Using Technology to Market the Library to Teens

The YALSA Teens and Technology Committee sponosored this presentation with speakers Michael Stephens and Kimberly Bolan (handout and slides available on above links) at ALA.

A few highlighted sites included:

Did anyone attend the program and already implement one of the examples the presenters shared? Did the library with ten computers find a closer solution to serving teen patrons with technology? Do people follow up with a library they’ve heard about that did something that sounded really great and wanted to know exactly how they did it?

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

McKinley Technology High School

On the last day I was in D.C. for the annual conference, I spent part of it with the McKinley Technology High School media specialist, Gloria Reaves, whom I heard speak at Computers in Libraries conference earlier this year. I met some of the teachers working with the inner city youth on a concentration in technology including biotechnology, information technolgy, or broadcast and digital media. I talked to teens that had won Gates scholarships to pay for their entire college tuition (undergrad and grad), winners of Carnegie scholarships for the summer to investigate video game design, and students who developed 3D models in partnership with the American Cancer Foundation to look at how cancer affects the body. Rick Kelsey, who is the director of the IT Curriculum not only has an obvious passion for working with the students (incedentally one student was borrowing his car to buy a suit for his award ceremony), but believes that just because the students might come with poor social or math skills, if you give them the tools and resources, they will respond in a positive way. I am grateful for their inspiration and the time they took to show off the great work their students are doing.
What have others experienced at their public or school library in giving teens technology tools to learn?

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

What is the deal with these Annual podcasts?

Forgive the terrible (and virtual…) Jerry Seinfeld impression, but you’ve no doubt noticed the Annual podcasts popping up on the blog (with more to come!) throughout this week. This is part of a pilot project to try and produce podcasts to capture the YALSA experience at Annual, expanding on our conference coverage on the blog.

We supplied five members with digital recorders, gave them some guidelines, and set them loose on the streets of Washington, DC and in the halls of the Washington Convention Center. The results exceeded even my highest expectations; I can’t wait to hear the rest of them.

But enough about me. The success of this project can be attributed to six people.

First off, hats off to Linda Braun, blog manager and podcast editor extraordinaire. Podcasting Annual was her idea, and it was brilliant. Linda’s help, from choosing recorders to finding participants and to editing the files, was essential. The YALSA Annual podcasts simply could not have happened without Linda.

And special thanks to our podcasters, who have done a bang-up job: Francisca Goldsmith, Erin Helmrich, Erin Downey Howerton, Connie Urquhart, and Joseph Wilk. Thank you for taking time out of your schedules to help us make the Annual experience come alive, for your own insights, and for the great interviews you all did.

Alter Ego

A few weeks ago The New York Times published a slide show based on the new book, Alter Ego: Avatars and their creators. This book is a great addition to library collections for teens who will most likely be drawn to the cover and the size and shape. First on the cover, it’s fascinating. Hold the book one way and see avatars, hold it another and see the real people. What teen, or librarian, wouldn’t be hooked going back and forth with the book cover?

Inside each double page spread shows the real person or persons and the avatar. There are also captions that tell who the people are and what they do along with short essays by the people pictured about who they are what their thoughts are about their avatars and the virtual environments they inhabit. So cool!

Included is a group of 9 disabled men and women who share a very abled avatar. There are adults of all ages, backgrounds, and occupations included. At the end of the volume is a glossary that includes general terminology and info about virtual worlds mentioned in the book. The glossary proves to be a great resource for finding out about virtual worlds and what they are.

This is definitely a title to add to a library collection, leave out on a table for teens to browse, and to start some really interesting conversations about identity. Check it out.

Odyssey Award for Audiobook Excellence

Hello all!

The Odyssey Award for Audiobook Excellence held its first meetings during the recent ALA conference in DC. As chair of the committee, I want everyone to know about this exciting new youth award, a joint project of both ALSC & YALSA, recognizing the best in audiobooks created for listeners ages birth to eighteen. Next January, one Odyssey winner and possible honors will be named along with the Newbery, Caldecott, Sibert, and Printz Awards. We believe it is essential for ALSC and YALSA to provide the same level of support for this nonprint format that they have historically provided for print materials, by creating an annual award for the best audiobooks in the field. We believe that by doing so, ALSC and YALSA can not only assist their members to better serve their library patrons, but also raise the profile and standards of audiobooks by having those honored serve as models toward which all audio producers can aspire.

Please help us publicize the new award, and do your part by sending me any field nominations for titles that you feel are worthy of this honor. As a first-year committee, we do not have an official form, so please include the following information: Author, Producer, Copyright Date, Price, ISBN, and brief annotation with your rationale for nominating. The title must be released for children or young adults (birth-18) between Oct 1, 2006 & Oct. 1, 2007 and be distributed in the United States, allowing for English-language submissions produced in other countries. Field nominations must be seconded by a committee member. Learn more about the Odyssey Award criteria here:

Need more information about audiobooks? Listen to the podcast of a session at ALA’s Annual Meeting titled “Celebrating Excellence in Audiobooks for Children and Young Adults” featuring Bruce Coville, Judy Blume, John Green, and Jack Gantos sharing their experiences with audiobooks. You’ll get great ideas on promoting audiobooks, as well as some fascinating anecdotes & good laughs. Here’s the link:

And here’s a great example of audiobooks reaching mainstream acceptance: Wendy’s adds audiobooks to kids’ meals. Read the full article at I plan to write Wendy’s and thank them for including children’s literature audiobooks as a healthy choice in their kid’s meals. The next time you are grabbing a bite on the go, stop at Wendy’s and get a new, free, audiobook for your collection!

Happy Listening!

Mary Burkey, chair
2008 Odyssey Award Committee

How Do I Get On A Committee?

Someone on my Twitter friends asked, “Question for the folks in ALA – how do you get involved w committees. Help?” My expanded response follow.

Observe. If you can get to Annual or Midwinter conferences, sit in on the committee you want to volunteer with – most are open meetings; juries (award selection committees) are the exception. Go to the board meeting and watch the proceedings (don’t forget to introduce yourself!).

Do your homework. Know the commitment involved. Talk to a current member to inquire about the expectations and workload. The ALA directory you get in the mail lists committmee charges and members.

Go online. The YALSA Governance page is one-stop shopping, with links to committee descriptions and chairs and board members.

Be honest. Think about what you can realistically commit to. If you can’t go to conference, try for a virtual membership on a committee. And, don’t sign up for a selected list or jury if you can’t read at least a book a day.

Join an Interest Group. If you can’t attend conferences, consider an Interest Group. Unlike committee members, members of an interest group are not required to attend the Annual Conference or the Midwinter Meeting, and there is no limit on the number of virtual participants an interest group may have.

Introduce yourself. I’m convinced I got my first appointment by shaking Joel Shoemaker’s hand at a the YALSA member reception–I think I filled out my volunteer form on the spot. You could also write a note or email to whomever makes appointments – AND their replacement (ie, prez & prez-elect).

Contribute. Post frequently on division email lists, blogs or wikis to get your name noticed.

Fill out your paperwork. Every year, in fact, you need to complete a new volunteer form. I just did mine. Be specific, don’t just say, “I’ll do anything.” If you want to be on Best Books, make sure your credentials are reflected on the form.

Pay your dues!. You can’t participate if you aren’t a member! Join today, we’re the fastest growing division of the ALA (#4, w00t!). And, IMHO, the most fun. 🙂

Don’t forget about process committees. Initially, I felt I had to earn a spot on Best Books by sitting on Organization and Bylaws, but it turned out to be a really interesting committee that gave me a wonderful overview of how YALSA works, and I’ve enjoyed all my appointments so much that I haven’t even requested to be on Best Books in years.

Be creative. My first time to ALA was 9 years ago; I was just out of library school. I stayed for free with a friend on the subway line, lived on peanut butter sandwiches, apples, and water for 5 days, walked or took the shuttle bus everywhere, and had a fantastic time. I try to buy a meal — (or at least a round of drinks 😉 — for a student at every conference. Don’t forget that YALSA has a mentoring program, and a mentor may have some great advice, connect you to someone who needs a roommate, or have a transferrable invitation to a publisher luncheon.

If the committee you are interested in requires conference attendance and your library won’t pay for you to attend conference, ask the director to ask the Friends to cover it. Seek scholarships or jobs with stipends to attend conference. Sometimes, work will pay if you are presenting – submit a proposal to a committee to sponsor. Ask for membership dues or airfare vouchers as a holiday or birthday gift. Your conference expenses should be a tax deduction, but I always found I never made enough money (or had enough expenses) to count it.

Other tips? Please comment!

YALSA Annual 07 Podcast #5 – GLBTQ Books for Teens

In this podcast Joseph Wilk interviews Simon & Schuster’s David Gale, Parrotfish author Ellen Wittlinger, and Jack Martin author of Serving Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Teens: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians about trends in publishing GLBTQ titles for teens. (The podcast was recorded during YALSA’s 50th Anniversary Celebration.)


Pew Internet in American Life Memo on Cyberbullying

One in three online teens have experienced online harassment. Girls are more likely to be victims. But most teens say that they are more likely to be bullied offline than online.

That’s the pull-quote from the Pew Internet in American Life Data Memo on cyberbullying that was released today. The report looks at who is usually cyberbullied – by age and gender, the formats in which cyberbullying is perpetrated, and why cyberbullying happens.

As the quote at the top of this post points out, bullying is not just the purview of the Internet. While bullying takes on different forms online, teens still need to know how to handle all kinds of bullying whether in the school parking lot or on a blog.

Check out the report to find out what teens say about bullies and cyberbullies and to get ideas on how to educate parents and colleagues about the world of bullying in a teen’s life.

Video Games as a Service: Hosting Tournaments @ Your Library

I didn’t want to forget to blog about Ann Arbor’s Erin Helmrich and Eli Nieburger’s YALSA presentation at conference on Sunday. Their presentation is here which doesn’t capture all the great commentary, but is definitely helpful!

What most interested me was when Erin and Eli both said that they don’t use gaming as a ‘bait and switch’ to get people in the door in the hopes that they check out a book. Not surprisingly, patrons find the services in an organic way and on their own without having to do it for them.

“I need to go relax in the Piers Anthony aisle” said one teen during a particularly heated moment at the tournament.

Why does this work? Because chances are if something is relevant to someone that walks through the door, they will be more likely convinced that other services are as well.

What do people think about this approach to gaming? Would it/does it work in your library?

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Outreach to Young Adults with Special Needs Committee

During the all committee meeting, I attended the Outreach meeting. The purpose of this committee is:

To address the needs of young adults who do not or cannot use the library because of socioeconomic, legal, educational, or physical factors.

More information can be found here.
Victoria Vogal of the Rocky River Public Library is the incoming chair. Lisa Youngblood from the Harker Heights Public Library will continue to be involved in many initiatives of the group and was the former chair who dynamically led the committee previously.

The committee is preparing for a program in Annaheim that will address using the net as outreach to teens; specifically those that are unable to get to the library. We were also asked to serve as a resource for the Department of Library and Information Studies in Buffalo, NY for a project an Assistant Professor is working on.
Stay tuned to the committee and share what your committee is doing.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki