Teen Art Series – Spring 2012 – Yesenia Villar-Villalobos
In the spring of 2012, pilot Resident Yesenia Villar-Villalobos launched a program designed to support healthy youth development. She provided young adults with an opportunity to develop self-awareness, express themselves creatively, experience positive social interactions with peers and adults, and gain a sense of accomplishment and achievement through art journaling. The Teen Art program, hosted at the Echo Park Branch, improved student academic success by attracting new users and introducing current users to library resources in new and meaningful ways. Special performers included spoken word artist IN-Q, actor and writer Joe Hernández-Kolski, artist Michael Alvarez and non-profit youth organization 826LA. Over 175 participants attended programs and, among this group, surveys demonstrate an increase in use of library collection use by 23% – as well as an astounding 40% increase in young adult program attendance. Participants worked on art journals using professional art supplies, and received ongoing guidance from professional writers and artists.
Say What!? Teen Poetry
In the spring of 2012, pilot Resident Amy Bradley positioned one branch as a place where teens could gather and a platform to showcase what they were creating. Amy built on her work teaching poetry in a juvenile detention center and research demonstrating that learning through the arts can help level the playing field for youth from disadvantaged communities by directing a poetry program for Latino teen boys in Highland Park’s Arroyo Seco Regional Branch. She worked with leading Angeleno poets, teachers and non-profits to offer a series of thirteen poetry workshops and author readings that culminated in a teen poetry reading and a published book of teen poems. Notable poets included Luis Rodriguez whose book, Always Running, has been listed by the American Library Association as one of America’s 100 Most Banned or Challenged Books. Social media was a key part of the program; teens created a Facebook poetry book that became embedded in their social networks, and interviewed an author via Facebook. In the fall, teen poets gathered again to meet Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey at an ALOUD program at Central Library.