A Library of Opportunities

Art programs for teenagers abound at the library

Summer is not over yet at the Eugene Public Library. For parents concerned about the school budget cuts affecting art and music programs in Eugene public schools, the library fills in a little by providing free summer programs every week for teenagers to express their talents.

The library offers movie showings, writing and drawing workshops and crafts, such as hand-making books and jacket patches. And all of this is in addition to the usual teen book group and volunteer program. Teen Services Librarian Traci Glass says between 20 and 30 teens usually show up for these programs.

“I just want them to know that the library is a fun place, a place where they can do more than just read,” she says.

Beyond promotion of the programs in the school system, Glass tries to offer her help to language and arts teachers to provide content for their classes and program activities around themes they are teaching. This year, the library received a Big Read grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. They are putting together a citywide program on The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and partnering with the schools where teenagers are reading the novel in English classes.

“Teens should always come into the library, I think,” Glass says. “They don’t realize that we have a full teen center and programming and staff members dedicated to not only helping them with their school work but their leisure reading as well.”

And there’s still more to come. At 2 pm Friday, Aug. 9, teenagers can print their own T-shirts at the Sheldon Branch Library. Summer will end on a high note with the most popular program: “Eugene’s Got Talent!” Usually attracting up to 40 groups of kids ages 7 to 17, the talent show will have them compete against each other during three-minute acts at 5 pm Thursday, Aug. 15, at the downtown Eugene Public Library. Auditions are scheduled the day before at 4 pm.

For more on school arts and music budget cuts see “Budget Cuts Affect Music, Arts” 4/11.