Murphy Helwig Library hopes Teen Council will engage local youth

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Murphy Helwig Library in Monona is forming a Teen Council to help local youth engage more with the library.

“We have a long-standing children’s craft and story hour, but we haven’t done a lot with young adults,” said library assistant Susan Trappe. “We want to bring more teens into the library.”

What better way to do that, she thought, than letting teens develop their own programming. 

“We know kids get busy with other activities, and they might think coming to the library is not cool,” Trappe said, “but if we let them decide, maybe they’ll come in.”

Open to teens in grades eight through 12, Teen Council is slated to meet once each month for one hour. Trappe said dates and times will vary depending on participants’ schedules. Teens will gather in the special young adult area created with the library expansion.

“We have this nice area to come in and lounge and hang out,” Trappe noted. “We’ll always have snacks.”

At Teen Council meetings, attendees will be asked to share their ideas for Murphy Helwig Library. That includes planning and promoting programming just for teens, suggesting books and other materials and voting for the Choice Book of the Month.

While activities can certainly center around reading, that’s not a requirement.

“Sometimes there’s a misconception of what all we can do here. The library is not just about books,” stressed Trappe. “We can do crafts, sign making, movie night, board games or even homework help sessions.”

Teen Council members will also be eligible to receive volunteer credit by helping with these programs and those for younger children.

Trappe said teens should watch Murphy Helwig Library’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and the library website for Teen Council information and meeting times. They can also learn more by visiting the library on North Page Street, calling (563) 539-2356 or emailing

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