The times, they are a-changin’. The library, once held as the bastion of quietude, is now encouraging teenagers and their friends to come over and play some noisy video games for a couple of hours tomorrow.
The special event, now in its third month, is just one of the ways the facility’s new teen services co-ordinator is reaching out to youth, a demographic that she sees as having a lot of potential for some of its members to derive a lot of benefit from the library.
Kathleen Troppmann calls this strategy, “Warming up the library.”
“If all I get out of it is that they come, they play a game, they’ve met me … at some point in a year, two years they go, ‘OK, I’ve got this homework assignment and I don’t know what to do. The library might be able to help. It’s not so bad’,” said Troppmann, considered to be the library’s oldest teenager.
Other novel features of the teen program that have recently appeared include age-specific arts and crafts (like the recent bookmark pillow project or the upcoming ecologically-theme Project Runway session) and creating totes from recycled books. It’s all designed to appeal to a broad teenaged audience although Troppmann expects more boys than girls for the games — much the opposite occurred for the fashion event. It’s not about creating a quick and large influx of new users but rather about slow and small strides toward gradually building new, reliable and dedicated ones.
“This is about giving teens an opportunity to discover what the St. Albert Public Library of the 21st century is all about.”
Apart from that, she justified the educational component of games, focusing on interpersonal dynamics, rules of behaviour and psychosocial constructs.
“It’s been really big in a lot of libraries for quite awhile, from the time that there used to be D and D (Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game) at the library. We consider video gaming to be just another form of literacy. It’s social literacy,” she said. “There is a lot of learning.”
That incentive will be enough for some while others may care more about how huge an experience it will be. The program room is spacious with high ceilings. Staff will set up a large screen with a projector and a great sound system before the first chord is struck.
“Lots of people play with the Wii at home but this is bigger and better. It’s great. It really is fun.” And yes, she will be one of the participants. “I love playing games!”
A library membership is not required to register for these free and fun sessions. They will be held once a month until May when the program room starts being developed solely for the annual summer reading program that teens can participate in.
Teen Gaming - All About the Band
Rock Band on the Nintendo Wii (RB I and II and RB Beatles)<br />Board and card games also available<br />For teens in Grades 7 to 12<br />To be held in the main program room tomorrow from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.<br />For more info or to register call Kathleen at 780-459-1682.<br />www.sapl.ab.ca/teens