Nicole Bagala ‘20
Bethel High School’s Library Learning Commons is known for having workers of the Bethel Public Library visit BHS every Tuesday during lunch. But why is this so?
The program, known as “BPL Meets BHS” started last spring so students could learn the “Maker Mentality” which is how people become, as Library Specialist Ms. Wismar puts it, “more creative, more flexible in nature.” The program was created by Ms. Wismar and the Bethel Public Library Director, Ms. Dean, who was said by Wismar to have “a lot of vision for what she wants to do. She wants to focus on community outreach.” Ms. Dean wants to remind students in the community of the BPL’s resources, and to be able to learn about the programs at the town’s library.
Every Tuesday staff members from the Bethel Public Library visit BHS and make crafts, such as zombie clothespins, sand art, slime, bracelets and stress balls, with any students who are interested. “We try to mix it up and do a large array of projects to bring in different skills and see what the different interests in the high school are,” says Senior Library Assistant Kristin Silvia.
It’s not just enjoyable to the students. It’s also good for the BPL staff members, since some were said to not have been to BHS before. “It allows me to interact with more people than I normally would being at the library, since not everyone gets to the library after school,” says Senior Library Assistant Katie Dygon.
Due to the popularity of the program at BHS, a similar program has started at the Bethel Middle School, called “Maker Time With the Bethel Public Library.” It allows students to visit their school library to meet with BLP staff members and create art during their lunch waves.
The location of the program has changed from the LLC to the downstairs lobby due to the change of the lunch waves. Because food is no longer allowed to be eaten in the LLC, there are less people up there while the volunteers are visiting. “The decision of moving students to the front lobby to eat lunch has changed things. We’re trying to adjust so we can keep the program going,” Wismar comments.
The hope for this program is to move on from craft activities to more technology activities. “It’s important for students to be aware of the technology at the Bethel Public Library,” Wismar says, “Not everyone has the same technology at home, and so they have the exposure for what the Public Library can do, since it is a resource that isn’t utilized, especially by the younger generation.”
So if you need something to keep your hands busy during lunch, stop by the lobby to meet the Bethel Public Library workers and make some fun crafts!