If 15-year-old Aoi Bowers were the leader of the Lawrence Public Library, he'd make sure it had more comic books, more video games, and definitely more computers for surfing the Net.
His cadre of cabinet members - fellow teens with junior high jewelry, baggy pants and dangling headphones - agreed.
So does Bruce Flanders, the actual director of the Lawrence Public Library. Flanders said the library is in the planning stages of a major reorganization that he hopes will increase the young adult section of the library from about 800 square feet to about 4,000 square feet in the coming months.
"The teens have a corner of the adult room in the library right now, which is a pretty sad comment," Flanders said. "We need to carve out a space that is among the most state-of-the art things we can do."
Where that space would be located within the 36-year-old library building, however, is still unknown. Also up in the air is what books or other offerings may have to be jettisoned to make way for the larger young-adult section.
In May, Flanders said library leaders were considering reducing the collection size of the library from about 260,000 items to about 220,000 to make room for more key services. Now, however, he says he's not sure that large of a reduction is possible.
"It is unlikely that we're going to make overly dramatic cuts to our collection size because the print collections will remain the centerpiece of what the library is," Flanders said. "Books are still the library's brand."
Flanders said cuts to some low-circulation items - such as automotive repair manuals - probably will occur. But he said a more likely way to save space is by consolidating staff office areas in the library.
With some of the space, Flanders said he hopes to create a young adult room that features televisions, a sound system and video game stations.
"It needs to be their own room," Flanders said. "It needs to be a place where they can crank the music up and be teens. And it needs to be in a place where we don't have to worry about them disrupting the rest of the library."
The area - which would be a little smaller than the current children's area of the library - would include books, too. But Flanders said it is critical the area go beyond the traditional library offerings.
"Teens today learn differently," Flanders said. "Teenagers today have never not known Google. Multimedia for them is the ocean they swim in."
Flanders said he hopes the reorganization project also will provide more space to increase the number of public computers in the library. Currently, the library has 50 computers, but Flanders believes about 150 are needed. He said the library is considering a plan to buy laptop computers that could be checked out to people to take anywhere within the library building.
Flanders said the reorganizations plans still need to be discussed by the library's board. He hopes the board will grant approval so some work can begin on rearranging space by early 2009.