Not sure 'how to adult?' Bill Memorial Library has you covered

Groton — Kate Bengtson finds that many libraries start to lose patrons around age 16 and don't get them back until about 32, when they start bringing their own kids.

But Bengtson, a library associate and teen programming coordinator, wants people in that age range to know that the library offers knowledge that perhaps they're lacking elsewhere.

For example, how to be an adult.

"How to Adult" is the name of a new workshop series – geared toward those ages 15-25 – that the Bill Memorial Library is holding on Thursday evenings, starting this week.

The scheduled workshops so far are:

  • March 8: "Charge it right – opening your first credit card"
  • March 15: "Eating healthy on a budget"
  • March 22: "Taking out the trash – responsibly managing household waste"
  • March 29: "The ins and outs of cars"
  • April 5: "How to be politically active"

All are scheduled to start at 6 p.m. except for the March 29 workshop, which begins at 5 p.m. Those who attend a workshop will have their names entered to win a prize, such as a T-shirt that reads, "I can't adult today."

To some, the use of "adult" as a verb is an eye-roll-inducing specification for actions that should be expected rather than highlighted, or it's self-infantilizing, or it's classist. But to others, it captures the struggles of adapting to a new phase of life with new responsibilities.

"I like the term," said Hannah Ward, a junior at Waterford High School. "I think it's kind of funny, more like a humor twist on the scary world after high school."

Ward got involved with Bill Memorial Library by serving on the advisory board for its annual haunted house, and Bengtson picked her brain for "How to Adult" workshop ideas.

Bengtson, who planned the series after seeing online that other libraries are doing similar programing, also asked Bill Memorial staff what they would've wanted to know at that age.

Chelsea Groton Bank is presenting the first workshop, which will teach why credit is important, and what to do if a credit card is lost or stolen.

Erica Benvenuti, community nutrition educator at the University of Connecticut, is leading the second workshop. She will bring circulars of what's on sale at grocery stores, set a dollar limit, and ask participants to pick out protein, vegetables, grains and dairy.

Benvenuti said one of the biggest nutrition misconceptions among young people is that healthy food is too expensive, that they can't afford it.

Southeastern Connecticut Regional Resource Recovery Authority will present the workshop on household waste.

For the session on cars, members of the City of Groton Police Department will discuss what to do in the event of an accident and what drivers should have in their vehicles, and Bengtson has recruited her husband to teach participants how to jump start a car.

Bengtson said she is still in the process of confirming the last event, but she believes former state Rep. John Scott – and current candidate for Christine Conley's 40th District seat – will talk about the political process.

e.moser@theday.com

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