Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Library still place to go for books

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Yes, it’s true. As the 23 editorial cartoon, ‘‘These days at the library...” mentioned, Montgomery County Public Libraries is offering gaming for teens at many of our branches this summer. Yes, we’re guilty of looking beyond traditional library resources and activities to serve our teen community.

As a result, we are in the midst of what seems to be a very successful pilot partnership with the Montgomery County Recreation Department. They provide the equipment and the staff, and we provide meeting room space and refreshments. The outcome? Teens are coming into our libraries this summer in greater numbers than ever before. At each of our programs, such as book clubs, college prep workshops, arts and crafts sessions, and video gaming, we offer teens an opportunity to sign up for a library card and check out books that are coordinated with the programming.

These programs in no way diminish the importance of someone ‘‘just want[ing] a book.” Yes, we have dramatically increased our teen programming this summer, but we have also increased our teen user base and their leisure and academic reading. In fact, circulation of teen books has increased more than 50 percent in the past year.

Carol Legarreta and Kathie Weinberg, Rockville

The writers are public services administrator of Community Engagement and Development, and Teen Advisory Group advisor and young adult librarian, respectively, with Montgomery County Public Libraries.