Libraries, leisure, and lots of learning

Learn a new skill or participate in a hobby at a teen library event

Photo by Emma Harper

The December teen events page. You can find events for the new year at

The Ela Area Public Library isn’t just a great place to find new reading material. It also has a plethora of events and classes for teens.

You could have gone to an Anime Club Tea Party on January 7 or make a bird feeder in an online Zoom class on January 27. Sonya Hill, teen services librarian at Ela, says she hopes to provide classes that interest teens in every area.

“My goal as a teen librarian is to help all of you figure out your interests. And once you find your interest, how to expand upon that and how to figure out who you want to be as a person and how I can help you get to that point,” Hill said.

Hill said that she wants to be the type of librarian she needed when she was a teen. She plans to accomplish that by reaching as many teens as she can and connecting with them.

“Teens are into a wide variety of subjects. So [I am] trying to make sure I am able to reach every single one of those niche groups, whether it’s having a graffiti program, or fixing skateboards, one to one or something like that,” Hill said.

Hill recently headed the weekly write-ins for a month-long event known as NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. Officially, the challenge is to write 50,000 words in the month of November, but there is an alternate Young Writers Program for those under 18 who want to participate that encourages participants to set their own word count goals.

“NaNoWriMo encourages people to tell their story. And everybody has a story and everyone’s story deserves to be put down on paper or online somewhere. Everyone’s story deserves to be heard,” Hill said. “So I wanted to provide an outlet for that [with the NaNoWriMo events].”

Getting past procrastination and reaching a word count goal or writing a first draft is only one part of the benefits of NaNoWriMo, though. Hill said at the NaNoWriMo events, teens got to write whatever they wanted and have a creative environment in a space that is not like school. 

“I’m not grading you. Do whatever you want. There’s freedom in libraries to be able to make mistakes,” Hill said.

There will be more NaNoWriMo events next year, but in the meantime there are many other teen events to look forward to at the library. More programs will be coming in the creative writing field, but there will also be programs dealing with science, art, and much more.

“Hopefully my personality comes off positively, and there’s also food and snacks [at some library events],” Hill said. “Hopefully those things combined bring teens to these events. It’s a fun and relaxed time.”