Teen Masquerade Madness at the Library

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Fired up on soda, snacks, and pizza, sixteen teens from Darlington, Hartsville, and Lamar had a blast at this year’s National Teen Lock-In, Masquerade Madness, hosted by the Darlington County Library System.

Each year in August, libraries across the United States invite teens to a lock-in on the same night during August for online visits with well-known authors, fun contests, popular crafts, and multi-player games. The National Teen Library Lock-In idea grew out of an event coordinated by Jennifer Lawson of the San Diego County Library with several other California libraries in 2011 and has become a popular celebration that connects teens and librarians across the country. In 2013, more than thirty-five libraries connected through the National Teen Library Lock-In. In 2014, the National Teen Lock-In grew to eighty libraries, including Darlington County.

This year’s National Teen Library Lock-In was held on Friday, July 31st at the Darlington Branch. Teens who read at least six books were invited to the Lock-In (mind you the books didn’t need to be classics or thick books, manga books counted too). For the teens and three adult volunteers, the evening began at 5 p.m. with brownies, bacon and cheddar chips, lots of soda, a huge plate of cookies, pizzas generously donated by Papa John’s and Mamma Mia’s, and a cake covered in gold sparkles.

Afterward they were ready for some contemporary alternative music and games. Lamar Children’s Librarian Michelle Wallace led interactive games such as the caterpillar race, balloon stomp, paper plate relay race, and a drawing game.

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Later in the evening, the teens connected via the web for a live author chat. They heard Jennifer Niven talk about her first young adult book, “All the Beautiful Places,” the story of a girl who learns to live from a troubled boy. Later, storyteller, Jess Willis, told four stories beginning with local hero Ron McNair’s stand for civil rights as a child to the grisly medieval tale of “The Juniper Tree.”

The evening closed out with door prize drawings and a costume contest.

Darlington Children’s Librarian Liz Davis, the chief organizer of the Lock-In, was thrilled with how it all came together for the teens. “Sometimes you hear there are not enough things for teens to do. We are always looking for ways to get teens excited about reading and the Library. The Teen Lock-In program is one of the activities the Library has for teens.”

This year’s program was such a success and we are already planning next year’s Lock-In.

Author: Jana Pye

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