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Teen Librarian Aims to Reel in Young Adults

The White Plains Library's campaign to attract young adults started this winter when it hired a teen librarian and is rolling along this summer with a packed summer schedule.

“This summer we’re really trying to do more,” said teen librarian Erik Carlson. “Leading into the Edge, we’re trying to get more and more programs until we have about one a week.”

Other librarians handled young adult events before Carlson was hired in January. A few months later, the library unveiled floor plans for the Edge, a teen lounge. Efforts to attract young adults have crescendoed into a rash of road trips and travel-themed events designed to combat the typical summer slouch in teen attendance.

“If we’d get about 20 to 30 teens to come in over the summer for programs, I’d be pretty happy,” said Carlson. “Teens are our smallest demographic, if you’re looking at age groups.”

A June 4th performance by the White Plains High School songwriting club kicks off summer reading. New programs such as “Make Your Own Sushi” night and a Samba drumming workshop will follow. The library will also host a series of Saturday “Pizza and a Movie” showings that feature films about different cultures such as “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.”

“We’re hoping that it rains a lot on Saturdays,” Carlson said.

Educational videogames are also a new addition. Carlson has introduced games such as "Ayiti: The Cost of Life," where players are virtually thrust into the life of a Haitian family working through educational, health and career struggles.

“It’s a way to teach about serious issues in a way that’s not just the traditional 'read an article' way,” Carlson said.

Regular teen programs will also incorporate the road trip idea, which evolved from the travel aspect of the New York Library's collaborative “You Are Here” theme and the car-related programs provided by an Allstate grant.

The White Plains library will soon unveil a Facebook page for teens complete with animated video trailers of new books. A summer reading website with book log and review features is also on the horizon.

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