There's a witching hour at metro-area libraries between the end of school and dinnertime.
Teens pile in to do homework, meet their friends, click around online or kill time until their parents get off work, said Emily Williams, young adult service coordinator for the Metropolitan Library System. An expanding after-school arts program is giving students something educational and fun to do.
“They really need programming after school because the libraries are so busy,” Williams said. “The libraries are crazy during that time.”
The After School at Your Library program brings professional artists to eight libraries throughout the metro area, and students do a variety of projects. The classes meet weekly for six weeks.
The programming varies depending on what the students in the community need, Williams said. For example, one library has a large group of homeschool students who visit, so the classes are more structured for the large number of participants. Some libraries focus more on art therapy, video production or dance.
Students have learned to craft all types of art at The Village Library, Young Adult Librarian Mallory Weigl said.
“It just gives them an opportunity for something else to do that's constructive,” Weigl said. “It's good for them. They make friends. They talk. They listen to music. And they can make art just for themselves in a safe place. It's not for a grade; it's just something to enjoy.
A $4,800 grant from the Kirkpatrick Family Fund sponsored four libraries last spring. The fund paid for four libraries again this fall, and the Friends of the Metropolitan Library System kicked in another $4,800 to add four more libraries.
Williams said she hopes to earn more grant money to expand the program.