Manga, mags, CDs, wireless? Library targets teens

February 07, 2006|by BRAD SMITH

Teens, the library wants you.

The Washington County Free Library's downtown Hagerstown branch is concerned with a smaller number of teen patrons. In an effort to attract teens, the library has created a teen loft separate from the main floor.

"In an attempt to get the teen generation back into reading, the Hagerstown public library has built a room specifically for teens on our partial second floor," said Lisa Key, circulation supervisor at the Hagerstown library.

The teen loft is actually more of a balcony-type room that looks out over the entire library, with its mix between modern interior design and a retro/late '80s look. The view includes the children's section, the adult section and all the computers in the technology area.


Books and more

The teen loft's selection of materials includes fiction and non-fiction books - fantasy, sci-fi, Christian novels and more. But the teen loft also has Japanese manga, graphic novels, music CDs and a wide variety of teen magazines. Teens can borrow any of these once they have a library card.

The library is not just about books anymore - there are other things, such as computers available to the public. There is even a free wireless Internet service.

Events for kids

The library also holds other events to attract kids. Key organized a tournament featuring Yu-gi-oh cards - a Japanese card battle game - that was so popular a second tournament has been planned for Saturday, Feb. 18, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the teen loft.

Kids in seventh through twelfth grade are invited to enter; call the library at 301-739-3250 to reserve a seat. Players should bring their own cards and a bag lunch.

There is also a knitting club that meets at the library the third Tuesday of every month from 7 to 8 p.m. in the B/C meeting room.

Help wanted

Key said the library is looking for suggestions on more material that could be part of this loft. Key works with a group of teens which meets every other Thursday at the library.

"In general, I'm looking for (teens) to help me select materials and to plan more programs," Key said.

The teen advisory board's next meetings are on Feb. 9 and 23, from 7 to 8 p.m.

There have even been proposals to have a coffee shop opened inside the library, so people can enjoy an iced decaf mocha latte with extra whipped cream while reading their copy of MAD Magazine.

Even without a coffee shop, the teen loft seems like a cool place to come and just hang out no matter what your interests are.

The library is open every day - Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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