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Library Link: Library offers teens fun and learning, free of charge

By: Anne Beaty

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Mar 21, 2012 06:00 am

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Airdrie’s young people have a great place to meet and make new friends, use a computer, play games, read, listen to music and basically hang out – all for free.

Over the years, Airdrie Public Library (APL) has offered various programs for teens and tweens. Currently, Teens After Hours, which usually runs from 7 to 9 p.m. on the first Friday of the month during the school year, is an opportunity for teens in grades 7 to 9 to use the library and have fun. Movies and popcorn, board games, Wii, DDR, Rock Band, Guitar Hero – the list of activities is long and varied. Those participating can also fill out their Teens After Hours Passport for a chance to win an iPad.

The program was initiated because the library is so small that there’s really no space for teenagers to hang out during regular hours, said Heather Finlayson, APL youth and children’s services manager. Opening the doors after hours gives teens an opportunity to relax and simply enjoy themselves at APL.

“It gives them a chance to be in the library and not worry about disturbing other people,” Finlayson said. “There’s nobody telling them to keep it down.”

“They like the fact that they get to do whatever they want to do,” she said. “It’s really unstructured.”

For the younger set, Tween Zone, which usually runs from 2:30-3:30 p.m. on the third Friday of the month during the school year, offers reading, crafts, games and more for youths in grades 4 to 6.

The program invites tweens to drop by, have some fun and make new friends.

Hot on the heels of the summer’s Chill Zone Fridays, Tween Zone was created to fill a void during the school year, as there wasn’t any programming for that age group during those months.

“We wanted to give (tweens) a chance to come and be in the library, too. They like that they can just come and hang out in the program room and do some art or whatever they’re interested in,” Finlayson said, adding that Tween Zone is also a good way to filter participants into Teens After Hours.

Ultimately, welcoming tweens and teens to APL is one way to help create a lifelong relationship between these young people and their library.

Of course, we also have numerous programs for patrons of all ages, from preschool literacy to one-on-one technology tutoring. Visit us online at www.airdriepubliclibrary.ca to learn more about what is available.

This weekend, as part of our Family Free Fun Saturday program, Jeunes Lecteurs/French StoryTime will be all about Easter stories and crafts.

The program runs from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome.


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