Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 41
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
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Making Friends, Sharing Reading, Strawberries, Go-Between Club Gets and Gives Good Reviews

Ellen Gilbert

“Don’t tell us how it ends!” exclaimed Teen Services Librarian Susan Conlon as Deidre Bayne enthused about one of her favorite books at the first meeting of the Go-Between Club, a new monthly club for students in grades five through seven at the Princeton Public Library.

Although the library’s Teen Advisory Board (TAB) has existed for a number of years, Ms. Conlon sensed that “something was missing.” By including members from grades six through twelve, she thought there might be too great an age span in TAB, what with older students focusing on SATs, college preparation, and other concerns. Like TAB, the Go-Between Club will afford youngsters an opportunity to make friends, share their reading experiences, help guide the library collection by recommending books, and participate in community service projects, but with a more specific focus.

“We want to know what you’re reading, what you’re watching, what you’re listening to, and what your interests are,” Ms. Conlon told the nine girls who settled in for strawberries, banana chocolate chip bread (courtesy of Youth Services Librarian Martha Perry), and juice in the library’s second floor conference room last Saturday morning.

“I like to read a lot,” said Gabrielle Lisk, whose favorite book is Little Women. Jude Levine recommended Hot Lunch, which is about someone who “has to do a project with a girl she really hates.” It’s “a really good book” and it includes “real recipes,” she added.

Natasha Shatzkin’s recommendation of A Mango Shaped Space led to a discussion of synesthesia, and everyone weighed in on what makes a book really creepy; there was a general consensus that reading at night and the way that the author uses eyes can be very effective in eliciting chills. The latest Nancy Drew mystery drew accolades, as did the books, Tunnels and Chasing Vermeer. Exclamations of “I loved that book!” often followed the mention of titles about a French girl during World War II, a girl who is “half mermaid,” and a teacher who must use a wheelchair.

A songwriting workshop and finding ways to celebrate the library’s upcoming 100th birthday are potential projects for the Go-Betweens. They may also participate in collecting books at their respective schools for the Better World Book Drive, a community service project that ensures the placement of discarded books in needy communities around the world.

Juno, The Princess Bride, and both the “old” and “new” Parent Trap drew votes for a possible movie night, and the prospect of a sleep-over in the library was roundly endorsed. Ms. Conlon, however, a veteran of at least one library sleep-over (really a “wake-over,” she wryly observed, describing the bags under her eyes the next day) steered the discussion in the direction of a party that would end at midnight.

The next meeting of the Go-Between Club is on November 1 at 10 a.m. Students (boys, too) in grades five through seven are welcome to join, even if they didn’t attend the first meeting.

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