Bands from Pasco, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties are tuning up to test their musical chops at the Rockus Maximus XVII Battle of the Bands.
The free music festival on March 28 showcases bands vying for cash and other prizes. Besides promoting local music, the family-friendly event offers sideshow acts, including a juggler, martial artists, a dance troupe and other performers.
The event will be at the Rotary Park Pavilion at the Concourse, near the Suncoast Parkway and State Road 52.
It’s an event that drew national recognition for the Pasco County Library System, resulting in the prestigious John Cotton Dana Award for excellence in public relations in 2010.
But the Battle of the Bands is just one of many ways the library system seeks to engage the community.
“The idea here is that we are trying to provide experiences and opportunities for everyone, at every stage and need in their life,” said Paul Stonebridge, teen services manager of the Pasco County Library System. “We’re trying to get people as early as we can get them and keep them forever.”
Do you like to play chess? There’s a club for that. Perhaps you’re an avid reader — there’s a book club for that, too.
There are story times geared to different age groups, and activities such as crafts and family nights. There are free movies, too, geared toward different audiences. Free popcorn and drinks accompany all the events.
Periodically, there are special events, such as an American Heritage Tea Party or a Curious George Reading Day.
Often, the library will offer a class or presentation or activity that’s designed to combine fun and learning, Stonebridge said. For instance, kids recently were invited to learn how to take photographs of themselves, known as “selfies.” While they were at it, they also got some advice on staying safe in cyberspace.
The library recognizes that people of different ages have varying needs and desires. So, it customizes its programming.
The pre-teen crowd has a hard time getting to the library because they lack mobility, Stonebridge said. One way to get them there is to encourage parents to bring them. To help make that happen, the library allows parents to drop pre-teens off for a couple of hours.
While they’re having fun at the library, the parents can run errands, shop for grocery, meet a friend for coffee, or have a bit of time to themselves, Stonebridge said. The library does request, however, that the parent remain in the vicinity, in case something comes up and they need to return to the library before the activity is over.
The library works hard to provide interesting programs for teenagers. One way they accomplish that is by involving teens in the planning.
In exchange for serving on the teen advisory board, teens earn community service hours, have first dibs at other library volunteer opportunities, and get to have a say in the activities the library offers.
“Here’s a chance for people to be listened to, to actually have someone want to hear what they have to say,” Stonebridge said. “We’re trying to hit them with the things they need and want at this point in their lives.”
For instance, the library has an Anime Club, gaming nights, a Robotics Club and other activities.
The library also has an on-demand service that provides help with homework and often can arrange for tutoring for students who need more assistance. Sometimes, free tutoring can be provided. At other times, they’ll offer referrals.
The library is geared for people of all ages. For example, it has a teen gaming night and an adult gaming night. Teen gaming nights draw about 200 kids, while adult gaming nights draw about 50 people, Stonebridge said.
The library also hosts senior citizen socials for people 55 and older.
“We’re trying to give people a place they can socialize, make friends, reconnect,” Stonebridge said.
It also offers help for people who are looking for a job, want to start their own business, or need help figuring out forms for government assistance, such as Medicaid, food stamps and unemployment benefits.
People who have trouble reading or lack computer experience should not feel intimidated, Stonebridge said.
“Don’t be hindered by your limitations of education or background or experience,” he said. “If you’re scared of computers, you just haven’t used them or you don’t read well, we’re here to help you with that. We don’t penalize people for that. We want to help you.”
These services are free to anyone who has a library card, Stonebridge said. Library cards are issued for free and are available even to people who live in another county, as long as they have a library card where they live and have identification with their picture on it.
And, on top of all of the activities and services, the library also offers books and DVDs for patrons to borrow.
Anyone who wants to learn more is invited to drop by a library, or visit PascoLibraries.org.
Rockus Maximus XVII
WHAT: Battle of the Bands — Bands from Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties compete for prizes. The family-friendly event also features entertainers and sideshow acts
WHEN: March 28 from 6 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
WHERE: The Rotary Pavilion at the Concourse, 15325 Alric Pottberg Road, Shady Hills (Near State Road 52 and the Suncoast Expressway)
COST: Parking and admission is free.
Concessions for purchase will be available, but those attending are welcome to bring a picnic.
Published March 26, 2014
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