By ROBERT LINNEHAN
The Voorhees Sun
Three months after the M. Allan Vogelson Branch of the Camden County Public opened its new wing for teenage visitors, library representatives reported that the section’s popularity is still high and attracting new youthful members to the public library.
Jennifer Druce, Head of Youth Services for the Vogelson Branch, said the new branch has attracted a new population of South Jersey teenagers to the library and has opened up the library’s programming to a new audience.
The “Corner” as it has been named, hosts a busy crowd of enthusiastic teenagers almost every day after school, Druce said. The new influx of young readers and enthusiastic visitors has helped increase teenage programming and improved the library’s teen literature collection, she said.
“The Corner has been very popular. The computers are extremely popular, which we expected from the start. Many teens come after school, sit in the diner seats, and work on homework or after-school projects. They love the bean bag chairs and the graffiti wall is a big hit, lots of interesting art work and kids writing notes to each other, it’s just great,” she said. “The teens are much more visible at the library system. We are able to get to know them, cull their ideas, and find out what they’re interested in. It helps us decide on what to purchase for our collections and helps us shape our programming.”
Christen Orbanus, teen librarian, said a teen lock-in has been schedule for May 7 at 9 p.m. Teenagers who sign up will be allowed to stay at the Corner until 11:45 p.m. and participate in a scheduled craft or just hang out and play games with their friends.
The Corner will also resurrect its video game club, meeting the first Friday of every month from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Visitors will be able to play games with friends on either the Corner’s Nintendo Wii or Xbox 360, she said, two of the more popular aspects of the department.
“We’re also looking to further expand our programming in the summer. We’re planning an open mic night and a project runway type of even where kids can design and show off clothes from various scraps of material we bring in,” she said. “The Corner is just great, it attracts a new group of teens that we haven’t’ seen before. They’re bringing their friends in, they’re having a good time, and they’re enjoying it. It’s going really well and bringing popularity back to the library.”
The Corner had its grand opening in December. The Vogelson Branch received a $40,000 grant to create the special teen space dedicated to meeting the needs, interests and tastes of teenagers in Voorhees. The South Jersey Regional Library Cooperative will provide $40,000 in funding, which includes a $10,000 special grant from the New Jersey State Library, to complement $35,900 committed by CCLS, based on its innovative proposal submitted to SJRLC.
For more updates and information on the Corner, please visit the branch’s Web site at Camdencountylibrary.org.