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!