Monday, January 14, 2008

Appleton library's new program reaches out to teens

Bethany Blank, 14, and Skyler Keough, 15, both of Appleton enjoy some friendly competition while playing a video game during the Teens Take a Break series at the Appleton Public Library. Post-Crescent photo by Dan Powers
Post-Crescent January 14, 2008
Appleton library's new program reaches out to teens
Series hopes to draw kids looking for a place to hang out and have some fun

By Cheryl Sherry
Post-Crescent staff writer

When you think of hot spots for teen fun, the Appleton Public Library doesn't necessarily come to mind.

Not yet anyway.

"We're not just stuffy old books and homework," young adult librarian Paula Wright said.

Although the library always has offered programming for teens, it never has been on a weekly basis. That all changed Tuesday with the kick-off of the new Teens Take a Break series, which gives young adults in grades seven through 12 four different entertainment options each month. It also gives them a break from the rigors of school, homework, work and social obligations.

"This is something where they can take a break from their busy lives and at least once a week come to the library and do something fun and relaxing," Wright said.

Menasha teen Tori Fisher said while there are many activities in the area for teens, Take a Break will offer them the chance to hang out with teens from all over the Fox Valley, which normally isn't an option.

Kaukauna teen Skyler Keough not only sees the program as a great idea, but the library as a great place to do it.

"I think that if the word gets out, then as more teens come together we can make more friends and become more accepting of others. There are many great opportunities, and I hope to become involved in as many as possible. … I think the program will be a huge success."

"The idea was to have one all-encompassing program where we try to incorporate all the different things we know teens are interested in and want to do into one big program where we do something for them every Tuesday night," Wright said. "So they know at the library every Tuesday night there's going to be some kind of program. And the different kinds of programs appeal to different kinds of personalities of teens. The goal is to let teens know there is a place they can come hang out. They are welcome."

The first Tuesday of the month is game break night, a drop-in chance to play Wii or Playstation 2, board games or cards.

"We've had lots of requests by teens to do some kind of gaming program, and the Wii and the Playstation 2 aren't available to all teens," Wright said.

As part of the Outagamie Waupaca Library System, a Wii, Playstation 2 and games were purchased and made available to member libraries interesting in offering a gaming program for children, teens or adults.

Under the guidance of library assistant Diana Sandberg, week two of the program gives the crafty teen a chance to create anything from a juice pouch handbag to Amigurumi (Japanese art of crocheting small stuffed animals) to magnetic poetry.

Anime will be shown on the third Tuesday of the month. Anime is essentially animation and a popular form of entertainment in Japan. Many times, anime comes from a manga, or Japanese comic book.

Music will fill the atrium on the last Tuesday of the month with the Jungle Jive Concert venue featuring local teen and young adult bands.

"It's an opportunity for teens to play their music in a safe open environment that is extremely casual," Wright said. "It is hard for teens to find a forum in which they can play. They have to play 50 minutes to an hour, and all musical styles are welcome."

Plus, bands get paid.

For participating teens, however, Teens Take a Break doesn't cost a dime, thanks to the Appleton Library Foundation.

Cheryl Sherry: 920-993-1000, ext. 249, or

More info

Teen bands interested in playing at the library's Jungle Jive Concert venue are asked to e-mail Paul Wright at or call 920-832-6177.
A Program Extra! pizza and book discussion will be offered from noon to 1 p.m. Feb. 15 in the lower-level meeting rooms of the Appleton Public Library. The Community Reads books, "Green Angel" and "Blackbird House," will be discussed.
Upcoming schedule:
Jan. 15: "Go Green Scrap Art" drop-in between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. in the lower-level Young Adult room
Jan. 22: "Slayers Next," Anime for Teens film series, 6:30 p.m. lower-level meeting room
Jan. 29: Jungle Jive Concert, 7 to 8 p.m. in the Library Atrium
Feb. 5: Game Break, 7 to 8:45 p.m. in lower-level meeting room
Feb. 12: Valentine/Un-Valentine Altered Cans craft drop-in between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. in the lower-level Young Adult room
Feb. 19: "Suzuka," Amime for Teens film series, 6:30 p.m. lower-level meeting room
Feb. 26: Jungle Jive Concert, 7 to 8 p.m. in the Library Atrium

For the rest of the schedule, go to

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