Word to the Wise

Do you own your domain name? A church in Maine thought they did when they switched Internet providers. Their mistake allowed a gay porn site to squat on their URL. This is reportedly common for churches, but just a word to the wise to be aware of this possible problem.

Showcase your work with teens at AASL’s Conference

AASL is holding their 13th National Conference & Exhibition October 25-28, 2007 in Reno, Nevada. Please consider submitting an Exploratorium proposal to showcase the work you and/or your YALSA member group does for teens, especially in the areas of technology and/or reading promotion. Proposals are due March 30, 2007. Learn the details here. If you do submit a proposal, please let the YALSA office know so we can help spread the word.

The AASL 2007 National Conference theme is “the Future Begins @ your library.” The Exploratorium (Thursday, October 25, 2007) is a two-hour session consisting of learning stations where participants can browse at their own pace, spending as much or as little time at each station as they wish. All presenters will be supplied with a table, chair, display boards (upon request) and access to electricity (upon request). AV equipment such as projection screens, LCD projectors, etc., will not be furnished. Paper handouts are the responsibility of the presenter, however we encourage presenters to make their handouts available on the AASL National Conference Web site. All Exploratorium presentations should encourage participants to meet and interact with presenters.

The Exploratorium is an opportunity to showcase best practices. Proposals will be accepted on the following topics:

Reading Promotion
Special Programs

Learning Strategies
Meeting Special Needs
Online Resources
Media Center Web sites

Collection Development
Program Evaluation
Scheduling Online
Action Research
@ your library implementation
Implementation of Future Technologies — Wikis, Blogs, School Library 2.0, etc.

Exploratorium presentations will be chosen based on the following criteria:

Exemplify “best practices” in school librarianship
Showcase the excellence of school libraries
Present a creative solution to a problem
Present a unique way of dealing with an issue
-Beth Yoke

Teen Book Awards

Mark your calendars:
In just 4 weeks YALSA will announce the winners of its 2007 Alex, Edwards and Printz awards as well as the final choices for our six 2007 selected lists. The awards announcement takes place at ALA’s Youth Media Awards Press Conference at 8 AM (Pacific time) on Jan. 22nd in Seattle at ALA’s Midwinter Meeting. To learn more about our six lists and three awards go to www.ala.org/yalsa/booklists. If you can’t make it to the Midwinter Meeting to hear the announcements, log on to www.ala.org for a live webcast of the press conference. YALSA will also post the winners and new selected lists on the YALSA web site on Jan. 22nd.

Get Your Teens Excited:

Use your Teen Advisory Group (TAG) to help you with any of the following:
1. Create a display of prior Printz, Edwards or Alex winners.
2. Join the discussion with other librarians and educators on yalsa-bk about what titles are likely winners. To subscribe to yalsa-bk (it’s free), go to here.
3. Hold a mock Printz election and let your teens vote for which book they think will win in ’07.
4. Begin planning a poster or bookmark contest. Once the winners are announced, have your teens design a poster or bookmark for the Alex, Edwards or Printz winners.
5. Use your library’s blog or MySpace to discuss titles you think may win an award. Encourage your teens to share their opinions.

Make a shopping list:
1. Stock up on awards seals for your Edwards & Printz books. They’re available for purchase from the ALA online store (ALA members get a 10% discount).
2. Keep your eye on the ALA Store’s web site. Posters and bookmarks featuring the 2007 award winning titles will be sold there. Preorders will be available in February and the goal is to have products ready for purchase by March.

Read up:
1. In the fall issue of YALSA’s journal, Young Adult Library Services, you can read the awards speeches from the 2006 Printz winner and honorees and from the 2006 Edwards winner.
2. YALSA’s web site lists the titles that have been nominated for the different selected lists at www.ala.org/yalsa/booklists.

Thanks for all you do to get teens reading!
-Beth Yoke

Thinking About Midwinter

Midwinter Meeting is just a few weeks away and there are several things I’m thinking about as I get ready. They include:

  • The Midwinter Institute – Building Teen Communities Online – on Friday and the Video Gaming Night that follows
  • Leadership Development for Committee Chairs on Saturday AM followed by All-Committee meeting.
  • Teen Tech Week KickOff on Sunday from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM
  • The Awards press conference that happens Monday AM with the announcement of the Printz, Edwards, and Alex Awards. Don’t forget even if you aren’t able to attend conference you can watch the awards press conference. There will be a live webcast of the announcements available on the ALA homepage beginning 11AM, Eastern on Jan. 22
  • The work of the selection committees as they complete their lists for the year.
  • The YALSA 50th Anniversary Kickoff that takes place as a part of the Joint Youth Division reception on Monday evening from 6 to 7:30 PM.
  • Talking with people I haven’t seen since last conference, or even longer. Finding out what’s happening with those serving teens in various places around the country (and the world.)

A full list of YALSA events at Midwinter is available. You can also find information about meetings and their locations. And, don’t miss the Midwinter for Newbies Guide that YALSA President Judy Druse put together.

If you aren’t able to get to Seattle the YALSA blog will keep you up on all of the happenings of import. The volunteer bloggers blog the meeting every day.

This is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn

This is the best book I’ve read this year. Are your teens taking it out?

A hefty 800 pages, This is All is literally ALL: a brain dump of a nineteen year old’s intimate chronicling of her late adolescence, leading up to the birth of her daughter, with whom she intends to share the pillow book when the daughter turns sixteen. Cordelia, who lost her mother as a very young girl, does have guidance as she navigates her teen years; adult mentors come in the form of richly drawn characters of an aunt and an English teacher.

At the ALA President’s Program last year, Aidan Chambers said he believes life imitates art – that young readers look to their literature to discover how to BE – and Cordy is a model for supportive adult relationships, planning and decision making, spending time constructively, even reading for pleasure (she adores Shakespeare, whom she affectionately calls Shakes). The volume is unabashedly sexual, but teens are sexual beings, and everything in it rang true for me, and though her romance with clever musician Will is the hinge on which the plot pivots, Cordy’s writings address many many other universal issues of faith, friendship, ethics, loss, trust, and ponders her future writer and the nature of poetry.

Just a reminder – if there is something you read and loved this year, it’s too late to NOMINATE IT! Deadline was December 15, 2006 for YALSA selection lists. Nominations from the field are ALWAYS encourages, and the Printz award committee only discusses nominated titles (by themselves and YOU!). Suggest a winner for 2007 published titles after January 1, 2007.

I’ll be waiting breathlessly on Monday January 23 2007 to hear the winners announced, and to see if any of my contenders are in the running.

One Way to Send a Message

The Board of the Maplewood, NJ Public Library recently decided to close the library’s doors from 2:45 to 5:00 PM every weekday. Why? Because parents were sending their middle school children to the library after school and the teens were not behaving in a way the library feels is appropriate. (Socializing instead of working on homework, etc.)

The letter from the library Board of Trustees on the library web site states that this has been a problem for about ten years. Other than reading the letter I don’t really know anything about the situation but I have been thinking about:

  • The message sent to teens with the library being closed when they are most available to be there.
  • The message parents send to teens about the library as a child care service.
  • The messages the library sends to teens if socializing isn’t as well accepted as research.
  • What the teens will think of the library once this is over.
  • The messages sent to teens by adults all around them on a regular basis. Messages about how teens are and are not accepted by those within their community.

As I said, my only knowledge of this is what I read on the web site. But, are the teens ultimately being punished for a situation the adults around them created?

Just wondering….

YALSA Blog – One Year Later (Almost)

In just a few weeks the YALSA blog will celebrate its first birthday. We launched with just a few posts on January 9, 2006 and geared up for using the blog as a informational tool during midwinter meeting. Volunteer bloggers readied themselves to write-up the events and meetings they attended in San Antonio. And, with that midwinter meeting, the blog took off.

Almost one year later YALSA’s volunteer bloggers have written 400+ posts on topics ranging from teen reading, to gaming, to technology, to news related to teens and libraries, to professional development. The blog covered YALSA events and programs – as they happened, as they were about to happen, and even after they were over. With the possibility of DOPA looming large the blog proved to be a useful tool for getting the word out about the potential legislation and for educating readers about the positive uses of social networking in teen lives.

The blog was also the avenue with which YALSA launched its podcasts and setup a Technorati account for showing what other bloggers are saying about the YALSA blog. At the time of this post there are 149 links to the YALSA blog from 71 bloggers. The numbers continue to grow and that’s really exciting.

There have been times during the year when the blog received 2000 hits within a 24-hour period. That might not seem like a lot if you are Amazon, Apple, or The New York Times. But, for YALSA and its blog, that’s quite impressive.

Thanks to all the volunteer bloggers who helped to make the first year a success!

Will Henry Jenkins beard ever be cornrowed in Second Life?

This was a question asked by curious listeners to Henry Jenkins discussion in Second Life on the pedagogical potential of video games and other digital media. The full audio (38 minutes) is definitely worth listening to here, or watching the short YouTube video here, especially to hear the music interspersed on the dance floor by teen DJ Alpha Z. Also, check out his new book: Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide.


How do we expand the educational process by using video games? We need to value what goes in in game spaces

He sites an example of students that were playing Doom and Quake and learning a great deal of how to manage people, teamwork, collaboration and leadership-similar traits that sports teams practice and learn-yet this kind of online participation is not valued as much.

Youth are learning how to be part of a community through technology, how to care about issues, express their opinions, and find out what is taking place in the world around them.

Video games and especially platforms such as Second Life, provide roles and goals for learning and information to act upon. Using virtual worlds or games to think through the experience of being a city planner, historian, environmental scientist helps one to use the information in a new way and helps to structure knowledge.

Second Life, is emerging as an important space for people doing a lot of important things. It is as diverse as the real world itself and people are able to try things they could never do in the real world in the same way such as create new connections, reinvent the economy, and imagine new governments.

Continue to look for battles over who owns our culture. These decisions are going to determine how much we can participate in the communities that we do.

Jenkins says that we need to use games to re-engage reality-not just escape it. The origin of science fiction was to help average people make sense of technology changes taking place around them. Popular culture and education, sorting out and speculation, has always been a part of science fiction.

So many questions and application for libraries:

How can we as librarians expand the educational process through video games? How are we doing this already?

Are we valuing online participation through our policies and practices? How can we value it better? How can we get comfortable with what is ‘worth’ holding valuable?

How can we create more opportunities for youth to be part of an online community?

How will battles of who owns culture play out in our libraries and how can we inform the youth we interact with about this?

posted by Kelly Czarnecki