Archive for Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Monthly event at public library caters to teenagers

December 22, 2004

Hey, man, can you dig the groovy vibes of the Teen Cafe?

The Tonganoxie Recreation Commission and the Tonganoxie Library are sponsoring a teen cafe beginning Jan. 8. The event will be from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. and will take place on the second Saturday of each month.

"We saw that there was a need for something to do for the kids in the evening in town," library director Sharon Moreland said. "We thought it would be fun."

Teens ages 12 to 18 are invited to the monthly event and are welcome to step up to the microphone to recite a poem, sing a song, perform a comedy skit or whatever else they are interested in sharing. If youth aren't interested in getting in front of their peers, they can sit back and hang out with friends.

The first Teen Cafe will feature free Frito's chili pie and drinks. Dessert also will be available for a small fee.

TRC assistant director Paula Bollinger said the Basehor Public Library has a teen cafe, which is quite successful.

Basehor usually has 40 teens attend its events.

"My original inspiration was the Basehor library," Bollinger said. "If we can get 40 kids, we'll be very happy."

Although it didn't directly inspire the teen cafe, recent surveys sent out to residents about the rec commission helped in Bollinger's decision to offer the cafe.

"I've had some parents call and say, 'thank you,'" Bollinger said.

Moreland plans to give Tonganoxie's "cafe" an authentic look. Thanks to tips from the Lawrence library, Moreland will dress up the library's community room. Black construction paper will cover the tables. Chalk will be at every table so teens can draw on them.

She also will photocopy the ever-popular magnetic words and use the paper as confetti. And of course, the lights will be a little dim.

"We're going to try to make it seem like a cafe," Moreland said.

At this point, it's hard to tell how many teens will participate in the event. Moreland said the library is giving bookmarks to teens who are interested in the event to get a feel for how many youth will participate. Teens are welcome, even if they don't pick up a bookmark.

The bookmarks are available at the library. Fliers also have been placed in the junior high and high schools.

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