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By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Over the years, libraries have evolved to meet the growing needs of their communities. With dozens of programs offered in conjunction with computers for use, as well as books and audiovisual materials to check out, the Needham Free Public Library attracts hundreds of community members each month.
In the last two years, the library – with the help of the Friends of the Needham Free Public Library – has addressed the needs of Needham’s teen and tween population and introduced Erin Bassett as the Young Adult (YA) Services librarian.
As she sat in the library’s Community Room, setting up the materials for her teen button craft, Erin explained her role as the YA librarian.
“The Children’s Department has a ton of programming, and then all of a sudden it just stops when you get to a certain age,” she said. “So, I’d like to be able to pick up where they leave off.”
Besides designing and executing programs specifically for 12 to 18-year-olds, Erin is responsible for ordering new materials for the middle school and high school children.
“Libraries are important resources for everybody,” Erin continued. “A lot of adults come back and use them, and if the children lose their interest [in libraries], then they’re not going to come back until they’re parents and they bring their kids.”
In the past, Erin has organized events using the library’s Xbox One, movie screenings, and drop-in craft activities. With each program, she offers refreshments for the tweens and teens to enjoy, too.
Currently, she is collaborating with the town’s school librarians to organize a study night at the library and offer activities during their study breaks. By working with the school, Erin can also provide the students with resources to facilitate studying and working on their projects.
In coming weeks, the library will host a spring wreath-making activity for children ages nine and up, a showing of “The Secret of Kells,” and a game day, which will include board games, puzzles, and Xbox One games.
Although Erin has plenty of activities planned and even more ideas, she encourages input from library patrons, too.
“Don’t be afraid to ask me questions,” said Erin, who can usually be found at the reference desk upstairs. “If there are people who know they want a book, and we don’t own it, let me know because I will buy it – and that goes for graphic novels, as well as regular novels and audio materials.”
With so much to offer tweens and teens, the staff hopes to see more of Needham’s middle and high school students stopping by and spending time at the library.