Monday, February 04, 2013

Teens @ The M.V.L.D.

In the spring of 2012, the Mississippi Valley Library District kicked off a brand new Teen Initiative program, which was generously sponsored by a Project Next Generation Grant.

According to Jessica L., Adult Services Librarian at the Collinsville Library, “We wanted to create a place and a voice for teens in our library and give them a chance to be a part of a unique program created just for them.”

During this exciting initiative, librarians and experts shared important information with the teens regarding a variety of subjects including everything from technology to careers.

Jessica added, “We hosted a special summer portion of the program called ‘Prepare for Your Future’ and hosted technology-based workshops and programs throughout the summer to give teens hands on experience with technology and to show them all of the possibilities and artistic outlets they could find by combining their natural talents with technology.”

Among the classes offered were introductions to virtual databases (such as Mango Languages and Learning Express), digital photography, video editing, and digital drawing tablets as well as classes that discussed Skyping, blogging, and using social media responsibly. (A portion of the grant money was used to purchase the digital cameras and drawing tablets for the classes.)

“By far their favorite class was the digital drawing tablets,” Jessica noted. “We can’t wait to see what they create with them next!”

By registering for the program, teens received a special Teen Initiative Card, which was a one-of-a-kind library card that allowed teens access to the library’s Computer Lab, opened a virtual suite of online databases, served as identification in the community, and allowed participants to accumulate points within the Teen Initiative Program, which could be ‘spent’ on purchasing special incentives.

Katie H., Branch Manager of the Fairmont City Library Center, summed up a few of the rewards that teens can earn when she said, “Teens are working hard earning points to attend special events like the annual Teen Lock-In, cashing in their points for extra game time, or to pay a library fine.”

Over 250 teens signed-up for the initiative at the Collinsville Memorial Public Library, and 64 teens signed-up at the Fairmont City Library Center.

“We will be continuing this program so keep your eyes open for new programming coming Spring 2013,” said Jessica.

More information about Project Next Generation can be found at www.finditillinois.org/nextgen.

-Posted by Jed Robbins, Library Assistant