Monday, December 31, 2007

good news to end the year

Sometimes it is nice to hear something that makes you think that just maybe all your hard work is paying off:

Study: Web generation heaviest users of public libraries

Rainie added that young adults are the ones likely to have visited libraries as teens and seen their transformation into information hubs, with computers and databases alongside stacks of printed books.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

A lovely article about Westerfeld and Larbalestier

Meet the East Village "It" Couple of Young-Adult Lit
Living large in Y.A.
by Carol Cooper
December 26th, 2007

Makes you want to run away and become a YA author in NYC, no?

Great interview with Nick Hornby

This came out last month, and is one of the most enjoyable author interviews I've read in a while. He says some great things about YA lit and the Alex Awards, too!

The Younger Side of Nick Hornby
by Jessica Murphy
in The Atlantic

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Scholastic's new multi-platform series for tweens

Scholastic Plans to Put Its Branding Iron on a Successor to Harry Potter

I'm not sure this will have much appeal for teens, but it is an interesting concept. It will feature 10 books be various authors including Rick Riordan and Gordon Korman, plus web based games, collectable cards, and cash prizes for readers who puzzle it all out.

“We want to go where the kids are and really be part of their complete world, rather than going to one aspect of their world,” said David Levithan, an executive editorial director at Scholastic. He added, “We talk of it as being subversively educational.”

Monday, December 17, 2007

books into movies in 2008

Over on the YALSA-BK listserve someone just posted a list of all the movies based on kids and teens books coming out next year. WOW! Looks like there could be some really fantastic programming tie-in opportunities here!

Spiderwick Chronicles, books by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
Jumper by Steven Gould
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Cirque du Freak by Darren Shan
Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Suess
Chronicles of Narnia, Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
City of Ember by Jeanne du Prau
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Tale of Desperaux by Kate Dicamillo
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Ball Don’t Lie by Matt de la Pena
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 by Ann Brashares

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

World of Warcraft saves boy's life

A random example of a benefit of playing video games:

After playing World of Warcraft, the 12 year old boy knew how to cope when he was attacked by a moose in the forest.

In the article he describes how he first yelled at the moose, distracting it so his sister got away, then when he got attacked and the animal stood over him he feigned death. "Just like you learn at level 30 in World of Warcraft."

Who would have thought?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Are web communications oral traditions reborn?

Some interesting perspective on how we communicate online:

Myspacebook.past.: Friending, Ancient or Otherwise
By ALEX WRIGHT for the New York Times
Published: December 2, 2007
Academic researchers are starting to examine that question by taking an unusual tack: exploring the parallels between online social networks and tribal societies. In the collective patter of profile-surfing, messaging and “friending,” they see the resurgence of ancient patterns of oral communication.

I particularly like the conclusion:

Still, the sheer popularity of social networking seems to suggest that for many, these environments strike a deep, perhaps even primal chord. “They fulfill our need to be recognized as human beings, and as members of a community,” Dr. Strate says. “We all want to be told: You exist.”

How can we satisfy this need for community teens?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Teen Tech Sherpas - cool volunteer program

In US classrooms, 'tech sherpas' assist teachers with computers
In a role reversal, students provide the tech support, creating a 'culture of respect' between teachers and teens.
By Stacy Teicher Khadaroo in Christian Science Monitor

As American schools look to incorporate 21st-century technologies into everyday lessons, some teachers are intimidated by technical glitches or the prospect of being left behind in a generational divide. Teachers have even become targets of cyberbullying, with students taking secret videos of an angry or embarrassing moment in class and posting them on popular websites such as YouTube. But this district and many others are trying to foster more collaboration – staving off problems by putting students' enthusiasm to constructive use.

I love the idea of giving students such empowered volunteer opportunities. How could we make something like this work in our libraries?

What Do Youth Volunteers Want?

from The Everyday Giving Blog

The following list of traits that should be a part of any volunteer project that involve youth:

  1. Provides a new experience
  2. Shows "immediate" progress in making a difference
  3. Is fun
  4. Is well prepared and organized
  5. Encourages (but doesn't force) participation
  6. Matches work to skills of each youth volunteer
  7. Involves a group of friends and other youth
  8. Work is challenging
  9. Adequate number of supervisors and trainers
  10. Future volunteer opportunities are available
Something to think about with our teen volunteers. What could we do to provide such an experience?

Monday, December 3, 2007

rainy day aphorism from Lemony Snicket

A library is like an island in the middle of a vast sea of ignorance, particularly if the library is very tall and the surrounding area has been flooded.

- Lemony Snicket, from Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid

Here is hoping your area hasn't been flooded.

Friday, November 30, 2007

seniors + teens = a winning combinations

Old Bridge library unites generations
Home News Tribune Online 11/26/07
OLD BRIDGE — You're never too old to rock out.

Seniors, alongside teenage volunteers, tested their mettle in the ubiquitous air-guitar video game and various other games available for the Nintendo Wii gaming system as the first step in the library's plan to make seniors more technologically proficient and to include them in what Allan Kleiman, assistant director of the Old Bridge Public Library, called the inevitable redesign of libraries.

I love the idea of doing a program like this, especially as we explore new ways to use technologies and give teens meaningful and fun volunteer opportunities in our libraries.

I Used to Believe...

If you’re looking for an easy bulletin board idea that’s fun for teens, this one has been very popular at Maryville. I put up the words “I used to believe…” on a plain background, set out blank construction paper circles with a bunch of colored sharpie and waited for responses. You might want to put up a couple samples so people get the idea, but we get several responses in our box each day, so it won’t take long to fill your board.

It’s not uncommon to see groups of teens gathered by the board reading what’s already up there and adding their own. The responses have been as different as teens are…Here are some of my favorites!
• I used to believe that the library was only for research.
• That the library was boring…but it’s not—it’s Awesome!
• I use 2 believe that graduating would be fun, but now I’m scared—Class of “08”
• That having a little brother would be cool
• That it would be awesome when my older sisters would move out (its not)
• That we would be best friends forever. Then you moved away.
• That if I forgot to tie my shoes my feet would fall off.
• Elected officials in the United States Government worked for the people who elected them, not for themselves.
• That if I wished hard enough, I could go into the TV.
• That if you plant Skittles a rainbow would come out
• My sister was an Alien.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Lack of sleep is impacting teens

Snooze or Lose Overstimulated, overscheduled kids are getting at least an hour’s less sleep than they need, a deficiency that, new research reveals, has the power to set their cognitive abilities back years. By Po Bronson
New York Magazine

Apparently getting more sleep improves learning, reduces traffic accidents, and might possibly lower childhood obesity.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Keeping up with Asian pop culture

I've found two great sources in my quest to learn more about Asian pop culture...

Giant Robot - print magazine and website highlighting visual arts, music, literature, and the famous names in Asian pop culture

PingMag - Tokyo based e-zine "About Design and Making Things!"

I've been looking through Issue 50 of Giant Robot, and it could be worth considering for out teen magazine collection.

Game Boys - portraits of gamers

This is a interesting and lovely collection of portraits of teen boys playing video games...a subject rarely commented upon for its beauty.

Game Boys
March/April 2007 Issue of Mother Jones
Photo Essay by Shauna Frischkorn

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

not the same old song and dance

The game Rock Band was realeased today making headlines not just in video game publications, but in the financial pages as well.

Rock Band ushers in a more social level of gaming. Built along the lines of Guitar Hero, Rock Band allows players to take part in other aspects of being in a band, adding vocals and drums to bass and guitar. Four players can play songs cooperatively as well as play dress up with their virtual rocker buying outfits and changing hair, accessories, and makeup.

Not only does this mean expanded participation during gaming events (as 4 can play off one console instead of just one or two players) but teens can create virtual rock and roll identities, which even this librarian found addictive.

While only hardcore gamers may be aware of Rock Band's release, once word begins to spread I see it becoming a gaming phenomenon making Guitar Hero yesterday's news.

Online petition in support of school libraries

As described in this morning's SEATTLE TIMES, the Legislature is being petitioned to strengthen the standards for schools and provide for school/teacher librarians as mandated staff in the Basic Education Act.

World-Class Education for Washington: Support School Libraries & Information Technology

boot camp for Internet addicts?

In Korea, a Boot Camp Cure for Web Obsession
By Martin Fackler
Published: November 18, 2007

Compulsive Internet use has been identified as a mental health issue in other countries, including the United States. However, it may be a particularly acute problem in South Korea because of the country’s nearly universal Internet access. It has become a national issue here in recent years, as users started dropping dead from exhaustion after playing online games for days on end. A growing number of students have skipped school to stay online, shockingly self-destructive behavior in this intensely competitive society.
“I don’t have a problem,” Chang-hoon said in an interview three days after starting the camp. “Seventeen hours a day online is fine.”

I wonder how long it will take for this to reach the States?

Friday, November 16, 2007

bans on hugging?

I've read articles recently about how hugging has become trendy among teens. This comes as a surprise to me, for I didn't know it had ever been out of fashion. Many of the teens I've worked with are affectionate and hugging seems to be a natural, warm and fairly innocent way to connect with others.

So I was surprised to see that schools are putting bans on hugging, and punishing teens who hug. What is the world coming to? Here is some commentary on the issue that I feel is pretty right on.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

How do you make safe social networking?

Apparently, by fingerprinting young girls to prove they are who they say they are:

Anne's Diary is the
first biometrically-secured social networking site for children in the world. The site offers girls in grades 1 to 8 (ages 6 to 14) a secure environment in which to keep a private diary and communicate with their peers around the world. Members can also enter contests, play games, participate in book clubs and receive homework help.

What do you think of that?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

teen benefits of being online

A refreshingly positive article about teens on the Internet, emphasizing that there is such thing as being too safe...which limit's teens' participation and what they can get out of the net.

Benefits Of Online Interaction For Teens Outweigh Danger, Professor Says

“the first line of defense should be teens themselves. Increasingly, tech-savvy adolescents are aware of the risks in online socializing and are developing their own strategies for staying safe in cyberspace.”


YALSA avatar contest

YALSA is sponsoring a Create Your Own Avatar Contest! Create an avatar that shows off how you can use your library's technology offerings in a creative way, and you can win $100 worth of books and materials from YALSA! Contest open to YALSA members and attendees of Gaming Night. For official rules and an entry form, please download the Create Your Own Avatar Contest Guidelines (PDF).

Even if you aren't planning on participating in this contest, I encourage you to play with some avatar technology...rather than using staff pictures on our new teen website, I think avatars are the way to go. See how Nashville Public used them on their teen site. I asked, and they said they used meez.

Have fun!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

new book featuring writing of teen girls

Salon has an article featuring 4 short stories from the new collection Red: The Next Generation of American Writers -- Teenage Girls -- on What Fires Up Their Lives Today. Looks like a very interesting and frank collection with lots to consider. I'm intrigued.

Monday, November 5, 2007

MTV survey on happiness

MTV Research: The Future of Happiness

What makes 12–24 year olds happy? That was the topic of a study that MTV commissioned Social Technologies to conduct earlier this year. The findings, which hit the newswires on August 20, 2007, surprised many.

“We knew friends and technology would be important to this demographic, but going in we also had the preconceived notion that 12 to 24 year olds were slightly indifferent, self-serving, and perhaps even a bit apathetic,” explains Andy Hines, Social Technologies’ director of custom projects, who led the study. “The biggest thing we learned was never to judge a book by its cover.”

Well, I guess that is a big step for a lot of people, to get around stereotypes of teens. I'm fascinated by the fact that MTV chose this topic to study. It seems to me to be a very positive approach to learning more about youth culture and hopes. I look forward to hearing more about this, and if anything useful comes of it.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Article on tween behavior

Passed on by a staff member at MTL, good for better understanding of young teens, both for staff and parents:

Deal With Tweenage Attitude
Sick of "whatever" with a side of eye-rolling? Here's how to tame the sass and sarcasm preteens are famous for.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Q&A with Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

I'm behind on reading this series, but loved the first one. Are any of your younger teens reading it?

To mark the release of Peter and the Secret of Rundoon (Disney Editions, Oct.), the final volume in Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s saga about Peter before he was Pan, the authors kicked off a national tour, beginning with an appearance this week in Barry’s hometown: Miami, Florida.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

program idea: Matchbox Shrines

Darlene from MIL forwarded me this fun project idea:

Matchbox Shrines
These little boxes are just so much fun to make! They also make a neat alternative to a card – you can even put in a tiny letter or a small pressie which reflects the theme of your shrine…
Looks fun, with lots of room for creativity.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

full-time gaming at the library?

What do you think of the idea of having a permanent gaming space in the library?

Fort Worth Library Unveils New Teen Gaming Section

I'm sure teens would love it. How would you justify it to the tax payers?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Arguing in favor of video games

This blog posting by The Shifted Librarian is in response to a newspaper article that makes some sweeping negative generalizations about video gaming, and supplies some good counter arguments and talking points for using with patrons who may have concerns.

Another Article about Gaming and Libraries, Same Old Story

What responses have you encountered, from patrons or staff, about gaming in our libraries?

Monday, October 15, 2007

very cool teen website from Penguin UK

I'm just smitten with this website called Spine Breakers put out by Penguin UK for teens 13-18. Not only does it have about the most awesome name for a book site EVER, but it is interactive, filled with different medias for access points, encourages contribution of creative content from teens and just looks good!

Hopefully our new teen site will aspire to such heights!

What do you like about Spine Breakers?

Friday, October 12, 2007

National Book Award Finalists - Young People's Literature

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hip Hop Planet

National Geographic recently had a feature on hip-hop culture around the world. Check it out at:

Hip-Hop Planet

Be sure to check out the Photo Gallery, Learn More, and Multimedia links. Great stuff!

thanks to Jim McCluskey for sharing this!

Stargirl inspires

I love this idea. Teens who loved the message of Stargirl started their own society to support each other to live more like Stargirl and do kind things for others. So nice!
Jerry Spinelli’s Stargirl Inspires Societies

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

learning with iPods

Looking at how trendy technology can help motivate students to learn:

In Some Schools, iPods Are Required Listening

What library applications can you envision?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist - the movie!

I'm excited to see that NaNIP is going to be made into a movie...starring one of the guys from Superbad! Check it out:

Cera and Dennings to star in 'Playlist'

Monday, October 1, 2007

31 Flavorite Authors

Readergirlz and YALSA are featuring a different teen author chat each day this month in celebration of Teen Read Week/Month! Consider adding their downloadable poster to your Teen Read Month display.

A day in the (digital) life of a South Korean boy

From CNN:

A day in the (digital) life of a South Korean boy.

This is interesting, as it shows some technology trends we are just starting to see, and ways they may very well develop. Can any of your teens send text messages without looking? Can you imagine if Internet cafes offered free rides to teens?

Monday, September 24, 2007

psa 2.0: Stay Teen

I came across this website today, which is set up to discourage teen pregnancy: Stay Teen. It very much reminds me of the anti-smoking website/ad campaign that has recently disappeared called The Truth. The idea being that teens are smart enough to see beyond hype and recognize the value of facts when they are presented in a straightforward (and reasonably hip) manner. How could this apply to libraries? Should we have a fact page on our new teen website talking about the benefits of using the library or reading?

What do you think?

Friday, September 21, 2007

article: Teen Marketing 2.0

The September 3rd Publishers Weekly has an article about how publishers are beginning to explore using more 2.0 technologies to reach out to teens. I was happy to see that much of what we are considering on our website is reflected in this article.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

intergenerational social networking

Here is an interesting blog post on intergenerational social networking. According to the author, youth-only social networking is unique to the United States, and in other countries it is being used much more for mentoring and intergenerational dialog. The author theorizes that we are creating limitations for ourselves because of our cultural panic about "stranger danger". What do you think?
I would love to see a class taught by teens to seniors about how to use social networking and/or blogging!

Golden Compass...the video game

Check it out...The Golden Compass has been made into a video game!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

cute program idea

I just came across a book that supplies you with everything you need to run a great teen program that will appeal to crafters, Japanphiles, and anyone who loves all things cute. The book is The Cute Book by Aranzi Aronzo (a company that specializes in cute goods). Inside are patterns and thorough (but simple) directions on how to construct adorable little felt characters using felt, glue, and embroidery thread. I bet teens would love this. Maybe a pre-holiday program for making little gifts?

Sno-Isle owns 4 copies.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

interesting perspective on kids and technology

Lots to chew on here:

The Internet's new Dr. Spock?
MIT media scholar Henry Jenkins shares expertise on technology's effect on kids, how games are replacing TV and YouTube-style politics.
By Stefanie Olsen CNET
Published: August 17, 2007

My favorite quote: don't need someone looking over their shoulders, they need someone watching their backs.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Are video games good for you?

Here is an article from Yahoo!Games arguing that video games are actually quite good for you:

Games are Good for You
Five ways video games can make you better, stronger, and faster.
By Ben Silverman

My favorite quote:
There's nothing particularly pleasant about going under the knife, especially if you're wary of the surgeon's skills. That's why before making the first incision, Dr. James Clarence Rosser, Jr. of New York's Beth Israel Medical Center lets his patients know that he's awesome at Super Monkey Ball.

Hmmm. Reassuring?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

radio bit - How to Talk to a Teenager

This was on KUOW earlier this month:

How do you talk to a teenager? Many parents say when their kids hit the teen years, they stop talking. A no smoking ad campaign ended up encouraging middle schoolers to rebel and smoke. What's going in teen brains? How do you keep the lines of communication open? Do any of you current or former teens have suggestions? (This part starts 6 minutes into the program.)

David Walsh wrote Why Do They Act That Way: A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain for You and Your Teen. He's the founder of the National Institute on Media and Family, and teaches at the University of Minnesota and the University of St. Thomas.

Great tips for thinking about how to connect and communicate with teens.

Monday, August 20, 2007

social networking & advertising

Why Some Brands Seem Anti-Social
by Brian Morrissey
from Adweek

This is an interesting article about companies that have tried to reach their audiences using social networking, what has failed, and what has suceeded. What can we learn from this?

Monday, August 13, 2007

King on Rowling

Here is a quite excellent article by Stephen King on the magic of J.K. Rowling's books

Warning: spoilers abound.

Friday, August 10, 2007

cultivating fans

I like this chart (from Church of the Consumer blog), illustrating how people become fans. I don't know about you, but I was totally a fan of the library as a teen. Perhaps thinking about cultivating not just patrons or customers, but real fans is the way to go in promoting to teens?

Monday, August 6, 2007

comparing virtual hang-outs

Here is an interesting chart comparing "Casual Immersive Worlds" by target audience, main premise, immersion level, graphics & point of view, number of users online when visited by surveyor, June 2007 total unique visitors, and revenue sources.

Some libraries are trying to set up shop in Second Life, but I think once you do that, you are really reaching outside your local target audience.

What can we learn from these sites? I don't think we can afford to create a immersive library world for our teens. How can we create features in our website that provide the feeling of community these sites offer?

social networking for anime fans

from ICv2 news:

AnimeMine Launches Social Network Site for Anime Fans
August 06, 2007
Smarticlesmart announced the July 31st launch of its
AnimeMine social networking Website for anime fans where they can create personal contact pages, blogs, take part in forums and chats, offer reviews, and upload fan videos and art and elicit comments from others on the Site. AnimeMine will also offer news and reviews, and plans to add more features down the road, including a fan art contest.

Some of your teens might be interested in this, plus I think it is worth looking at to see what sorts of features we would like to try to use to attract teens to our future website. Thoughts?

Thursday, August 2, 2007

article: Life after ‘Harry Potter’?

A good article that goes beyond "what next" and gives a solid overview of the state of teen fiction:

Life after ‘Harry Potter’?

Minx Graphic Novels

I came across an article that made me happy this morning:

DC Announces 7 Minx Graphic Novels for 2008

For those of you not familiar with the Minx line, it is DC Comics excellent effort to reach out to a traditionally underserved part of the comic reading demographic: teenage girls. But it is not doing so by talking down to them or trying to make a "girly" product. Instead it is featuring strong girl characters facing challenges in a variety of realistic situations and environments. These are well done with great art and rock solid writing, featuring both young adult authors and comic industry pros. I highly recommend checking one out. My favorites so far are Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Re-Gifters by Mike Carey.

(They are on order, but if you want to borrow my ARCs just drop me an email :)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Death Note - are your teens reading it?

Death strip
A controversial graphic novel from Japan -- banned in China -- has inspired a hit movie and much fan fiction. Will thrill-starved U.S. readers get hooked?
By Douglas Wolk

Personally...I've found Death Note to be one of the most riveting manga series out there, but it is definitely not for all teens. The premise is somewhat creepy, and heaped with implied violence. Yet at the same time, it is one of the most intriguing explorations of ethics I've seen teens reading. Thoughts?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

good news for Runaways fans

Terry Moore/Humberto Ramos Next Runaways Team

Runaways is one of my favorite
superhero series, and in my opinion one of the best comics being written for teens today. (If you haven't read it, I totally recommend ordering Volume 1 today - can't beat kids who discover their parents are supervillians and take off to do the right thing!) Brian K. Vaughn had passed the series on to Joss Whedon for a few issues, and not it has been officially announced that Terry Moore will be taking over! I think this is exciting news and can't wait to read them. As a bonus, the distinctive art of Humberto Ramos is going to look really cool for this title and should a great match!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Creating a YA blog.

Creating a YA blog from Alternative Teen Services

Recently my library system decided to start a YA blog. Previously we did not have much of an online presence for our teens and this will hopefully mark a change in the right direction...

I would love to find a way to incorporate a blog for teen patrons into the Sno-Isle website. This article gives some good things to think about up front. What do you think?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

National trend: teen library services gaining

Youth and library use studies show gains in serving young adults

The Public Library Association's (PLA) 2007 Public Library Data Service (PLDS) Statistical Report tracked young adult service trends in public libraries. The report found that nearly 90 percent of the public libraries surveyed offer young adult programs, with more than half (51.9 percent) employing at least one full-time equivalent dedicated to fostering young adult programs and services, up dramatically from 11 percent in 1995.

Good news!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Guitar Hero in the media

Virtual Frets, Actual Sweat
Playing Hendrix for a night has become the new karaoke.

Personally, I love Guitar Hero. Can we generate this sort of excitement at our branches?

teens vs. email

Kids say e-mail is, like, soooo dead

Just ask a group of teen Internet entrepreneurs, who readily admit that traditional e-mail is better suited for keeping up professional relationships or communicating with adults...

"It's a problem for teens--you're like losing out on some of your friends if you choose just one (social network)."

What do you think? Will teen grow out of social networking and embrace email as adults? Or will something new replace it?

Accio Deathly Hallows

A few days late for most of you, but a great song none the less.

If you are unfamiliar with this blog, it is from Brotherhood 2.0...a year long project of Printz-winning teen author John Green and his brother Hank (the one singing this song).


Welcome to the Sno-Isle Teen Talk team blog

Hello! Welcome to the Sno-Isle Teen Talk team blog. A team blog is a blog that can have multiple contributors. This blog was created for folks working with teens within the system to have a forum for sharing articles, websites, photos from programs, etc. It may also provide interesting reading material for non-teen specific staff who want to know more about trends regarding this fascinating group of patrons.

If you have any questions about this blog, feel free to email me!

Your Teen Coordinator,