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updated: 7/25/2011 4:43 PM

Lake Villa Library starts first teen advisory board

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By Samantha Bilharz

The Lake Villa District Library will gather more information about how to better serve teens, thanks to the formation of a teen advisory board, officials said.

The objective is to let teenagers have a say in the type of material they would like to see brought to the library, such as books, movies and music.

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"We have been increasing our programs aimed at a 7th to 12th-grade demographic. We thought it was time that they have a say in the programs and materials we provide," said Kerry Reed, the head of library's youth services. "Also these kids are generally looking for a way to get involved in the community. They are getting involved in volunteering and it's a great way for them to practice citizenship."

The board will have its first meeting Thursday, Aug. 4, 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the library, at 1001 E. Grand Ave.

At the first meeting, the teens will be mainly getting to know each other and discussing their impressions of the library and what they want to see happen there in the future.

"I hope that we will come out with a full compliment of new programs the teens are excited about, and in the end, the library will be the place to be," Reed said.

To be part of the advisory board, would-be participants must be a student in grades 7 to 12, have a signed parental permission slip and a valid library card. They don't need to have a Lake Villa District Library card because board membership is open to other communities.

Officials are seeking at least a six-month commitment. The advisory board will meet once a month and will address issues the teens find important.

So far, the library has received only two applications, but there is no deadline so interested teens can come to the first meeting and decide if they want to join the board.

"The response has been a little slow, but with all things new we really hope once a couple kids get involved they will bring along some friends. And we have no place to go but up," Reed said, adding her main goal is to bring more teens into the library.

Lake Villa joins other area libraries, including those in Gurnee, Palatine and Arlington Heights, that have a teen advisory board.

"It's important because we need, as an institution and a community, to support our children who are budding into adulthood and one of the ways they will explore who they are and what their community means is by participating," Reed said. "And we have to give them a full measure of respect for what they can add to our institution, how they feel and think."

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