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‘Guitar Hero’ draws teens to library

Geoffrey Hadfield, 12, competes playing Guitar Hero II at the Federal Way 320th Library’s Game On tournament for teens on Thursday. Below: David Arnold, 11, plays basketball on the Xbox 360 during a competition for teens at the Federal Way 320th Library. - Margo Horner/The Mirror
Geoffrey Hadfield, 12, competes playing Guitar Hero II at the Federal Way 320th Library’s Game On tournament for teens on Thursday. Below: David Arnold, 11, plays basketball on the Xbox 360 during a competition for teens at the Federal Way 320th Library.
— image credit: Margo Horner/The Mirror

Teenagers can be a difficult group to attract to the library, but not in Federal Way.

Anna Malesa, teen librarian at the Federal Way 320th library, organizes a twice-monthly video game day at the library for middle school and high school students. Every other Thursday afternoon, 20 to 50 teens flock to the library to participate in games such as “Dance Dance Revolution,” “Guitar Hero” and “Super Smash Bros. Brawl.” Participation is free.

The video game events offer teens a safe place to hang out, Malesa said.

“They can come to the library and spend quality time. They have fun. They have something to do. They can socialize,” she said.

Although they aren’t required to, Malesa hopes that while the teens are at the library they will familiarize themselves with other services offered.

“We are hoping they will maybe browse and see what we have on our shelves,” she said.

Some teens believe the library is just a place full of dusty old books, but it is much more, said Michael Garcia, a library assistant who helps run the video game program. The library also has DVDs, Internet access and a variety of programs to participate in. During the school year, tutors are available to help with homework.

During the video game events, snacks such as popcorn, soda, chips, cookies and Fruit Roll-ups are served.

“Any kind of not-healthy stuff that will attract the teenagers,” Malesa joked. “We can have fun and not health.”

The library offers games for students to play that are rated either “E” for everyone or “T” for teens. The library does not allow violent games that are rated “M” for mature audiences.

So far, the teens have been very well-behaved during the events, Malesa said.

“When they play the fighter games or the shooter games, they leave it there, they don’t take it outside,” Garcia added.

“Here you get to try out with new people that you’ve never met and see what their skill level is,” said Deante White, a 17-year-old who has played video games at the library several times. “It’s way more fun to play with people than by yourself.”

Contact Margo Hoffman: mhoffman@fedwaymirror.com

The next video game events will be held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. June 26, July 17 and July 24 at the Federal Way 320th Library. For more information, call (253) 839-0257.

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