Teen Lounge proves a popular hangout

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Local teens want to thank the Rotary Club of Sandpoint for sponsoring The Library’s new Rotary Teen Lounge at the Sandpoint branch library. Every day since it opened the first day of school, 20-50 teens occupy the space to do homework, have snacks, and unwind with friends.

Over the past two years, the Rotary Club of Sandpoint has partnered with The Library to raise funds for the space as part of the “Your Library Transformation” initiative. With $45,000 raised between the two Novel Night Gala events (thanks to all of you who supported them), The Library has been able to build and furnish the space, as well as purchase games and equipment. And the teens appreciate it. Here are a few of their comments:

“It’s awesome! I don’t have many friends and no where to go. So this gives me a cool place to go.”

“We don’t have to be super quiet like in the rest of the library. We can hang out and have fun”

“There are comfy seats, food, and my friends come here.”

“The free Wi-Fi is awesome”

“I like playing games.”

“It’s a good place to meet up with friends.”

Right around the time that we opened the Teen Lounge, our former teen librarian, Morgan Gariepy moved out of state and Kimber Glidden stepped in. As teen services coordinator, Kimber keeps her ear to the ground, engaging with the teens to identify their needs and how The Library can address them. She is in the Teen Lounge during open hours and interacts directly with the teens.

Speaking of open hours, the Teen Lounge is generally open Monday through Friday “after school-ish,” as Kimber describes it. The room is open to seventh- through 12th-grade teens, and these kids make sure of that. Younger kids are prohibited. Although there is a big difference between a seventh-grader and a high school senior, the space works well. Kimber reports that numbers of visitors are increasing and kids are staying longer. She is also seeing a larger number of older students — a demographic The Library has sought to attract for a long time.

“I really love seeing how the teens are taking ownership of the space. They decide on the music they’ll listen to, how they want to spend their time, and they shape the programs we will offer. I do encourage them to get their homework done, though! They respect each other and I have a lot of respect for them,” Kimber told me.

Teens can choose to hang out without any structured activities, or they can participate in programs designed just for teens. Currently, offerings include MakeIt — Art, MakeIt — Tech, Magic the Gathering (a tabletop gaming group), and a beginning drone workshop. Last week, the teens decided to do a pop-up robotics program. Kimber says she would like to do more of that kind of impromptu programming based on what the kids feel like doing that day. Plans to introduce MakeIt — Mechanical, writing workshops and a speed reading program are in the works. The older teens are planning to organize a teen mixer for 9th-12th graders sometime soon. Kimber also plans to host a parents night to let parents in on what goes on in the Teen Lounge and how they can help make it a success.

The Teen Lounge isn’t the only way The Library has directed its attention to local youth. The young adult collection was moved downstairs with a cozy reading area. It is much larger, too, and is located near Kimber’s office for easy access to reading recommendations and other YA inquiries. Based on the results from a recent teen focus group, Kimber plans to implement “adulting” life skills classes in the future. Teens and young adults will drive content for those offerings as well.

Teens are happy to have the Teen Lounge and have expressed gratitude for the Rotary Club of Sandpoint for ensuring that they have a designated space — other than the lobby — for themselves. For more information or to donate toward the snack fund, please contact Kimber Glidden, 208-263-6930, ext. 1245.

The following take place at the Sandpoint branch library, 1407 Cedar Street, unless otherwise indicated.

• Friday, Oct. 12 — A Special Clark Fork Mother Goose Story Program, 10:15 a.m. at the Clark Fork branch library. Geared to waddlers and toddlers and their caregivers, this 20-minute story time is followed by 20 minutes of play. Four-week session running through Nov. 2. Information: 208-208-266-1321.

• Friday, Oct. 12 — Teen Read Week Star Party, 2:30-4:30 p.m. in the Teen Lounge. This year’s Teen Read Week theme is “It’s Written in the Stars … READ!” Come to The Library to choose the star with the book quote that speaks to you, check out the book, sit back, and enjoy the read. Bring your quote-star and celeberate Teen Read Week with movies, VR games, and snacks. Information: 208-263-6930, ext. 1245.

• Saturday, Oct. 13 — Indie Author Day: The Writer’s Toolbox, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.,Community Rooms A and B. Join us for a day of writer’s workshops, author readings, booksignings and networking with local author and avid readers. Information: bonniemcdade@gmail.com.

• Monday, Oct. 15 — Beginning drone workshop, 5:30-7 p.m.; geared for seventh- to 12th-grade teens. Learn terminology, drone anatomy, safety , and flight basics. Field experience will help build confidence flying the drone before moving on to simple flight challenges. 3-week course commitment and registration is required: 208-263-6930, ext. 1245.

• Monday, Oct. 15 — Pajama Storytime, 6:15 p.m. Bring the whole family, including stuffies and blankies for sweet dreams story time. PJs welcome. Information: 208-263-6930, ext. 1211.

• Tuesday, Oct. 16 — Mother Goose, 10 a.m.; stories and singing for babies and toddlers 0-3 years old and their caregivers with stay and play until 10:40 a.m. Information: 208-263-6930, ext. 1211, or suzanne@ebonnerlibrary.org.

• Tuesday, Oct. 16 — Preschool Stories.,11 a.m.; stories and crafts for kids and their caregivers. Information: 208-263-6930, ext. 1211, or suzanne@ebonnerlibrary.org.

• Tuesday, Oct. 16 — Robotics, 3 -5 p.m. at the Clark Fork branch library. Information: 208-266-1321.

• Tuesday, Oct. 16 and Wednesday, Oct. 17 — Intro to Virtual Reality, 3-6 p.m. drop-in 20-minute sessions and experience virtual reality. Explore the world with Google Earth VR, swim in the deep sea, go on a virtual tour, play arcade style games or walk a plank suspended from an 80-story building ­— all from the safety of The Library! First come, first served. Under 18 must accompany parent consent form. Information: Contact the Tech Desk 208-263-6930 ext.1251.

• Wednesday, Oct. 17 — Clark Fork Stories and More, 10:30 a.m. at the Clark Fork branch library. Stories, crafts, prizes and snacks for kids ages 3-8. Information: 208-266-1321.

• Wednesday, Oct. 17 — Library Building Days, 2:15 p.m., in the Children’s Area glass room. Join us after school for building fun with Legos, blocks, circuits, games, and more! Information: (208) 208-263-6930 ext. 1211.

• Wednesday, Oct. 17 — MakeIt Art, 5-6 p.m., in the Teen Lounge. Teens, bring your ideas and inspiration to help design art for the new Teen Lounge. Canvas and paint will be supplied. Information: 208-263-6930, ext. 1245.

• Wednesday, Oct. 17 — Writer’s Presentation: Lady Long Rider: Alone Across America on Horseback. Speaking Tour. 6-7:30 PM in Community Rooms A and B. Author Berniece Ende will feature select readings from her memoir in addition to the slideshow presentation that showcases fantastic photos and stories from her long horseback rides. Information: 406-422-1305.

• Thursday, Oct. 18 — Infant Lapsit, 10 a.m.; rhyme program for pre-walkers and their caregivers. Six-week session runs Sept. 20 to Oct. 25. Pre-registration is required: Suzanne Davis 208-263-6930, ext. 1211; or suzanne@ebonnerlibrary.org.

• Thursday, Oct. 18 — Writer’s Workshop: Finding Your Niche — Before You Start Writing, 5:30-7 p.m., Community Room B. Presented by local writer Mary Haley, who has penned several young adult and teen novels. Presented by the Idaho Writer’s League - Sandpoint Chapter. Information and registration: bonniemcdade@gmail.com.

• Saturday, Oct. 20 — Native Heritage Film Series, “United By Water”; 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. This free popular film series returns with films that highlight Native American issues and culture. This month’s film is “United by Water”, a film that documents the inspiring journey of local tribal communities to Kettle Falls, the fishing site of their ancestors, for the first time in 80 years. Narrated by Sherman Alexie, it is a film about reconnecting with tribal traditions and with the river that once was so integral to their way of life. Information: 208-263-6930.

• StoryWalk — Pages from a children’s book are posted along a trail for a fun, family experience. Enjoy “Leaf Man” by Lois Ehlert at Dover City Park and “The Monster’s Monster” by Patrick McDonnell at McNearny Park. Read, connect, and get outside at a StoryWalk, a partnership of The Library, Kaniksu Land Trust, city of Dover, and city of Ponderay. For more information, visit ebonnerlibrary.org or call Suzanne Davis 208-263-6930 ext. 1211 or suzanne@ebonnerlibrary.org.

Marcy Timblin is in charge of public relations, marketing and community development for the East Bonner County Library District. She can be reached at 208-208-208-263-6930, ext. 1204.

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