Mary Hofmann Teen Central opens inside County Library
By Walsh Cassady & Walsh
The new Teen Central is designed specifically to create a safe and relaxing teen space at the library, and it’s filled with materials and technology geared toward the age group. There’s a 3-D printer, and a Nintendo Switch, among other features.
The new library addition is also the result of several years of community collaborative effort. Merced County funded renovations to the second floor of the library. The community group, Friends of the Merced County Library, not only donated the critical original funding for the center, they also solicited and received grants and donations from the City of Merced, the Merced Breakfast Lions, Sunrise Rotary, the Merced Elks Lodge, and many other local organizations and individuals.
“Rotary is delighted to support Mary Hofmann Teen Central because Merced really needs more opportunities for youth who are older than elementary school and younger than college,” said Rotarian Donald Barclay. “These young people need something that belongs to them, and this space in the library is just that.”
During the opening, Merced County Librarian Amy Taylor welcomed those in attendance and gave a moving tribute to Mary Hofmann — the late school librarian and community activist for whom the center is named. Hofmann served on the Merced County Library Commission, as well as being active in the Friends of the Merced County group. She passed away in 2021.
“Mary was an amazing advocate for the youth of Merced, education, reading, and our library,” Taylor said. “Now the Mary Hofmann Teen Central is a safe space for teens to come together to be young adults, collaborate, and learn about new ideas. I look forward to all the programs and activities to come and watch as our teens build confidence and grow within the space.”
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was led by Merced County Supervisor Josh Pedrozo and Mary Hofmann’s husband, John Hofmann, along with other family members and friends. Also on hand to meet community members were the new Merced County Teen Librarian Noelle Haycraft, Deputy County Librarian Amy Boese, and the entire Teen Central library staff.
Teen Central is open during the regular operating hours of the Merced County Library located on “O” Street in the downtown Merced area, close to Courthouse Park.