Monday, December 29, 2008

benefits of social media marketing

A nice reminder of why we try to reach out in non-traditional ways to our teen patrons:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

More 2.0 Image fun!

The Blatant Bibliophile Blog has a great post up on copyrite free images, altering images and other fun word/pic meshes. Worth checking out!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Marketing in Libraries

One thing that libraries have always struggled with is marketing. WE know we're great, but somewhere in our natural introversion we have a hard time screaming from the rooftops that we will, actually, improve lives through our services.

SLJ, recognizing that libraries have a hard time promoting themselves, has created an inexplicably named blog, Bubble Room, to address marketing in libraries.

I don't know if it'll be useful, but hey, there it is, just in case.

I actually really like this post, which talks about how the Rochester Public Library has a calculator on their site that totals the amount patrons have saved by using the library rather than purchasing the books they've checked out. I've always thought that we should print their savings on the check out receipt. That's one way to achieve validation through knowledge. ;)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Spread your Holiday Cheer

Every holiday season, we look for ways to spread the cheer and help others have a better experience during what can often be a not so happy time of year.

Donating food to your local food bank is and easy way to help people in your community. There are probably donation bins all over town this time of year.

The United States Marine Corps are collecting donations for Toys for Tots, and the Salvation Army has their bell ringers and red kettles outside many stores where you'll be shopping.

I recently learned of another way to spread a bit of extra cheer. You can send holiday cards to wounded American soldiers and veterans through a program sponsored by the Red Cross called Holiday Mail for Heroes.

You can send your cards to the following address, but they ask that they are postmarked no later than December 10th. That's just two days away, but you've still got time to pop a card in the mail!

Holiday Mail for Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD. 20791-5456

If you're in the Oak Harbor Library during the next couple of days, look in the teen area for the cards to sign. I'll be sending them off soon.


very blog post on bullying

From Danah Boyd's blog:apophenia

reflections on Lori Drew, bullying, and solutions to helping kids

The most important thing that we need are digital street workers. When I was in college, college students volunteered as street workers to help teens who were on the street find resources and help. They directed them to psychologists, doctors, and social workers. We need a program like this for the digital streets. We need college-aged young adults to troll the digital world looking out for teens who are in trouble and helping them seek help. We need online counselors who can work with minors to address their behavioral issues without forcing the minor to contend with parents or bureaucracy. We need online social workers that can connect with kids and help them understand their options.

Danah Boyd is a doctoral candidate in the School of Information at the University of California-Berkeley and a Fellow at the Harvard University Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Her research focuses on how American youth use networked publics for sociable purposes.


troubling teen trend

Here is a disturbing new teen trend to be aware off: self-embedding.

'Self-Embedding' a Troubling Trend Among Teens

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Self-embedding, a disorder where people wound themselves and then place objects in the wound, is an increasing problem among American teens, especially girls, researchers say.

Has anyone seen this? I find it very worrisome :(

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

great article on M.T. Anderson

I'm a huge M.T. Anderson fan (though I confess, I have not yet found the time to tackle his newest installment of Octavian Nothing).

Here is a terrific article about him, and his belief that teens want to be challenged:

Tomes for Teens
M.T. Anderson Gives Young Adults What They Want: Complex Epic Tales They Can Get Lost In
By Bob Thompson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 29, 2008; Page C01

"It's insulting to believe that teens should have a different kind of book than an adult should... They know the world is complicated, and "they can tell when a book is simplifying life."

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday afternoon humor

Have a great weekend...

...and drive carefully!

reassuring news about online socializing

The New York Times featured an article this week that has reassuring news for parents (and other adults) concerned about teens obsessive online communications, thanks to a study from the MacArthur Foundation:

Teenagers’ Internet Socializing Not a Bad Thing
Published: November 19, 2008

“It may look as though kids are wasting a lot of time hanging out with new media, whether it’s on MySpace or sending instant messages,” said Mizuko Ito, lead researcher on the study, “Living and Learning With New Media.” “But their participation is giving them the technological skills and literacy they need to succeed in the contemporary world. They’re learning how to get along with others, how to manage a public identity, how to create a home page.”

Thanks Penni for sharing this!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Morgue Files

I've just discovered Morgue Files, described as the "Public Image Reference Archive." Content is uploaded for public use - for free - and they only thing they ask is that the photographer is credited. These are usually high resolution images, something that isn't the norm on the internet - not for public use that I've found.

Seems like a useful site to know about. Goes along with the awesome Smithsonian Images and the Library of Congress' Flickr photostream (though not all of the last two are in the public domain).

(photo by Zach Carter)

Even the Canadians like teen gaming!

Ok, this is pretty much a fluff article, but it's nice to see friendly opinions about gaming in libraries.

I liked this sentiment: "Public libraries are, after all, a community's living room."

The protein of the article: "Video games are a means of drawing older children and teenagers into libraries at a time when they might be less likely to do so. Jane Venus, manager of children and teen services for the Ottawa Public Library, notes that many video games, like books, are beneficial to young minds. Older minds too. When video games were introduced to Ottawa libraries on a trial basis, they became popular with seniors during the day and with teens in the evening. When they were done playing, some teens stayed around the library and read books."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Brilliant author in Seattle Thursday

If you haven't had a chance to hear M.T. Anderson speak and are free Thursday night, I highly recommend scooting down to Seattle to check him out. He will be talking about the second book in The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing series...a series I hesitated to check out due to daunting language, until shamed by a precocious 7th grader into reading it. Great stuff.

Thursday • November 6 • 7pm
M.T. Anderson
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Volume II: Kingdom on the Waves (CANDLEWICK)
Reading & Book Signing
Seattle Public Library, Central Branch, 1000 Fourth Avenue, Seattle

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Who can be the most silent in the library?

I think this has to be one of the funniest things I've seen in a while. I'm thinking that it could be a fun program, with a few modification (ditch the slap machine, and maybe the old man...)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Nancy Werlin in Bellevue this Sunday

This Sunday, October 26, 2008 at 5:30pm at the Bellevue
Regional Library
award winning author Nancy Werlin will deliver the
2008 Kim Lafferty Lecture. Nancy has been a National Book Award Finalist and an Edgar Award Winner. Her newest book Impossible has received four starred reviews.

Kim was a young adult librarian whose dedication to teens and to books, both professionally and personally, was profound and unwavering. She had a special connection with children and teenagers and put that talent to good use as a teen services librarian for King County Library System. Kim was also a strong advocate for intellectual freedom and fought strenuously for the right of individuals to choose their own reading material. Kim died of ovarian cancer in 2001.

Monday, October 20, 2008

teen library makeovers

Kathleen sent me this cool article about some Montgomery County libraries that got great and fairly simple makeovers for their teen areas. It also talks about how the designers worked with the teens to do this. Perhaps an area of community partnerships we might consider exploring?

The Library Teen Scene (Shh . . . )

Now, wouldn't it be nice if reporters would stop putting Shh into everything library related?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

a cool non-profit to share with teachers is a cool website that helps teachers connect with donors who want to make a difference by sponsoring small classroom projects, such as book and equipment donations.

They also allow people to set up memorial funds and gift registries!

This could be a great support for doing collaborative projects with your schools.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Video games, simply bait for readers?

Nothing terribly new here, but a good summary of the latest arguments for (and against) video games and literacy skills:

The Future of Reading: Using Video Games as Bait to Hook Readers
Publishers, authors and even libraries are embracing video games to promote books to young readers.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Texting explosion

According to this article from the New York Times, text messaging passed up phone calls made from cell phones at the end of 2007, and from the looks of things, it will be double soon!

Letting Our Fingers Do the Talking
Published: September 28, 2008

Teenagers ages 13 to 17 are by far the most prolific texters, sending or receiving 1,742 messages a month, according to Nielsen Mobile. By contrast, 18-to-24-year-olds average 790 messages. A separate study of teenagers with cellphones by Harris Interactive found that 42 percent of them claim that they can write text messages while blindfolded.

How can we respond to this? I think it is time we started offering updates to teens by text message. Is we set this up as an option on our website, what choices do you think we should offer? Program reminders? New posts on their blog? If you were a teen, what would you want?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Squeeky clean fairy tales

There is a good article in The Boston Globe today about the sanitizing of fairy tales:

Fear of fairy tales
The glossy, sanitized new versions of fairy tales leave out what matters: the scary parts
By Joanna Weiss
September 21, 2008

Admittedly, this is nothing new and fairy tales are always evolving. I remember reading a collection of traditional fairy tales in third grade, and being shocked that the stepsisters in Cinderella were mutilating their feet to try and fool the prince. Certainly changed my view of things! Any more, when young girls come in asking for Cinderella, or Beauty and the Beast, etc...I always ask if they are looking for the Disney version right away. Too many years I tried to trick them into trying other versions, and 90% of the time they really only wanted the packaged princess.

Where do you see the shift, between kids who only want the squeaky clean Disney version of things, and teens who want the raw, disturbing fairy tales and their contemporary retellings? Are we softening things too much for children, leading to greater rebellion and distrust as teens? Or is society just adapting to trying to preserve innocence in a media saturated society?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I wonder what the other 3% are doing?

Survey: 97% of American youth play video games

The survey found that while young Americans don't necessarily play the same thing, nearly all of them -- girls included -- play video games of one kind or another.

And they don't just play by themselves. Nearly two-thirds play
video games to socialize face-to-face with friends and family, while just over a quarter said they play with Internet friends.

"It shows that gamers are social people," says Amanda Lenhart, a senior researcher at Pew who led the report on the survey. "They communicate just as much. They spend time face-to-face, just as much as other kids. They e-mail and text."

Despite what some people might hope for, there's no going back. Gaming is a way of life for American youth. But as we know, it isn't all bad!

Monday, September 8, 2008

gaming and scientific thinking

Another encouraging article about great skills teens are building playing video games:

How Videogames Blind Us With Science

At one point, Steinkuehler met up with one of the kids who'd built the Excel model to crack the boss. "Do you realize that what you're doing is the essence of science?" she asked.

He smiled at her. "Dude, I'm not doing science," he replied. "I'm just cheating the game!"

Of course if they realized that their "cheating" was actually the scientific method, it might not seem half as fun ;)

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Teacher on Assigned Reading: "We're Teaching Books That Don't Stack Up"

Ok, I'll be honest, this article is directed toward teachers, and is written by a high school English teacher, but as it deals with how teens feel about the literature they are assigned in school. I think it's worth a read.

'"Butchering." That's what one of my former students, a young man who loves creative writing but rarely gets to do any at school, called English class. He was referring to the endless picking apart of linguistic details that loses teens in a haze of "So what?" The reading quizzes that turn, say, "Hamlet" into a Q&A on facts, symbols and themes. The thesis-driven essay assignments that require students to write about a novel they can't muster any passion for ("The Scarlet Letter" is high on teens' list of most dreaded). I'll never forget what one parent, bemoaning his daughter's aversion to great books after she took AP English Literature, wrote to me: "What I've seen teachers do is take living, breathing works of art and transform them into dessicated lab specimens fit for dissection."'

Strange, that's exactly how *I* felt in high school...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

alarming report on teen girls

The YWCA has released a report called Beauty at Any Cost, which contains a lot of very disturbing information about the health, financial and the obsession with looks are costing the teen girls and women of America.

A discussion guide and non-fiction booklist can be found here.

Here are some recent fiction books on eating disorders, as well:

Looks by Madeleine George
Massive by Julia Bell
Perfect by Natasha Friend
More Than You Can Chew by Marnelle Tokio
Skinny by Ibi Kaslik

Any titles you would add if we were to do an eating disorders list?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

how friendly is too friendly with teens?

One of the great challenges of working with teens is finding ways to show you care, to reach out, and to make connections...all while maintaining appropriate boundaries. These boundaries are important in helping teens develop into healthy adults, and when properly enforced they provide a sense of dependability and trust that is incredibly important for those of us trying to make a positive difference in their lives.

This article brings up some interesting points about friending kids online. Clearly MySpace and Facebook are wonderful places to connect with teens in an environment they are comfortable in, and I know many people who have had much success in these areas. But where is the line?

Online student-teacher friendships can be tricky
By Mallory Simon

"As an educator there is a line of demarcation between you and your student," Keith said. "It's a line that you cannot come close to, let alone step over. You've got to establish it from Day One and say, 'I'm not your buddy, I'm not your friend, I'm just your teacher.' "

As librarians, we have a slightly different position. We are authority figures, but not teachers. Where do you feel our line should be? How do you establish this line with your patrons? Have you ever been in a situation where it has been crossed? What did you do?

Monday, August 11, 2008

using texting to advertise to teens

This is something that has come up in conversations with teen librarians a number of times, but this article really hammers home the effectiveness and value to this approach:

Retailers know texting is the totally best way to reach teens
By Mark Albright

What do you think? I'm hoping in phase two of the Sno-Isle Teens: Your Library website we will have a form for teens to sign up for text notification.

How could libraries best use this? What sort of guidelines should we develop to insure the most interesting and effective communications?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

looking for a fun activity for teen meetings?

Katy M. from the Selah (WA) Library suggested TAGAD-L trying pipe cleaner pictionary! I think this sounds like lots of fun.

What are some activities that your teens like to do at advisory board meetings and such?

Friday, August 8, 2008

a great response to a book challenged

I assume some of you have already seen this response to a book challenge as it has been making its way around the blogosphere for a few weeks, but I found it inspiring and a wonderful reminder of one of the many reasons we choose to work in public libraries. It would be a good addition to our training on intellectual freedom. Hooray for Mr. LaRue!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

great article on video gaming in libraries

Thanks to Jeanne for passing this on!

Libraries' video games are teen magnet
Local program's success earns national attention
Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Libraries have gone through a lot of iterations since 300 B.C., when they were founded as a way to improve moral character," said Scott Nicholson, an associate professor at Syracuse who runs the Library Game Lab. "This is no different from when libraries first brought in fiction or started allowing children in."

Lots of good ideas to be copied from these guys!

Monday, July 28, 2008

what is "reading" in the digital age

Penni forwarded me this great article from the New York Times.

Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?

As teenagers’ scores on standardized reading tests have declined or stagnated, some argue that the hours spent prowling the Internet are the enemy of reading — diminishing literacy, wrecking attention spans and destroying a precious common culture that exists only through the reading of books.

But others say the Internet has created a new kind of reading, one that schools and society should not discount. The Web inspires a teenager like Nadia, who might otherwise spend most of her leisure time watching television, to read and write.

Seems to cover both sides of the argument fairly thoroughly.


summer reading humor

From Unshelved:

Thanks to Kathleen for sharing this one.

Hope your summer is going swimmingly...

Friday, July 25, 2008

fun contest for your library

Do you have great volunteers looking for something fun to do this summer?
Are your regular teens super creative?
Do you have mad decorating skills?

Then you should consider working with them to enter Unshelved's Pimp My Bookcart contest.

Check out last year's amazing winners. Better get started soon...deadline is October 31st.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Author Interview: David Lubar

Video interview with author David Lubar at Adlit - Adolescent Literacy for parents and educators.

David Lubar is the man behind the popular — and hilarious — "Weenies" short-story collections, and critically acclaimed titles Dunk, Hidden Talents, and Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie. Lubar is best known for his humor, but his young adult books are also filled with plenty of adventure and suspense.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Interacting in Virtual Worlds

One of the topics for discussion at the ALA Annual meeting for the YALSA Board of Directors was if the organization should devote resources to creating a presence on Second Life. In the end we decided it wasn't a reasonable investment at this time, but it did get me thinking about the future of online services to teens.

Are any of you active on Second Life? What benefits might there be for librarians?

Google is dipping its toe into the pond, but in smaller way:

Google Introduces a Cartoonlike Method for Talking in Chat Rooms

Facebook is working on something similar. In your dream world, what would libraries have?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Arg! Looking for a September program idea?

September 19 is Talk Like a Pirate Day! What fun programs could you have in your library? Here are some ideas for a pirate party.

And don't forget our pirate booklist! Make a great display.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

D&D in the Library

Dungeons and Dragons groups and libraries can make great partners! Recently two Sno-Isle Libraries were approached by teen D&D groups about having regular meetings in their libraries. This is a fabulous opportunity and we are glad to be able to accommodate. And just in time, here is a blog post from librarian and gamer Ian McKinney about getting started:

Dungeons and Dragons in Libraries

Looks like he will have more on running the programs, so be sure to set up a feed to his blog if you are thinking about having one of these groups!

Monday, June 16, 2008


(You've read MT Anderson's FEED, right?)

This article poses the idea that because so many people's primary source of reading material is web-based that the source is beginning to affect not only how we READ, but how we THINK.

Add in the fact that more and more profit is ad based...

And then the fact that there's practically a whole language used just online (oh, and in txt)...

Pretty soon we'll all have the interwebs plugged into our brains...

It's a ridiculously long (do I think that b/c my brain has changed? Ugh.) article, but interesting.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Little Late

But I'm just now reading SLJ's may issue. If any of you've missed it, I've found useful:

Jordan Sonnenblick's article about NCLB (I met him at Ballard library a week-ish ago. He's lovely).

Anastasia Goodstein's article about attracting teens through marketing tactics.

Highlights include:

  • Ypulse,
  • Muxtape,
  • Mixwit,
  • Crunchyroll (a site a couple of MY teens are always telling me about),
  • Teenhut and
  • some philosophy (clearly the most important part, ESPECIALLY if you aren't quite sure how to approach teens - or a good reminder).

Katrine Watkins' article about The Google Game taught me a few new ways to search and reminded me of ones I forgot.

Heard of MMPG? Christopher Harris' article is about PMOG - and how it might just be a harbinger of Web 3.0... I'm a little scared.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

An Expansive New Linguistic Renaissance

New study reassures adults that teen communications are not dumbed down, but actually more sophisticated than once thought.

Instant messaging 'a linguistic renaissance' for teens
15 May 2008 news service
Mark Peters

In a paper to be published in the spring 2008 issue of American Speech, the researchers argue that far from ruining teenagers' ability to communicate, IM lets teenagers show off what they can do with language.

So, there! LOLFOMA at disbelievers, yo.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Teen Retreat

Check out the cool program my friend Sara did with her teens in Multnomah County:

Q. What’s Better Than a Teen Council?

I would love to do something like this with our Teen Advisory Groups someday. Maybe next year?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

tweens explore identity on web

A mom gets her tween to give her a tour of some social networking sites aimed at teens. Nothing groundbreaking here, but nice for perspective and to hear about what tweens are into right now. I was most amused that her daughter likes to pretend she is a French single mom with twins.

FASHION & STYLE | May 8, 2008
Cyberfamilias: Today, I Think I'll Be Hippohead
For the under-18 crowd, there are new ways to reinvent yourself online.

Monday, May 5, 2008

An assortment of articles

First up is an article from the Washington Post, reprinted in the Seattle Times. Now I like these newspapers. But this article is awful, IMHO. The problem I think I have with it is that I don't really trust the study. I look at the list, especially for the older grades (Besides just lumping 9-12th grades. Please. Like 9th graders are reading what 12th graders are. Whatever.), and I see well, gee, I wonder if some of those books are required reading at 80% of schools out there? I want to know what the top books for pleasure reading are. It's not that I don't think that there'd be duplications, I'm just not terribly surprised that Of Mice and Men shows up when everyone I know had to read it in high school. Did the survey at all cover whether the students enjoyed these titles? Furthermore, I question whether the survey was even balanced when you get what I consider a biased quote from guy who's company did the survey:

'"I find it reassuring ... that students are still reading the classics I read as a child," said Roy Truby, a senior vice president for Wisconsin-based Renaissance Learning. But Truby said he would have preferred to see more meaty and varied fare, such as "historical novels and biographical works so integral to understanding our past and contemporary books that help us understand our world."'

Furthermore, there wasn't any real kind of reporting on the survey itself. What were some of the questions? Did that guy write any of them? Was there another goal? And why does every. single. article concerning youth and reading have to compare whatever to Harry Potter?

I'm probably just cranky 'cause I had such a great weekend and didn't want to come back to work today.

In happier articles...

Containing this quote which I'm going to plaster somewhere: “Teen books are like adult books, without all the bull****” H. Jack Martin, assistant coordinator of young adult services at New York Public Library. That's awesome, right? I think so. And it epitomizes why I dig teen lit. The article is all about what makes YA lit not adult lit. Sherman Alexie was on the panel and there are some great quotes from him, as usual.

We've all read and loved Madeline L'Engle, right? New book, published posthumously (obviously) but written in the 1940's. It's said to be the most autobiographical of her work. Don't know about you, but that intrigues me. Although I hope that cover isn't the one they are using...

Further cannibalizing from PW: Twilight Zone is gonna be a series of graphic novels!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Living Library of PEOPLE

Last week the London Times ran an article about a man's experience being a "Book" in a library program called Living Library. Maybe this isn't the exactly right forum for sharing, but I can't help but find the whole thing entirely fascinating, and because of that, I have to share. Excerpt:

"The idea, which comes from Scandinavia, is simple: instead of books, readers can come to the library and borrow a person for a 30-minute chat. The human “books” on offer vary from event to event but always include a healthy cross-section of stereotypes. Last weekend, the small but richly diverse list included Police Officer, Vegan, Male Nanny and Lifelong Activist as well as Person with Mental Health Difficulties and Young Person Excluded from School. I was there as Gay Man.

In the catalogue we had been tagged with the kind of negative attributes that readers might expect to encounter. Male Nanny was down as “twee” and “child molester”. Police Officer was filed under “corrupt”. Mine included “very well dressed” and “has some sexually transmitted disease”, though thankfully there was no mention of Barbra Streisand."

It rather seems like an awesome idea. And maybe fits into the whole Seeds of Compassion thing. I'm noting it for future overly ambitious uses.

Email anne.kilroy [at] for more info, if you are interested.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Electronic Mosquitos

Ok, I heard about this device about a year ago. And I know it's wrong. I know it violates teen rights. It's something I object to. But, I just, I just can't help it - it really makes me laugh. Some dark, evil bit inside of me finds the whole concept hilarious.

"The town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts, banned the device last year after a movie theater owner installed one. 'There was an outcry, and people didn't like the idea of torturing kids' ears like that," said Ronald Dlugosz, a town official. "People here don't tolerate that kind of stuff."'

I'm also very curious as to whether I can still hear it.

I just need to counter the last article.

"A new study released Thursday from the Pew Internet & American Life Project and the National Commission on Writing showed that the majority of U.S. teens, or 60 percent of those surveyed, do not view electronic texts as writing."

But what was more interesting to me in the article, was this bit:

"All teens write at least some for school, but 93 percent of kids surveyed said that they write for themselves outside of school."

This gives me hope that the author-run writer's workshop I have planned for July will be successful.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


THIS makes me want to hold a trivia contest (quiz bowl?) in the library with the teens.

Perhaps I shall. Just to prove otherwise.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

RSS Feeds demystified (well, somewhat...)

I went to bloglines today and there were actually rss feeds there that I had subscribed to from other! it worked!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

stylists and librarians unite!

I read this in an article about more tween girls styling their hair.

"I tell stylists to get more involved in school and community events to reach out to these younger girls," he said. "They may not want to think in those terms, but these girls are our future business."

The approach sounded kinda familiar.

In a recent forum on Weary Parent, a child-raising blog, one person admitted in a post that she had tried to give her 11-year old daughter the blond-on-brown look of Jamie Lynn Spears of Nickelodeon's "Zoey 101."
"But that was a disaster," she wrote. "I had to pull her out of school for a day so I could fix it."

Monday, April 7, 2008

Tweens arrested for Death Note "joke".

Alabama Tweens Arrested in 'Death Note' Row
Anime-Inspired Notebook Deemed 'Terrorist Threat'

The Gadsen (Alabama) Times is reporting that two 12-year-old students at the West End Elementary School were arrested after school authorities discovered a Death Note-inspired notebook containing the names of faculty members, school personnel and students. The notebook was turned over to the Etowah County Sheriff's Department, where authorities classified its contents as "terrorist threats," even though the students told their principal that it was a joke.

According to the article, this is the third incident reported where students got in trouble and the first where they were arrested. It will be interesting to see how this book is handled. I think it is a great work, that really examines issues in a thoughtful and entertaining way. If teens are emulating this impossible concept, I see that as a cry for help...they must be awfully miserable to even joke about this, no?

Friday, April 4, 2008

Washington does scholarship program for low-income teens!

WA Offers Low-Income Kids College Scholarships
Debra Lau Whelan -- School Library Journal, 4/2/2008 2:00:00 PM

Low-income kids from Washington no longer have to worry about who’s paying for college—as long as they keep up their high school grades and stay out of trouble with the law...

Had any of you heard about this? How cool is that?

The State's information page can be found here.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Emo battles in Mexico

Have any of you heard about the awful stuff going on in Mexico? Emo kids are being targeted and beat up in massive groups. A blog post that sums it up well: Violence against emos sweeps across Mexico.

When I hear about things like this, it makes me wonder about the big problems we have in the world, and ponder what is driving these youth to lash out at easy victims.

Sad sad sad.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Gaming @ NYPL

New York Public Library has gotten on board with video gaming in a big way! Not only are they offering gaming programs at many of their branches, they are also circulating 2,500 copies of 92 different games! Wow!

Taking Play Seriously at the Public Library With Young Video Gamers

“I thought a library was just for books, just for studying, just for a lot of things I don’t normally do,” he said. “But when I found out the library was starting to have games it was great, because it’s really good to hear that the library is paying more attention to the youth and what we’re into.”

He paused. “And it’s also good because I can just say to my parents, ‘I’m going to the library.’”

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The power of graphic novels

No Laughs, No Thrills, and Villains All Too Real
By Michael Kimmelman for the New York Times

Interesting article talking about how graphic novels are helping a new generation of Germans and French understand the Holocaust.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sultan teens need entertainment

While some may view gaming at the library as dumbing kids down, I have to say I have seen a small town such as Sultan with very little to do for teens in desperate need of free, readily accessible, positive entertainment that keeps kids engaged with each other in a welcoming public place--as an alternative to producing the unfortunate ones who become street corner meth users. Gaming and other engaging events to lure non-readers is not a luxury in a town like this.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Gaming in libraries - the dumbing down of a nation?

So, here I sit at SVC awaiting a late trainer. A perfect time to update the Lynnwood MySpace blog! Ok. Done with that. Hmm. Ok, time to catch up on the listservs I've largely been ignoring. YALSA-L...what?!

Dave Gibson, in the American Chronicle:

"Unfortunately, it appears that this country's librarians have decided to do their part in the dumbing-down of America. What has happened to this country?...All of the librarians I have known were in love with the written word and truly enjoyed opening the door to their world to young people. Perhaps, today's crop of young librarians would be better served answering their calling as arcade attendants and movie theatre managers."

So, comrades, do you feel like you are dumbing down young people?

heh. Happy people are dissing the hater all over the internet. Check it out.


Monday, March 17, 2008

article: Classroom Misbehavior

Classroom Misbehavior
Some authors treat the subject of affairs between boys and their teachers as romance; others see it for what it is--the stealing of innocence
March 9, 2008 - Sonja Bolle for the LA Times

Anyone looking for easy explanations for what some have called "an epidemic" of this sort of sexual abuse will find them in these books: The absence of parents in teens' lives, the increased possibility of secrecy in e-mail as well as cellphone communication. But the choices each novelist makes in telling the story make the reading experiences vary widely.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

an article on gaming jobs to point curious teens towards...

Tough Competition for Video-Gaming Jobs
Monday, March 3, 2008
San Francisco Chronicle

In reality, love of games is a prerequisite for most jobs in the industry, which is concentrated in the Bay Area and a few other tech-heavy regions. But as with so many things in life, it turns out that love is not enough...

A realistic look at what it takes to make it in the gaming industry, and how little you might make as you try and work your way up.

Monday, March 3, 2008

teen repellent?

A friend forwarded this to me today:

Teenage loiterers affecting your business?
Get your business back on track with the Mosquito™ Utrasonic Teen Repellent!

I have to say, I'm rather appalled. But if they had the opposite, I'd get it for our libraries ;)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

gender and web use

Penni shared an article with me today from The New York Times that you may find interesting:

Sorry, Boys, This Is Our Domain

Research shows that among the youngest Internet users, the primary creators of Web content (blogs, graphics, photographs, Web sites) are not misfits resembling the Lone Gunmen of “The X Files.” On the contrary, the cyberpioneers of the moment are digitally effusive teenage girls.

Friday, February 15, 2008

teens, homework and the web

Penni shared this interesting article with me, which I thought you might enjoy.

Web-Based Homework - What Do Teens & Tweens Really Want

I look forward to see what develops from this. The widgets in particular sound very useful.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

apparently teens aren't getting enough caffeine...

Stimulus Plan for Candy: Pack It Full of Caffeine

The new products are appearing as the candy industry is losing part of its most bankable audience -- kids. There were 3.3% fewer kids age 6 to 11 in 2007 as in 2002, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Sales of sugar confectionary dropped by 4% from 2001 to 2006, while energy-drink sales rose by more than 400% to $3.23 billion in the period, according to market researcher Mintel. risk sounding like I am a million years old, when did caffeine become so socially acceptable for youth? When I was a kid my folks only let me have soda at parties, and then only one of the little half cans you can rarely even find any more. (Ok, disclaimer, my folks were hippies!) It is hard not to see links to growth in hyperactivity in kids, and also rising anxiety, too. Why isn't there any regulations against this? Or do some people actually consider this healthy?

What do your teens think?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Scrapbooking 2.0

I confess, I've never understood the appeal of scrapbooking, but I do know a lot of people enjoy it. Maybe it would make a good teen program teen program? After reading this article I'm thinking it could be a lot more edgy and interesting that I realized:

Serious Scrap: Enthusiasts come unglued when avant-garde page-maker fails to follow rules

"I, seriously, was like the Lindsay Lohan of scrapbooking," Contes said.

This young scrapbooker gets a lot of grief for using pictures of herself and other non-traditional approaches...I think it is more like she combines scrapbooking with blogging. An interesting read, for sure!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

i-List Party Game - Reviewed!

Reviewed by: Anne Murphy, & Nolan (age 13)

The idea behind this game is simple. Two to four people plug their mp3 players into the console, and race to find songs on their own playlist that match specifications from the card that is drawn from the deck. The person with the most points (one per win) when all the cards have been used wins.

This game has the potential to be a lot of fun, but unfortunately a few issues with game play knocked it down to a mediocre rating from both me and my 13 year old son.

Setup was fairly easy, although a Phillips head screwdriver is required to insert the batteries (or a bit of innovation, I used a small fingernail file to loosen and tighten the screw). Once the batteries are in, the console immediately springs to life and man’s voice begins giving instructions. We plugged our iPods into the console and began playing.

We didn’t formally follow the rules. Instead we just decided to use the blue questions (there are four different colored questions on each card), and try some races. At first things went well, as we were getting the hang of scrolling through our playlists as quickly as possible (not an easy feat – do you look through artists, albums, songs…?). After a few questions, however, the man’s voice on the console became annoyingly repetitive as he barked directions at us each time we pushed a button on the console. Soon we were telling him to “be quiet, we get the picture” etc.

One has to know their music collection pretty well to find songs to answer the questions, and we did enjoy the challenge of trying to remember things about our music.

Then the technical problems set in. Each time you press the start button for a new question, a timer begins as players race to find their song. In theory, as soon as somebody finds a song and presses play, the console begins playing the song out loud so all players can decide if it really “answers” the question. When they hit play, a green light lights up at their station and the rest of the players can no longer affect the console. After working perfectly fine for several songs, the console began lighting up whenever I began to scroll through my playlist, even if I was in artists or albums – thus effectively blocking my son from winning, even though I hadn’t actually chosen a song yet. He suggested that perhaps it had to do with the fact I was using one of the new Nanos, which has very sensitive scrolling. Maybe, but that doesn’t explain why it had worked all right earlier, and then started working properly again a little later. He has an older Nano, and didn’t have the problems I did. Also, sometimes the console would not work at all when we selected a song and pressed play.

I think people can enjoy playing the game, and we did get a lot of laughs over some of our answers and even the barking command voice. However, I believe interest will wane quickly if the technical problems persist for players. For an overall score, I’d only give it 2 ½ stars out of five.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Videogames Expand: A Popular New Phase Of Full-Body Playing

What is up and coming…beyond Rock Band.

know your teen celebrities

I tend to be a bit awful about knowing celebrities in general, and teen ones in particular, so I found this list to be pretty helpful:

Top 20 Tween (and Teen) TV Stars

A quick primer for catching up with who young teens are talking about.