Name:  Canva
Cost:  Free

Platform:  iPad

Canva app icon

Graphic design is a tricky business, and one that many of us don’t realize is part of our job description until we’re faced with a blank document and a list of almost-but-not-quite-right font choices.   Canva, a free, web-based application that lets you easily produce professional-looking designs, made this part of the job much easier for me when it debuted over a year ago.  Now, with the introduction of the iPad app, the possibilities are both endless and mobile.

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Halloween is this week. Isn’t that nuts?  I’ve had kids in my department for weeks, asking for Halloween books, for ghost stories, for scary stories.

And then there are the kids that want something maybe creepy, maybe suspenseful but “not SCARY scary.” I love these kids.  These kids are my kindred spirits because I hate being scared. I can’t watch a horror movie and I never read a Goosebumps book when i was younger. But I do enjoy suspense and a little gloom.  Take a look at these books for your kids who want to have some Halloween reading but want to be able to sleep at night:

Source: Goodreads

The Theodosia Throckmorton series by R.L. LaFevers: Theodosia can see curses and get rid of them. This comes in handy as her parents work in a museum and there are artifacts with curses everywhere.  This is a fantasy adventure and though there are some creepy parts, it’s mainly pure fun as Theo tries to save Britain from ancient Egyptian curses.  There are four of these.

Source: Goodreads

Constable and Toop by Gareth P. Jones.  This British import has some scary and violent parts, but for the most part it’s a…funny ghost story. A funny ghost story! I love it! Something weird is happening with London’s ghost and a paper-pusher from the Ghost Bureau is sent to investigate.

Source: Goodreads

Ah, the original hilariously macabre story.  This one is a bit gruesome (I mean, it’s Roald Dahl, right?), and features a whole lot of nasty witches, transforming into mice, and a conclusion that will make some grownups uncomfortable.  But it’s not terrifying; it’s actually pretty satisfying. I reread this one recently and it holds up splendidly. No nightmares, just cringes of disgust and laughter.

BONUS: Funnies!!

Source: Goodreads

Ok, maybe this one skews a little young, but even my older teens love these.  There’s a nostalgia aspect, plus, the ridiculous nature of all the horrible happenings to the Baudelaires is hard to resist.

Happy Halloween to you and all of your patrons of varying reading interests!

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Our cross-poster from ALSC today is Ally Watkins (@aswatki1). Ally is a youth services librarian in Mississippi, and has worked with ages birth-18 for the last 5 years.

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform. This week we’re looking at ways libraries can use Instagram to market services. As librarians, we know that we provide our communities with so more than books, but how can we show patrons everything we have to offer? From audio books to online materials and wireless printing to smiling faces at the Information Desk, here’s a few ways to get that information out there. The key to this week’s installment is reading the captions — there are many different approaches libraries can take.

Have you come across a related Instagram post this week, or has your library posted something similar? Have a topic you’d like to see in the next installment of Instagram of the Week? Share it in the comments section of this post.

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From Open Clip Art

From Open Clip Art

The Afterschool Alliance just published a study regarding after school programs in the United States. This is the third study of its kind, following in the results from the 2004 and 2009 studies. The group wants to document where and how children spend their time between 3 and 6 PM. The previous studies, along with this one, show that there is a demand for after school programs.  However, more programming is needed to help reach the approximately 11.3 million children who are unsupervised after school.

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After the publication of a recent School Library Journal article, I had the pleasure of speaking with three members of ALA’s REFORMA about the group’s Children in Crisis Project.  Oralia Garza de Cortes and Patrick Sullivan spearheaded the project and we were also joined by Silvia Cisneros, current REFORMA President.  Cisneros had made a donation drop off at the McAllen, TX detention center on September 10th.

Silvia Cisneros

Silvia Cisneros with donation drop off at McAllen. 

I asked the trio about how easy is it to make a donation or offer support to the refugee children being held in these centers.  All of them very quickly noted the level of difficulty; contracted defense workers will not allow the general public any individual contact with the children.  Health and Human Services are allowed to accept two types of donations: blankets and books.  As library workers we know the benefit of personal touch, but at the centers this is not an option.  Cisneros notes that during her drop-off visit she delivered 225 books and these were received by Border Patrol Processing.   A second donation drop-off occurred on October 17th at the Karnes City, TX distribution center.

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The YALSA Wiki is one of the many web resources available to members. While it’s a great passive source of information, one of the assets of a Wiki is that anyone can edit its pages. YALSA and the Website Advisory Board call upon you (yes, you!) to share your knowledge and add content to the YALSA Wiki on Wednesday, October 29, International Internet Day.

We have identified several Wiki pages that could use some success stories, anecdotes, or other member input. All you need to do is create a Wiki account and edit! Don’t worry about messing anything up. Revisions are tracked and committee members will be cleaning up formatting as needed.

The following pages could particularly use some content from YALSA members or others with appropriate knowledge:

If you’ve never edited a Wiki page before, we’ve put together some instructions to get you started.

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2048
Title: 2048
Cost: Free
Platform: iOS and Android

2048 may be 2 to the eleventh power, but it’s also the name of a game I have noticed a lot of people playing lately. It’s based on a paid game, Threes!, which has won numerous game design awards, but the story behind 2048 involves a teen game developer, Gabriele Cirulli who tackled the design as a weekend project then released the game as open-source so that anyone can use the code behind it to build their own versions. You can play through a browser as well.

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Every day, you find ways to connect teens with the resources they need and want. Now it’s time to share your experiences and ideas with librarians, educators, researchers, young adult authors and other teen advocates at YALSA’s first expanded symposium.

YALSA is currently seeking program proposals and paper presentations for its 2015 Young Adult Services Symposium, Bringing it All Together: Connecting Libraries, Teens & Communities, to be held Nov. 6-8, 2015, in Portland, Ore.

The 2015 theme addresses the key role of connection that librarians have for the teens in their community.

Today’s 21st century teens have unique needs and face significant challenges that they cannot deal with successfully on their own. Library staff are uniquely positioned to help teens by not only connecting them to resources in the library and their hometown, but also to resources from affinity communities that thrive online. How can library staff connect with partners, provide programming, enhance collections, and help teens build both print and digital literacy skills so that they can be successful in the future? How can library staff connect with colleagues to form personal learning networks, increase impact and tell their stories? Join YALSA as we explore how to connect teens to their community and beyond.

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