Drive by any junior or senior high school this time of year around 3 p.m. and you will experience the diverse, vibrant world that teenagers inhabit: music, talk, laughter, dancing, friends, backpacks loaded with electronic devices, creative energy everywhere.
Visit the teen centers either at Weber County Library online or in one of the five neighborhood Weber County public libraries and you will see how the modern library connects with this world of the 21st century teenager.
At the website, visitors find books, get help with homework, learn a new language, listen to someone sing a song, hear poetry, look at a painting.
They find resources to help find a job, build a car, pay their taxes, volunteer. And, yes, they find lists of books to read, nonfiction, fiction, the latest young adult novels as well as the classics.
At their neighborhood libraries, teens play chess or teach younger children how to play; they come for online classes; they come to study and use library resources; they come to ask questions of the librarians. This summer's teen reading program, Music Mayhem, encourages teens to read and talk about books of all kinds.
Modern libraries are centers for creating knowledge, centers of activity as dynamic and creative as is the life of the teenager. A modern library connects individuals to the past, to each other, to the future. A modern library builds community and nourishes the individual, teaches about the past and enriches dreams for the future.
Could we ask for more for the young people in our lives? I have been nourished all my life by the libraries, both public and school, that I have visited. I hope for the same experience for all those young people swirling out of the schools and into the complex world we all inhabit.