Congratulations to Coe Booth

Brand spanking new YA author Coe Booth has won the LA Times Prize for YA Literature. TYRELL, Booth’s premier novel, was selected from the list of finalists:

JUST IN CASE by Meg Rosoff

Posted by Teri S. Lesesne

Thought Control with Video Games

The AP shared in an article that brain wave-reading technology will be incorporated with video games. While this concept itself is not new (check out Brain Ball here), the article mentioned that NeuroSky has big plans for the technology including a consumer headset to connect to the Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360. Many libraries will have or already have these consoles for gaming events or chances are that users of the library own one.

Price wasn’t mentioned for the headset, but CyberLearning system costs about $600. If the NeuroSky technology is popular in the U.S. (it will be shown at the American International Fall Toy Show, Dallas, TX in October), it might have implications for library services for teens.

What if yoga and other relaxation classes were more in demand by teens? What about having to create immersive experiences (outside/inside of games) outside/in of the library so that the gratification of virtual worlds won’t replace the connection adults can have with teens? While we don’t have to wait to see if NeuroSky’s technology is popular in the US to develop these resources and services, it might help to understand and keep an eye on the pulse of video games becoming more immersive and how we can use that as a positive experience in our libraries.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

YALSA Goes Ninging

YALSA recently launched a Student Interest Group/New Librarian space on the social networking site Ning. If you are a library school student or a new librarian you can join the space as a way to connect with peers and colleagues. As the description of the group on Ning states:

This group is meant to provide the opportunity to network with fellow librarians who are just starting out in library science. It was created to add to the already available networks of New Members Round Table and NEXGEN Listservs.

Check it out today.

All About Cell Phones

An article in today’s New York Times titled Social Networking Leaves Confines of the Computer, once again highlights the importance of libraries recognizing the role cell phones play in the lives of teens. The focus of the article is on mobile services that allow teens, and others, to stay in contact even when the computer is off. These services take text messaging to the next level.

The article states:

…Such services have the same addictive appeal for young people as BlackBerrys do for busy professionals, said Howard Hartenbaum, a partner at the venture capital firm Draper Richards, which is an investor in Kyte.

And then goes on to quote Hartenbaum:

“Kids want to be connected to their friends at all times,” Mr. Hartenbaum said. “They can’t do that when you turn off the computer.”

How many libraries do you know that are connecting to teens via the devices teens hold in their hands? How many libraries do you know that have been able to move beyond connecting to teens in the library and classroom and have been able to connect using technology at all? How many libraries are willing to take the next step and focus on technologies that teens want to use as opposed to the technologies librarians feel comfortable with?

One thing to remember about the new mobile technologies discussed in The New York Times article. They are free. If you send a text message to teens via Twitter or Kyte you don’t pay a cent in texting or software fees. What’s not to like in that? Remember, even if the teens might be using a cell phone or other handheld device to read your message and send a message to you – you can still be on your computer. (Or not depending on which works best for you.)

Not only do librarians have to get out from behind their desks in order to serve teens effectively. (I know lots of teen librarians know that part already.) But, they also have to get out from behind the focus on the web site, databases, and catalog. Those things don’t resonate with teens so why use them? Well, maybe it should be, they don’t resonate with teens so why use them as the first entree to connect with teens?

Cell phones will continue to gain more and more functionality and librarians have to keep up with these trends in order to make sure they know how to communicate with and connect with teens. Check out todays’ New York Times article to get yourself going.

Wiimotes: They’re Not Just for Gaming Anymore

With every new toy comes hacks and modifications. It’s no wonder that Nintendo’s Wiimote, the Bluetooth-enabled control device for the Nintendo Wii, quickly found itself on the operating block. After enthusiasts figured out how to get the Wiimote to transmit information to any Bluetooth-enabled computer, many possibilities opened up. One really great application has been in controlling sound and music applications. It started with simply getting the Wiimote to trigger digital deejay software and developed into full-fledged sound design, such as in this video of people playing a Wiimote to make real-time lightsaber noises (warning: impossible without thousands of dollars of computer processing and highly advanced sound design techniques).

What does this mean for teens? Well, the possibility to get them engaged in at least three forms of literacy at once! Imagine them, if you will, using a Wiimote to mash up a chapter of their favorite audiobook with the new Timbaland single.

For more information on the tools needed, should get you started. For some of the more deejay-specific tips, take a look at As always, feel free to discuss the potential applications of these exciting new technologies in the comments or at the ya-music list.

Identity development in Second Life

Free Image Hosting at Identity development is something many young people obsess over during their teen years. Second Life is a great place for them to work out their ever changing identities, just like MySpace, IMVU, or Gaia online are as well. A health class in New York that has an island with Suffern Middle School in Teen Second Life is going to explore identity formation by creating avatars that are beautiful and not beautiful and discussing why through one lens being portrayal by the media. Imagine the possibilities for authors and teens who identify strongly with their characters. What would it be like to not only read about Saphira in the Inheritance series but to embody her? Imagine reanactments of scenes from any book that could take an entire different direction from what was originally presented to the reader.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Anime and manga on teen second life

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Library student Rachel Thompson (Memetic Autopoiesis avatar name) created this anime/manga exhibit on the adult grid in second life. When your avatar touches a book or movie cover, they will be able to read the information that Rachel researched about the materials. There is also a comment box in the room with which to respond. What a great way to start an assignment or conversation about anime/manga in an immersive environment such as second life!

Rachel is also on the teen grid where she is organizing a revolving art exhibit for art created by teens in an art gallery that was built by a teen. Any art piece that fits in with the anime and manga theme will be displayed on a rotating basis, depending on the number of submissions received. The art display is open to all young adults regardless of whether they are part of the second life experience or not. Anime / manga clubs at libraries might be a great place to pass the word out if teens want to contribute. Libraries can either scan in the art work or submit computer generated artwork to the art exhibit at

Free Image Hosting at

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Banning iPods

Digital media players are being targeted by schools as potential cheating devices used by students. According to the article here, banning the players might be somewhat of a national trend even though using the devices to cheat is nothing new. The article mentions at the end that Duke University in North Carolina distributed iPods as part of the Duke Digital Initiative program. There are ‘iPod office hours’ where students can have their questions answered about how they can use their iPod as creative project material. The executive director Tim Dodd of the Center for Academic Integrity at Duke stated, “Trying to fight the technology without a dialogue on values and expectations is a losing battle.”

How does your school or library outreach to schools encourage these creative uses of technology for projects? Has anything you’ve done helped a classroom or a school reconsider the use of digital media players, podcasting, or even texting for assignments?

VOYA’s 10/06 article, You Know You’re a 21st Century Teacher-Librarian If. . by Joyce Kasman Valenza give some great ideas.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

YALSA President Responds to American Libraries Article

In the April 2007 issue of American Libraries there is an article called “Buying into Gossip” by Jennifer Burek Pierce on page 76. Since YALSA and its Past President were mentioned, Judy Nelson felt that it was important to respond. Today she sent the following letter in to American Libraries at

On behalf of YALSA’s Board of Directors, I would like to express my disappointment in Jennifer Burek Pierce’s April article entitled “Buying into Gossip.” Pierce concluded that the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) was not “endeavoring to lure them [teens] to a more high-brow literature” than Gossip Girl. This conclusion was based solely on the fact that in early 2006 YALSA disseminated a list of Gossip Girl “read-a-likes.” If Pierce had examined the list, she would have noticed that of the ten titles all but one were either recognized by an award or had been included on one of YALSA’s recommended lists.

It is even more puzzling that Pierce came to this particular conclusionconsidering that YALSA produces seven annual lists of recommended reading, listening and viewing for teens as well as four literary awards. YALSA’s Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in young adult literature is the only national book award specifically for the young adult literature genre. This award was established precisely to promote and reward literary excellence in the genre as a means of ensuring that teens would have access to a wide variety of age-appropriate literature, including literature of high literary quality. To say that YALSA doesn’t encourage teens to read “high-brow” literature is simply not correct.

As adults and librarians, it also bears mentioning that teens should not be expected to read a steady diet of “high-brow” literature, however that may be defined. Teens, like adults, want to read what interests them when they are choosing materials for recreational reading. Sometimes that means reading Virginia Wolf and other times that means reading Us Weekly. To hold teens to a standard that adults don’t adhere to is unreasonable, and a library that excludes popular titles from its collection is not customer focused.

On behalf of the 5,548 YALSA members who are not only dedicated to
ensuring that teens have access to excellent library services and
resources, but to helping teens become life-long readers and thinkers, I would hope that Pierce would retract her statement about YALSA.

Judy Nelson, YALSA President

(posted by Beth Yoke)

Give them books, give them wings

The title is a quote from Paul Hazard’s groundbreaking work, BOOKS, CHILDREN AND MEN. I saw evidence of how books give teens wings yesterday when I spoke to an after school book club of about 100 teens. At the end of my booktalks (and their reaction was too terrific; you can read more at my blog:, they each received door prizes. They had choices of books and there were also some passes to movie theaters, iTunes cards, Starbucks and the like. The things left until the bitter end were the gift cards, folks.

This school district spent lots of money getting books into the hands of kids and then bringing in some visiting authors. Nothing too technical or elaborate. The results, though, are incredible.

Posted by Teri S. Lesesne