen Reading Lounge

Teen Reading Lounge is an award-winning, nontraditional book club for teens ages 12-18. Teens help to create the reading list for their program sites and, working with trained facilitators, to design creative projects that bring the books to life. Participants report stronger interpersonal, communication, literacy, and critical-thinking skills, and increased confidence.

The program is built on the belief that encouragement to choose creative pursuits and interest-focused programs is crucial to teen development. The humanities naturally push teens to ask questions and share ideas, activities that are vital as teens begin to discover who they are, who they want to be, and how to relate to other people.

Teen Reading Lounge Short

Teen Reading Lounge advances several important learning agendas:

  • 21st century skills advocated by the Institute for Museum and Library Sciences;
  • Civic, social literacy, and basic literacy skills identified by PA Forward, the Pennsylvania Library Association’s literacy initiative;
  • Reading comprehension, speaking and listening, civics and government, interpersonal relationships, and arts and humanities standards in the Pennsylvania Academic Standards; and
  • Reading literature and speaking and listening standards in the Pennsylvania core curriculum.


Free Library of Philadelphia--Philadelphia City Institute.

“I hope the funder realizes how significant the impact of this program is.  Not only is it bringing teens together in a positive way, but it is getting books into their homes. I think Teen Reading Lounge is a tremendous idea, especially for communities just building services to teens.” -– Molly Kritchen, Bridgeville Public Library

In bringing Teen Reading Lounge to communities across Pennsylvania, PHC invests funds to improve achievement outcomes for youth, but it also helps position libraries to make changes in the way they serve youth. Program sites receive funding to cover program expenses as well as an honorarium to pay a program facilitator. They will also receive training in working with facilitators and local teens to design a program that’s meaningful for their communities.

Teen Reading Lounge was honored as a finalist for the 2015 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. It was also named 2015 Afterschool Champion by the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network.

More Information and Resources

Detailed information about Teen Reading Lounge, as well as a wealth of resources conected to the program are available here.


2017-19 Teen Reading Lounge Application

PHC invites public libraries to apply for a grant to host Teen Reading Lounge in 2017-19. This opportunity is part of a two-year initiative for public libraries serving low-income youth and youth of color.

This 2017-19 project re-imagines Teen Reading Lounge as a two-year process during which library staff, board, and volunteers work to build the library’s capacity to serve young people. Throughout this two-year period, participating libraries will run Teen Reading Lounge programs that they develop in collaboration with their program facilitator and participating youth. PHC will also support libraries throughout the project by providing a suite of training workshops on youth development, diversity, equity and inclusion and designing quality humanities experiences for youth. 

To apply, please download and read the application guidelines found below and follow this link to the application form.



Teen Reading Lounge is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services as administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education through the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, Governor. Additional support is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


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