by Tiana Schweim
Litchfield library’s teen section of shelves is labeled YA, for Young Adult. I got to thinking about that label recently. You know, young adults are capable of juggling life and multi-tasking with the best of us! Adolescents are a wonderful wealth of comedy and tragedy all wrapped up in eclectic packaging. Their labels could all be stamped the same: YA Seeks Adventurous Relationship with Life! I’ve learned not to judge a book by its cover. Cracking open the cover of a teenager can encompass any genre you can imagine: Drama, Mystery, Romance, Adventure, Futuristic, Realistic, Historical, and Fantasy. The challenge for me is to design teen programming that will offer a little bit of the abnormal anchored to good old-fashioned, non-fiction life in Litchfield.
Our teen program launched just a few months ago. The handful of kids that were showing up to monthly book club discussions has grown into almost three dozen teens who are interested in getting involved in the decision-making process and advocating for event programming for their peers. These young adults are academic, athletic, and have real-life families and part-time jobs that they are committed to. They have relationships and friendships and they make time for reading as well. These kids are as different as the content found between the covers of our YA books, but they all have one thing in common: They like to hang out at our library!
In October, we promoted Teen Read Week by hosting a short story contest. We had twelve wonderful writers contribute their original manuscripts. Our teens are authors! We also hosted a teen advisory group event where we held our inaugural election of officers. Our teens are voters and leaders! The group decided to plan an event for December 1 to do a service project at the library. This past Sunday, we had nine young adults who cleaned and decorated the library for Christmas. Our teens are volunteers! Our teens are decorators! Our creative teens are inspired to see the work of their own hands and hearts come to fruition; they’re interested in investing in the community!
Tonight is the first big snowfall, and yet the library remains open to serve this community. I sit here in our cozy public library with the reflection of twinkling lights all around me. I wonder as my eyes wander around this giant room filled with shelves of every genre. How many books were checked out today? How many hands have made use of our free computer stations, or our free Wi-Fi? Will we ever know what we offer to the public as we hand them a book, a video, or a smile? How lucky we are here in Litchfield to be blessed by the dreams and sacrifices of those who made our beautiful library a reality.
As Litchfield’s city sidewalks become busy sidewalks all dressed up in holiday style think of this. Each day brings unique opportunity. Maybe it’s time to get involved. Maybe volunteering will be your resolution for 2014. Don’t let the label on your shelf define who you are. Take it from our teens, life is full of exciting new adventures, all you have to do is open the cover!
Note: The next Group Of Advising Teens (G.O.A.T.) event is scheduled for Monday, December 23, 5:00-8:00. Bring a white elephant gift to exchange and $5 for pizza. We will be watching the movie “Elf”.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL GOATS, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!!!