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Arlington teen librarian caters to kids with comics, games

Rob Branigin is the teen librarian for the Arlington Library. -
Rob Branigin is the teen librarian for the Arlington Library.
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ARLINGTON Comic books and games might not sound like typical library offerings, but Arlingtons newest librarian aims to attract a young crowd with helpings of both.
Rob Branigin isnt a teen, but hes the teen librarian for the Arlington and Stanwood Libraries. He works 20 hours a week at each library, and hes hosting the first meeting of the Arlington Librarys Manga Book Group March 27 at 3:30 p.m.
Its my job to connect with teens in the community, by planning and implementing programs that will appeal to them, said Branigin, whose first manga book group meeting will discuss the first volume of Fullmetal Alchemist. Im also here to help them use the libraries resources, and not just the print ones.
Branigin will assist teens in using computers and the Internet for academic purposes, but he also plans to bring in video games such as Guitar Hero, and board games such as Risk, for teens to play tournaments.
Id like to get some local comic book authors and artists, like Peter Bagge, to talk to the kids, said Branigin, who has already traded e-mails with Bagge, creator of the Hate comic book. I grew up reading comics. Im more focused on vintage stuff, like Silver Age Marvel, but Im hyper-conscious of not letting my own agenda influence these programs, because they should be about what the kids want.
Branigin anticipates between five to 10 teens might attend the manga book group, but hell be happy no matter how many show up because he wants to make the library a presence in young peoples lives.
Many people tend to see the library as static and school-centric, but entertainment is just as valid a purpose for it as education, Branigin said. We already have a great selection of CDs and DVDs to check out. Anything that gets kids to come here is a good thing. Getting them in the door is 90 percent of my job.
Eventually, Branigin wouldnt mind seeing all-ages comic book discussion groups at the library but, for now, hes open to suggestions and he hopes to see some 12- to 18-year-olds at the Arlington Librarys first Manga Book Group meeting, March 27 at 3:30 p.m.

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