Jennifer Terman

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January 2, 2013
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Teen advisory group seeks to attract local youth

The Nevada County library has been working toward incorporating programs and services to interest young adults. To that end, a teen advisory group has been meeting once a month to gather input to jazz up the library and make it more accessible to the younger crowd.

“We really notice that our libraries here don’t have as many young adults and teens coming in as we’d love to see,” said county librarian Jessica Hudson.

“We’ve got great materials and space and wanted to have more teens come in and use the area and wanted to get the opinions to see what we should be doing and what they’d like.”

The group consists of 10 to 15 teens interested in making the library more accessible.

“I like to read and talk about books, so I thought it would be a good thing,” said Natalie Martinez, 17. “We mostly talk about how the library can improve their young adults section.”

One of the things the group created was a display board to inform the community of the types of materials offered.

“Some of the teen advisory members put together a Manga display, which was shown in Grass Valley,” said Cindy Pawlowski, library assistant.

“That’s a graphic novel series popular with teens, and the display showed how many books we have for that type of material.”

The library has also collaborated with local theater chain Sierra Cinemas to offer contests.

“We’ve been collaborating with Sierra Cinemas, and when a movie gets released that’s been a book, we’re collaborating with them to do a contest … targeting specifically that young adult group,” Pawlowski said.

“We put on a ‘The Hobbit’ costume competition for the movie, and we gave away tickets, and we did a ‘Breaking Dawn’ trivia contest,” Martinez said.

Young adults tend to lose interest in using the library, something the library wants to change, Pawlowski said.

“That age group tends to fall out of utilizing the public library. We are trying to attract them and get them to come in,” Pawlowski said.

“The library is not necessarily the quiet institution it was 30 years ago. People are gathering, sharing, getting on computers and chatting.”

The library offers an open and non-judgemental place for teens to hang out, Hudson said.

“We think it’s important for them to be involved because this is a place they can come and do anything they want,” Hudson said. “They can listen to music, do homework, read books, do research projects, have a space to enjoy themselves after school or on the weekend, and we’re not going to judge them.

“They can read whatever, watch movies and listen to whatever they want. We’re not here to watch over and talk about what they’re doing.”

The teen advisory group works with the library to improve services, Pawlowski said.

“It’s really using them to help us in providing our collection, getting their input on what they’re reading, what materials they’re using, and using them as a resource,” Pawlowski said.

“They work for us in terms of spreading the word and getting that youth group into the library to better the services.”

A major benefit to young adults is that the services are also free, Pawlowski said.

“Some kids are on budgets and can use computers here for free and rent videos,” she said. “It’s more than just books. It’s a community resource.”

The library is an ideal place for young adults, Martinez said.

“I think the library is a popular place,” she said.

“It’s a good place to go and hang out.”

For those interested in joining the group, contact the library at (530) 265-7050.

“It’s a safe, hopefully comfortable space young adults can use to enjoy themselves,” Pawlowski said. “We want them to be able to use the library the way they want to.”

To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email or call (530) 477-4230.

“The library is not necessarily the quiet institution it was 30 years ago. People are gathering, sharing, getting on computers and chatting.”

— Cindy Pawlowski,
Nevada County Library assistant

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The Union Updated Jan 11, 2013 01:07PM Published Jan 2, 2013 09:22PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.