Feeding Teen Brains at the Library

Teens at the Baraboo Public Library know how to have fun. This year, they’ve celebrated birthdays ranging from William Shakespeare to William Shatner, and the summer is packed with more activities.

A large group of youths gathered Tuesday for a lecture on how to survive a zombie apocalypse, taught by Frances Auld of the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County.

Clad in a cowboy hat, jean shorts and a T-shirt featuring zombie arms reaching out from a boarded-up door, Auld, who lectures on all things spooky and scary, was a big hit.

“Why are they everywhere? Why are we all so excited about them?” Auld asked the group, inviting them to talk about how they’ve experienced zombies in popular culture.

Penny Johnson, the library’s teen specialist, said the weekly Tuesday evening programming has been going on for about six years.

Dynamic programming is a way to bring young people to the library and to make it a fun, exciting place. Upcoming Tuesday night activities include sessions on archaeology, making comfort blankets for kids in need, sidewalk graffiti, a Hobbit party and more.

“It’s a community center,” Johnson said. “It isn’t just a boring warehouse for books.”

A group of middle- and high-school students serves on an advisory board to help her plan the events, which will include an annual lock-in and film festival in July. “I’m still the only adult that has managed to stay awake all night every year,” Johnson said.

Carley Frey, 12, is a new member of the Teen Advisory Board and a library volunteer. “I just love reading, and I want to share that with other kids, too,” she said.

Frey said she is usually at the Teen Tuesday events, and she was looking forward to learning about zombies.

“I’m looking forward to (learning) how to defeat them,” said Frey, adding that she’s heard lemon juice might prove a powerful weapon against zombie foes.

Auld provided some background information on zombies in pop culture as well as some practical information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that used a theoretical zombie apocalypse to talk about the importance of disaster preparedness. The youngsters even participated in an activity designed to teach them about what to put in their own emergency kits.

“I think what we need to do is talk about seeing zombies and just in case there is a zombie apocalypse, how everyone in this room is going to be a survivor — unless, of course, there is anyone in this room that just wants to go zombie straight away,” Auld said with a slight grin. “Please raise your hand if that’s the case … These are not the people you want guarding the door.”

For more information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/phpr/zombies.htm.

Publication: 
Baraboo News Republic
Publication Date: 
Wednesday, June 19, 2013