At JCPL, being a maker is easy, just ask Lakewood Teen Advisory Board (TAB) members Eisley Daly (14) and Sarah Zserdin (17).
Both young women have been active library users since they were little. They love TAB and the Library because it offers opportunities to get involved with the community, have fun getting to know other teens and, of course, create.
Everyday Creativity with Eisley
Eisley loves to draw, animate characters on her computer, sing, play the piano and read, which she says is in part because she’s been visiting the Library since she was just two years old.
“I’m a total book worm. Always have been; probably always will be,” she says.
She loves to read anything she can find in the Teen section of the Library, from fantastical dystopian novels to historical fiction.
“Reading allows you to become a part of that world, and I really enjoy that,” she says.
For Eisley, her forays into fiction have helped shape her own creativity. Three years ago she entered the Teen Fandom Contest at Lakewood Library with a mixed-media project called “Born in the Wrong World.” It featured characters and scenes from some of her favorite books including The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Narnia and Divergent.
“I drew a lot when I was little, but [the Fandom Contest] was my first attempt to come back to it,” Eisley shares. “I entered because it was an easy environment to start creating in, and I was passionate about sharing my work, even though it was experimental.”
Since this first project, Eisley has grown more confident in her own skills. Now, she uses her touchscreen computer to create animated videos and webtunes and design her own characters.
“Anyone can be a creator,” she says. “It doesn’t have to be professional. You just simply create. It can be as simple as a doodle on a piece of homework or as complex as a masterpiece.”
Creating Confidence with Sarah
Sarah also believes “anybody can create! Just try doing something. Push yourself, find your own style. Without trying, you’ll never know.”
Sarah draws, animates, designs, sews, needle-felts, shoots photography and more. This past fall, she enrolled at Warren Tech to pursue a more formal education in graphic design and photography.
“For me, I’d say I’m an artist,” she says. Not only is she quite the budding artist, dabbling in design and character animation and working on “finding my own style,” she’s also quite the storyteller, sharing that it was her childhood that lead her to become such a creative person.
As a child, Sarah spent “a lot of time outside or helping my family with their different crafts and activities.” Her mother works with embroidery, her father screen prints and her brother creates games. Growing up there was always something creative going on, she explains. And this allowed her the freedom to explore for herself.
“I had quite a bit of creative freedom to figure out what I like and what I don’t like. We were taught to go find fun and to make what we wanted. We always tried to see if we could make something ourselves.”
In the past, Sarah made desks, stuffed animals, bags and even clothes.
These maker skills and craft knowledge prepared Sarah to take a leading role in the Teen DIY program at Lakewood Library.
“I got involved with [the program] because of my past experiences, and I knew many of the tools we were using,” she says. “I offered to teach [it] because other kids may not know how to sew, needle-felt, etc., and I did.”
To Sarah, there’s an inherent value in being a maker: "Creating helps open your mind and take ideas and make them real.”
Start at the Library
For both Sarah and Eisley, Teen Advisory Boards and teen events are the perfect starting point for those looking for more opportunities to get involved creating and making a difference in communities. TABs meet once a month so local teens can get to know other teens from the area, talk about important Library issues and help plan and promote upcoming programs at the Library. Teens can get involved with a TABopens a new window at most Jefferson County Public Libraries or attend teen eventsopens a new window at all locations.
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