From left, Lorenzo Morey, 15, Theresa Strickler and Zachary Majernik, 15, set up pizzas for teen takeover night at the Copper Mountain Branch of the Killeen Public Library.

By Sean Wardwell
Killeen Daily Herald

Spending a weeknight at the library might not seem exciting to many teens. But to Zachary Majernik, it’s a lot of fun.

“I love coming out to the library, eating pizza, playing video games and meeting new people,” said the 15-year-old Harker Heights High School student.

Majernik, along with several other local students, came to the Copper Mountain Branch of the Killeen Public Library Thursday night as part of a “teen takeover” from 6 to 8 p.m.

Once a month, the library system opens up a branch to allow students ages 11 to 18 to have fun and learn what the library has to offer.

“We started teen time last summer and had quite a bit of success with it,” said Theresa Strickler, director of the Killeen Public Library’s youth programs. “During the school year, it’s been kind of hit-or-miss.”

Strickler added that the library formerly had programs like teen takeover, but they went on hiatus for a year when a personnel shortage left it without anyone to manage the activities. Now, she said, the library is building them back up, sometimes in surprising ways.

“We found some of the kids who have been coming want to be on the computers and actually do homework,” she said “Of course, we don’t want to discourage that.”

Instead of doing homework, 11-year-old Joshua Beirich, an Eastern Hills Middle School student, was helping get the library’s Xbox 360 video game system ready for play.

“I’ve been here before, and it was really fun. There’s pizza. It’s a cool time to hang out with your friends,” he said. “I usually find all the books I want to check out at this time. I also like how it’s after-hours so there’s nobody around.”

When asked if he would recommend participation in the takeover to his friends, Beirich didn’t hesitate to give an endorsement.

“They should try it out. It’s really fun,” he said.

Teen takeovers are held on the third Thursday of each month. Because of spring break, the next one won’t be until April 29. In the meantime, Strickler said, library staff always accept suggestions.

“We’d like for (students) to come out, join us and let us know what kind of activities they’d like,” she said.

For more information, call the library at (254) 501-8990.