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Bridgeville library to try out ‘blackout’ art |

Bridgeville library to try out ‘blackout’ art

On March 28, teenagers will be offered the opportunity to deface books, but with creative intent.

A program at Bridgeville Public Library, called “Blackout Poetry,” will allow participants to put Sharpies to the pages of old books. With each bold stroke, they’ll use the remaining words to compose a poem, using someone else’s words.

Jessica Lamb, the new young adult librarian and head of circulation, found the idea in “Newspaper Blackout,” a book by Austin Kleon. She realized the same idea would work with many of the old books the library was storing.

“We have 20 boxes of old books from the used book store,” she said.

The Washington Avenue shop, which had been supported by the Friends of the Library, closed last year. Some of what had been displayed there will be used for book crafts.

“The old books now have a new artistic purpose,” said Lamb, a resident of Cecil. “More of a life than they would have had.”

And the old things help to bring a new life to the library as teens visit and find fun and interesting ideas there.

“The library’s role is to build a community for all ages,” said Cheryl Napsha, director of Bridgeville and South Fayette libraries. “Being a teenager is not easy, but the library is a safe space where teens can find their people.”

Programs, such as the “blackout” exercise, will encourage reading, continued creativity and perhaps taking a look at some of the poets in the library’s collection during April, which is National Poetry Month.

The offerings on the shelves are “really modern, immediate and relevant to their thoughts, feelings and lives,” said Lamb, 25, and a recent library science master’s graduate from the University of Pittsburgh.

She said she hopes the poetry program fosters more interest in returning to the library, and she is searching for exciting ways to make that happen.

“Jessica is in tune with what’s happening,” Napsha said. “She has an innate respect for teens and wants to give them what they need.”

That’s any librarian’s first purpose for each audience it serves, whether it is a group of 30 or three.

“One of the most important things we do is teen services,” Lamb said. “This is a place where they choose to be.”

Bridgeville Public Library is located at 505 McMillen St., Bridgeville.

Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5803 or [email protected].

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