Candy, marsh­mal­lows, “Magic: The Gath­er­ing” and teens at Ca­toosa li­brary

The Catoosa County News - - FRONT PAGE - By Ta­mara Wolk

Star­burst candy, marsh­mal­lows, pow­dered sugar, co­conut oil, corn­starch. Some food col­or­ing thrown in for good mea­sure. If you’re think­ing this sounds like an ex­per­i­ment more than a recipe, you’re sort of right.

One Tues­day each month at the Ca­toosa County Li­brary is “Play With Your Food” night for teens. Kids get to do things Mom isn’t likely to al­low at home. And they learn a few sci­ence prin­ci­ples in the process.

“With the Star­burst Taffy and Marsh­mal­low Play­doh we made,” says Erica Tug­gle, Teen/ Tween co­or­di­na­tor for the li­brary, “the kids learned about ox­i­diza­tion and carameliza­tion.”

The kids also have fun and they get to taste their con­coc­tions. As gooey mix­tures oozed through their fin­gers late Tues­day af­ter­noon, the kids made ap­pro­pri­ate com­ments, “Oooh, yuk, this feels like pre­par­ing a pork loin.” This last from a young fel­low who ad­mit­ted that he had not ac­tu­ally ever

pre­pared a pork loin.

Char­ac­ter­is­tic of events for tweens and teens at the Ca­toosa Li­brary is the re­laxed at­mos­phere and easy ca­ma­raderie among even young peo­ple who have never met each other be­fore. While four of the at­ten­dees worked on their food ex­per­i­ments, three teenaged boys sat at a cor­ner ta­ble play­ing a game called “Magic: The Gath­er­ing” as a fourth grav­i­tated be­tween the two groups and all the kids ex­changed ban­ter and opin­ions about school and other things.

“We’re re­ally flex­i­ble about what we do,” says Shan­non Neal, head of the chil­dren’s depart­ment at the li­brary. “We have all kinds of ac­tiv­i­ties for kids of all ages and we’re al­ways work­ing on new ones. We also have a stu­dent ad­vi­sory group that helps de­cide on ac­tiv­i­ties.”

On April 17, teens will be mak­ing Mochi (a Ja­panese rice cake) filled with things like Nutella, jelly and ice cream). But there’s no need to wait that long to get in­volved. The li­brary has ac­tiv­i­ties many days ev­ery week.

For pre-teens and teenagers, the Ca­toosa Li­brary is turn­ing into the place to be. Be­sides “Play With Your Food” night (af­ter­noon, re­ally), there are game nights, a Mad Sci­en­tist Club, Art Club, Cof­fee Book Club, Gui­tar lessons, tween break­fasts, board game nights, movie nights and craft ac­tiv­i­ties (how about “Make a duct tape wal­let”?).

And for the younger crowd, there’s just as much – crafts, sci­ence ex­per­i­ments, mu­sic, Le­gos, movie times and story hour.

When school lets out for the year, what the li­brary of­fers for chil­dren and young peo­ple will in­crease to com­ple­ment the Sum­mer Read­ing Club.

“I’m re­ally ex­cited about what we’re do­ing,” says Neal. “The kids love it and our num­bers keep grow­ing.

To learn more about what the Ca­toosa County Li­brary of­fers, visit catoosacountyli­brary. org or face­ catoosacountyli­brary. You can also email the li­brary at Info@ catoosacountyli­brary. org or call 706-965-3600. Li­brary hours are Mon. and Wed. 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Tues. and Thurs. 10 a.m.- 7 p.m., Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sat. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The li­brary is lo­cated at 108 Ca­toosa Cir­cle in Ring­gold.

Teens gath­ered at the Ca­toosa County Li­brary on the first day of spring to cre­ate ed­i­ble sci­ence ex­per­i­ments. (Ca­toosa News photo/Ta­mara Wolk)

Above: Some­times your Marsh­mal­low Play­doh at the li­brary turns out just the right color. Right: These three young men gather reg­u­larly at the Ca­toosa Li­brary to play “Magic: The Gath­er­ing,” a com­plex trad­ing card game. (Ca­toosa News pho­tos/Ta­mara Wolk)

Pur­ple was the color of choice for this teen mak­ing her own Play­doh out of marsh­mal­lows, co­conut oil and corn starch. (Ca­toosa News photo/Ta­mara Wolk)

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