MANALAPAN – It’s been a busy summer for teens between sixth and 12th grades if they’ve spent any time in the library. And by next week, they’ll have the opportunity to see how their favorite song ranks as a favorite among their peers!
The Monmouth Most Pit/ Favorite Song Tri-board has been a summer activity at no fewer than seven of the 13 branches and headquarters library of the Monmouth County Library, thanks to the leadership and team work of Teen Program Coordinator Veronica Stevens.
A graduate of Vanderbilt College in Nashville, Tenn, Stevens has been with the library system for 19 years, starting in Eatontown, then another eight years in Howell before being transferred to Headquarters and working with all the branches in the young teen department. Because it’s summer, she’s at her busiest, offering programs and challenges at each of the facilities,, with the Branch librarian making the final choice of whether a particular program would be a highlight in that community.
Some, like the Favorite Song Tri-board, have been particularly popular throughout the system, Stevens said, with teens posting their favorite music on a music board in their own library branch. By next week, when the signs are compiled and coordinated, Stevens will announce which is the favorite song for teens in each of the participating branches in Atlantic Highlands, Colts Neck, Ocean, Howell, Shrewsbury and Hazlet, as well as the library headquarters.
Stevens designed the coordinated program in keeping with the State theme of Libraries Rock set up by the Collaborative Summer Library Program and reaction has been diverse, with teens listing favorite tunes from various genres.
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“Last year’s summer Triboard theme, ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ brought out the best in our wonderful teenagers,” Stevens explained. Several libraries offered boards on which the teens posted notes of various acts of kindness they had performed and their ideas and acts were far reaching, as well as provocative and deep in some cases, entertaining in others, and all in showing teenagers how important it is to give, not only receive.” With endearing messages like “I didn’t fight with my brother even when he was mean to me” or “I helped my mom do the dishes because I knew she was tired,” there were also the entertaining, including “I gave my little sister a toy even though I wanted it.” There were also some very deep and sensitive notes, Stevens recalled, especially “I donated my kidney to my brother-in-law.” There’s no doubt, she pointed out, “they are learning how important it is to give back.”
With the summer coming to an end, the coordinator notes there are plenty of autumn activities and unique programs at the library for teens, including a Halloween Costume Swap Drop-off during most of September, and a program, The Path Toward College for STEM majors on Sept. 25, which would be educational and helpful for parents and teens alike. Beginning in October, program, Girls Who Code, will be offered in Holmdel, the library’s newest branch on Oct. 15, 22, and 29.
The program is part of a nation-wide movement started six years ago to close the recognized gender gap in technology by offering exciting programs for teenage girls to pique their interest in computer technology and other sciences. The aim, which has been successful from the start, is indicating there will be parity between the sexes in computer science by 2027. The program is aimed at correcting power imbalances across all gender, race, and background differences at least in the sciences. The program in the Monmouth County library offers opportunities for teen Girls to enhance their coding skills, build their own confidence, and look at whether they would be interested in careers in technology.
Another program expected to be particularly popular this fall is the Dear John program, accenting the letters between John Adams and his wife Abigail during the Revolution and his days as President.
“ Having a coordinator who has an office at headquarters but also visits all of the branches means the Monmouth County Library can continue to offer the variety and excellence in programs that draws our young people into our facilities,” Monmouth County Library Commission Chair Renee B. Schwarz said. “Ms Stevens has done an outstanding job in piquing the interest of young people, of encouraging their taking advantage of modern technology and computers to bring the library into their own private space and learning firsthand how enjoyable learning can be.”
For further information on other teen programs as well as programs, activities, and events for
all ages visit www.monmouthcoumntylib.org.