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Librarian plans UnValentine's event

February 11, 2009|By JANET HEIM

CLEAR SPRING -- Not all teens embrace the idea of soul-bearing cards and red roses on Valentine's Day.

For those who aren't dating, don't have a close circle of friends or just don't like the idea of the romantic holiday, Angie Garcia is offering an alternative.

As branch manager at the Leonard P. Snyder Memorial Branch Library in Clear Spring, Garcia has organized an UnValentine's Hang from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday. She said it is open to all Washington County teens who register in advance and is geared to eighth- to 12th-graders.

An unromantic movie with a rating of PG-13 or lower will be shown, accompanied by a disgusting munchie. Garcia said the movie selection will be decided based on the dynamics of the group.

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Board games, video games and Wii will be available to play. For crafters, supplies will be provided to make black duct-tape roses.

Garcia has worked part time at the library for four years and coordinates programming for all ages. She is hoping the event will be as successful as the teen overnighter she held in November that drew 15 youths.

The library, which is nestled in the center of Clear Spring's school complex, attracts a large number of teens for about two hours after school.

In a community where there aren't a lot of places for teens to congregate, the library offers a place to do homework and read, as well as play computer and board games with their friends.

"We have a very good teen response. The increase in teen usage is noticeable," said Garcia, who added that all of the libraries in Washington County are reaching out to the community.

She attributes the increase to the library's proximity to the schools and the "good working partnership" she has with teachers, especially at the middle and high school levels.

Garcia said teachers have been instrumental in bringing students to the library and making sure they have library cards. Teachers also let her know about upcoming research projects, so Garcia can gather materials students will be requesting.

She has developed her own rapport with the students.

"We've kind of grown together over the years. It's a trust factor. They'll come and talk to me," Garcia said of the library's teen patrons.

A Teen Talk Board, with a subject that changes every month or so, provides a place for teens to express their thoughts on music, teen issues, politics and more.

"This is a great community. The teens like anything I do," Garcia said.

Garcia grew up in Ohio and lives in Hagerstown with her husband, Paul, and 13-year-old daughter. She has a master's degree in high school education from Texas Christian University.

She is involved with the Western Maryland Teen Interest Group, a programming committee of library employees that includes Cumberland and Frostburg.

Other popular programs at the Clear Spring library include story times, themed programs on topics like forensic science or the search for John Wilkes Booth, and a monthly movie night that rotates between a teen/adult movie and a family movie.

The next movie night will be Oscar Movie Night on Thursday, Feb. 26, at 6:30 p.m. For fun, those attending are asked to come in their "best red-carpet dress" or "their most comfy movie-watching attire."

The 2001 Best Picture of the Year, "A Beautiful Mind," will be shown.

Registration is required by calling 301-842-2730.

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