Katie Peterson | Staff Writer

From cellphone-absorbed parents and children to Twister poses and rock stars, the Combined Arms Research Library’s Awkward Family Photo Shoot Feb. 1 in the makerspace created numerous cringe-worthy memories.

Jessica Raulerson, Capt. Aaron Amacker, Command and General Staff College student, and their 20-month-old son Ethan pretend to be preoccupied by their cell phones as Nora Walker, community library technician, takes their family photo during the Awkward Family Photo Shoot Feb. 1 at the Combined Arms Research Library. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

“I’m glad (CARL) did this because we’ll have these (pictures) forever,” said participant Wendi Hobin.

Hobin and her family, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Brian Hobin, Operations Group F, Mission Command Training Program; 10-year-old Riley Lewis; and 20-year-old Ethan Boltin, donned band T-shirts and colorful wigs and glasses for their photo.

“We like to do different, fun things as a family, so this will be a really fun memory,” Wendi Hobin said. “The awkwardness is definitely in what we’re wearing.”

The Hobin family — 20-year-old Ethan Boltin, Wendi Hobin, 10-year-old Riley Lewis and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Brian Hobin, Operations Group Foxtrot, Mission Command Training Program — pose as Nora Walker, community library technician, takes their family photo during the Awkward Family Photo Shoot Feb. 1 at the Combined Arms Research Library. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

The photo shoot was the latest pop-up event to help CARL promote the equipment available to library patrons in the makerspace.

“It is to help bring awareness to the families that participate of the resources that are available for them to use on their own,” said Nora Walker, CARL community library technician. “You don’t have to wait for a pop-up event. You can come and use this anytime you’d like.”

Walker said she first got the idea for the event when she found out there were several public libraries across the country offering photo sessions to their patrons.

“From what I’ve read, the idea is that many communities have a patron base that cannot afford family photo sessions,” Walker said. “I thought it might be a fun twist to offer this program in February with the underlying theme of love for Valentine’s Day, but the fun twist of awkward family photos instead of a traditional photo shoot.

“It’s something fun, a little bit different, and I think it is also unexpected that the library would be offering a quirky, unexpected event like this,” she said. “I hope that (families) walk away with a fun experience and also a better understanding of some of the equipment that is available for use in the makerspace.”

The Hobin family — 20-year-old Ethan Boltin, Wendi Hobin, 10-year-old Riley Lewis and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Brian Hobin, Operations Group Foxtrot, Mission Command Training Program — pose as Nora Walker, community library technician, takes their family photo during the Awkward Family Photo Shoot Feb. 1 at the Combined Arms Research Library. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

As families came into the library, they were able to pick out props and practice poses in the seating area just outside the makerspace. Props included crowns, a megaphone, stuffed animals, Halloween items and various cardboard cutouts of famous characters including Captain Jack Sparrow from “Pirates of the Caribbean,” Darth Vader from “Star Wars” and Spider-man.

Sgt. Daniel Martin, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Disciplinary Barracks, and his wife, Brittany, said they quickly got ideas when they saw the cardboard cutout of Dorothy from the “Wizard of Oz” because their daughter, 5-month-old Cecilia, was wearing shoes similar to the red ruby slippers in the movie.

“We should have brought our dog,” Martin said. “Then, we’d have Toto.

“We’ll probably try different facial expressions and things like that to see what different reactions we can get from our daughter,” he said. “She’s nothing but a giggler. She finds everything funny.”

Martin said he was glad when his wife came across the event.

“We’ve been here for two years, and we really haven’t seen too many things that the community is offering to bring family members together, so I think it is kind of neat that they’re trying to bring something like this that is local as opposed to driving to Kansas City for everything,” he said. “It’s reaffirming to me because it is like the community is giving back something to us.”

Jessica Raulerson, Capt. Aaron Amacker, Command and General Staff College student, and their 20-month-old son Ethan pretend to be preoccupied by their cell phones during the Awkward Family Photo Shoot Feb. 1 at the Combined Arms Research Library. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

Capt. Aaron Amacker, Command and General Staff Officer Course student, attended with his wife Jessica Raulerson and their 1-year-old son Ethan. He said he liked what the event inspired.

“It is definitely one of those things that helps get people back into the library,” Amacker said. “We’ve recently found out that (Ethan) really likes books, so we come here and get a few books each week to read to him at night.”

For more information about the CARL makerspace, call (913) 758-3041.

For upcoming pop-up events, visit the CARL Facebook page.

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