Tyler Works, of the Library’s teen Loft space, has been making good use of new technology for summer programming this year. In the wake of the pandemic, sites like Netflix Party and Jackbox Games have risen in popularity. Tyler has been using Netflix Party and SyncTube to keep the Loft’s Anime Club for teens alive.
These sites allow groups to stream shows and videos together by linking their accounts, and also has a chat feature so groups can discuss what they’re watching. Tyler has also been putting up tutorials and livestreams on YouTube for his video game design group, allowing participants to watch, or re-watch, them anytime. A video game design camp was held in partnership with MetaMedia. In addition, EPL has partnered with Northwestern’s TIILT (Technological Innovations for Inclusive Learning and Teaching) Lab and District 65 teachers to offer a Minecraft club, allowing kids to chat and build together. Tyler misses the energy and sense of community that comes from in-person gatherings, but the numbers for the virtual meetings have, so far, been holding steady. “People have kept coming back,” he says, “so I think that is a positive sign.”