Literacy for Life: Librarians create ways to draw teens

It may seem as if video games are the antithesis of reading. But the Carson City Library is hoping to use one to promote the other.

"It's a hugely popular trend with libraries these days," said Amber Sady, youth services librarian. "If it gets kids in the door, I'm going to support that."

Over the summer, the library hosted a series of video game tournaments, like Dance Dance Revolution and has a Rock Band tournament set for the end of this month.

She said the teens come for the video games, then stay to do homework or check out a book.

"If they see all the other services we have to offer and how many other people are here, a lot of them tend to come back, and they look forward to it," Sady said. "Not only do they play video games, they volunteer to run the program, so they're getting involved in that community service role."

One of the goals of a new library, said Director Sara Jones, would be to expand the youth department. As it is now, the entire section takes up about 4,000 square feet.

Jones said she'd like to see more room for teens, giving them space from the toddlers who now share the same area.

Karen Ramirez, 17, who came to the library to work on the computer, said she would like more room, away from "all the yelling from the little kids."

Sady said programs are expanding as well. She would like to add a youth book club next summer, when students aren't already feeling overwhelmed by school assignments.

"We could order a pizza and have a great book discussion," she said.

In any event, she said, the library is changing from the traditional quiet sanctuary to a more dynamic learning environment.

"My personal philosophy is if they're not making noise, they're not learning."

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