Public Library Programs

By Amelia Mendro

Wednesday afternoon students were visited by Lisa Neubert, the Youth Services Librarian for the Santa Barbara Public Library. She came to talk to English classes about the library and programs offered for teens there.

Neubert’s introduction started with asking students what they knew about the library. They came up with a few ideas, including the library is a place to check-out books and a place to read. She then elaborated on these ideas and told the classes about other things the library offered. Neubert mentioned the library is a great place to do homework because it offers computers and free printing for teens. She also covered a few basics about the library, such as what you can check-out at the library – physical books, ebooks, audiobooks, movies, magazines, DVDs, BluRays, and CDs. Anybody can check these out for 21 days at a time.

Something quite interesting the library offers are WiFi hotspots. They are small portable boxes that allow people to access WiFi from. The hotspots are available at the library for a week long check-out. Neubert mentioned there is a waiting list for them. Currently there are 201 people on the list, but she told students if they put themselves on the list they would get one in a couple of weeks. The hotspots are quite expensive for the library to obtain, so if a patron loses one they must pay $100 to replace it. The WiFi hotspots all have a security measure built in – once the week is up, the WiFi automatically shuts off. So, don’t steal them because it’s not going to do any good!

Neubert also talked about other helpful library tools. The first being Libby, an app from which people can download ebooks and audiobooks. Libby is available for phones, computers, and tablets. The second being Hoopla, another app. Neubert described Hoopla as being “the Netflix for the library.” It offers a much broader selection and there are no waiting lists. Using the app, patrons have 10 check-outs per month for free. Hoopla offers music, books, comics, movies, and instant access to the newest Marvel and DC comics, as well as others.

One of Neubert’s main focus was the Makerspace at the Public Library. The Makerspace is exactly what it sounds like, a space to make anything. A few activities offered are the Cricut – a fancy paper-maker, a printer for vinyl stickers and stencils, metal stamping – to make personalized jewelry, and Virtual Reality machines. The VR machines require that a parent signs a waiver for teens and children under the age of 18. Coming soon are sewing machines and beginners sewing classes.

Some more teen-oriented programs are the anime/manga club and the Teen Advisory Board. The anime club meets on Saturdays in the tech lab. It is a space for manga lovers to talk with others. Snacks are also provided. The Teen Advisory Board is a board of teens that hold meetings and decide what the library can do for teenagers. The next meeting is Oct. 11, where the board will decide on a new name. Snacks are provided.

The last topic Neubert covered was Santa Barbara Reads. This program is like a community-wide book club, with other fun activities included. The book being read this year is Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. There will be 70 Frankenstein themed events at the different libraries. The first will be the Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon, Oct. 6th at West Side LIbrary. It is a day to teach teens how to edit Wiki pages, and give a voice to others on the Internet. Check the Santa Barbara Public Library webpage for more information.

The presentation ended with Ms. Carmean encouraging the classes to visit the library. She talked about the amazing programs, and the correlation between avid readers and academic achievement. The library does offer great programs for teens, such as the Makerspace, Teen Advisory Board, and more. Go check out a book, magazine, or movie at your public library!


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