Teens looking for something to do have something new to look forward to from the Liberty Lake Library – monthly Book Loot Boxes.
The boxes are designed around the tastes of the teens and tweens in grades 6-12 that sign up for them, librarian Joanne Percy said.
The loot inside each box includes a library book chosen based on the teen’s preferences, a book to keep, a list of suggested books to read, snacks, bookmarks, treats and “a whole bunch of other bits and bobs,” Percy said.
Percy, who runs the library’s teen programs, said she’ll sometimes include craft projects. “Kids love those, whether they’re 11 or 18,” she said. “Some months we’ll be doing a themed box. We’re kind of looking at their age and preferences.”
Recipients get to keep everything in the box except for the library book. They’ll also be asked to return the box itself so it can be used again the next month.
Percy said she got the idea for the monthly book box online.
“I’m on a lot of library boards on Facebook,” she said. “This is something a lot of libraries are doing at the moment.”
Though the library isn’t offering in-person programs right now, Percy said she was looking for a way to keep teens involved. “I wanted something that wouldn’t just be a kit to go,” she said. “I wanted it to be something to engage them. We just don’t know at this point when we’re going to open up.”
October is the first month boxes have been distributed, and Percy said she’s already been surprised by the response. She set aside enough books and supplies for 15 boxes, but 35 teens signed up. She was able to gather enough supplies to put together 25 boxes and the other 10 have been preregistered for the next box in November.
Originally, Percy planned to do everything herself, but she’s had to recruit help.
The number of monthly loot boxes will be limited in future months, and teens need to sign up at least seven days before the first of each month to be considered. The boxes can be picked up curbside between the first and 10th day of each month.
Percy said she’s not sure how much she’ll be able to expand the program, even though it has proven to be popular already.
“If it’s full, it’s full, unfortunately,” she said. “We need to see how it goes before we go any further. It’s a big undertaking.”
Teens can sign up through the library’s online calendar or contact Percy at email@example.com for more details. The only requirement is that the teen or someone in their household has to have a library card from the Liberty Lake Library. Cards are available to all, including residents of other cities in Spokane County.
Percy said she also wants to start gathering teens together for a monthly meeting via Zoom to discuss books, write and create art.
“We’ll definitely have some sort of writing prompts and journaling,” she said.
Part of her goal with the virtual gatherings is to allow the teens to socialize with each other, something that has been missing in their daily lives during a pandemic.
“They just like getting together,” she said. “I’m trying to get them back together, virtually at first and then in person.”
While she hopes to have the monthly gatherings in person at some point, Percy doesn’t know when that will happen. Until then, she hopes gathering virtually will be helpful.
“It’s just a small thing that we can do to get them back together again,” she said.
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