Thursday, December 31, 2009

White Flight Online?

Here is an interesting article (in draft form) by Danah Boyd about the split between Facebook and MySpace by teens depending on race, economics and self-perception.

White Flight

Monday, December 28, 2009

Online Social Networks and Schools

An interesting article about how schools might capitalize on online social networking.

Fifth Period Is Facebook
Why schools should stop blocking social network sites.
By Nicholas Bramble

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Free Scavenger Hunt Reading Program

Author and library lover Kay Cassidy has come up with a fun reading promotion your library can take part in. It is called The Great Scavenger Hunt Contest. 150 YA authors have created trivia questions to go with their books. Teens read the related book, turn in the their answers, and if they get at least 8/10, they are entered in the monthly drawing for a $50 giftcard to the bookstore of their choice.

The list of YA books you can choose from to feature are here.

Looks like a fun and easy way to promote books that might otherwise be sitting neglected on the shelf!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Reaching teens with Ustream?

I came across an interesting article in (part of their European division) about how more bands and DJs are promoting themselves and connecting with their audiences by using the social networking website Ustream.

Set up in the United States by ex-Army officers John Ham, Brad Hunstable and Dr. Gyula Feher in 2006, Ustream was used by soldiers overseas as an alternative to telephone and instant messenger for contacting their families. It’s now an exciting and expanding young business. In less than 2 minutes, this platform can turn the average Joe (or Lucy) into an overnight star with an infinite global audience.

I have a cartoonist friend who for a while did weekly shows where she interviewed her fellow artist friends, and viewers could follow along live, ask questions, and interact with each other in the accompanying chat room that scrolls next to the video box. A moderator can be assigned to kick out obnoxious trolls, and bad words can be blocked.

How could we use such a tool? I really like the idea of doing author interviews. Maybe booktalking? Live coverage of gaming tournaments? What else can you imagine?

Monday, November 9, 2009

stress and teens

Kathleen found this great article that talks about stress in American kids, and how parents may not realize the danger this poses to their health and education:

APA Survey Raises Concern About Parent Perceptions of Children's Stress

Teens and tweens were more likely than parents to say that their stress had
increased in the last year. Nearly half (45 percent) of teens ages 13-17 said
that they worried more this year, but only 28 percent of parents think their
teen's stress increased, and while a quarter (26 percent) of tweens ages 8-12
said they worried more this year, only 17 percent of parents believed their
tween's stress had increased. Similarly, only 2-5 percent of parents rate
their child's stress as extreme (an 8, 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale) when 14
percent of tweens and 28 percent of teens say they worry a lot or a great

What can we do to help with teens and stress? I think the best thing is to let them know they can talk to us when they are feeling overwhelmed, and help them get into a calmer state of mind. But providing them library resources to help them get organized and get things done can't hurt either. Perhaps we could offer a series of stress-busting programs?

What do you think?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What do teens want?

Great article in PW about a survey of teen "uber-readers" from that disseminates what teens want in books and how they relate to literature and the internet in a marketing sense.

"Consistent with our 2005 survey, book copy was the most important factor that would make teens pick up a book. A stunning 91% saw this as the most important influence. The cover was important to 79%. The next most important influence, with 77%, was familiarity with an author's previous work; 74% were looking for the next book in a series. For 73%, the title was important."

It's worth a few moments of your time. Whole article here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Crafts (DIY, Altered Objects, whatever you call them) were so popular this summer, that I've begun to offer them monthly. Not being that much of a crafty person, I've really needed all the help I can get.

Yesterday, I found Threadbanger.
They have crafting instructions, and better yet, video tutorials.

Threadbanger is my new best friend.

Also? We're SO DOING THIS:

My teens wanted to make masquerade masks anyway.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Links & Alliances LGBTQA Youth Conference

Here is an upcoming program you may be interested. Please pass on to any LGBTQA youth you might know. They can attend this for free!

Formed in 1998 to provide support to gay and lesbian youth seeking safer environments in school and the community, the 13th annual Links and Alliances LGBTQA Youth Conference will be held on Saturday November 14th from 11am-7:30pm in Everett Community College’s Parks Student Union, 2000 Tower St. The invitational conference is for youth, parents, educators and community members who serve youth, and will cover issues impacting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth ages 14-20.

The cost is $25 for adults; free for youth age 14-20. Meals are included.

The theme of the conference is Telling Our Stories and is sponsored by EvCC’s Diversity and Equity Center. Snohomish Health District, Compass Health and 22 community agencies from Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom Counties join Everett CC as cosponsors and supporters.

For more information about the Links & Alliances conference, call 425-339-5251 or e-mail or If you work for a youth service agency and would like to reserve a resource table, please call Kelly at 425.339.5241 by November 11.

Keynote speaker will be one of Washington State's six openly LGBT members of the WA State Legislature. Workshops include: OMG! ISO 411 RE: STDs & HIV; Telling OUT Stories; My Life During GLOBE, My Life After GLOBE; Our Lives in Transition; Inner Journey - Stories from Within; Telling Our Stories Through Altoid Art; Youth Groups & GSAs Setting Sail to Change Our World. Free HIV testing offered. Cookies, fruit, drinks, appetizers, dinner and an evening entertainment featuring DJs and a drag show included.

I'll be out of town, but if anyone can attend this I would love to hear a report. I'm quite curious about the Altoid Art ;)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

YALSA: The Library is NOT a Supermarket

There's a great post on the YALSA blog today about teen perception and needs about/from libraries. It reminds me of a lot of the things we talk about in regards to the Teen Project, so it's worth a read:

What makes a library more than a supermarket for teens? Is it:
  • Hours that go beyond the traditional 9 to 5 or 9 to 9 model? Do successful hangout places for teens open early and stay open late?
  • Staff across library departments that is welcoming, interested, and willing to build relationships?
  • Flexible furniture that is easy to move around and that promotes sitting and talking with friends and peers?
  • Space that actually has space for moving around, standing and talking, and even sitting on the floor?
  • More than a collection of books and what’s in the collection (books, media, technology, etc.) is of interest to teens 2009/2010 and not just favorites of current or past librarians, staff, parents, etc.?
  • A place where teens know their ideas are welcome, supported, and even acted upon?
Some of that sounds pretty similar to the service models we've been talking about, doesn't it?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Interesting new Pew Report on Hispanic youth

Another interesting report found by Terry:

The Changing Pathways of Hispanic Youths Into Adulthood,
Richard Fry, Senior Research Associate, Pew Hispanic Center

"Young Latino adults in the United States are more likely to be in school or the work force now than their counterparts were in previous generations. In 1970, 77% of Hispanics ages 16 to 251 were either working, going to school or serving in the military; by 2007, 86% of Latinos in this coming-of-age group were taking part in these skill-building endeavors, according to a comprehensive analysis of four decades of Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center. The growth over time in the share of youths involved in such market-oriented activities is not limited to Latinos. Similar changes have occurred among black and white youths. But the Latino trends are particularly noteworthy because their share of the young adult population has risen so dramatically during this period—to 18% in 2007, more than triple their 5% share in 1970."

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

World Bank Targets Adolescent Girls

Terry shared this intriguing article with me this week:

The World Bank Group will launch The Adolescent Girls Initiative on October 10 with the participation of President Robert B. Zoellick, Nobel Laureate Michael Spence and Nike CEO Mark Parker. This public-private partnership aims to economically empower girls and young women. Three studies on young women and employment will be released in October prior to the launch.

Basically, the idea is that a great way to fight world poverty, is to break the cycle of poverty for girls. Check out the video:

I wonder if there is any way we could do related programs in our libraries? And why is it we rarely hear talk about breaking the cycle of poverty in our own communities?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Zombie fun for game days?

One of my teens brought this to one of our recent Teen Gaming programs. Last Night on Earth is a zombie-themed board game where each player takes on the role of a small town archetype in order to survive the zombie hordes now spilling through town. Rules are simple and intuitive, games can last from 20 minutes to an hour or more, and it was really a LOT of fun.

One of my teens, who had brought his XBox 360 and a copy of Left 4 Dead discarded his controller to play the game and on the edge of his seat the entire time. I belive the word "Epic" was used at least a dozen times.

I have offered Monopoly, Apples to Apples, Cranium, and Settlers of Catan at Teen Gaming and never gotten this type of enthusiastic response for a board game. Based on that I purchased a copy for use in both Teen Gaming programs as well as our Zombie Survival program coming up in October.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Teens coming out in middle school.

The New York Times has an excellent article about teens coming out in middle school, how things have changed, and what remains challenging for them:

Coming Out in Middle School
Published: September 23, 2009

“When I first realized I was gay,” Austin interjected, “I just assumed I would hide it and be miserable for the rest of my life. But then I said, ‘O.K., wait, I don’t want to hide this and be miserable my whole life.’ ”

What has changed, that more kids are coming out at a younger age?

Not only were there increasingly accurate and positive portrayals of gays and lesbians in popular culture, but most teenagers were by then regular Internet users. Going online broke through the isolation that had been a hallmark of being young and gay, and it allowed gay teenagers to find information to refute what their families or churches sometimes still told them — namely, that they would never find happiness and love.

A humorous moment of frustration for one boy:

“It’s not like I have a lot of options anyway,” he said, echoing what I would go on to hear from many gay middle-schoolers. “I like guys who are nice and caring and don’t act like jerks to everyone. But this is middle school, where guys think it’s funny to pick their nose and fart really loud and laugh.”

One thing I found particularly interesting is how many adults instantly think coming out or having a Gay-Straight Alliance at a school is somehow about sex, but for the most part these kids are pretty innocent. For them it is about being comfortable and honest about who you are, and being able to talk openly about themselves, their hopes and dreams. Which is what I would want for any middle school kid.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Book Talks

As promised, here are the book talks from the Teen Contacts meeting.

Project Sweet Life by Brent Hartinger
Dave and his friends Victor and Curtis, turned 15 this year, which means they can get summer jobs. But everyone knows that once you start working at 16 (not 15), you are expected to keep working until you retire. So, they consider this summer their last summer of freedom...

Until their dads tell them they have no choice. And what will three teenage boys do to get out of having an "optional" summer job?

Pretty much anything.

They decide NOT to get jobs. Oh, they tell their families that they have jobs, even though they don't. And to prove to their suspicious dads that they have jobs, they'll get the money they would have earned (about $7,000) some other way...leaving the rest of the summer open for fun. And so, Project Sweet Life began.

Will the boys earn the money? Can they keep it secret from their families all summer? Read Project Sweet Life and find out.

Strange Angels - Lili St. Crow
What would you do if your dad, who went hunting a few nights ago and never came home, returned as a zombie and attacked you?

Yeah, it really sucks having to kill your own dad.

Dru Anderson has always known about the zombies, suckers, wulfen, and other things that go bump in the night...or, the "Real World," as she calls it. Ever since her mom's death, Dru and her dad have hunted the bad things most people don't know about.

But now sh
e's all alone. Except for her Goth friend Graves, who gave her a place to stay, she doesn't know anyone in the area. Now they are the ones being hunted. And Dru must learn more about who she is and what she can do if they hope to survive long enough to get out of town alive.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Conflux Festival - fun tech ideas

Penni sent me a link to this article about a cool arts and technology festival in New York City:

Conflux Festival Turns New York Into a Digital Playground
By Jenna Wortham
September 18, 2009

Folks are doing lots of imaginative and fun things with technology for this including:

* using iPhones to play virtual golf around the city
* The Urban Disorientation Game: Players are challenged to find their way back to the headquarters after being blindfolded and driven to remote parts of the city. Players will be asked to create maps and explore their surroundings as they make their way back to the starting point.
* Human Scale Chess Game
* IPhone Drum Circle

I don't imagine many of our teens have iPhones, but what sorts of fun and challenging events can we come up with that use the technology they do have access to? I've already gotten requests for more game tournaments and digital photography scavenger hunts. I'd love to see some innovative ideas for Teen Tech Month. The YALSA theme is Learn, Create, Share @ your library. What could we do that would help teens learn new skills, create cools stuff and show it off through our website?

Friday, September 18, 2009

virtual author visits

Interested in having an author interact with your teen group, but don't have the big bucks to spend on getting them to fly in? Consider using the internet! Jackie from Lynnwood found this great article on having virtual author visits using Skype.

Met Any Good Authors Lately? Classroom author visits can happen via Skype
By Kate Messner -- School Library Journal, 8/1/2009

Includes a list of those who do it for free!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More on gangs...

Gang graffiti in Mountlake Terrace

First, I want to thank Dawn for arranging Heidi's presentation about gangs today. Even though we don't have as much of a problem on the island, I think it's important to be aware of the signs. Especially in Oak Harbor, I think there are a lot of teens that might find the gang lifestyle enticing.

The various signs and symbols got me thinking about some things I've seen a couple of kids drawing when I let them write on the white board, and I set off on a search to try and find reference to it on the internet. No luck yet, but I did run across a couple of things I wanted to share with you all.

Northwest Gangs - a resource specific to gang activity in the northwest. Be sure to visit the Flickr site that goes along with this resource. He's got a lot of pictures of graffiti and symbols from all over Washington.

I'm still looking for my particular symbol...

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Last month Dawn sent me the ARC of Scott Westerfeld's new book Leviathan, with the promise that I'd blog about it on one of the blogs within 30 days. I believe today is exactly 30 days from that offer - I actually thought I'd missed it by a day or two. Whew!


Leviathan seems to be getting some pretty good hype, what with the book trailer and release of illustrations ahead of the book release date. It's a new direction for Scott Westerfeld, away from the contemporary or futuristic books he's already written. That's something I like about Westerfeld's books and series - the fact that they're all different from each other.

So - how does Leviathan stack up to his other work? I've read So Yesterday, Uglies, and the first Midnighters so can't compare it to everything he's written. But I think it holds up well - I really liked it. I will admit that I'm already a fan of the Steampunk genre, so that might bias my opinion a bit. Just a bit. And I'm becoming more and more fond of alternate history tales as well - which of course could bias me a bit further.

The premise of the story - the leadup to WWI - is accurate to some degree but this of course is where Westerfeld tweaks history and runs with it. The Austrio-German side are the "Clankers" - reliant on metal, engines, and machinery, including walkers with varying numbers of legs and big guns. The British allies are referred to as "Darwinists" and have developed their vehicles and weaponry through the combination of biological creatures. Each force is formidable in its own right.

The main characters are believable and decently fleshed out, and I found them likeable. Alex, the Austrian prince who has been forced to flee after the assassination of his parents, has a few appropriately snotty royal moments but also learns from his mistakes and has compassion. Deryn, the young Scottish girl masquerading as a boy so that she can become a soldier and fly on the airships, is tenacious and spunky.

The tale is full of action from the beginning. There are chases, battles, and plenty of close calls for Alex and Deryn as their paths draw closer and closer together. By the end of it, I was grumbling that now I'm going to have to wait who knows how long for the next book!

Who should you recommend this book to? I think there will be a certain number of Westerfeld fans that will read it just because it's him, though it's possible not all of them will like this departure into the past. Teens who enjoyed Kenneth Oppel's Airborn series or Philip Reeve's Hungry City Chronicles will be certain to enjoy Leviathan. I would not hesitate to recommend it to both boys and girls, but overall I think the book may appeala bit more to boys.

Looks like I only need to wait a year for the next installment... better get going on those Mock Printz books!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

books game?

Books being made into video games is nothing new. Lord of the Rings, Nancy Drew, Where's Waldo and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are just a few. But I confess, I was surprised to see that the Clique is being made into a game. From the Warner Brothers press release:

In The Clique: Diss and Make Up players are immersed in the fabulous world of "The Clique," complete with fun fashions, cool classes, after school 'Jobbies' and, of course, all the latest gossip. Players can take teen gossip to a new hi-tech level by wirelessly connecting with their real-life clique using BFF mode. This mode enables two players to trade character information and send messages – all while unlocking secret gossip in the game.

I know there has been a lot of talk over the years about making more games that appeal to girls, but focusing one around gossip and struggling to get popular, I find it a rather depressing. But on the other hand, multimedia tie-ins are so natural for this generation who don't view it as a sell out or commercialization of their favorite books, but a way to enjoy them further.

What do you think?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Discussing the Pew report on teen cell phone use

Terry sent out this report the other day:

Teens and Mobile Phones Over the Past Five Years: Pew Internet Looks Back, August 2009:

Teenagers have previously lagged behind adults in their ownership of cell phones, but several years of survey data collected by the Pew Internet & American Life Project show that those ages 12-17 are closing the gap in cell phone ownership. The Project first began surveying teenagers about their mobile phones in its 2004 Teens and Parents project when a survey showed that 45% of teens had a cell phone. Since that time, mobile phone use has climbed steadily among teens ages 12 to 17 – to 63% in fall of 2006 to 71% in early 2008. In comparison, 77% of all adults (and 88% of parents) had a cell phone or other mobile device at a similar point in 2008.

Reading through it, at first I felt there were really no surprises. But then I came to this line:

Internet users are more likely than non-users to have a cell phone; however half of teens who do not go online do own a mobile phone.

And I thought, "who are these teens who do not go online?" and suddenly I was hit by one of my own poor assumptions. In my mind, ALL teens go online! And when we are concerned about reaching teens using the technology they are using it is easy to hear generalizations like "teens love to text!" and assume that is where we need to go to reach them all. But according to this report, only 2 in 5 teens text at least daily. These kids who are so dialed in, are they the ones we need to be working hard to get connected to libraries? Or should we be reminding ourselves to reach out to those on the other side of the digital divide?


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Understanding the Mysteries of Teenage Brain

Recently I attended a great training with Victoria Tennant on Understanding the Mysteries of the Teenage Brain. I though it was just terrific and have arranged to have it offered to staff at Sno-Isle. This workshop is for any library staff working directly with the teen population. You will improve your communication and community building between you and the teen customers and create a greater sense of confidence working with them.

The workshop will take place Tuesday November 3rd at the Service Center. Please submit a Continuing Education application to reserve your is limited!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

boys and books, revisited

The debate on what it takes to get boys to read (with the assumption they aren't reading enough) goes on. A school librarian in School Library Journal recently made the statement that we need more books with boy protagonists, and that "lots of books with female characters aren't really about being female. In fact, in many cases, the main characters could just as easily have been males—and that would make my job a lot easier". She sights Siberia as an example.

Over on MSN's Mom and Pop Culture page (a cleverly titled blog for parents about pop culture), Martha Brockenbrough argues that "
But the problem isn't the books, it's the way we're raising our boys. If they aren't willing to read about girls, and if we're indulging that sort of nonsense, then we are raising boys who will have a hard time functioning in a world where girls play serious roles. In other words, the real world."

What do you think? Should authors be writing fewer books staring girls? Or should we stop just accepting that boys are less inclined to read about girls, and start actively encouraging them to get over themselves?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dawson Place - help for violated teens

I recently went to a meeting where there was a speaker from Dawson Place, which is a child advocacy center in Everett, WA. It is a partnership between the Division of Children and Family Services, Providence Intervention Center for Assault and Abuse, Compass Health, law enforcement agencies of Snohomish County and the Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. These partners work together to provide all the services a child or teen who has suffered from abuse or an assault, to make the care and reporting experience as trauma free as possible. Most importantly, they provide a 24-hour crisis line that can help connect kids to the care they need. If you know any teens who mention current (or anything from the past few years) abuse or assults, please encourage them to contact Dawson Place. These folks know what they are doing, and are a vital resource for our community you should know about. Plus, they have an adorable service dogs on staff (Stilston, seen above) to help relax and distract distressed kids. Tours of the facility can be arranged for adults who work with youth who want to see where they will be refering them.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Neilsen Company reports on teens and media

re-posted from the Collection Developments blog:

Neilsen Company reports on teens and media

Posted: 26 Jun 2009 09:00 AM PDT

The Nielsen Company published an in-depth report on how teenagers use media — the myths and realities of teen media trends. They look at how teens use: TV, online and mobile video, Internet, mobile phones, games, movies, music and advertising.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype around teenagers. The notion that teens are too busy texting and Twittering to be engaged with traditional media is exciting, but false.

This report will make you reconsider your preconceived notions about what teens are doing.

via PW Children’s Bookshelf, June 25, 2009

posting by Lorraine

easy September program idea: Talk Like a Pirate!

Looking for a easy, silly fun program idea for that busy back-to-school month between Teen Summer Reading and Teen Read Month? Talk Like a Pirate Day is September 19th!

Find out how other people celebrated last year, or just get some pirate advice. Perhaps you could have a program on tying knots, show Pirates of the Caribbean, or find a local history expert to talk about our own pirate history. Or maybe get some of the Seafair crew? Looks like The Seattle Knights has a pirate division now, too!

Monday, June 29, 2009

sad study on teens & death

I know teens love love love books about death and dying, but I had no idea how many believe they will die young!

Many Teens Expect To Die Young

Writing in the journal Pediatrics, Dr. Iris Borowsky of the University of Minnesota Medical School, and colleagues studied data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which involves more than 20,000 teens from grades 7 through 12.

They found that almost 15 percent of adolescents believed they had a 50/50 chance at best of living to see their 35th birthday.

Wow! The article goes on to talk about this is why so many teens engage in risky behavior...they are literally hopeless. So sad.

How do you think books about death and dying help teens with these worries/fears/hopelessness? What are some of your favorites?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

new trend in hip hop

Being a middle aged librarian, I find it sometimes challenging to stay up on teen music trends, so I'm always delighted when someone exposes me to some fresh beats before they've already grown old.

Anne directed me to this great article (just posted last week) about a new trend in hip hop: jerk culture.

Jerky boys and girls: New Boyz, Rej3ctz and more lead a new youth movement

Jerk dancing has apparently been around for a while, but dance trends without musical backup tend to die quickly. This appears to be fresh and fun, embraced by teens in L.A., and has its own new look...think 80s tight jeans and patterned pants, with fitted baseball caps.

I'm especially smitten with the fact that these kids are confident enough to sport Sesame Street hats! I know my brother would love the Elmo one. Me, I'm leaning towards Cookie Monster .

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

new approach to bullying prevention

The New York Times has an interesting article this week on new approaches to treating bullying - as a pediatric health problem.

At Last, Facing Down Bullies (and Their Enablers)
By Perri Klass, M.D.

In recent years, pediatricians and researchers in this country have been giving bullies and their victims the attention they have long deserved — and have long received in Europe. We’ve gotten past the “kids will be kids” notion that bullying is a normal part of childhood or the prelude to a successful life strategy. Research has described long-term risks — not just to victims, who may be more likely than their peers to experience depression and suicidal thoughts, but to the bullies themselves, who are less likely to finish school or hold down a job.

The article goes on to suggest that pediatricians be in contact with school principals when the become aware of problems, that a zero tolerance policy be in place in schools, and that youths are educated that "the bully is someone who has a problem managing his or her behavior, and the victim is someone they can protect." I love this theory of "activating the bystanders" as they call it, but which is in a way nothing more than the sort of extensive community partnering our libraries are striving to achieve...increasing communication, awareness and participation of teens and those who work with them for the good of all.

What can we as libraries do to prevent bullying? The most important thing is to have a zero tolerance policy ourselves. I try to be consistent about tolerating no roughhousing or name calling - no matter how jokey or friendly it might seem, we cannot gauge of the true hurtfulness. By not putting up with any of it, we create an atmosphere of respect and safety that makes it easier to spot truly problematic behavior. When disturbing patterns then can be seen, talk to school contacts to get information and help them see a bigger picture of their charges. Libraries are so extremely careful about always protecting identity of our patrons, I was surprised to discover school police officers and counselors are often quite willing to discuss behavior issues of specific students for the purpose of helping them. The more consistently issues can be address within the community, the better it is for teens, and for all of us.

Friday, June 5, 2009

"It's All about the Teen"

It's a great article in PW, covering a panel that happened at BEA. It's absolutely worth a read.

Here's an excerpt to whet your appetite:

"Debraski mentioned that sometimes programs are a flop, but you’ve got to keep on trying. Her experience in programming has given her the knowledge that “no one program fits all.” She emphasized the fact that some programs, like crafting and gaming, may seem like they aren’t related to libraries in a direct way, but in actuality, they are. “It’s all about making a connection with the teens. They’ve got to know that the library is a fun place to be,” she said."

Thursday, June 4, 2009

What do librarians wish teachers knew about the library?

Abby (the) Librarian has a great blog post to teachers, letting them know what librarians wish teachers knew about public libraries:

  • We would love to know about your assignments ahead of time.
  • We appreciate when you make sure there are resources available before giving your students an assignment.
  • Other teachers in your school (and in other schools) might be doing the same units that you are.
  • There are lots of different book-leveling systems.
  • We are happy to have your class visit, and your visit will be better if we know you are coming (and when and for what purpose).
  • We need your help to promote our programs over the summer and during the school year.
  • We'd love a copy of your summer reading list.
  • The public library may have more freedom to buy materials that aren't approved by the school board.
  • Many libraries offer teacher cards or school loan programs.
Here is the full article, which expands on all these ideas. Good talking points for sharing what we do when you reconnect with teachers in the fall!

What would you add?

Friday, May 29, 2009

program ideas from Sakura-Con

Hello everyone,

Anne and I attended Sakura-Con way back on April 12th, and I've been meaning to share a bit of that experience, but couldn't think of the right way to approach the random information. And then I was thinking of ways to improve this blog, and realized this was a perfect place to download this sort of info. Especially after I spent a little time yesterday playing with the Flip video camera software and made a tiny movie with the footage we shot there!

Sakura-Con is all about celebrating anime and manga, plus the culture that surrounds them. I went with the main objective of coming up with programming ideas. I contacted a number of young artists, and unfortunately did not find many who were excited about teaching classes at the library (most were sweetly quite shy and inexperience in dealing with the public). Here are a few possibilities:

Elie and Rae - Above*Rain are based out of Lake Stevens.
Rebecca Barnes - Washington state - Bluessence
Rich Schleifer - Schleifer Studios - Bothell

Costumes are a huge part of Sakura-Con! One of my favorite parts was when they would have Cosplay photo gatherings scheduled, so kids who dressed as characters from the same anime would come together in one big group for photo ops. (Anne always has great photos). Probably wouldn't work as a library program, but maybe a cosplay party?

We attended an awesome Gothic Lolita fashion show, and afterwards I spoke to the presenter, Aimee Skeers, who said she would be willing to do her PowerPoint at a library for a program, and might be able to get her Lolita group to do meet-up as part of the program. (She is part of a Lolita convention in Bellevue this August) My idea is that the library could throw a tea party for them and the teens who attend. Could be fun!

I learned from the Seattle branch of the Consulate-General of Japan about the JET (Japanese Exchange and Teaching) program. They are very excited to promote this if you would like to have a program where teens and young adults can learn about the JET program. Contact Lynn at for more information.

Another organization that might be worth talking to about doing something in the library is the Japan-America Society. They have a Japan in a Suitcase program they offer for young elementary school students, and Japanese Language and Culture Visits they do for secondary school students. Perhaps they could do a mini-immersion program for your anime group, or as a program?

Another both I checked out where the folks seemed interested in doing programs at the library was Tsubomi Seishin Kan Dojo - Japanese Martial Arts & Culture. They are located in both Shoreline and Everett adn teach Aikido and Iaido (Japanese swordsmanship!) They are part of the PNBA (Pacific Northwest Budo Association) who coordinates instructional programs on Japanese language and culture, including meditation, calligraphy, bonsai, flower arranging and tea ceremonies!

One final program idea that would be cheap and fun is to have a classic console gaming night. Borrow ancient Atari 2600, Nintendo 64, etc...from your staff and friends and let the teens experience the glory that is old school video gaming!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

tattoo contest for teens?

This is a fresh idea I saw on GNLIB, from Susan Bohn of Hononegah High School :

Our high school library has a library advisory group and they help me plan events for the library. We recently had "ani-May-nia" and one part of the program was a drawing contest. The students submitted drawings inspired by their favorite manga characters and the kids at the program voted for their favorite. I had them turn in their entries prior to the day of the program so I could scan them and make them into temporary tattoos which we scattered on the tables for the kids to take during the program. The tattoo paper I used was a "laser temporary tattoo paper kit" by It costs $11.89 for a pack of 5 sheets. You need a color laser printer to print them. I used five sheets and made 125 tattoos, so the kids could take several. Our students really like contests--drawing contests, trivia contests, etc. This was a fun way to use the entries from the drawing contest and give something to everyone who came.

Pretty neat, eh?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Some display ideas for teen summer reading

I came across a very cool PowerPoint today by by Valerie Voss of Tulare County Library, in which she shares some great ideas for Express Yourself @ the Library. Though it may be too late to add any of these things as programs, you could incorporate a few of the ideas in to displays or local contests at your branch:
  • Your Life in Six Words
  • One/Two Minute Video Poetry Slams
  • Teen photo display (found photo collage or teen art)
  • Mail art (exchange with other branches?)
  • Express Your Secret @ the Library (PostSecret type display)
Wish I had found this sooner...some really cool ideas!

Thursday, April 30, 2009


Jonalyn forwarded me this awesome video today:

I'm very impressed with many things about what they are doing here. Especially departing from library lingo to make something new, hiring teens to help monitor and develop successful programming and spaces, and focusing on "user driven innovation". Plus, I really want a Infamous for Information caravan to showcase our stuff at local events!

Here is some further documentation (in English) about Mindspot (not). May I say, wow?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Free Poster?

For those of you who missed the ad in today's (this week's?) Unshelved:

Macmillan is offering a free 2-sided "teen reads" poster.

Looks, as my mom would say, snazzy. In fact, I should probably send the link to her...(she's a high school librarian, after all.)

I've ordered one.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Changes Parent Support Network

Another local resource well worth knowing about is the Changes Parent Support Network. They offer free ongoing peer support meetings to parents and guardians of acting out or self destructive teens and young adults in Snohomish County. Meetings happen every Thursday evening from 7-9:30 at the Family Tree Apt. Complex community room - 10110 19th Ave. SE Everett WA 98208. Please share with parents in need!

Getting crafty

Looking for fun project ideas for teen programs, or just yourself? Here are some of my favorite magazines/sites to browse:

Craft: the first project based magazine dedicated to the renaissance in the world of crafts.
Slightly geekier than the typical Michael's crafts crowd.

Make: technology on your time
Tech geek version of Craft.

ReadyMade: Instructions for Everyday Life
Very hip, environmentally conscious, and grades projects by difficulty and cost.
I love this incredibly simple project!: Photo Ops

Instructables: Make, How to, and DIY
People post their own how to instructions for more things than you can imagine!

Where do you go for how-to inspiration?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Helping hurting teens

So often when a teen loses a friend, or it witness to a violent crime, it is difficult for us as adults to know how to best help them grieve. We may not realize that some of their behaviors indicate that they still need more time and assistance to cope with this dramatic change in their lives. Even if their friend is still alive, they are changed, and either way the loss is hard, especially when you are already dealing with the challenges of teen life.

Happily, there is a local organization we can refer teens to when they are struggling with these difficult problems beyond our professional skills. Friends and Family of Violent Crime Victims is a group located out of Everett that is here to help both teens and adults who have suffered a loss or trauma, or are friends with someone who has and need help dealing.

And now they are starting up support groups for teens. To find out more, or refer a teen in need, call Nancy at 425.252.6081 or 1.800.346.7555.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Maggots in your nose? No thanks!

Today the YALSA blog featured a post on Smoking Smarties referring to this New York Times article:

Just Say Smarties? Faux Smoking Has Parents Fuming
Crush Candy, Suck In Dust, Blow Out Puffs; Schools Fear It'll Make Cigarettes Cool

Apparently this is a trend somewhere...hard to say if it is widespread or if the media is just blowing it up. Teens crush up Smarties and pretend the dust is smoke. Or snort them, in a clear reference to hard core drugs. Some teens argue it is a healthy alternative to smoking/drugs, and of course parents/school/doctors are freaking out. Seems to me this should be enough to dissuade any reasonable teen:

Oren Friedman, a Mayo Clinic nose specialist, cautioned that frequent use could lead to infections or even worse, albeit rare, conditions, such as maggots that feed on sugary dust wedged inside the nose.


But is this really about reasonable teens? Or is it just those kids who are trying to get a rise out of adults. I remember obnoxious peers doing similar things with crushed up Cheetos/candy/sugar packets when I was a teen. Is this really a threat to society? Or just another case of teens successfully freaking out adults over nothing?

If nothing else, it can be a great conversation starter with teens in your library!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Teen dating violence - in the news, and in books.

I was disturbed to read this article yesterday:

Teenage Girls Stand by Their Man
IN the hallway of Hostos-Lincoln Academy in the Bronx this week, two ninth-grade girls discussed the pop singer Chris Brown, 19, who faces two felony charges for allegedly beating his girlfriend, the pop singer Rihanna, 21. At first, neither girl had believed Mr. Brown, an endearing crooner, could have done such a thing. Two fans show their support for Chris Brown outside the courthouse in Los Angeles. Readers' “I thought she was lying, or that the tabloids were making it up,” one girl said. Even after they saw a photo of Rihanna’s bloodied, bruised face, which had raced across the Internet, they still defended Mr. Brown. “She probably made him mad for him to react like that,” the other ninth grader said. “You know, like, bring it on?”

I'm absolutely horrified by the onslaught of support teens are showing for this violent behavior, and how willing they are to blame the victim. The Times article supplies some good links, some of which I'm adding to our Sno-Isle Teens page. But I would like to do a booklist on this sadly timely topic too. What books would you include on a teen dating violence booklist?

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Ok, so I've known about this organization for a while now, but only recently have I really taken a good look at their website. The have a whole page for grades 6-8 and another for 9-12. The coolest thing? The podcasts. Which also have their own page, and is currently featuring a great interview with Laurie Halse Anderson (who will be in Seattle at the Ballard Branch on March 24th! I can't go, since I'll be visiting my brother in D.C., but you totally should!).

It's primarily designed for teachers, but I get a kick out of podcasts, so I thought I'd share.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Very cool TTW program

Johnson County Library (in Kansas) has a very cool Teen Tech Week program on their website: Teen Tech Bingo!

Want to experiment with some cool Web sites? Try out the activities below. Complete any five of the challenges and you will be entered in to a drawing to win tech gift cards from local businesses. Once you have completed your five challenges, submit them with any links to your work to let us share them on JoCoTeenscene. For every five challenges you complete, your name will be put into the drawing. Go for a blackout, completing all the challenges, and increase your chances of winning.

How great is that? I totally want to steal this idea next year :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

28 Days of Advocacy

Over at the YALSA blog, they have been doing a full months worth of sharing ideas on how we can all be better advocates for teens:
Topics on the advocacy schedule for this month include:
  • ALA advocacy tools
  • Why advocacy is important
  • Everyday advocacy in the school library
  • Why advocacy should be part of a teen librarian’s job description
  • Creating Partnerships
  • And more
We hope these posts will help readers to become better advocates in their own libraries and also help to spread the word about why advocating for teens and libraries is important.

Much of this you may already know, but there are lots of great fresh little ideas there to check out, too!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Audiobooks are hot!

The Audio Publishers Association released the results of their 2008 consumer survey, and the results are pretty exciting:

28% of adults responding to survey listened to an audiobook last year.
53% of teens have listened to an audiobook.
52% of people aged 18-24 listen to audiobooks.
63% of children listen to audiobooks.

I'm a little skeptical of the reach of this survey, but as a long time audiobook fan (I depend on them for my commute!) I believe they are getting more popular...especially since you can now easily download them to portable players.

What are some of your favorite recent listens?

I've really enjoyed these recordings for teens:

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Terrier: Beka Cooper by Tamora Pierce

And for adults:

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver
The Deportees & Other Stories by Roddy Doyle
The Devil in the White City : Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The 2009 Rainbow List

From the ALSC blog:

"The Rainbow Project announced the 2009 Rainbow List, a joint undertaking of the American Library Association’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Round Table and Social Responsibilities Round Table. Featuring well-written and/or well-illustrated titles with authentic and significant gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered/queer/questioning (glbtq) content for youth from birth through age 18, this year’s bibliography presents 34 outstanding titles, published in the last eighteen months and representing a broad range of glbtq experience...

Four titles stood out to the selection committee as especially deserving of recognition for their characters, stories, and quality of writing and/or illustration:

  1. Down to the Bone by Mayra Lazara Dole (first novel)

  2. 10,000 Dresses written by Marcus Ewert and illustrated by Rex Ray (first picture book)

  3. Last Exit to Normal by Michael Harmon

  4. Skim by Mariko Tamaki (text) and Jillian Tamaki (artwork)

Read the whole list here.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Facebook tips for Parents?

What a great idea for a class this is:

Stanford class to help parents be better Facebook friends with their kids
Eric Eldon | February 2nd, 2009

In the class, parents will learn how to talk with their kids about practical aspects of using the site, like the long-term risks of publishing embarrasing photos (college admissions counselors might see them one day), or the benefits of letting friends comment on drafts of class essays.

What a great way for parents to get comfortable with technology, understand what they need to know to guide their kids, and really connect with them better. I love it!

Anyone want to teach it at Sno-Isle?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

thinking about using Twitter to reach out to patrons?

snoisleteens is getting ready to launch our trial Twitter site. Some other libraries are already doing this.

Here is a great blog post about using Twitter effectively and entertainingly for libraries.

Making a good combo of funny and informative seems to be the trick!

What would you like to see?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Fresh new article on the teen brain

From the YALSA blog:

"U.S. News and World Report
followed up on their 1999 article “Inside the Teen Brain” with a feature titled “Deploying the Amazing Power of the Teen Brain” that reports on a Duke University program designed to empower teens to use their brains. The article covers basic brain changes, other factors for teen behavior and a quiz you can take to see how much you know about the adolescent brain.

A little understanding goes a long way in coping with unwanted teen behavior; for example, knowing that teens are more likely to react to your emotion than to your words serves as a reminder to librarians to stay calm, and take stock of your tone of voice and body language, not just what you say, when working with teens — they may be reacting to cues you send out, not to what you say."