This Ain’t Your Toddler’s Storytime: Tween and Teen Time at San Antonio Libraries

It’s no secret that your local library has a wealth of resources for everyone, but it has a special place for families. Usually, however, we moms tend to think of library programs as geared toward only our younger kids. I know when my kids were infants there were cute, short storytimes with finger-play songs and brief time for mom conversation. As my kids became toddlers, there were storytimes where I had to chase them to make them sit and crafts that needed my full attention. There was little time to talk to other moms, but we shared a similar style of pulled back hair and little-to-no makeup. Then preschool storytimes came, and the stories were longer, crafts were 50% kid/50% mom projects, and moms shared glue sticks along with quick potty-training secrets.

Since my kids became school-aged, we have enjoyed summer programs at the library, and the summer reading program has encouraged my kiddos to read. It usually has provided me with a five- to ten-minute window where I could sneak in a quick magazine article or a few minutes of mom talk. Although my son always was a reader, he became less enthused to head to the library as a “tween”…until we hit upon some programming developed for just his age. Tweens and teenagers can head to the public library during the school year for reasons beyond getting reading material or research for that school project. Once they do get there, they will see that it can be a great place for an occasional event or even a regular activity. Even if your tween or teen is not much of a reader, there is plenty to do!

Some municipalities have their own city libraries. Converse, Garden Ridge, and Schertz are a few. If you are military affiliated, there are three libraries available to you. However, I found that Ft. Sam Houston’s library was the only one that had any programming for ages 11 and up.

You will want to check the current calendar for each library, but here are some examples of what your local city libraries have to offer for the month of January and February:

Garden Ridge Public Library: CodingCoding is an introduction to basic computer programming. Although the website states for ages seven and up, coding can definitely appeal to older students as they move up in complexity. Many schools have exposed students to coding, so they may already know a little of the basics. But never fear: coding is for anyone who can use a computer.

Universal City Public Library: Monthly MovieWhile some movies may appeal to a younger audience, February’s movie is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I’d say that’s right up most tweens’ or teens’ viewing list. There were also a few art-related programs that might appeal to some creative tweens/teens.

Converse Public Library: Monthly Gaming Club and Monthly Teen Book ClubThe description states that the gaming club consists of board games, role-playing games, and more. Snacks and pizza were also mentioned, so that’s a little enticement for the bottomless pits that are tweens and teens!

Schertz Public Library: Winter Reading ClubThis city library has been hosting a Winter Reading Club for the last few years for little ones up to adults. This year’s is different in that each participant gets a “passport” that gets “stamped” when caught reading at various local businesses around the community. Once a participant earns a certain amount of stickers, he/she can take his/her “passport” back to the library for a prize. FUN! Even tweens and teens will want to participate when they find out the locations include a local pizza joint and an ice cream parlor.

Schertz Public Library also recently acquired a new resource: free driving permit practice tests. This includes six FREE practice permit tests to get your teen ready for his/her trip to the DMV!

San Antonio Public LibraryLast, but not least, the San Antonio Public Library has tons of programming for all ages, and they certainly do not forget teens. Central Library has an entire section dedicated to teen patrons. There are tons of computers, a 3D printer, couches to lounge on, and a sign to keep adults out!

There are numerous branches that offer tween and teen programming, but some offer more than others. Recent activities include a Pokemon Party, a cooking class, a musical showcase of student musicians, volunteer opportunities, online and in-person book clubs, and of course, gaming time. There is an Anime Club at Encino Library; Landa Library has a Can’t Cook Cooking Club; Pruitt Library has a regular Teen Chess Night; and the list goes on and on. Some of these are clubs, but there are many stand-alone events that have a wide appeal to this age group.

Of course all libraries also provide a wealth of resources for school projects as well. Databases, research help, and online tutoring are available with a library card. Don’t forget: most libraries have summer teen programs that help when those summer days seem to drag on. 

The next time your 11+-year-old is bored and looking for something to do, check out the calendar at the library closest to you. All events are FREE, and as added bonus, you can head over to the adult section and enjoy some quality time for yourself!

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