Bella Vista Li­brary reach­ing out to all ages

The Weekly Vista - - Community - LYNN ATKINS

Some­times when the lights go out at the Bella Vista Li­brary, the day isn’t quite over. On one Fri­day night each month, Li­brary Af­ter Dark brings teens out.

The pro­gram, for every­one aged 12 to 18, hap­pens on the third Fri­day of each month from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

“We’ve done some crazy things you couldn’t do if pa­trons were there,” Chil­dren’s Li­brar­ian Ellen Far­well said. “This way kids can be kids and we’re not dis­turb­ing any­body.”

The Li­brary’s Teen Coun­cil helps plan each pro­gram, but some­times a par­ent steps in to vol­un­teer. Last month’s Car Show was or­ga­nized by a par­ent, Far­well said. Sev­eral “cool cars” were on dis­play in the park­ing lot while their own­ers told the teens about them, in­clud­ing de­tails about each ve­hi­cles spe­cial fea­tures.

For Novem­ber, the teens will cel­e­brate the an­niver­sary of the movie “The Princess Bride.” There will be Princess Bride­themed ac­tivites and then they will watch the movie, Far­well said. De­cem­ber brings a cel­e­bra­tion of “Christ­mas Around the World,” she said. Both of those meet­ings are be­ing planed by the Teen Coun­cil.

While the Teen Coun­cil has been in place for a while, there are new ac­tiv­i­ties this year for younger kids. New this fall are two book clubs for older el­e­men­tary stu­dents. It’s dif­fi­cult to find books that both boys and girls like to read, Far­well, a for­mer school li­brar­ian, said. So she de­cided to split the third through fifth graders up ac­cord­ing to gen­der.

The girls meet at 4:30 p.m. on the sec­ond and fourth Mon­day in a group called Chap­ter Chicks. Boys meet on the first and third Mon­day at 4 p.m. and their group is called Guys Read.

Far­well bor­rowed the name of the boys group from the web page of chil­dren’s au­thor Jon Sczieska, guys­ Their first book was “Earth­quake Ter­ror,” which she de­scribes as an ad­ven­ture book.

Al­though she lets the mem­bers have in­put in both book clubs, she’s makes the fi­nal de­ci­sion.

“They haven’t tried enough dif­fer­ent things to know what to fo­cus on,” she said. “I can show them some other stuff out there.”

She uses the list at guys­read. com and other sim­i­lar lists for girls to make some de­ci­sions.

This month both the boys group and the girls group are read­ing bi­ogra­phies. She doesn’t want them to get stuck in any one genre, so she plans to ex­pose them to all kinds of books.

The book clubs need more mem­bers, she said. While she wants them to stay small enough that every­one can par­tic­i­pate, it’s hard to sched­ule el­e­men­tary kids who have so many other af­ter school ac­tiv­i­ties.

Younger el­e­men­tary kids have their own event. El­e­men­tary Sto­ry­time hap­pens ev­ery Tues­day at 5:30 p.m. Like Preschool Sto­ry­time, the el­e­men­tary ver­sion fea­tures both a story and a craft, Far­well said.

Preschool sto­ry­time is on Fri­days at 10 a.m. Some of the par­ents of preschool sto­ry­time regulars have al­ready joined a new pro­gram called “One Thou­sand Books be­fore Kinder­garten.” It’s a na­tional pro­gram that each fam­ily can par­tic­i­pate in by them­selves. As they log the books they read, they earn small in­cen­tives. One good thing about the thou­sand books pro­gram, is that par­ents can count their tod­dlers fa­vorite book ev­ery sin­gle time they read it, Far­well said.

With the new pro­grams, the li­brary has some­thing for ev­ery age group. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit their web­page, http://www.

Photo submitted

Teen Nights at the Bella Vista Li­brary usu­ally draw be­tween eight and 15 peo­ple aged 12 to 18. They meet af­ter the li­brary is closed so they they don’t have to worry about dis­turb­ing other pa­trons.

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