Once a week the library listens for the sound of twenty or more middle-schoolers eagerly bounding through the doors of the library and heading for pizza in the Hazzard Room. A bus from the Gardiner Area Middle School brings them down to socialize, do homework and experience the library in new ways.
While chatting with the students, I learned that they come for a variety of reasons but being able to chat with friends they don’t see during the school day is a big reason to come. After the pizza is devoured, they roam the library and enjoy the freedom they have to visit the youth/teen room, the archives, the children’s room and anything the library has to offer.
In the archives they’ve discovered the old yearbooks which show their parents and sometimes their teachers when they were in high school. Piper from Pittston, with the help of Dawn Thistle, our archivist, discovered who had lived on the land where her house now sits in Pittston. Upstairs in the children’s room, three girls were using the puppet theater to act out a novel they were assigned to read to ‘make our homework more fun.’ Who knew that Hemingway could be performed with puppets?!
Another student told me it was ‘boring’ to go home alone as Mom didn’t get home from work until 4:30 and older siblings who have driving licenses weren’t around either. They help each other with homework, use their devices unhampered and roam freely from room to room as they choose. Several students have been coming for the three years the library has had this program to “see old friends and make new ones” and would come every day if there were a bus. The library, not a bad place to hang out!
Diane Potter, Gardiner Library Association Guest Blogger