Zanaiah and Jadon Billups sat at a round table in the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library on Wednesday, quietly reading books.
Around them, parents talked to representatives from area after-school programs, children played and Susan Del Rosario demonstrated a tutoring service, all while music played near a makeshift dance floor in one corner of the library’s second floor.
The 10-year-old Billups twins attended the Wednesday Wind Down at the library with their older sister, 12-year-old Damaris, who was volunteering at the event as a member of the library’s youth advisory board.
The back-to-school event offered information on area youth programs such as Cutno School of Dance, the Morris Museum of Art, the Jessye Norman School of the Arts and Provost Academy.
“This is an opportunity to bring the community in,” said young adult librarian Kristin Eberhart. “We really want the community to start to use this as a resource for middle and high school aged students.”
One important resource Eberhart wanted parents to learn about is tutor.com, an online service that is free to library card holders.
Del Rosario, a representative for the site, demonstrated the program for children and parents.
Users must have a library card number to log into the site, but it is accessible anywhere, including from home computers, tablets and smartphones, she said.
Students can interact with live tutors, who have had rigorous background checks, Del Rosario assured.
“That’s important for parents to know. It is safe,” she said.
Wednesday’s event also offered an opportunity to show off a revamped young adult section.
The large, open area is tailored to appeal to kids ages 11-17 and features areas for studying, lounging, playing video games and watching movies, as well as arts and crafts.
As a member of the youth advisory board, Damaris Billups helps to plan activities that are interesting for her age group and are open to the public.
“I enjoy coming to the library. I like all of the events here,” she said.