Local intern facilitates LGBT Roundtable discussion at Cheyenne Mountain Library 

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When we say “kids these days,” the tired phrase usually carries connotations of exasperation, but I find myself saying it more frequently with mingled awe and excitement. Kids these days keep proving themselves to be increasingly self-aware and community-minded, as is evidenced in part by the local teens participating in the Public Library Association’s Inclusive Internship Initiative this summer.

One such teen, Doherty High School senior Alyssa Rail, was selected to intern at the Cheyenne Mountain branch of Pikes Peak Library District. As part of the program, she and her fellow intern Gabby Pantano (completing her internship at East Library) have traveled to Washington D.C. to attend a national work session, and have participated in programs throughout the library district including children’s programs and the Book Mobile.

Inclusive Internship Initiative interns, in addition to learning about the inner workings of their local libraries, are tasked with creating a “connected learning project that is a benefit to the library and surrounding community,” according to Cheyenne Mountain Library’s branch manager, Tiffany Paisley.

Rail’s project comes to fruition this Friday: an “LGBT Community Roundtable,” meant to connect the LGBTQ community through intergenerational discussion. Paisley says it will be an informal event, set up like “speed-friending” where multiple tables will be set up for LGBTQ people to meet and talk about their experiences. For the shy among us, there will be conversation starter suggestions and facilitators walking around, but also plenty of open time for questions.

In an increasingly digital age, LGBTQ people of all ages must often be intentional in seeking out folks outside their usual friend groups and insular communities. This will provide an opportunity for young and old alike to meet, connect, and form some in-person, local relationships across generational divides.

Paisley says Rail was inspired to create this event after noticing the wide variety of experiences people have had, growing up LGBTQ.

“I am very excited about this program and thrilled with the work Alyssa is doing,” Paisley says, “she is a critical thinker, open, honest, and kind and I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to work with her, learn from her and give her a chance to explore her interests.”

The roundtable will be held at Cheyenne Mountain Library on Friday, Aug. 24, after the library closes to the public. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. and the event starts at 6:30. Light refreshments will be served.


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