Celebrate 50 years of YA lit expertise on Thursday, May 31 in New York City

1:15 – 2:30 YA Crossovers

How do editors and authors make the decision to market a book to adults or teens–or both?
Panelists: Angelina Benedetti; Farrin Jacobs; Barry Lyga; John Sherer; Victoria Stapleton

Free day of info on collection development in conjuntion with Book Expo America–no need to register for BEA to attend.

McGraw-Hill Conference Center
1221 6th Avenue (between 48th & 49th)

posted Mary Arnold, Chair
YALSA 50th Anniversary Committee

Although we are still about 3 weeks away, I am already thinking of the conference in DC. Before I became active in YALSA, I spent lots of time cruising the exhibits. So, first timers, wear comfy shoes and plan your attack on the aisles of exhibitors. I make a list of booths I want to be sure to hit (for me, those are the publishers of YA boks in patrticular) so I do not miss anyone.

Much of my time on the weekend will be spent in committee meetings. For those of you looking for a great time, stop by and spend some time with BBYA and QP and listen to the book talk. Of course, if you can go listen to the teens when they come to the BBYA meeting, you will marvel at the depth of their passion about favorite books.

YALSA All Committee meeting is a must see especially if you are looking to be more active in our organization. This is where a great deal of YALSA business is conducted. If there is a committee you are particularly interested in, visit them.

Receptions, dinners, meetings, exhibits: is it possible to get it all in? Yes, if you do not mind coming back home exhausted. Since I head to the Virgin Islands for a week after I get back, I can relax then. For now, I am already mentally packing my suitcase (and bringing an empty one to be checked on the way home with “stuff.”

Oh, and don’t forget to visit the YALSA booth!

Posted by Teri Lesesne

The title of this blog is a line from the rerun episode of Law and Order last night. The episode, titled Avatar, focused on the murder of a mother that was connected to the use of a social networking site, called BeFriends.com on the show but obviously modeled after MySpace. The line, “Your daughter made a choice…” was spoken by the assistant district attorney to a 16 year old’s father. The father blamed the web site for the behavior of his child.

While the social networking site didn’t come up without seeming a little sleazy in the episode, what was really interesting was the change in focus from the murderer – a 20something paranoid schizophrenic – to the behavior of the 16-year-old girl who actually manipulated the “crazy” guy to kill her mother using BeFriends.com. Of course it’s not good to demonize teens. However, what was clear was that the teenager in question had a brain and made choices of her own about how she used social networking technology. It was also clear that if her parents paid more attention to the technology, what it was, how their daughter was using it, and their daughter (more than themselves), etc. that the crime may not have been committed. Ultimately, the web site was not at fault. The parents had a big role to play in what happened. Demonizing parents is also not good, but “the technology made me do it” defense doesn’t work.

Watching the episode I was reminded of the YALSA podcast with Nancy Willard in which Nancy talks about data that shows what’s really happening with teens on social networking sites. Did NBC actually read that data?

To be honest, I haven’t paid much attention to the Webby Awards for the past several years. But, while watching a recent episode of the Webnation video podcast, I discovered one of this year’s Webby People’s Choice winners, JetSet, which is geared to teens and 20somethings.

The JetSet video podcast is about five minutes long once a week and it’s jam packed with interesting info. on web sites, technology, and the world at large. The show is fast paced and includes segments created by teens. (As a matter of fact JetSet periodically looks for teen correspondents to provide content for the show.)

The video podcast isn’t all there is to JetSet however. There is a companion web site – Mix – that gives video podcast viewers the chance to interact and talk about various topics covered on the show, as well as other topics that come up as a result of mutual interest of participants on the site. Current discussions include what’s the true role of media nowadays, and what is the American Dream.

JetSet and Mix are great examples of social networking technologies that support teen developmental assets as outlined by the Search Institute. For example, teens will feel empowered when they can participate in discussion and respond to topics discussed on JetSet via the Mix web site. They will also gain social competencies as they interact with peers on the Mix web site. And, they will use their time constructively when watching the video podcast and participating on Mix.

It’s always exciting, at least to me, to find more examples of positive uses of social networking. You might want to add JetSet and Mix to the resources you use to promote web 2.0 technologies in your library.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Second Life’s first conference for Best Practices in Education was a great success. Presenters such as Kathy Schrock, Administrator for Technology in MA, (Kathy Drybaugh in sl) showed the audience some great places to support teaching and learning, Peg Sheehy, Instructional Technology Facilitator, in New York, (Maggie Marat in sl) shared examples of her island on the teen grid where over 400 eighth graders are involved in such projects as creating a mock trial after reading Of Mice and Men. Barry Joseph with Global Kids in New York, (globalKids Bixby in sl) talked about working with teens in real life and second life to raise awareness on global issues. The conference also had poster sessions, exhibit spaces for vendors and non-profits and a wide range of presenters using different paradigms of education to influence their work in second life. Archives of key presentations available here soon. Also, check out the blog or wiki.

Add your blog in the comments if you attended the conference. Great post here about Kathy Schrock and Lisa Perez, (Elaine Tulip in sl) with the Chicago Public Schools.

Also, The University of Illinois has partnered with the Alliance Second Life Library to offer Virtual World Librarianship courses which started last week.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Last week Facebook held an event to announce new features and tools it is launching for its users. MySpace continues to have the largest user-base, but with the news announced by Facebook, the competition now has a better chance of making a larger dent into MySpace’s dominance.

What these new tools allow Facebook users to do is integrate social networking technologies into their Facebook accounts. For example, Picnik allows Facebook users to edit images without leaving the Facebook platform. Or the Feedburner application allows Facebook users to read their RSS feeds within their Facebook page – no need to go to another site, software, or window. The Twitter add-on allows users to post Tweets right from within their Facebook account.

What this looks like is that Facebook is possibly poised to become an all-in-one landing and jumping off page for teens – and others – on the web.

Now, if that’s the case, imagine if a teen logged into Facebook and along with reading his RSS feeds, editing his images, managing his calendar, and so on, he could also search the library catalog and databases, chat with a librarian, and create tag clouds of favorite authors, titles, or genres? What if librarians, vendors, or others created applications for Facebook that brought the library to the Facebook users home page? How cool would that be?

You can read more about what’s going on with Facebook at Mashable – which did a great job of highlighting the new Facebook apps and giving an idea of what the news is really about.

To begin, let me apologize–because this is going to be a long one. Recently, rappers have become quite a target for media to blame anything from drugs, violence, or even public school performance. For example, the rapper Cam’Ron (notorious for promoting pretty much everything that the average person finds objectionable) was put on 60 Minutes to discuss the “stop snitching” policy, an informal law by which anybody who cooperates with police in any way, especially with regard to violent crimes, drug dealing, and gang-banging, is subject to retribution. The rapper Serius Jones responded to this media portrayal with an AllHipHop.com editorial.

So you know what my initial thought to this whole show was right? “Get tha f**kada here!” These white American media dudes are hilarious! First of all, the only reason they trying to pull this attack on Hip-Hop trick out the bag is because some racist old white radio host finally got caught out there talking reckless (Don Imus) calling a group of Black female student/athletes “nappy headed hoes” for no reason.

So, in an effort to take the spotlight off the fact that there are still a bunch of reject Klan members running around in positions of power, they decided to re-direct the public’s attention and blame Hip-Hop with the same tactics of a snitch. Talking ‘bout, “Well they say the word hoe too!” Then using more media trickery they spin it to act like rappers made up the term “snitching”! Like it’s a race, and they have snitch rights or something… Since when does anyone like a snitch? Even the Feds used to put black bags over snitches heads in court just to humiliate them.

This topic’s been the subject of much debate–at least among adults. The rapper NYOIL followed up with a post that (among other things) included the following ideas:

First, I am an adult and, as a parent, I agree wholeheartedly that the language and images portrayed in Hip-Hop today are damaging and destructive to the minds of our children. I bare witness to this everyday in my hometown of Staten Island, NY, where I watch kids emulate lifestyles they aren’t even living – until they are truly living that lifestyle. They invariably find themselves trapped in situations that they are ill-equipped to escape.

Secondly, as an MC and a devout Hip Hopper who loves the complete culture and this lifestyle. I am concerned because I can see a “lowering of the Boom ” on Hip-Hop as it is being made the scapegoat for mass media’s systematic corruption of our nation and people in the international community. It is being used to cloak the nefarious deeds of corporate entertainment companies and corporate radio. All the while focusing on the bad elements and further promoting them and their presence while totally ignoring artist such as an NYOIL, Wise intelligent, Immortal Technique, Little Brother, Uno the Prophet, Dead Prez, and so on. Artist that make the sort of music that these demagogues seem to be screeching for.

Why is this debate important for teen librarians? Two reasons:

  1. As alluded, lots of the debate about rap music is really a veiled commentary about teens–especially young African Americans. We’re still a profession struggling to maintain diversity, so it’s important that we maintain our professional filters when it comes to not letting media messages affect our perceptions and judgments of the teens we serve.
  2. We’re a media provider who can use this discussion to inspire us to provide balanced collections that pair rap artists like Cam’Ron with those who don’t glorify violence, drugs, misogyny, homophobia, and a whole host of other issues that people take with commercial rap music. The idea isn’t to censor or judge the interests of our teen patrons but to ensure that we are providing a wide array of alternatives–not just among genres but within them.

That’s why the YA-MUSIC list recently compiled options for contemporary rap artists and hip-hoppers that you can use to provide more balance to your collection. Our criteria focused more on general feel than analyzing music for any instance of something that we might find objectionable. It’s still not the most diverse list possible, but it’s a start! So without further ado (and in no particular order):

Mos Def
Talib Kweli
Immortal Technique
Lupe Fiasco
Psalm One
MF Doom
Aesop Rock
Blackalicious
KRS One

Common
The Roots
Murs
Rhymefest
J-Live
Dead Prez
Deep Dickollective
Lauryn Hill
Kanye West

Eve
Nas
Outkast
LL Cool J
De La Soul
A Tribe Called Quest
M.I.A.
The Coup
Saul Williams

Q-Tip
Beastie Boys
Busta Rhymes
Public Enemy
Queen Latifah
Black Eyed Peas
Wyclef Jean
Jungle Brothers
Wax Tailors

Sage Francis
5 Deez
Madlib
Quannum
Mr. Lif
The Preceptionist
Dr. Octagon
El-P
Lifesavas

Brother Ali
The Saturday Knights
DJ Shadow
Gift of Gab
Latyrx
The Poets of Rhythm
Lyrics Born
Gang Starr
MC Solaar

Lady Sovereign
The Streets
Gnarls Barkley
Mint Royale
Matisyahu
Dujeous
Michael Franti & Spearhead
Guru

Jill Scott
Missy Elliott
Northern State
J Dilla
Handsome Boy Modeling School
Deltron 3030
Del tha Funkee Homosapien
Ghostface Killah
Wu-Tang Clan

Dilated Peoples
Afu-Ra
Wiz Khalifa
Ladybug Mecca
Will Smith
Black Star
Jurassic 5
Anthony Hamilton
John Legend

Rubber Ducky
Alfred Howard
Eyedea and Abilities
Digable Planets
More or Les
K’naan
k-os
Cadence Weapon
Shad

Buck 65
MC 900 ft. Jesus
Mix Master Mike
Peanut Butter Wolf
The X-Ecutioners
Money Mark

Whew! And for a couple of additional resources:

Hip-Hop Summit Action Network

Take A Stand Records (new resource started by Master P)
Beyond Beats & Rhymes (resource guide surrounding the documentary by Byron Hurt)

Beth Yoke just sent a message to YALSA Committee chairs highlighting some YALSA special events coming up for Annual. Somehow I didn’t realize that some of these were in the works. They include:

Friday, June 22
YALSA Member Happy Hour
5:00-7:00 p. m. Old Dominion Brewery, which has the convenience of being located right at the Convention Center. Join members and those interested in joining YALSA to mingle at this informal Happy Hour! Please go to the private room for half price appetizers and discounted spirits!

YALSA 50th Anniversary Party Friday, 10:00 PM – 12:00 AM, Renaissance Ballroom West A/B, Renaissance Washington. Immediately following the Booklist Books for Youth Forum come join YALSA for a fabulous party! It’s free for all registered conference attendees. Open bar and light refreshments. This event is being co-hosted by more than 10 publishers. Please note that the Forum will feature the original winner and honorees from the 2000 Printz Award. Be there or be square!

You can find out about all of YALSA’s programs, and keep up on additions, on the YALSA wiki conference page.

This morning on NPR’s Morning Edition there was a segment on High School Musical, which continues to be popular with tweens and teens. The segment reporter talked about the popularity of the movie – and its numerous offshoots – and he also highlighted the performances of the story that are taking place in middle schools and high schools around the country. One middle school reported an overwhelming number of students that auditioned to be in the musical and one 8th grader at the school talked about how the story of High School Musical resonates with her and her peers.

While the excitement over something like High School Musical can’t be planned for – who knew that it was going to be the hit that it is before it aired – libraries can start thinking about ways they might celebrate the release of the sequel with teens. What about asking teens if they are interested in getting the High School Musical karaoke disc for the library and having a High School Musical sing-along? Since tweens are also hooked on High School Musical, maybe teens in the community want to teach tweens the musical’s dance routines at the library. Or, maybe teens want to create YouTube videos of dance routines they produce based on High School Musical. What are the ideas that your teens have to celebrate High School Musical in your community and to get ready for the sequel’s release.

If legislation passes by the full Senate and the House, North Carolina could be the first state to place parental consent requirements for those under 18 to join MySpace and similar sites.
I wonder what this does for the kids who might not be telling the truth about their age online for good reasons. What if they’re in danger at home and being online is safer in some ways? Chances are, even if the parental consent law is passed, the relationship problems kids already have could be put more in jeopardy.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki