Engage! at Chinatown

Librarians: Brandy Morrill and Caleb Nolan

Participants discussed all five themes in four meetings. For the final meeting the teens participated in a public awareness campaign that highlighted the humane treatment of animals. The total attendance for all of the meetings was thirty-five students.

Who the Teens Were

Brandy contacted teens that had previously attended book discussions and other library programs for the Engage! program. She also introduced the program to their junior volunteer group. Caleb visited the local eighth graders at a local elementary school in order to encourage participation. The majority of the students involved were teens who regularly attended teen programs at the library.

Leadership Opportunities

  • Brandy moderated and presented the artists for the discussions while allowing the teens to direct which images they wanted to focus on. Teens utilized stickers of varying colors to participate in a gallery walk and judge which images resonated most with them.

  • All of the students were very involved in researching their group project regarding the humane treatment of animals within their community. Each session the teens were asked to do some work on the final project. They began with a brainstorming session, and the following week moved on to discussion of their plans. Finally, each participant had the opportunity to report back to the group on their ideas and findings for the collective project.

Tangible Opportunities to Engage! with Ideas or Materials

  1. At the beginning of each Engage! session Brandy arranged the images used for the day’s theme, and the participants then used their coding stickers in a gallery walk of the pieces. Teens selected the images that resonated most with them, and then Brandy led the teens in a discussion of the selected works.

  2. Teens participated in a collage activity where Brandy had provided printed images of the library’s community. Teens also brought in pictures of the neighborhoods and communities they lived in to share with the group. All of the images as well as copies of the Engage! images were then used as material for the teens’ collages.

  3. Another hands-on activity the teens participated in was stamp making. They were provided foam shapes and symbols and asked to create a stamp that was an expression of who they are.

  4. For the final project, teens worked together to gather information and materials regarding public awareness of humane treatment of animals. Two teens volunteered to contact a local animal shelter and procure information and materials. Teens also created materials of their own by designing posters and artwork focusing on the humane treatment of animals. A table was then set up in front of the library during a community function, and the teens were able to interact with their community and promote public awareness of their issue.