“Youth are the leaders of tomorrow!” said Grand County Public Library’s Teen/Tween Librarian, Christina Williams. The teen programming at the library is expanding this summer to offer teen gaming nights, a Rubik’s cube club, and “Maker Mondays.”
“I’ve seen growing importance in library programming trends on the emotional, social, and intellectual growth of teens/tweens and not just simply ‘entertaining’ them, or ignoring them,” Williams said. “The challenging part is creating activities and programs that the teens will find entertaining while also building upon their knowledge and connecting them to new experiences and learning opportunities.”
Williams has been the teen/tween librarian for three and a half years—her workdays are spent interacting with teens, creating programming, and “keeping up with what our local youth are interested in,” she said.
Most of the local teens who hang out at the library are gamers and readers, and the library can provide a “safe and age-specific space outside of school and home for teens to explore interests and engage socially with friends they may not live close to or see frequently at school,” Williams said.
On Friday, July 15, the library held its first teen “game and hang,” called “That Friday Night Thing,” which provided an Xbox, Switch, and Oculus VR headset for teens to play on; there were also snacks. Most of the teens who attended were library regulars, Williams said, and none of them had games systems at home—the most popular game was Wii Sports, played on the library’s large-screen TV. The next Friday Night Thing will be on August 5th from 5 to 8 p.m.
On Mondays from 3 to 5 p.m., teens are invited to “Maker Mondays,” which feature a new STEAM—science, technology, engineering, art, math—activity each week: past activities have included building and programming robots.
On Wednesdays from 3 to 5 p.m., the library hosts cube club, where teens can learn and practice solving a 3×3 Rubik’s cube.
There are also teen computer hours Monday through Friday from 12 to 8 p.m.; and each month, the library offers a new “Take & Make” activity: in May, teens were offered a 3D wooden animal puzzle.
“Teens and tweens are at a unique age where they are not quite adults, yet they are certainly not children,” Williams said. “Having a librarian that is specifically trained to meet the needs of teen/tween patrons helps create a welcoming and inclusive space while acknowledging their importance as members of our community.”
Teens and tweens also have the opportunity to partake in the library’s summer reading challenge, which ends August 15. Each hour that teens log reading counts toward tickets, which can be used to enter prize drawings—audiobooks, comic books, newspapers, and magazines all count toward the reading log.
More information about upcoming teen programming events and the reading challenge is available on the library’s website: www.grandcountyutah.net/286/library.