Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I Love Libraries

I'm an Army brat, which meant that packing up and moving to a new home every 2 - 3 years seemed normal to me. While most non-military types are aware of how often soldiers (and their families) move, what they don't realize is that all this moving means you can't accumulate too much stuff. Soldiers are given a certain weight allowance, and that's all the Army will put on the truck. Go over it, and you pay a hefty price tag. Per pound. As a result, I didn't have much furniture--only the bare necessities (and if we were living in military housing, which we often did, the Army can supply some of it for you.) I also didn't have that many books. I'll admit, "many" books is a relative term; most of my friends thought I had a ton! However, I read several books a week, and my parents are big readers, too. Owning that many was out of the question. Therefore, when we moved to a new post, one of the first places we'd visit was the post library. It was simply the thing to do.

Here's what leaves me gobsmacked now: libraries have incredible programs for teens. If you're looking for a great place to hang out, meet with friends, and (shocker!) find some fantastic books, check out your local library. Many have active teen groups, an area specifically for teens to hang out, and programs that are actually (gasp!) FUN.

For instance, the Shrewsbury Public Library in Massachusetts has a loft area with comfy chairs, a TV, and video games. There's space to study or just chat with your friends. At the library in Glendale, Arizona, you can participate in a Guitar Hero contest (yes, there are prizes!), take a babysitting course, or even take glass art workshops.

You don't have to live in a big city to find these kind of library programs, either. In tiny Waterville, New York (with a population around 1700), the library hosts teen lock-ins, where you can spend the night in the library with your friends, eat pizza, watch movies and talk books.

If they'd had programs like this when I was in high school, I'd have lived in the library. (I was there often enough as it was!)

What about you? Have you looked at what's going on in your local library? Have you ever attended an event there, such as an author visit, a movie night, or a book discussion? If so, what's been your favorite event?

(This is me with some of the Canastota Librateens in Canastota, New York!)


Kelly McClymer said...

My little town library (Orono Public Library) does a great job with younger kids (the older ones not so much -- mostly because the library is squashed between the middle school and high school buildings and houses the school library, too).

When they get their new building away from school, maybe the teens will recognize it as a school-free resource for fun and adventure.


Micol Ostow said...

OMG, I heart libraries too! Ever since I've gone freelance I've been obsessed with the fact that I can order books from the NYPL's online database and have them delivered to the branch TWO DOORS DOWN!
How cool is that?

Wendy Toliver said...

I love our local library. When I first moved to our little town, I didn't know anyone, and I would take my kids to all the events. It was a great way to introduce my kids to reading for the love of it, plus it gave us a new social network.