If you haven’t been to Norwalk Easter Public Library in awhile, Annette Clark says it’s time to make a visit.
From technological advances and educational classes to the latest trends in youth literature, the library offers a treasure trove of services and information that many may be unaware of, says Clark, the library’s youth services manager.
“Just in general, libraries are becoming very different than what they used to be,” she says. “As the library, it’s the goal to provide materials and services the public wants to see. Many times, that includes technology.”
Patrons can now check out e-books and have access to more online databases, such as the Chilton online auto repair database and World Book Encyclopedia. In addition, the library offers classes in technology and digital photography.
“One thing that we’ve been very good at is how to grow and evolve with technology,” Clark says.
People may also be unaware that they have a say as to what the library carries. Individuals can suggest that certain materials they are interested in be purchased or obtain them through an interlibrary loan, she says.
Providing programming, books and materials that engage young people and appeal to the broad spectrum of kids’ interests is one of the challenges of Clark’s job. Trying out new programs, such as the Lego club and a music class for younger children, are ways they’re trying to reach kids.
In terms of books, graphic novels are very popular.
“We’re seeing it now pretty much all across the board for kids’ literature,” she says.
They can be seen in easy readers for young children to titles for teens, in fiction and nonfiction. Many of the classics are also being done in graphic novel form as a way to reach more reluctant readers, Clark says.
When it comes to finding what resonates specifically with teens, that can be more difficult. Popular genres include the supernatural — think zombies and vampires — and realistic fiction, which, “the more raw and real is what draws them in,” she says.
Clark says there are simple things parents can do to nurture their child’s love of reading. They include picking books kids like, asking them questions while reading, having kids tell the story to adults and children seeing their parents read.