Teens find relaxation, food at Northbrook Library’s Finals Cafe
Jonathan Wagner, a junior at Glenbrook North High School, takes a break from studying for finals at the Northbrook Library Finals Cafe January 14, 2013. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 25, 2013 6:06AM
NORTHBROOK — High school students have been flocking to the Northbrook Library’s Finals Cafe to replenish their minds and energy levels, as well as to sooth their jagged nerves.
The teenagers were inundated by three days of mid term exams – Jan. 14 through Jan. 16 – and in need of replenishment for body and soul.
So Summer Kosuge, a teen librarian, decided to provide a special refuge for students studying there.
“The ideas came from everywhere. This program was really built on what the previous teen librarian created. And having worked on a similar project in another library, I always wanted to add a massage component, so we did that, too,” Kosuge said.
“I ran the ideas by the Teen Advisory Board and the members loved them! I let them choose the foods and vendors we would be bringing to the cafe.”
Eric Robbins, the Library’s assistant director, came up with the idea of bringing in comfort and therapy animals, too, she added.
So Caribou Coffee donated the hot, caffeined drink; McDonalds, cookies; and Whole Foods, cookies, cereal and granola bars.
The Tree House Humane Society brought a comfort cat to cuddle. And Rainbow Animal Assisted Therapy brought three dogs with which to play.
“The first day alone brought in 199 teenagers, who first went for the food, then the animals,” Kosuge said.
“The massages, which went over really well, were provided by Matthews Mobile Massage. But the massages were limited to a few hours, so not as many of the kids who wanted them were able to get them.”
But there were a lot of “thank yous” from the appreciative crowd by the time the cafe closed each day, she added.
Anjali Patel, an 18-year-old Glenbrook North High School senior, noted that his favorite parts of the Finals Cafe experience were the massages and the dogs.
“I think the cafe did help me study, because it helped me calm down and allowed me to socialize for an hour or so,” Patel said.
“Next year, I would like to see more food, and Zumba dancing,” he added.
Lisa Silshtut, a 17-year-old senior at Glenbrook North said her favorite aspect of the cafe was that it actually provided a break from studying, which she felt she greatly needed.
“I also really appreciated bringing in dogs, because they were really adorable,” she said.
“But I hope to see more variety in food choices in the future.”
From the feedback, the sessions went over so well that Kosuge is already thinking about what could be offered next year.
“We might modify it somewhat,” he said. “I think we’ll ask the teen board what they think. I bet they come up with some interesting thoughts.