Eufaula GEAR UP seventh grade boys tour area public libraries


WILBURTON, OK (Feb. 20, 2019) – Forty-three Eufaula GEAR UP students recently visited area public libraries to learn about resources and programs available within the different library systems of Oklahoma. Students began the morning in McAlester touring the large library. Ellen Barlow, Branch Manager, greeted students and led them through the building to showcase the various sections and how items are organized. Students were surprised to learn the various types of media available to patrons. There are video games for PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, audiobooks, magazines, DVDs, graphic novels and numerous books that can all be checked out for free. Barlow was great to highlight the areas teens are most interested such as the video game section and graphic novels. Students went to the third floor and saw the Teen Room. This is a space specifically designated for teens. There is a Nintendo Switch, art supplies, free Wi-Fi, board games and more. There is never a charge to hang out at the library and it’s a safe space for teens who want a positive atmosphere.

Next, students gathered in the White Acre Room where McAlester Public Library’s Youth Services Coordinator Yuliya Zhugina spoke more about summer and after-school programs the library offers. The programs offered are educational, social, fun, and FREE. Zhugina is excellent at planning activities that teens are interested in and eager to participate. She creates a monthly calendar with activities for all age groups. Some of the activities include video gaming competitions, nail art, a monthly book club, wall art and Community Action Teens (CATS). CATS is a unique program where teens help with work and setup for library events. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to contribute to the community through volunteering. All supplies are provided by the library and food is usually included for those who participate.

Students also met McAlester’s Information Resources Librarian Chris Elliott. Elliott was a wealth of knowledge and shared information about free online resources available through www.oklibrary.net. The librarians set up computers for students to follow along as library specialists led them through each step on the big screen. Students researched online resources for homework help, practice driver tests/guides, citation sources, how to access reference materials, webinars teaching different languages and even a guide for various types of auto repairs. Students learned about free downloadable media like movies, eBooks, magazines, music, audiobooks and more. Even without a library card, there are numerous resources people can access. If they have a library card, they have access to everything on the site.

After lunch, students traveled back to Eufaula to visit the Eufaula Memorial Library. Kim Patterson, Library Assistant, welcomed students to The Charles L. Follansbee Room to show them the online resources available through the Eastern Oklahoma District Library System. Both libraries are within 30 miles of each other but are in different Oklahoma library districts and can offer similar but different resources to fit students’ needs. Patterson showed students how to login with a library card and access account information like re-checking out materials without having to drive to the library. She showed students on a large screen how to navigate through the library website www.eodls.org. They were excited and surprised to learn that they can check out Chromebooks for eight days at a time which would allow students to work on homework and projects outside of school and the public library.

Patterson also spoke about the teen programs offered at Eufaula Memorial Library. Currently they are offering guitar lessons for all levels. Students can even use a loaner guitar if they don’t have their own. Participants work with a local musician to advance their skills and present a concert when lessons wrap up. Patterson is also excited to begin a “teen tech week” in March to teach skills such as coding, photography, videography and animation. Students took a quick tour through the library to learn how materials are organized before heading back to school.

Prior to the field trip, students had the opportunity to apply for a library card at both library systems. Students that had one or both of the library card applications complete picked up their library cards during the field trip.

“The libraries have both put so much effort into customizing programs for students to be successful, said Rachael Ranallo, GEAR UP Education Coordinator. “I hope they take advantage of these wonderful resources.”

The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College GEAR UP. Participating schools take two field trips each academic year—one to tour a college or university and one that is cultural/educational in nature. In 2017, Eastern received a $17 million federal GEAR UP grant and will serve over 3,000 students in 39 area schools for seven years.

Eufaula students gather for a photo in the White Acre Room at the McAlester Public Library. Pictured are: (front row, left to right) Joey Reiter, Connor Herriage, Kyan Brillo, Braylen Burton, Xander Smith, (row 2) Tucker Leathers, Chebon Pigeon, Brady Hughes, Trent Montgomery, Preston Dalton, Quade Laughlin, Ming Lin, Logan Johnson, (back row) Charlie Simmons, Gannon Dozier, Lane Holmes, Jason Hill, LB Colbert, Dale Hill, Jaydin Bray, and Gavin Watkins.

Eufaula students Rocky Sallee-Hicks, Prestin Letcher, Draven Gragg, and Gabe Mortensen see books for sale at the McAlester Public Library.

Eufaula students use laptops at the McAlester Public Library to learn about online resources available through www.oklibrary.net. Pictured are: (left to right) Gavin Watkins, Jason Hill, Jaydin Bray, LB Colbert, Logan Johnson, Ming Lin, Braylen Burton, and Connor Herriage.

Eufaula students pose with the cardboard cutout of John Wayne at the Eufaula Memorial Library. Pictured are: (front row, left to right) Jayden Watkins, Oliver O’Connor, Braylen Burton, (back row) Ming Lin, John Wayne cutout, and Charlie Simmons.

Eufaula students were able to apply for library cards prior to the field trip and pick them up during the library visit. Pictured with their new cards are: (left to right) Joey Reiter, Connor Herriage, Gannon Dozier, and Dakota Stinebrickner.

Eufaula students gather for a photo in the White Acre Room at the McAlester Public Library. Pictured are: (front row, left to right) Taber Grider, Nathan McNatt, Cory Thomas, Prestin Letcher, Hunter Menees, Dakota Stinebrickner, Jayden Watkins, Keith McGuire, Kaden Cragg, Oliver O’Connor, Jeffrey Hicks, (back row) Bryan Scarborough, Rocky Sallee-Hicks, Andrew Robinson, Draven Gragg, Landon Mills, Gabe Mortensen, Kamden Miller, Gunnar Tillotson, Shawn Kiely, Ashton McIntosh and Josh Lee.

Students use laptops at the McAlester Public Library to learn about online resources available through www.oklibrary.net. Pictured are: (left to right) Kyan Brillo, Trent Montgomery, Gannon Dozier, Gavin Watkins, Jason Hill, and Jaydin Bray.

Eufaula seventh grade boys gather for a photo in front of the McAlester Public Library. Pictured are: (front row, left to right) Tucker Leathers, Josh Lee, Prestin Letcher, Ming Lin, (row 2) Jaydin Bray, Kyan Brillo, Braylen Burton, LB Colbert, Kaden Cragg, Preston Dalton, Gannon Dozier, Draven Gragg, Taber Grider, Connor Herriage, Jeffrey Hicks, Dale Hill, Jason Hill, Lane Holmes, Brady Hughes, Logan Johnson, Shawn Kiely, Quade Laughlin, (back row) Keith McGuire, Ashton McIntosh, Nathan McNatt, Hunter Menees, Kamden Miller, Landon Mills, Trent Montgomery, Gabe Mortensen, Oliver O’Connor, Chebon Pigeon, Joey Reiter, Andrew Robinson, Rocky Sallee-Hicks, Bryan Scarborough, Charlie Simmons, Xander Smith, Cory Thomas, Gunnar Tillotson, Gavin Watkins, Jayden Watkins, and Dakota Stinebrickner.

Students pose with the cardboard cutout of John Wayne at the Eufaula Memorial Library. Pictured are: (left to right) Dale Hill, Joey Reiter, John Wayne cutout, Jason Hill, and Landon Mills.

Students tour the McAlester Public Library. Pictured are: (left to right)Taber Grider, Eufaula Geography teacher Mr. Helms, Landon Mills, Gabe Mortensen, Rocky Sallee-Hicks, Kaden Cragg, Cory Thomas, Draven Gragg, Kamden Miller, Shawn Kiely, and Andrew Robinson.

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