By Lauren Heyano
Special to the Turnagain Times
The library, like a lot of teens, is deeply misunderstood. It is widely known that a library houses books. However, I hold great joy in being an Anchorage Public Library patron and volunteer not because I love books, but because I am part of an organization that balances traditional library services with technology, resources, and convenience teens love.
With the school year fast approaching, consider the resources available at the library. Everything needed to complete an assignment in one place: a quiet space to work and information. Internet fans can find computers at the library or access the in-house WiFi. Whether writing a report or completing a project, try opting for using library books instead of websites as source material; most teachers are impressed by this act of traditionalism. And doing so does not burn a budget. Get this: library books and other materials are free to check out with a library card - also free to obtain.
It is worthwhile to explore the library website (www.anchoragelibrary.org). You can place holds or receive homework help. You can even check out eBooks, audio books, and music for iPods or eReaders. This section of the website is called the “digital downloads center” and it’s pretty much really cool. Free materials for my electronic device? Yes, please.
The library is also great for when we find ourselves in the epic struggle of Man versus Boredom. The library provides fun for free. Take friends to the library to hang out, play games, surf the internet. Or, go alone and explore the magazine section and other shelves. My favorite aisles are the 378’s —college resources — and the 910’s — travel books. Find a place to sit with a drawing pad, a notebook, a book, and relax. The library is your oyster.
Fun can still be provided by the library outside of library hours. This summer, some friends listed 73 movies I should see. Each week, I check out four different DVDs on the list to watch. The library’s DVD collection is impressive, indeed. The CD collection is equally exceptional; it is surprising how many cool artists can be found while rummaging through the bins.
Still don’t think there’s enough to do at the library? Start an activity. Personal experience indicates that the library is open to new opportunities for young adults. Library staff can provide space and support to teens willing to start a book club, organize game days, or host other cool programs. Teens can also volunteer shelving books or completing projects. I find volunteering to be a great way to learn more about the library’s offerings, and about the town I live in. Volunteering looks great on college applications and hours can be used towards community service requirements. It also serves as another weapon against Boredom.
And did I mention socializing? No matter how strict your parents are, they can’t object to studying at the library. Meet classmates to collaborate on projects. Or make new friends there.
For the past seven years, my neighborhood library has been an excellent place to spend my time. It has provided the motivation and resources that have truly improved my teen years. My message to my peers: Take a look around. Learn what services the library offers. Study. Be creative. Have fun. Wage a campaign against Boredom.
Lauren Heyano, 17, goes to Polaris K-12 School. An avid library user, Lauren serves as the teen liaison to the Library Advisory Board and was involved in the creation of Loussac’s Teen Underground. A nonfiction writer and poet, Lauren is often inspired by her childhood in South Naknek.