NEW YORK - Students in the South Bronx got a big surprise when they visited a brand new Teen Center in the Mott Haven Library on Wednesday.
It's designed to give students out-of-the-box opportunities after school.
"We thought it would be a great idea to invite you all to the library for this special event," said Tiffany McCrae, who works at the library.
The students from Brilla College Prep Middle School toured the new upgrades to the historic library in the neighborhood. It features a state-of-the-art recording studio in the borough where hip-hop was born.
"Kids have the opportunity to record music, make beats and just have fun, be themselves," said McCrae.
Some of the biggest hip-hop legends are from the Bronx -- and that's why New York Public Library brought in a special guest.
"I am happy to present to you today -- hip-hop legend Fat Joe," McCrae said to the cheering students.
Fat Joe spoke with students about the importance of education and overcoming obstacles.
"Growing up in this community, a lot of times, we never really had role models, but now you guys have examples. You guys have the blueprint of, you can be very, very successful one day, whatever your dreams are can become possible," said Fat Joe.
"He's one of my role models," said Carlos, a student at Brilla College Prep Middle School.
The culture of hip-hop is embedded in the borough, and that's why New York Public Library is making sure there are opportunities to pursue it.
"It's beautiful. It's just another tool, another way of engaging the mind and getting them into the library and then on the way out they can read a book," said Fat Joe.
The library has open recording studio nights every Tuesday for teens at 4 p.m.
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