The usual quiet and solemn decorum of the Livingston Parish Library System’s Denham Springs-Walker Branch was shattered recently when an army of about 40 enthusiastic, boisterous youngsters participated in lively games and activities based on the popular “Star Wars” movies.
Taking on the various roles of the chief actors and actresses of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the latest in the long history of the movie franchise, the children enjoyed the afternoon pursuing various activities that gave them a sense of being transported to a space adventure.
Rachael Bergin, youth services librarian at the Denham-Springs-Walker Branch, said that the program was designed to give children the opportunity to play and learn together what the Star Wars experience is all about.
“The movie is breaking every record, and everywhere you look you see and hear about Star Wars. The children all know about Star Wars toys and costumes so we wanted to give them the chance to tie that in with the library experience,” she explained.
Bergin said that the fun program highlighted the offerings the library has based on Star Wars. The library has Star Wars books, graphic novels, DVDs and movies for public use, Bergin said, adding that an interest in the popular sci-fi franchise could lead children to read more.
Children ages 6-10 were invited to participate in the program from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 29. Awaiting the young visitors were game stations, a table with Star Wars coloring books and crayons and a display highlighting the library’s collection of Star Wars books.
The three most popular games were Knock Down the Storm Troopers, Train Your Brain Game and Test Skills on a Light Saber. In the knock-down game, the children threw large bean bags at wooden cutout storm trooper targets.
The Light Saber Skill Test involved the children in keeping balloons afloat using “light sabers” made of foam rubber-coated batons. This game proved very popular and throughout the hour, red balloons were kept aloft by the laughing children who whirled and twirled about the room.
Children could also participate in the Mini Light Saber Craft project and the coloring experience. The coloring table remained occupied throughout the program.
Bergin said that the Star Wars event was the latest in programs offered throughout the year at all the Livingston Parish Library branches. Each branch has a youth services librarian and programs are offered on a regular basis for different age groups at each branch. She said that participation in the youth programs is always good, with an average of about 35 attending each program.
“We try to offer experiences that are fun and educational. Not only do we bring children into the libraries, but their parents come with them and they get to see what our libraries have to offer. It’s one more way that we are trying to engage all our citizens in the libraries,” Bergin said.
She said that the Star Wars program was a natural, “because everyone loves Star Wars.”
Not only children were involved in the Star Wars fever at the library. During December and early January, a program for adults was offered at each branch of the library system. The flier advertising those programs read, “Awaken your inner force with a Star Wars movie kickoff party! Play giant Star Wars Trivial Pursuit, create Star Wars stencil art and eat Star Wars snacks.” The programs were well received, a library spokesperson said.
Rejuanné Varnado, a student volunteer at the Denham Spring-Walker Branch who was assisting Bergin with the program, said she enjoys the time she spends at the library. “This is one of my favorite places to be … I get to meet people who come to the library, I have a chance to learn about new books, and I just enjoy working with the children. I am a Star Wars fan and Luke Skywalker is my favorite character so this day was special. It was great seeing the kids having so much fun. The library is a good place for them to come and have a good time,” she said.