While it may be more challenging to run traditional summer camps this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Evanston Public Library continues to offer a wide variety of summer programming for teens. The new virtual summer lineup features activities including arts and crafts, music and movie groups, game nights, and even a virtual cycling club.
Program leaders from the Library's teen space, The Loft, have found new ways to connect with youth and distribute materials and tutorials. Craft kits have been distributed to participants in the arts and crafts classes, and pre-recorded tutorials can be found online. Game nights are held through video chat and the kids play along together using their phones or computers. The Library has also partnered with Northwestern's TIILT Lab to offer virtual Minecraft clubs. Other groups such as the cycling club for girls offer the chance to get outside and away from computer screens. This club incorporates online workshops with mapped out bike rides that kids can go on any time.
Much of the outreach for these programs is focused on underserved youth, and the Library has collaborated with other youth-centered organizations across Evanston to get the word out to these communities. Library staff members have reached out to particular families, doing wellness calls and making sure they are aware of the resources available to them. The Library has also partnered with several other organizations through EL3 to form The Depot, an online learning site that provides many different activities and challenges for kids to do and share from home.