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Published: Wednesday, 5/9/2007

Monroe County Library launches its Web site for young adults

BY BENJAMIN
ALEXANDER-BLOCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The Monroe County Library System hopes that by tapping into the virtual world it can entice more teens into the library's physical doors, and then into the world of literature.

The county library system recently launched a new Web site called The Scene, subtitled Young Adult.

County librarians are calling this year "The Year of the Teen" in a push to bring more of its young into the fold.

Last Friday, it held a rock concert as a kick-off for its Teen Logo Design Contest, in which the person who creates the best logo and name for the new teen space on its Web site will receive a new 19-inch LCD monitor and, as the contest description boasts, "total celeb status!"

Participants must be between 13 and 19 years old to compete.

All submissions must be turned in by Oct. 12, and the three finalists are scheduled to be announced at Teenstock - playing off Woodstock - on Oct. 20.

Like an American Idol contest in which the people decide, local teens will then have a month to vote for their favorite finalist online, on The Scene site, http://monroe.lib.mi.us/the_scene/main.htm.

Paula Loop, the library's Web designer, said it is important for the teens to name the site themselves and design "a cool logo to go with it, because it will then be definitely their space."

The library's decision to create the Web communities sprang out of its attempts to "be available" to teens in the areas - virtually or physically - they frequent.

Ms. Loop said the library originally posted flyers and then tried e-mailing events, but that it wasn't effectively tapping into the teens' network.

Since the Web site's debut in February, its traffic has increased by 70 percent - from 160 hits to 225 in April. That is on top of the traffic to its new MySpace page, http://myspace.com/clubellis.

The MySpace page has had 750 views and now has 85 friends since its January debut. Ms. Loop next hopes to add a blog site to make it more interactive.



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