About 30 kids descended on the Enumclaw library Thursday afternoon with music pumping and each tossing about a curious-looking toy in their hands.
These toys are called and they're extremely popular in the Plateau area this summer, so KCLS library staff took advantage of the trend to gather the kids -- all boys, incidentally -- in a friendly .
Prizes, including gift certificates to frozen yogurt and a Kendama, were given to the winners in the beginning, intermediate and advanced categories.
The categories were divided up based on the number of and difficulty of tricks the kids performed with their kendamas. Jackson McCann, entering fifth grade at Kibler Elementary, took the beginner prize; Cade Carter, entering third grade at Southwood Elementary took the intermediate; and Christian Armstrong, entering his sophomore year at White River High School took the advanced prize - the new kendama.
(Ed Note: A second intermediate competition took place but we didn't catch the name of the winner there. If you know, tell us in the comments.)
Teen librarian Stephanie Zero organized the event, which she said may only happen this one time depending on whether or not the kendama loses favor with the local youth any time soon. Who knows if it's going to be popular next year?!" she said.
However, depending on demand, there may be another competition during a teen after hours event that typically happens three times a year in the winter time, said Zero, who is also the teen librarian at Maple Valley. Those gatherings take place on Friday nights from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
But winter's still far away and these kids were so eager to practice their tricks they lingered at the library long after the competition was over.
That's sort of the point of events like this, said Zero, reminding the teens that they do have a resource in the Enumclaw library.
"It's to get them to know where the library is, and have a good experience at the library," she said. "'Oh, you mean there's computers here I can use? There's some resources here I can use for my homework? Oh yeah, that library - I remember she played that music - OK I'll go there.' That's really what it's all about."
Zero is relative new to the Enumclaw library having only started in July. This summer, a 'Read 3, Get 1 Free' promotion geared toward teens has proven very successful in encouraging the kids to read, she said. They have to read three books, write three short reviews on a form, and when they turn in the form, they get a free book. At the end of each month there's a gift card drawing, and they're entered into a grand prize drawing with all the other KCLS libraries to win a laptop computer.
"It's been a great way to meet teens," Zero said. "I get to say hi to them, get to talk to them about their favorite books..."
Which is what? Still the Hunger Games series right now, she said.