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Library relaunches Friday hang-out program

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By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter

Thanks to the Westwood Public Library’s awesome children’s librarians, the library has become one of the most popular middle school hang-out spots. The main branch is well known among Thurston Middle School students for its half-day activities, homework help, and teen resources.

Now, the middle school students have been able to enjoy “Fri-YAY,” a Friday afternoon library hang-out open to tweens and teens from grades six through 12.

At the library’s revamped Friday hang-out program, Westwood teens create a glittery unicorn ornament.

At the library’s revamped Friday hang-out program, Westwood teens create a glittery unicorn ornament.

Head of Children’s Services Lizzy McGovern and Head of Adult Services Molly Riportella welcomed the tweens and teens into the library’s Community Room to enjoy Mario Kart Wii, a craft, coloring, and simply a space to relax after school with friends.

“It’s pretty much just a drop-in hang-out program after school, so we set up the Wii, have some snacks, and usually we’ll rotate an activity each week,” said McGovern.

Although the program is not exactly new, “Fri-YAY” has become wildly popular this year. Earlier in the afternoon, McGovern and Riportella saw at least 25 kids crowding around the Wii and the craft tables.

“We always had a Friday afternoon hang-out program,” explained Lizzy. “Last year, we called it ‘Casual Friday,’ but this year we revamped it.”

After enjoying a few Mario Kart races, Westwood teens hang out with friends and create glittery unicorn ornaments at ‘Fri-YAY.’

After enjoying a few Mario Kart races, Westwood teens hang out with friends and create glittery unicorn ornaments at ‘Fri-YAY.’

Children’s Librarian, Lizzy McGovern, enjoys one student’s completed unicorn ornament at the weekly ‘Fri-YAY’ program.

Children’s Librarian, Lizzy McGovern, enjoys one student’s completed unicorn ornament at the weekly ‘Fri-YAY’ program.

“We’ve made it more structured,” added Molly. “We’ve added an organized craft, we’ve organized the video game playing and the coloring.”

While the teens raced to finish in first place in Mario Kart, others took their time at the craft table, where they made glittery unicorn ornaments. Beginning with a simple, clear ornament, the kids coated the inner part of the ornament with watered down glue, and poured in glitter. Using model magic and a glue gun, they crafted a horn and stuck it into the ornament, then completed the finishing touches with permanent markers.

Because it’s a drop-in program, “Fri-YAY” enables students to sit at the lobby tables or on the second level to complete homework, then take a break with the hang-out attendees as needed. For Lizzy and Molly, it also means that they can include all students who are interested in the program.

While Friday is already the best day of the school week for Westwood’s tweens and teens, “Fri-YAY” gives them an even greater reason to celebrate the start of the weekend.

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