February 14th may be coming up, but not everyone is in love with the idea of Valentine's Day.

If you find yourself wanting to tell Cupid to "stuff it" this year, the Pleasantville branch of the Atlantic County Library System offers an event that puts a unique twist on the love holiday.

A "Valentine's/Un-Valentine's Day Craft" program will take place at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 13, and participants are invited to show their love or loathing by creating handmade Valentine's or Un-Valentine's Day cards for their sweethearts, family members or friends.

The free event, geared to those 12 and older, is the brainchild of staff librarian Jamie Barbaccia.

"Valentine's Day can put a lot of pressure on people, especially teens, to have a sweetheart or to feel romantic," Barbaccia said. "I know it can be kind of a negative day, so we're trying to turn it into a fun event."

Whether that means making black paper roses or a card with a big "X" over a heart, teens will be encouraged to have fun and be creative.

"Even if you're not a fan of the holiday, you can express yourself in other ways," she said.

This is the first year the local library decided to take a different approach to Valentine's Day, and Barbaccia said she is looking forward to seeing what ideas will be expressed.

Participants can get as creative as they want. A variety of supplies will be on hand, and yes, there will be lace and glitter just in case anybody feels so moved.

"We're trying to make it a positive day," Barbaccia said. "You can make a card for any sentiment you want."

She stressed that you don't have to be in a love relationship to enjoy the holiday. You can celebrate friendships and family relationships, too, she said.

The library is making an effort to boost teen participation by hosting events aimed for middle and high school-aged students. Barbaccia, who has a background in art history, said one of the programs recently introduced is a monthly art appreciation event tied with a craft celebrating the styles of different artists.

Plans are under way to start a teen book club in March.

Contact Lucia C. Drake:


If you go

What: Valentine's/Un-Valentine's Day Craft

Where: Atlantic County Library System/Pleasantville, 33 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.

When: 5:30 p.m. Feb. 13

Cost: Free

More info: To register call the library at 609-641-1778