The shift to virtual schooling left many young people feeling isolated from their peers and lacking opportunities to engage in meaningful dialogue, or just relax and have casual conversations with friends. Across the state, Teen Reading Lounge staff have worked to address this challenge by providing creative and fun ways to keep kids connected virtually.
Teen Reading Lounge is an award-winning, nontraditional book club created by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council where teens, along with adult facilitators, create their own reading lists and design creative and civic engagement projects that connect to themes in their books.
Youth at the Parkway Central Library in Philadelphia are finding the weekly virtual meetings to be “best place in the universe.”
So far, activities have involved making art, creating funny memes, connecting through social media, and “just playing games, and laughing… and the deep conversations about exploring and excavating the things that come out of the books,” said Aurora Sanchez, facilitator of the group.
“When the first session was ending, we were like ‘it’s ending?’ Folks were like ‘no we want to keep going.’ Now here we are nine months later and we’ve been doing this pretty much every week,” said Kris Langlais, Teen Reading Lounge coordinator.
Below are the Parkway Central Library teens in their own words speaking out about how virtual humanities programming through Teen Reading Lounge is making a positive impact in their lives during the pandemic.
Teen Reading Lounge is made possible by Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services administered by the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, Department of Education, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, Governor. The views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services or the Department of Education, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Additional support is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, generous individuals, foundations, and corporations.