When the Teen Advisory Board of the Mooresville Public Library meets in the Selma Burke Community Room, their ideas crackle like electricity.
President Aisha Cannon, vice president Allie Cothren, secretary Stephen Woodard and event coordinator Sarah Cannon create activities and publicize programs for young adults.
Board members Persia Homesley, Cori Ahuna and Adrienne Brown offer input, help with events and serve on committees.
While opening laptops and chatting before their monthly meeting, students scanned the agenda and consulted teen coordinator Vanessa Campbell. Quiet descended until Aisha asked for names of PG-rated Thanksgiving movies. Everyone checked their computers and suggested titles.
Collecting canned food for the Mooresville Soup Kitchen is a major project. To increase participation, the board is hosting a family movie at the library from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. today. The price of admission for the Thanksgiving event is one can of food per person.
Last year the teens collected 435 cans, but this year they haven't yet met their goal. To encourage donations, they are requiring canned food items for admission to Young Adult activities.
Another charitable project is the Community Pregnancy Center of Mooresville. As orientation for the November reading selection, members watched a video about teen pregnancy and contributed money to the center.
The group has fun as it discusses important issues and supports community agencies. The members organized an afternoon party for Halloween. After decorating Mardi Gras masks, 40 costumed teens munched popcorn and watched a screening of "The Haunting." Campbell's husband, dressed as Jason from the "Halloween" movies, was a surprise visitor.
Activities expand beyond the boundaries of the library. Often, locations vary for monthly book discussions. The last session took place in the garden, where everyone toasted marshmallows and ate s'mores as they reviewed books.
How do students keep track of the books they've read? Campbell encourages readers to keep logs. Some teens begin logging their books in third or fourth grade. When they become seniors, many are amazed at the total number.
For the summer reading program, 232 teens kept those records. Aisha and the board devised a plan to reward readers with $100 in library bucks for every 600 pages read. Participants redeemed their bucks at an auction.
Readers need bookmarks, so TAB members created a contest. During a brainstorming session, they targeted involvement from Pine Lake Preparatory, Lake Norman High, Mooresville High, Brawley Middle, Lakeshore Middle and Mooresville Middle schools.
Students will design a bookmark that includes this information: Young Adult Services, ages 13-18, and the library's telephone number (704-664-2927).
TAB will select the winning design, and the graphics department will produce a professional bookmark for patrons. The winner will receive a gift card to Barnes & Noble or Books-a-Million. The deadline to enter is Dec. 11.
So far, most of TAB's members attend Mooresville High, and they'd like students from area high and middle schools to join. A recruiting committee is compiling an information packet to get the word out.
Besides participating in board activities, members volunteer at the library and the Mooresville Museum. Aisha describes her contribution as fun and productive.
"It's a good way to be involved with the library," she said. "It's kind of like a home to me now."