summer, teens, the library, and me

Yesterday was my first summer program at the library. Attendance was low, but very keen. An artist and activist (who happens to be a friend of mine from the war resisters movement) led a workshop I called "Comix that Save the World". We explored the use of the comics form to express larger social concerns. It was so much fun, the teens were so into it, that I'm thinking of expanding it to an ongoing series, where kids could really develop something.

The summer at Mississauga Central Library will be packed with programs for teens - sometimes as many as three a week - and all are free. 

Mondays are special events with presenters, held in our lovely glass pavilion that faces Celebration Square. Wednesdays are DIY days, put on by yours truly with another staff member to assist. And every Friday is Game Day, where teens hang out and play board games and video games. That one is presented by our "TAG", the teen advisory group, who earn volunteer hours by planning and presenting events. 

The challenge for me and others who are involved in children's and teen programming is that our busiest time coincides with many staff vacations, so staffing is at a minimum. Just when I need maximum time not spent behind the information desk, I'm doing exactly the opposite, spending twice as much time at the desk as I normally do. 

It can be a bit stressful. And super busy. Sometimes it's exhausting. But it's also super fun. (It will be a lot more fun in a few weeks, when my colleagues are finished with their vacations.)

Here's the lineup.

Monday events:
-“Why didn’t anyone tell me that?” Peer-to-peer university prep. Chat with UTM students who recently made the transition to university.
- "What’s On Your Mind?" Improv, movement games, and self-expression with the Youth Troopers for Global Awareness.
- Green Wheels: bring your bike to the library for a summer tune up! Safe riding, basic maintenance, and more, by City of Mississauga’s Transportation and Works Department. 
- A Day at the Spa: free hand massage, manicure, and henna, with Everest College aesthetics students. 

Wednesday DIY:
- Comix That Save The World (activist comics)
- Stop-Motion Movie Making
- Upcycling: make beautiful and useful objects out of trash
- Bookmarks and Book Art 
- Create Your Own E-Book (Storybird.com)
- Chalk It Up! Button It! Turn notebooks into chalkboards, make personalized buttons. 
- Operation Frankentoy! Toy Hacking

And Friday Game Days.


James Redekop said...

Which comics did you use for "Comix That Save The World"? There are so many great candidates.

laura k said...

I pulled all the activist comics we have in our collection, which isn't much, but I assembled 10-12 books. And Nicole brought a few more.

Biographies of Margaret Sanger, Che Guevara, Louis Riel, and Martin Luther King - three titles by Joe Sacco - "Marbles," a mental health-related memoirs - and some others I can't think of right now.

Nicole also had some in her slide show, to show more covers and titles.

This was definitely the first time these teens had been exposed to the nonfiction graphic-novel form, and to the idea of expressing serious concerns through comics! Everyone really enjoyed it, but two teens in particular loved it and took out several books. Jackpot!

James Redekop said...

The Chester Brown Louis Riel book? I haven't read it, I have to get a copy.

One of my favourite "save the world" comics is Myazaki's NausicaƤ of the Valley of the Wind, which is both a great environmentalist story and a great anti-war story. But it's a long one. And, being a manga, it lets Myazaki put a lot more detail into his artwork than he can in animation.

laura k said...

Yes, the Chester Brown book. We don't have the one you mentioned, I will request it for order!

At some point I am going to treat myself to a whole whack of these books.

James Redekop said...

I should warn you, NausicaƤ is a seven-volume set. The film, NausicaƤ of the Valley of the Wind, covers the first two volumes. (Beware of the awful 1985 edit, Warriors of the Wind, which edited out 20 minutes and the point of the film.)

laura k said...

I have been warned!

I am a heretic about series. I often read book 1 and don't continue.

James Redekop said...

To be precise, it's a serialized story which has been collected into seven bound volumes -- so the first volume comprises multiple instalments, but does not represent a self-contained story...