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Northgate Library offers members more than books

These days, the library isn’t just for borrowing books. Don’t worry — the shelves at the Chattanooga Public Library’s Northgate branch are still fully stocked, but the local branch also offers a plethora of other activities for every age group.

“Anybody who uses the library regularly recognizes what a huge resource it is, but there is a huge group of people that never use it,” said branch manager Mary Jane Spehar. “In this day and age when you can buy your books online … you have to show people [the library] is a part of their community. It belongs to them.”

For age 5 and under

The little ones may not be able to read yet, but they can still get involved in library programming.

New parents can bring their babies, ages 1 day to 18 months, to Baby Bounce on Thursdays where together they can sing along with songs, listen to stories, play with colorful scarves and more. A similar group for those ages 18 months to 3 years, called Toddler Time, is held on Wednesdays, and, for 3- to 5-year-olds, Preschool Storytime happens on Tuesdays.

For tweens

Lots of libraries have plenty of programs for the teen population, but kids ages 6-12 often get left out, Spehar said.

The Northgate branch sought to remedy that with Adventure Club, held on Thursdays, and Mixed-Up Mondays. Adventure Club is a weekly gathering for kids to explore stories, crafts, games, educational movies and more.

Mixed-up Mondays feature a rotating schedule, complete with a Film Buffs night, Magic Tree House Book Club, Improv Aficionados and Lego Mania.

“With a lot of our programming, they are trying to put focuses that tie into STEM education,” Spehar explained.

For teens

The library features a variety of young adult novels. Also, each month, the Northgate branch features an After Hours event on a Saturday night after the library has closed to the public. Themes differ from month to month. In April, teens brought their musical instrument of choice for a jam session.

On May 3 at 6 p.m., the After Hours event will be a “Murder Mystery!” A “death in the library” will be under investigation with improv play and assigned characters. Parent permission forms are required.

For adults

The kids don’t get to have all the fun. Every second and fourth Saturday of the month at 9:30 a.m., library patron Chia-Hung Shen teaches tai chi to anyone age 12 and up. Tai chi is a very gentle exercise that is supposed to reduce stress and increase flexibility.

Another great activity for the entire family is the Chattanooga Storytelling Circle, said Spehar. The event is open to guests who want to tell a story or just sit and listen.

Find out about these and more events, as well as specific dates and times, at chattlibrary.org/events.