Going “Beyond” in Wyoming

Teen librarians in Wyoming had the opportunity last spring to attend the Wyoming Library Association’s Youth Services interest group meeting and hear speaker Linda Braun inspire us to think “Beyond the Magic Eight Ball” about youth services in public and school libraries.wyoming

Even before that, teen librarians were working with local resources to provide unique opportunities for teens. They have continued to think “beyond” traditional library services to provide educational and recreational opportunities for young adults across the state:

  • In Riverton, at a branch of the Fremont County Library, teens have the opportunity to explore rock climbing, flight, and music creation via innovative technology.’  The library provides a Metrolius Fingerboard – a climbing apparatus that simulates the finger holds used by actual rock climbers; an X 10 flight simulator and joystick that allows teens to experience the feeling of flight; and an inexpensive music recording space using Mixcraft, a recording microphone and a mini keyboard.’  The Riverton branch library is also in its seventh session of “Changing Lives Through Literature,” a court-ordered diversion program for first-time youth offenders.
  • In Fort Washakie, the combined public/school library of Fremont County School District #21 has opened its “Teen Zone,” using grant monies from AT&T, the Wyoming Community Foundation, and funds from the school district.’  The “Teen Zone” features students’ original graphic art, teen-friendly furniture, and device-friendly tables. The main county library has provided tutorials for teens about ebook services. The public/school library at Fort Washakie is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
  • In Rawlins at the Carbon County Library, local resources from the University of Wyoming and Wyoming’s large archaeological community are utilized for teen programs such as a FAFSA workshop and a flint-knapping demonstration. ‘ Teens have ample opportunities to exercise their creativity, from dressing up for a February Renaissance Festival, to creating Earth-Day terrariums in April, to making Vine videos in May for summer reading promotion.
  • In Glenrock’s branch of the Converse County Library, a small group of teens is making a difference in the library and community by forming the library’s first Teen Advisory Board. The teens help promote library events in the community, give suggestions for books, and even help design programs. In March for Teen Tech Week, they will be holding a contest to determine the #1 inventor in the small community of Glenrock.
  • In Gillette at the Campbell County Library, teens are highly interested in science and engineering opportunities.’  For Teen Tech Week, they will have the chance to “mess around” with LittleBits electronics modules and 3D printer pens; these technologies, along with robotics, will be featured during the summer reading program. Currently, the library offers teens a card-playing club, a D&D club, a Minecraft club, and an anime/manga club.

This spring, the discussion will continue at another meeting of the WLA youth services interest group. This year, we will be thinking “beyond” library walls and “beyond” age-specific library services.

Submitted by Darcy Acord
Campbell County (WY) Public LIbrary Youth Services Coordinator

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