after the ball is over….

Okay, so maybe some of you do not recognize the lyric from an old song, but I meant it to lead into this observation about the aftermath of the Midwinter Conference. Here we all are more than a week later and folks are still buzzing about the awards. I was at a school today hosting a visit from author Christopher Paul Curtis. At lunch he was telling us how much he loved the Newbery winner and asking for input about the other award winners he might read next.

On yalsa-bk, the talk is of ARCs brought back from Seattle. We have, apparently, moved on to the books for 2008 awards.

And just as a non-sequitur, last week more than 150 secondary English teachers attended a YA session at the state English conference here in Texas. It seems YA is back and yalsa-bk provides a forum for us to talk about books and teens.

Posted by Teri Lesesne

Original Signal

I’ve been wanting to blog about Original Signal for quite awhile. But, for some reason, I never got the words together. This morning when looking at the site I realized it was time.

Original Signal is a site that aggregates news feeds on a variety of topics from a variety of sources. The site started out as only technology-based feeds. However, it’s expanded to include world news, entertainment news, and business news.

There are a couple of things that work really well at Original Signal:

  • Major/popular blogs and web sites are included. For example Techcrunch, Digg, IMDB, and C|Net feeds are all a part of Original Signal. It’s easy to keep up on these resources without having to setup an RSS reader.
  • Blogs and web sites that might not be so well known are included. That way it’s possible to find out things you didn’t know you wanted to find out from sources you didn’t know even existed.
  • The interface is very clean and easy to use. When you point at one of the feed headlines a window pops up giving you the opening lines of the blog post or article. You can figure out if you want to read more without having to click.
  • It’s a one-stop-shop to all kinds of information. Original Signal isn’t the only one of these web-based aggregaters but it’s one of the best I’ve seen.

Today on Original Signal was a link to a blog post about Amazon starting a product wiki and a new service (down2night) in Seattle in which people can subscribe to get a text message of info. about what’s going on in their town that night. Imagine if libraries had that kind of text messaging service available for customers!

Check out Original Signal as a way to keep up with the culture and news that the teens you serve are involved with. Check out Original Signal as a way to keep up with the world in general. Check out Original Signal to simply find out interesting things that might have an impact on your library’s services in the near, far, or distant future.

The Popularity of the Wiki

Earlier this week YALSA announced that it was starting a YALSA wiki and that it would be possible to apply to sponsor a section of the wiki. I am the contact person listed for getting a YALSA wiki sections started.

Interestingly, at least to me, that announcement brought me more emails from people saying they are interested in starting a wiki, than I’ve ever received for any YALSA project with which I’ve been involved. Calls for bloggers, podcasters, participants in programs, etc. have not brought so much email. (Although it’s not an overwhelming amount, it’s just more than usual/ever before.)

So, I’ve been thinking about what makes the wiki format one in which librarians working with teens feel so comfortable? What makes the wiki software something that people want to use in order to collaborate? Teen librarians aren’t the only ones who have this interest and propensity. At a meeting I went to in the fall a county administrator mentioned that he started a wiki for the county employees and to his surprise people who never showed an interest in anything technological got involved.

Here’s what I think. Wikis are relatively easy to use. You don’t need to know any special programming language. Wikis give groups an opportunity to collaborate meaningfully. The process is incredibly transparent from the entry of content to the ability to look at a wiki page’s history to see what was changed and by who. Wikis combine content building with discussion. Wiki collaborators can discuss what they are working on using the wiki software discussion pages. So, if a collaborator has an idea or question and isn’t ready to add, edit, or revise content she can discuss what needs to be discussed first.

It’s really exciting that there are so many YALSA members interested in using the new wiki. The Web Site Advisory Committee is currently working on the application that interested members will submit in order to get a wiki space setup. When that’s ready the new sections of the YALSA wiki will be added and collaborators can get to work.

Volunteer for a YALSA Committee

I hope many of you had a chance to attend the ALA Midwinter conference in Seattle – great city and great conference!

As YALSA’s President-Elect, I will soon be appointing members to our very important process committees (examples include the Youth Participation Committee and the Outreach to Young Adults with Special Needs Committee) and award juries (examples include the Sagebrush Award Jury and the Frances Henne Award Jury). These appointments will begin this spring and will be completed by the ALA annual conference in June.

If you’re thinking about joining a YALSA committee, or if you are currently serving on a committee, award jury or task force and your term will expire in June 2007, now is the time to fill out your committee volunteer form.

Many process committees can and do include virtual members. If you can’t attend conference, please consider volunteering for a process committee as a virtual member!

If you filled out a form last year, it is still vital that you fill one out again this year in order to be considered for the new round of appointments.

Not sure what your options are? Check out YALSA’s Committee and Task Force Descriptions page.

Thanks for all you do on behalf of YALSA!

Paula Brehm-Heeger
YALSA President-Elect, 2007

Teen Tech Week Contests and Prizes – Don’t Miss Them

Did you know about the array of contests being sponsored as a part of Teen Tech Week? Deadlines are approaching in order to be eligible for some of the prizes. Make sure to register for TTW to be eligible. The full-list of contests and prizes:

**** A display contest being sponsored by ALA Graphics
A Teen Video/YouTube contest being sponsored by YALSA

Full details on these two contests are available on the Teen Tech Week web site.

**** A Contest being sponsored by Abrams Publishers. Following TTW YALSA members are invited to submit a summary of their programs for TTW (using the official application form which is forthcoming.) The member that is selected as having the best TTW program wins a visit from Lauren Myracle, which will take place during TRW, Oct. 14-20.

**** Anyone who registers to participate in TTW will get 2 free weeks of Live Homework Help from Tutor.com. Make sure to register by 2/1/07 to get this priz.

**** A one year subscription to Rosen Publishers Teen Health and Wellness Center will be awarded to one library. The selection will be done by random drawing of all those who register for TTW by 2/1/07.

**** A free subscription to one of E*Vanced Solutions products will be awarded to one library. The selection will be done by random drawing of all those who register for TTW by 2/1/07.

YALSA-BK and ALA

I must confess that with all the committee meetings and other events at Midwinter, I was unaware that yalsa-bk dropped from sight for a time. Imagine my surprise when I began to read all the posts from those worried that it had disappeared totally because of the conference. In any event, all is now well and the messages are flying back and forth with lightning speed.

I think this says a lot about how we depend on yalsa-bk as a learning community. The discussion about the lists and the awards has been brisk as always. As a (now) former committee member of QP and Edwards, it is interesting to see the “Monday morning quaterbacking” about the deliberations and decisions. Even on my own committee, not all the books I thought deserving were included. That is the nature of committee decisions. There is compromise; there are passionate disucssions. Sometimes what one member thinks is noteworthy is not deemed so by another.

Seattle was a wonderful host to the meeetings. Weather was clear and most days saw some sunshine if only through the windows of the meeting rooms. I hope folks will plan now to come to DC and celebrate all the winners.

Posted by Teri Lesesne