Liberty library to offer teen gaming center

Maggie Varela and Amber Ursprung try out the new gaming center at the Liberty Municipal Library.

The Liberty Municipal Library will soon offer an exciting new service for area teens — a Nintendo Switch gaming console and a gaming area where teens can meet to play popular electronic games. The library has received a Community Advancement Packages (CAP) Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and has acquired everything needed to set up a great gaming area. A second CAP grant was also received that will benefit countless library patrons.

Library Director Dana Abshier said, “Long ago we recognized that there is a need for enjoyable things for teens to do in Liberty. Most kids like electronic games, but many families cannot afford a gaming system. We saw the CAP Grant as an excellent opportunity to provide a terrific gaming area in a safe environment where teens can meet to enjoy playing games together.

 “We were awarded two very different packages with our CAP Grant. With the Teen Services Package, we purchased everything needed for the gaming system, from a tiny micro memory card to an enormous projector screen. We also purchased numerous popular age-appropriate digital games that include Kirby and the Forgotten Land, New Pokémon Snap, Minecraft, Splatoon 2, Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, Mario Party Superstars, and others. The games have been tested and approved by library staff, and parents can be assured the games are appropriate for teens.

“Our Bilingual Library Services Technician, Maggie Varela, is very tech savvy and provided the knowledge necessary to build a great system from the ground up. She cheerfully answered many questions I had about games and components. Without Maggie’s knowledge the task would have been much more difficult,” said Abshier.

Administrative Assistant Amber Ursprung was also extremely helpful and provided technical information as well. Amber and Maggie are both gamers themselves and their personal experience was invaluable in planning the gaming system.

The new game space will be located in the teen book shelving area. To enhance the game experience, an Optoma gaming projector will project the games onto a 100-inch screen. Four comfortable Rocker X Pro 200 gaming chairs will boost the fun and also add to the teen’s comfort while they are playing. Out of consideration for other patrons, Sony headphones will be used by teens while they are playing. Two Versare sound absorbing room divider panels, also grant purchases, will be set up to provide the teens with a little privacy and to help keep the inevitable noise levels down. The new game area will be available for teens to enjoy soon.

With the CAP Grant the library also received funding for an Administrative Services Package. Purchases include a Sharp networked printer/copier/fax/scanner, a Galaxy A8 Tablet, a Zebra Bluetooth barcode scanner, and a Star Micronics receipt printer.

Patrons will be happy to learn they can now check out materials from the information desk thanks to the new barcode scanner and receipt printer. This will be a great time saver and convenience for patrons when the circulation desk is busy.

This package also includes an assortment of office supplies that are available for patrons who need the basics.

“Patrons who use our public printer and copier frequently need a few items to finish and organize their work. Thanks to our CAP grant we can now help our patrons in need by providing free use of basic supplies such as paper clips, manila folders, correction tape, highlighters, pens, pencils, sticky notes, and more,” said Abshier.

Liberty’s $9,829 CAP Grant is one of 86 Community Advancement Packages awarded to Texas libraries this fiscal year by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. The CAP Grants were designed to help libraries respond directly to identified community needs through the purchase of items that will support and advance community development through library sponsored programming and services.

“We are thrilled to offer these new services to our patrons, and we are extremely grateful to IMLS and TSLAC for making this possible. We invite everyone to drop by the library to see what’s new,” concluded Abshier.

For more information about these or other library services, please call the Liberty Municipal Library at 936-336-8901. Library cards are free for all Texans with valid Texas ID. A library card will be required to use the game system, and parents must sign for library cards for young people under 18 years old. The library is located at 1710 Sam Houston Street in Liberty.  Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

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