By Sam Jack
CHENEY – In October 2019, Cheney Public Library launched a new Teen Advisory Board. So far, about 14 teenagers have gotten involved, and library director Susan Woodard said she is excited about the impact the group could make on the local community.
“These are the kids that are going to be our future employees, our future library board members, so we wanted to get them involved in a community organization that brings together all the diversity of the community,” Woodard said. “This is a diverse group of kids, getting together and making a difference in their community.”
At the teen board’s first meeting in October, the group decided to create a Christmas tree for the city Christmas tree auction.
“The tree went for $100, which made it one of the trees that was bid on the most,” Woodard said. “It was a really neat way for them to give back to the community right off the bat. It shows their gumption.”
Aubrey Strodtman, the teen board’s president, said she grew up going to the public library a lot and wanted to reconnect after having aged out of storytime.
“I kind of missed going there, so I wanted to join the teen advisory board and get more involved with the library again,” she said.
Strodtman said one goal is “to come up with ideas for other teens, and get teens involved in the library more – kind of create a hang-out for them.”
Woodard said she is encouraging teens who view the library as a place where they can chart their own course and advocate for Cheney and the library in fun ways.
“So many times, I’ve learned, kids come into the library not realizing that it’s far beyond books. What I’d like to ask (teens) is, ‘What would you like to do in our community?’ Is it through arts, through forums? There are different avenues they can use to show who they are and what they want their community to be,” she said.
The teen advisory board is open to all Cheney youth ages 13 and older. To get involved, contact Woodard at the library, 203 N. Main Street. The library’s phone number is 316-542-3331.