Questions for our Presidential Candidates

Hello again to our presidential candidates!

We’ve heard from you about your skills and strengths and your thoughts about our organization. This time, please tell us about your experiences serving teens, including in your current position. Please tell us also about one of your favorite teen-focused or teen-created program/event which you helped to develop. Why was it a favorite?

And, please tell us a little bit about what you like to do outside of library work.

Thank you,

Sarah Debraski


Teens Drop CDs in Favor of Digital Downloads

A new NPD group study shows that 48% of teens did not buy a CD in 2007, down further from the 38% that was reported in 2006. This is the same time iTunes is announced as being the #2 music retailer, only behind Wal-Mart (though sales projections show that Wal-Mart is set to be overtaken later this year). Meanwhile, some music service providers raised hackles at the Digital Music Forum by claiming that the only way to serve people’s digital music needs is to operate illegally.

With more and more light being cast on new generations of teens and their propensity toward media convenience and digital downloads, the RIAA has stepped up its legislative agenda, lobbying against net neutrality and has sponsored net filtering mandates as part of state funding for universities. Could libraries be facing similar legislation down the road, which would disallow libraries from letting users download digital content? If the RIAA continues to run amok, we could very well be seeing it introduced soon! Then maybe the next Teen Tech Week could include a contest for teens to name the legislation restricting their access to digital media at their library. My vote is for ODPA (the Online Download Protection Act).

Meet the 2010 Printz Award candidates!

The 2010 Michael L. Printz Award Committee is charged to select from the previous year’s publications the best young adult book (“best” being defined solely in terms of literary merit). Now is your chance to meet the hard working folks who want to spend the next year reading, and rereading, and rereading, and taking extensive notes on hundreds of titles competing for this prestigious award.

Running on the spring ballot for the 2010 Printz Committee are:
Priscille Dando, Teri Lesesne, Jack Martin, Richie Partington, Sheila Schofer, Ann Theis, Cheryl Karp Ward, and Carlie Webber.

1. Please tell us a little about yourself.

2. Tell us how you define “literary quality.”

3. The books will be coming at you fast and furious – what’s your reading plan for the year?

4. How do you promote the Printz winners in your library?

Thanks, and have fun introducing yourselves to the membership!
Erin Downey Howerton
2008 Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee Member

MyBytes Teaches Teens a Little Something about Copyright… but What?

Microsoft’s new music mixing website MyBytes offers teens a way to craft new musical creations. Using a small library of loops, teens can build songs and then share them as full MP3 downloads or ringtones.

It’s hard not to notice an agenda to the MyBytes site, which immerses teens in the concept of IPR, i.e. intellectual property rights. They hear statements from artists about how glad they are for laws which protect them from consumer piracy and plagiarism, canned video clips featuring soundbites from teens on intellectual property rights, and hypothetical stories featuring fake teens writing in the first person about the concept of intellectual property and how it has affected their lives (none of the details of their lives hold up to internet searching).

MyBytes also offers an internal economy for users, designed to demonstrate what it’s like to have somebody downloading your creation without paying. As the site explains:

if you choose to publish your song, you are putting it into the mix of user-created songs for other users to listen to, remix, or download. You set property rights for each song you create, and you can charge other users credits to remix or download your songs. All users have the choice to either pay or not pay credits for songs they take, just like in real life. You’ll get to see if other users like your tracks, and if they’re giving you credit for using your creation.

Microsoft is, for better or worse, a vendor of IPR through the technologies it imposes through Windows Vista. And just like when the dairy industry has a hand in the food pyramid, are these the people from whom teens are going to get a healthy understanding of intellectual property?

Teens are smarter than this. They know who really gets paid when it comes to most albums, and they know who’s getting paid in the name of intellectual property rights. Instead, teens might be more apt to plug into a vibrant community based around creative commons, such as they can find on SpliceMusic or ccMixter. (Jamglue‘s great as well, but it’s not a very copyright-friendly zone.)

Hip-Hop Songwriting Contest Looking to Take Teens to School–Literally

Just in time for Teen Tech Week, ESSENCE magazine and the Berklee College of Music are scouting for the next generation of hip-hop. As the contest page from ESSENCE’s Take Back the Music campaign reads:


The ESSENCE Take Back the Music campaign and the Berklee College of Music are back again with our annual search for hip-hop’s next great voice. Lyricists and songwriters, ages 15 to 19, will compete to win tuition-free summer classes at Berklee’s Boston campus, where students learn fundamentals of performance, composition, production and the music business. Additionally, the top scholarship recipients will perform their winning songs at the 2008 Peace Hip-Hop Festival at Boston’s City Hall Plaza. Songs will be judged on clever, conscious, thought-provoking lyrics, composition and performance—so show us what you’ve got!

This is a great opportunity for teens to elevate their rhymes to the next level. And if you want to help produce, check out the TTW Making Music with Teens resource guide, as well as its Supplemental Guide.

25 self-directed tech activities for teens

Teen Tech Week committee has come up with a list of 25 things teens can do for Teen Tech Week. If you run into any teens that seem bored or want something to do, then hand them a list of 25 tech activities they may want to try. There should be no_bored_teens in the library during Teen Tech Week. And with these self-directed activities, all you have to do is spread the word by giving out the ideas.

Feel free to print out and distribute this list to teens and also consider sending it as an update on Facebook, MySpace, or Bebo.

25 Things you can do for Teen Tech Week

1. Download an eBook or audiobook onto your mp3 player.
2. Visit your local library’s webpage.
3. Blog about a library book or program.
4. Try out a book focused site like LibraryThing or Shelfari.

5. Create a soundtrack for your favorite book.
6. Ask your librarian to recommend a non-fiction book on an area of technology that interests you.
7. Add something to an article on Wikipedia.
8. Set up a podcast for a group or club you belong to.
9. Many young adult authors welcome email from their readers, and some even have their own MySpace profiles. Why not send them a message in honor of Teen Tech Week?
10. Check out some video games, DVDs or music CDs from your library.

11. Create an avatar on Yahoo! Avatars.
12. Start a Teen Tech Club at your school or public library.
13. Read and contribute to a blog about technology.
14. Practice your HTML skills on your MySpace.
15. Watch some anime or startup an anime club at your library.
16. Create a YouTube video about your library or a favorite book.

17. Download a newspaper article from the day you were born from an electronic database.
18. Volunteer to help clean the computers and media at your library.
19. Volunteer to tutor library customers who are new to using computers.
20. Learn how to DeeJay music or record music with a computer.
21. Search in a biography database for an article about your favorite musical artist.
22. Learn how to use some new software.
23. Take a class on graphic design or digital photography.
24. Create a database of something you want to organize.
25. Start a, Twitter or Flickr account.

Have more ideas? Leave them in the comments!

Teens and Technology Poster Session

The Technology for Young Adults Committee received great proposals for the Teens & Technology Poster Session at 2008 ALA Annual. The following posters are ones that will be represented at the conference:

Always eVolving Denver Public Library, CO virtual space (Teens post book, movie, and music reviews, plus artwork and creative writing. eVolver also includes a My Space page, podcasting, Flickr slideshows, and YouTube video).

It’s a REEL World After All Livermore Public Library, CA (Teen film festival designed to give fifth through twelfth grade students from low income families the opportunity to develop film making, employment, and study skills).

POSTER MYSPACE School Library System of Genesee Valley BOCES, NY (Open source library portal designed for and by librarians interested in providing an enriched, Library 2.0’ified experience for their YA users).

Teen Tech Week the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County, NC (PLCMC created the Teens & Technology Team to head up the creation of the annual system-wide Teen Tech Week celebration).

Teens Use Technology to Make the Grade St. Vrain Valley School District, CO (Learn about a teen technology fair in a science fair format in conjunction with YALSA’s Teen Tech Week).

Using Game Storylines and Environments William Paterson University, NJ (Learn frameworks and examples for connecting video game storylines and in-world environments with library materials, subject area content, and the world of ideas that are naturally found in libraries).

Video Technology on a Budget Radio West Covina Public Library, CA (Get tips on making a short video for less than $75, and learn the basics including shooting, editing, and getting young people involved).

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Audiobooks to the rescue!

Hey everyone! It’s Nichole King reporting from the Amazing Audiobooks Committee. As one list ends, a new one begins. To see our list of 2008 Selected Audiobooks, click here. This current list is the fruit of over 400 hours of listening. Just in case you were wondering, that is over 16 days of listening! We are extremely proud of our current list and hope you enjoy the selected audiobooks as much as we did.

Just when I started listening to my “Valley Girl” soundtrack and getting my radio stations programmed again, our first box came in with new titles for next years list, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Some of the titles included are Dragon’s Keep by Janet Lee Carey (woohoo!), Deadline by Chris Crutcher (Yeah!), Starcross by Phillip Reeve (Larklight was great!)and the one I have been most looking forward to listening to, The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Will these be nominated? Will they be on our list? Stay tuned…

Keep on Rocking in the “Real World”

Teens hooked on Guitar Hero might want to try their hands on the controller’s stringed counterpart (you know, the actual instrument known as the “guitar”), but not without abandoning the frantic fun that Guitar Hero provides. Thankfully, there are a few solutions on the horizon of 2008 that will get teens shredding in no time.

The folks over at Music Wizard are teaming up with SoundTech to develop Guitar Wizard, a software and hardware package that converts real-life guitar tones into controller messages for live game play. The PC or Mac-compatible system will allow teens to adapt virtually any guitar and import virtually any song.

Meanwhile, the folks at Game Tank are working on software requiring nothing more than a cord and some dexterous fingers to let teens live out their guitar-playing fantasies. For a promo video and news updates, check out the official Guitar Rising website.

Before I go, I would like to warn libraries about the unfortunate phenomenon of Rock Band disc read errors with older PS2s. If your library bought a PS2 used, refurbished, or otherwise not recently, try borrowing the game first and following the tips linked above. Otherwise, you’ll need to invest an additional $45-$65 for Sony to make your PS2 compatible with Rock Band’s dual-layered DVDs.