I'm 35, and "teen summer reading program" sounds only slightly more fun than "adopt a highway," so, good luck firing up kids for that, right? Well, add cosplay and games and suddenly you're talking.

The 40-plus strong of San Antonio's Alamo Cosplay Troop are a regular act at the city's Forest Hills library, which buttresses its geek cred with anime, manga, and yes, gaming - safe and prosocial, usually rhythm games, but games nonetheless. The library is focusing on the ends, not the means - namely, stoke youngsters' imaginations and get them to enjoy being in a place of creativity and learning. If that means dressing up like Ash Ketchum, fine. Writes the San Antonio Express-News:

If this sounds like an odd program for a library to put on, that's because it is. But the program wasn't effective when it focused solely on reading novels, [teen librarian Sylvia] Pachecano said.

"If you say to a teen, ‘Hey, let's go to the library and read a book,' they're not going to want to come," Pachecano said. "But if you say to them, ‘Hey, let's go to the library and play video games,' they'll come. So the gaming and the arts and crafts gets them in here, and then when they're here they realize they have something they need to do, like a report or some homework."

Pachecano also said that many underprivileged young teens are dropped off at the library to spend whole days during the summer and the program gives them something to focus on while they're there.

Library Program Engages Teens in Costume Role-Play [San Antonio Express-News (and image) via TheBBPS