Library taps into MySpace popularity

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 29, 2007

People are flocking to the popular Web site MySpace with nearly 250,000 users signing up each day, according to a June 26 article in Time magazine — and a whopping 85 million users already on board.

States have been concerned with the freedom to get personal information from the Web site and the possible dangers to children.

In May, MySpace turned over the names and addresses of all known sex offenders on the Web site to 50 state attorneys general, according to a New York Times report.

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In California, the Department of Consumer Affairs and the California Coalition for Children’s Internet Safety have joined together to develop a Web site, Cyber Safety for Children at

The Web site links with industry experts in the field with programs and resources to protect children on the Internet.

Research shows that hundreds of people from Lawrence County are members of MySpace, many of them under the age of 18.

Many sites on MySpace are trying to provide a safe place for young adults to communicate.

One new site — maintained by Amy Ward, young adult coordinator of Briggs Lawrence County Public Library — the objective is to try to get more young people interested in the library.

Not only does the Briggs Library have a summer reading program, students also can go to the library’s MySpace page to discuss the books and connect to the site, becoming a “friend” of the library site.

“All the kids in the schools have MySpace pages,” Ward said. “So, I knew that if I wanted to get teenagers interested in the library and in our activities, I was going to have to go on MySpace, too.”

The library page has only been active for about a month and has more than 100 “friends” connected to it — most of them students from the Lawrence County area. Also, some of the famous authors of young adult books are connected as “friends.”

“I put blogs for new materials we get in, like CDs and new movies,” Ward said. “I also talk about programs coming up. I put one on about the July program we’re doing.”

Ward screens everyone who contacts her to be linked to the library site.

“If anybody contacts me and asks to be my friend, if they’re not somebody I recognize or not a teen, I don’t let them on my page,” she said.

The summer reading program ends on July 28 with a grand prize of a Karaoke machine.

On July 23-27, the library is offering classes at the main library and all branches for teens to make belts out of candy wrappers.

“It took me forever, like two months to get enough wrappers,” Ward said. “The girls at the library helped me. It’s really simple to make.”

For more information, call (740) 886-6697.