OCEANSIDE — Half a dozen teens hunkered down at computer keyboards to learn the basics of HTML at the Civic Center Library on March 7. The Teen Hack Workshop taught teenagers how to use HTML code to change website images and words.“We wanted to bring something more relevant and exciting to teens,” Sam Liston, library technology analyst, said.
Youth in attendance were a quick study and soon had custom web pages sporting images of Dr. Who, Hello Kitty and Pamela Anderson.
“HTML coding goes into making computer language,” Lisa Ferneau-Haynes, professional assistant for young adult services, said. “It tells the computer where to put everything on the page.”
Ferneau-Haynes said kids are naturals at learning new technology. “They’ve grown up with all of this,” she said. “It’s normal for them.”
The Teen Hack Workshop was also held at the Mission Branch Library on March 9. The workshops are part of Teen Tech Week that is celebrated by libraries nationwide.
“It shows teens we have more than just books,” Franklin Escobedo, young adult services librarian, said. “We have audio books, data bases.”
Oceanside Public Library has a variety of software programs that target teen interests such as photo editing, music downloading and social networking. Most of these programs are on the high-speed computers in the Civic Center Library Teen Zone.
“The teen computers are the best in the library,” Liston said. “They’re faster and newer. They were purchased by the Friends of the Library.”
The Teen Zone is a computer bar and reading lounge area set up exclusively for teenagers. Younger siblings and adults cannot use the area.
“When they age out they get bumped,” Escobedo said. “It’s a special place just for teens.”
The library has focused on improving teen services during the last five years. Escobedo is an active member of the Young Adult Library Service Association and is credited with increasing the selection of teen literature, computer software and library programs at Oceanside Public Library.
These improvements have helped increase the number of teenagers who use the library. According to Liston, circulation of teen materials has doubled in the last five years.
The library currently has 11,000 active teen patrons and has held 131 teen programs in the past year.