GAME ROOM SPARKS INTEREST

July 04, 2001 11:00 pm
SUMMER FUN: Cassie Colton, left, and Meredith Matthews play one of the games available at Union's public library. The new game room is open 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday through the summer. (The Observer/DICK MASON).
SUMMER FUN: Cassie Colton, left, and Meredith Matthews play one of the games available at Union's public library. The new game room is open 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday through the summer. (The Observer/DICK MASON).

By Dick Mason

Observer Staff Writer

UNION Children are discovering the classics this summer at the Union Carnegie Public Library.

And not all are books by famed authors such as Jack London, E.B. White and Charles Dickens.

Children are learning to play games that have long been popular including chess, pinochle, Monopoly and Twister.

These are just some of what is available in a new game room in the basement of Unions public library. There are about 20 games there, including the new electronic Play Station games.

The game room opened earlier this week. Children have greeted the game room with enthusiasm, Union High School English teacher Vivian Matthews said. She helped start the game room.

The children are having so much fun that one boy who did not know about the game room asked, Is there a party down here? Matthews said.

The game room will be open from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday throughout summer vacation. The room will be open at different hours during the school year.

All children coming to the game room are supervised by Union students in eighth through 12th grades. The hours put in by student volunteers will be recorded by the library staff and count as community service the students can put on their resumes and college scholarship applications.

Every child 10 and younger must be accompanied by a parent or an older sibling in the game room.

Instructional sessions for chess and pinochle will be provided later this summer. Tournaments for these games will also be conducted.

The game room is a spinoff of a successful program at Union High School. Through it, students come to Matthews classroom to play games during their lunch break. This has made it easier for UHS students of all ages to get to know one another, said Matthews.

The library game room is meant to promote social interaction. Matthews said none of the games at the library can be played alone. Children will not be going one-on-one against a computer or playing solitaire.

In addition to the games, basketballs and balls for other games can be checked out by children who have permission slips signed by parents.

The library is an ideal location to check out these things because Unions city park is right behind it, said Kathy Sargent of Union.

Sargent is coordinating the games at the library program as the Health Network for Rural Schools Family Resource Center coordinator. One of the organizations goals is to promote youth and family recreation programs.

The game room has been created with help from a Union County Together grant from the Center for Human Development. The program has been started with the help of Fashion Floors of La Grande, which has donated carpet for the game room.

Matthews hopes that children coming to the library to play games will discover books that interest them. This happened Tuesday when students came to play games and ended up participating in the weekly Reading at the Library program for children.

We hope that the game room promotes reading, Matthews said.