At the Library: Anti-Hate and Self-Love at the Library and the Park | Guest columns


Normally, new starts happen in the month of January. However, Westerly Library & Wilcox Park Youth Services began a new partnership in late 2021 by collaborating with Westerly Anti-Racism Coalition (Westerly ARC) in December. The partnership has so far led to collaborations at Westerly ARC’s peaceful protests on the Post Office steps, including anti-racism book lists, a bilingual story hour and the continued development of a youth day to spotlight young voices in the community. This partnership gives us an important perspective on the best ways to meet the needs of our community. On February 13, Westerly Library & Wilcox Park will team up with Westerly ARC to offer a bilingual story hour and craft kits on the steps of the post office. Our theme for this gathering is a combination of both Black History Month and Valentine’s Day, asking the question, “Who is someone you look up to who is currently making black history?” » Join us and share your impressions from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on February 13!

As a teen librarian, I often ask myself, “What do our teens need most in their library, especially during this difficult time?” I noticed a growing need for wellness materials and spaces for teens to be themselves. It’s no coincidence that TikTok is so popular among teens: they want a place to express themselves! For 2022, I would like to combine Youth Services’ anti-racism efforts with a focus on self-care, self-love, and empowering the voices of all teens. What will it look like? The anti-hate art exhibit Art Sparks Change opened at the Hoxie Art Gallery on February 2 and will run until February 25. We also distributed Boba DIYs and self-care kits for teenagers on February 3. Future programs include a group of teenage writers who meet monthly to discuss current projects and even publish a magazine to keep in the library. And finally, a teen-led podcast will be created in collaboration with students from Westerly ARC and the University of Rhode Island GSLIS. After two years of dealing with the chaos caused by Covid-19, many teenagers now find themselves in a confusing liminal zone, caught between the social life they need and the strict safety measures put in place to stay healthy. I want the library to bridge the gap between safe and social through virtual, hybrid programs that focus on building social connections and empowerment. We hope that 2022 will be a year full of autonomy and mindfulness for our young patrons. They deserve it.

Most requested books

1. “The Lincoln Highway” by Amor Towles

2. “Wish You Were Here” by Jodi Picoult

3. “Apples never fall” by Liane Moriarty

4. “A Step Too Far” by Lisa Gardner

5. “The Judge’s List” by John Grisham

6. “The Maid” by Nita Prose

7. “Cloud Cuckoo Land” by Anthony Doerr

8. “School for Good Mothers” by Jessamine Chan

9. “The Recovery Agent” by Janet Evanovich

10. “The Parisian Apartment” by Lucy Foley

Most requested DVDs

1. “Ghostbusters: Afterlife”

2. “No time to die”

3. “Gucci House”

4. “Encanto”

5. “Belfast”

6. “Marvel’s Eternals”

7. “All Creatures Great and Small: Season 2”

8. “Clifford the Big Red Dog”

9. “The French Dispatch”

10. “Dunes”

This week

TUESDAY – 1-2pm, Afternoon Virtual Book Discussion – New members welcome! This month, we’ll meet on Zoom to discuss “The Secret History” by Donna Tartt. Email Caroline at [email protected] for meeting details; 1:00-4:00 p.m., Community Resource Advocate – Our volunteer Community Resource Advocate is available to help connect you with local services/resources. Email him at [email protected]; 2-3:30 p.m., Virtual Tech Social – We meet on Zoom every Tuesday to answer your technical questions. Prior registration is required; 4-4:30 p.m., Tuesday Tinker – Join us on Zoom for demos and discussions on coding, web design, and all things STEM. Registration is mandatory. Please email [email protected] at least one day in advance; 5:30-7:30 p.m., Knit and Crochet Club – The Knit and Crochet Group meets on Zoom. Please email [email protected] for meeting details.

THURSDAY – 4-4:30 p.m., Teen Advisory Council – Do you have any ideas for library programs or books to add to our collection? Join the Teen Advisory Board (TAB)! This show will take place on Zoom. For more information and to register, please email [email protected]

FRIDAY – 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., Essentrics Stretch in the Library – Tone, stretch and strengthen with instructor Heather Van Dam. This training will take place in the 3rd floor terrace room. We suggest you bring a mat if you have one, a bath towel and water; From 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., members of the Project Outreach of Westerly organization will have a table set up outside the library’s former main reading room to help veterans navigate the benefits and other services available .

SATURDAY – 10 am-12:30 pm, Adult Writers’ Group – The Adult Writers’ Workshop will meet on the second Saturday of each month. Share work, discuss readings, and write in response to prompts in this group-led writing workshop. All levels of experience and gender interests are welcome; 10:30-11:30 a.m., Zumba in the park and library – Try Zumba for a fun workout! Classes are FREE and will take place on the lawn near the gazebo (weather permitting) or in the 3rd floor terrace room (in case of bad weather).

Colleen King is the teenage librarian at Westerly Library & Wilcox Park.


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