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The "Force" is with new library program
|Messenger photo by Dedra Cordle
Soren Yanchar, 9, talks to a Stormtrooper about the dark side at the Jedi Training Academy, which was held on May 5 (a.k.a. Revenge of the Fifth) at the Grove City Library.
Not so long ago, in a galaxy far, far near, dozens of children participated in the Jedi Training Academy at the Grove City Library.
For almost two hours, the pupils of the Force learned key survival skills such as how to defeat a Bantha without using their sight; how to build their own droids in case they stumble upon top-secret information; how to distract Jabba the Hutt without bikinis and deadly force; and how to locate lost light sabers and keep their limbs in the process.
While these lessons are undoubtedly important for any young Jedi to master, they learned something much more valuable during their time at the Training Academy – the ways of the library.
Scattered throughout the Jedi Games Stations was a plethora of Star Wars reading material. There were books toddlers, tweens and even young adults would enjoy. Of course, when it comes to novels and all things Star Wars, there is no age group: Many of the Jedi parents were seen flipping through them as well.
The book displays were craftily placed by Yoda-trained librarians and assistants who wanted to show the young Jedi Knights that if they have an interest in something, the library is a great place to get further immersed in that world. In the case of Star Wars, the system has so much reading material and information about the subject that it might make droids jealous.
“We have tons of Star Wars books at the Grove City library and there are tons more in the system,” said Lore Lehr, the youth services librarian.
The volume of books at the Grove City library may have drastically decreased by the end of the Training Academy, but ultimately, that was the goal of the program.
“We want kids to read and to keep reading, so we’ll do anything we can to help,” said Lehr.
The library holds several special-interest programs throughout the year, but this is the first time they have hosted the Jedi Training Academy. Lehr said they have youth services assistant Jess Mowery to thank for bringing it to the library.
Mowery, who has been an avid Star Wars fan since she was in the sixth grade, said she heard about the Academy’s popularity from other libraries in the branch and thought ‘why don’t we do it here?’
She contacted the Rebel Legion, which is an international Star Wars costuming organization, and asked if some of their members at the Great Lakes Base, which serves Michigan and Ohio, would be willing to come to the event. They were.
“We are asked by libraries and charities and hospitals to come to these types of events all the time,” said Deanna Fletcher, who goes by the Jedi name J’iin-Gun.
She said that the reason she does this is for the children.
“We love to see the expression on their faces when they meet Jedi, Sith, Princesses, Stormtroopers and Wookies.”
Lehr said that because of the number of children in attendance and enthusiasm they received from the trainees in the Jedi Training Academy, they will consider making it an annual event.
“It’s been so amazing and we’re very pleased with the outcome.”
For more information about events at the Southwest Public Libraries, visit www.swpl.org.
The Summer Reading Program at the Grove City Library will begin June 9 and run through Aug. 4. Volunteers and interested parties can sign up, for free, at the library, located at 3359 Park St. or call 875-6716.
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