Story_library event

by Kira Bellis

It may already be mid-July, but summer isn’t over. In fact, local libraries are busy with events for kids and teens every week. If you think libraries are a place for peace and quiet, go to one of these programs and hear why you’re wrong.

This past week, the Local attended two kids events to get a taste of what to expect.

On Tuesday, July 14, the Free Library of Springfield Township hosted a robotics demonstration. Similar to one they had last year, families were welcome to come with their children.

As kids walked into the common area, they were greeted by older students from the robotics teams of local schools and three robots. Each robot was about seven feet tall, standing well above the average five-year-old.

These robots were originally built in six weeks for a high school robotics competition held during the school year. Mount Saint Joseph Academy established its all-girls robotics team 433 in 2000 under the name M.I.N.T. (Mounties Interested in New Technology). Because a robot caught fire years ago, however, the team became the Firebirds.

La Salle University High School’s all-boys robotics team 5181 participated in the library’s event as well. Both schools proudly wore their respective team’s T-shirts, happy to have the opportunity to show off their creations to kids at the library.

The children stared in awe at the massive robots, constructed using both common and uncommon parts. As the kids walked around, they tallied the total number of batteries and light bulbs on each robot. For the other parts, such as pressure gauges and circuit breakers, the kids first asked their parent what it looked like, then counted.

The more kids eagerly reached their hands between the bars and PVC piping of the robots, trying to find parts, the more eager they became to see how the robots worked.

To the kids’ delight, after the interactive portion was over, the high schoolers demonstrated each robot’s function. Two of the three robots lifted and stacked boxes to create a tower of containers as tall as an adult.

The other robot threw a large yoga ball. With a catapult built into the structure, the student driving the robot could control the strength, and therefore the distance of the throw. When the ball was catapulted, the kids “oohed and ahhed” in excitement.

Not only was this a chance for the kids to be otherwise entertained, but parents got a chance to catch up with other adults from the neighborhood.

Over at the Chestnut Hill Library on Tuesday, the Breakfree Design Group held a T-shirt redesign program for kids.

The Breakfree Design Group is run by executive director and founder Andrea Reyes and program director Dahlia Wigfall. These two are a mother-daughter duo who have been working together since 2003.

At this workshop, kids started out with a plain shirt. From there, they could cut, sew, and tie the shirt any way they wanted to create a seemingly new shirt.

With a blank canvas, their creativity set in. Right off the bat, one child knew he wanted to make a cape. He started cutting two shirts so he could work them together to look like a superhero.

For those who didn’t know exactly what to make, they browsed examples of other projects kids made in the past. Common designs added ruffles, flowers, and lace to the shirts. The kids could also look through a sketchbook for inspiration.

With these newfound ideas, kids sketched what they wanted to make. There were boxes with endless supplies such as tulle, ribbon, fringe, denim, flannel, and buttons all at their disposal. Adding embellishments was a vital part of the process.

Breakfree Design Group offers these two hour reconstruction courses at other locations. They have also worked with multiple charter schools for longer, more intensive programs. During these semester-long or full-year courses, students learn fashion entrepreneurship in addition to sewing.

If these two programs represent what else is in store at the local libraries, kids and teens should definitely look forward to more.

At Springfield’s library, one-of-a-kind events such as Superhero Mad Libs will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 22, and Mike Rose Magic will put on a show at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 28.

However, the weekly classics still remain. The Films on Friday series has upcoming viewings of “Bernard and Doris” and “Captain America: The First Avenger,” at 2 p.m. on July 24 and 31, respectively. Other weekly events include Teen Time on Tuesdays, Lego Club on Wednesdays and Storytime on different days depending on the child’s age.

For a schedule see

The Chestnut Hill Library also hosts similar weekly programs. Although, an event that stands out is the Indian Bazaar on July 30, which will be filled with saris and samosas. Then, on Aug. 6th, the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party will celebrate the 150th anniversary of “Alice in Wonderland”’s publication. The following day, Aug. 7, the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education arrives with animals native to the Philly region.

For a schedule see