NEW ORLEANS – Teens are eligible for free RTA passes to get to the Library for a limited time, thanks to generous funding from United Way, Baptist Community Ministries, and the Friends of the New Orleans Public Library.
The Teen Read and Ride program is a new initiative that aims to remove the transportation barrier many teenagers in New Orleans face. Shannan Cvitanovic, executive director of the Friends of the New Orleans Public Library, said the RTA passes are just one way the Library is working to ensure access for all New Orleanians.
“Getting from place to place independently can be a huge hurdle for young people who aren’t old enough to drive or who don’t have access to a vehicle,” Cvitanovic said. “By providing free RTA passes, we hope to not only remove a financial burden but also encourage youth to come into the Library in their free time.”
The Library offers a variety of programs, services, and resources for teens and tweens, and Emily Painton, city librarian and executive director, is thrilled to be able to provide another avenue through which young people can connect with them.
“The Library is so much more than just a place for books, reading, or homework. We have dedicated spaces for teens in many of our locations, with access to activities, technology, or simply welcoming and comfortable places to be,” Painton said. “Throughout the process of creating our 10-year strategic plan, lack of reliable transportation was highlighted as a major reason young people were less likely to use the Library. We are so grateful to United Way, Baptist Community Ministries, and our Friends group for helping us address this issue in the first year of our strategic plan.”
Each Youth RTA pass can be used for 24 hours and are available at all Library locations for anyone aged 11 to 18. They will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, while supplies last. Visit nolalibrary.org/youth to learn more about all the resources the Library offers for children, tweens, and teens.