For the month of September, the Oswego Public Library is encouraging people in the community to sign up for library cards to participate in the nationwide National Library Card Sign-Up Month celebration.
According to Shanna Simpson, a library assistant in the Young Adult Department of the Oswego Public Library, “If you sign up for your library card in September then you get to put your name in the raffle. You can win a prize. It is a gift basket.”
The process of getting a library card is easy. To get a card, OHS students must bring their student ID and a document with their present address. They are required to have a parent come in with them if they are under the age of 18.
The Oswego Public Library offers many resources in addition to library cards.
“We have books and computers if you’re looking to use a desktop. You just need your library card,” said Mr. Bill Thurston, the Head of Young Adult Services at the Oswego Public Library. “Outside of materials, we have all of the study areas.”
On both floors of the downtown Oswego Public Library branch, patrons can find tables, desks, and additional seating to utilize as a quiet, peaceful workspace to complete assignments. In the teen wing, they have a study room, specifically reserved for teenagers. This room is entirely built of glass windows and opens promptly at 2:30 pm, just in time for the end of the school day.
The Teen section of the library’s website is another helpful resource for OHS students to check out. It offers access to a wide range of resources, including research databases, mental health services, and library events.
“We have programs that aren’t offered elsewhere for teens,” said Thurston.
All programs the library offers for teenagers are on their calendar with a range from Dungeons and Dragons to Teen BINGO. Many are free to the public, and you can sign up for them through the library’s website or by giving the library a call.
One of the most memorable events hosted by the library was the Paws to Read program last school year, where students were provided the stress-relieving opportunity to unwind with a furry friend.
“We brought service dogs in during finals week. The teens could just relax and pet a dog,” said Thurston.
Unique programs like these help peak high school students’ interest and encourage them to get involved in the library.
“We also have TAB, which is a Teen Advisory Board that meets once a month, and that’s where teens can come and talk with one of the librarians to tell us what they’d like to see in the library,” said Thurston.
TAB allows high school students to voice their opinions and become active members of the library community, all while getting volunteer hours simultaneously. Any student in 6-12 grade is welcome to attend the monthly TAB meeting, which usually takes place on the last Thursday of the month.
Throughout September, libraries all across the country are offering additional programs and opportunities to get involved.
Beginning in 1987, the American Library Association marked the beginning of the school year with Library Card Sign-up Month in hope of getting students around the country set up with resources to use throughout the academic year.
In addition to increased programs and events, the Oswego Public Library has increased in size and scope. The library’s teen section started with only four rows of books, significantly smaller than the section today.
“When I first started here, there wasn’t a separate teen department. It was someone else and myself in adult services, and we did teen programming and took care of the very small section of teen books,” said Thurston.
Throughout the years, the library campus has grown through various additions, such as a second floor and numerous other wings around the campus. Today, there is an entire wing full of books, study spaces, and resources available for teenagers only.
Overall, the Oswego Public Library provides multiple resources and activities that allow adults and teenagers to get involved throughout the community.
“Check out our programs, let us know what we can do for you guys. We are here to help, both for school and for fun,” said Thurston.