Teen Literature Day

It is not too late to make plans to celebrate the second annual Support Teen Literature Day on April 17, 2008. This is a day to celebrate the vibrant world of YA literature. Create a display of the newest award winners. Post lists of BBYA, Quick Picks, and other lists from YALSA. Read aloud to teens from the latest and best YA books (a good place to begin might be with Printz winners from the past couple of years) or play a track or two from YA audiobooks (see the YALSA list of Amazing Audiobooks and the Odyssey winners). Highlight the work of some of the winners of the Margaret Edwards Award, a wondrous collection of incredible authors including Lois Lowry, Orson Scott Card, Chris Crutcher, Richard Peck, and M.E. Kerr to name a few.

Better yet, create some lists of your own to recommend to local bookstores, parent groups, schools. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper supporting the use of contemporary literature. Offer to do periodic reviews for your town newspaper of forthcoming YA books.

And don’t forget the new technologies. Use podcasts and wikis and blogs to pass along the news that YA literature is not only interesting for teen readers, it is a literature rich in language and imagery and can stand alongside the literary canon (most of which are contemporary stories from past times). How will you celebrate? Let us know what you did and how it all went. Share your experiences and successes with your colleagues.

For more ideas visit YALSA’s wiki. For 2008, YALSA has teamed up with the readergirlz and 20 publishers to distribute 10,000 books to children’s hospitals. You can get the details from the press release. There are tips on the wiki to help you connect with hospitalized and homebound teens in your community.

Teen Services – Past, Present, Future

Over the past several weeks The New York Public Library has been in the news – library, local, and national – because of projects and programs that have a lot to do with the way teens are served in the public library. In thinking about the recent news at NYPL, I realized that what’s been going on is a perfect example of where teen services have been, where they are now, and where they are headed. For example:

  • On Saturday, March 22, NYPL hosted the 79th Books for the Teen Age celebration. This annual event is the unveiling of the library’s print publication that highlights recently published titles of interest to teen readers. Authors, librarians, interested adults, and teens get together to celebrate the launch of the latest list. Obviously, in its 79th year, Books for the Teen Age is not something new. It’s an example of the kinds of services libraries have provided to teens for the past several decades.
  • Just the night before this year’s Books for the Teen Age celebration, NYPL hosted a historic event with its Game On @ The Library. 200 teens signed-up to play games at NYPL. Of course, libraries have been hosting gaming events for the past few years. What made this event so historic is that it was held in Astor Hall, the entranceway/lobby of New York Public Library’s probably most well known research facility. (The one with the lions out front.) This is a facility that has traditionally been seen and used as a staid and somewhat formal research facility. When you put 200+ teens and adults in the space to play games, staid is no longer the word to use. This event shows the library of today. One in which space is opened up to teens in order to meet their current needs and interests.
  • Then there is the library of the future. NYPL is in the midst of change. The Library recently announced that two of its primary Manhattan facilities are going to close. (One will close forever and one will close while a hotel is built and the library becomes part of a hotel/library joint-use facility.) The Donnell Branch of NYPL currently houses Manhattan’s Teen Central and this space is going to no longer exist – in its current form – and will eventually be re-envisioned in new teen space that will be in that same “lions building” where the gaming night took place. This is the future of library services at NYPL, but this can also be a model of what libraries around the country want to consider as they determine how to meet the needs of the teen population. Teen Central librarian, Sara Couri, talked with teens who currently visit the library’s Manhattan Teen Central to find out what they want and need for the new space. The podcast of their answers gives a good glimpse at the library needs of teens today and in the future.

Change is not easy. Change is sometimes good and sometimes bad. However, all libraries need to constantly evolve in order to successfully serve the needs of teens – not just teens of the past, but of the current day, and the future. The recent events at NYPL can provide some food for thought about how to move from yesterday, to today, as well as look forward to tomorrow – in your library, not just in the big city of Manhattan, NY.

Don’t Forget to VOTE! ALA Elections, 2008

We are one week into ALA’s online voting, and polls close April 24, 2008. On the ballots are changes to bylaws, as well as names for selecting our next slate of councilors, board members, and folks to serve on a variety of committees. YALSA members get a special YALSA ballot – you can see our slate of candidates for YALSA offices

Last week, my ALA membership # and a unique password were emailed to me with simple instructions. I went to https://www.alavote.org/2008/ and logged in easily.

On each ballot, candidate names had a button next to them, labeled “bio,” Clicking the button made a new window open, showing individual credentials: resume, publications, committee work, accomplishments, and often, a personal statement. Even the bylaw changes had bios that included the original language, the proposed change, and the board’s current stance on the issue. So, even if you feel you haven’t done your homework, you can become an informed voter on the spot.

I am a member of several roundtables and divisions, so I had 5 ballots to complete. It took me about 30 minutes to complete all of my ballots, and I did my voting in two chunks, because it was easy to save as I went along.

I got an email confirmation for each ballot, after submitting my votes (the email said 2007 election, incidentally!)

As I was reading candidate bios, I paid special attention to candidates who are children’s and young adult librarians and library teachers. The following list is not an endorsement and provided for informational purposes; I leave it up to all of you to consider the implications of having the interests of youth serving librarians–members of AASL, ALSC and YALSA–brought to the Big ALA table–or not.

J. Linda Williams (ALA President)
Stephen L. Matthews (councilor-at-large)
Thomas W. Brogan (councilor-at-large)
Christine McIntosh (councilor-at-large)

Toni Negro (councilor-at-large)
Dolores (Dee) Gwaltney (councilor-at-large)
Lisa Von Drasek (councilor-at-large)
Christopher G. Harris (councilor-at-large)
Linda J. Underwood (councilor-at-large)
Bonnie L. Kunzel (councilor-at-large)
Linda Friel (councilor-at-large)
Ida Williams Thompson (councilor-at-large)
Barbara K. Stripling (councilor-at-large)

Jo Ellen Misakian (councilor-at-large)
Alison Ernst (councilor-at-large)
Margaret L. Kirkpatrick (councilor-at-large)

I was sad to see fewer candidates this year for councilor-at-large. Nominating committees are putting their heads together for the next slate of candidates nearly as soon as the elections are over – maybe YOUR name will be here next year!

Looking Forward to the New YALSA Blog

As YALSA Communications Specialist, Stevie Kuenn noted in her”http://tinyurl.com/3cw9xn”>last YALSA update, the YALSA blog is about to go through a really exciting transformation. Come April 4 the blog will not only look different, but it will also have new features for both blog readers and bloggers. Some of the features to look forward to include:

  • Easy linking of YALSA blog posts to social bookmarking sites and blogs and the ability to easily send posts via email to colleagues, friends, and teens.
  • More user-friendly commenting, including the ability to easily add links to blog comments.
  • Improved integration with web 2.0 tools.
  • Better search functionality and overall organization of blog content.

On Monday, March 31, the YALSA blog will close for at least a portion of the week. When we shut-down, we’ll start moving content over to the new blog and get things ready for the launch, which will take place by Friday, April 4.

When the new/improved blog launches, there will be a new URL and a new RSS feed address. We’ll make sure to get the word out on what those new addresses are as soon as they are available.

Stay tuned for more details about this exciting change.

The YALSA Update: Gaming, PLA & More

ALA Presidential Citations on Gaming Available ALA President Loriene Roy is giving out presidential citations to libraries that use games and gaming as tools for learning, literacy development and community development. YALSA members use gaming in creative ways—so nominate your library through the Presidential Citation Nomination Form in one of three categories: recreation, education or innovation. Applications must be submitted through April 21.

Come See Us at PLA We’ll be exhibiting in the ALA Booth (#1621) at the Public Library Association National Conference. Stop by and pick up cool YALSA freebies, your member ribbon, and enter a raffle to win a FREE online course from YALSA. On Thursday from 1 to 2 and on Friday from 11 to noon, meet YALSA President Paula Brehm-Heeger—bring your questions and ideas because she’s eager to hear them! We’ll also be hosting a happy hour at The Local, 931 Nicollet Mall, on Thursday from 5-7. (And make sure to mark your calendars for the Beginners’ Guide to Serving Teens preconference on Tuesday and the Reference Guide for Teens program on Saturday). To learn more about the conference visit www.placonference.org. We’ll see you there!

Deadlines, Deadlines Remember, applications for the Support Diversity Conference Stipends are due March 31—we’re giving out two $1,000 stipends to come to Annual Conference in Anaheim, so get your application together today. And send your teens to their computers! The Teen Technology Survey is taking answers from teens through March 31.

We’re Moving The YALSA blog is migrating to a new location and a new blogging system (WordPress) in April. So what’s that mean? The YALSA blog will be located at yalsa.ala.org/blog (it’s, uh, not ready yet), and our move to WordPress will give us some really great new features for both our intrepid bloggers and all of our readers. The YALSA blog will be unavailable March 31-April 4 while we move content from this blog to the new site. Keep an eye on the current YALSA blog for more information (including RSS updates and more). If you have questions about the YALSA Blog makeover, please contact blog manager Linda Braun (lbraun@leonline.com) or myself at skuenn@ala.org.

Check back to the YALSA blog each week for a rundown of news and events from the YALSA Office. Comments? Questions? Contact YALSA Communications Specialist Stephanie Kuenn at skuenn@ala.org.

Social Networks and Music Discovery

A recent panel at the Digital Music Forum East showcased different tech and music luminaries discussing how social networks help people discover new music. Wired has summarized what the panelists had to say here.

One recurring theme is that social networks provide the quickness and convenience necessary to find and share music instantly. For instance, teens using the Last.FM plug-in can instantly recommend songs while they listen to MP3s, as well as let others track what they’ve been listening to. iLike‘s Facebook application lets users send each other public song dedications. Teens browsing the web over their phones can listen to the latest songs no matter where they are.

These technologies help teens establish themselves as tastemakers, as well as connect them to the tastes of their peers. It fits sharing music within the rhythms of their own complex social interactions.

Another interesting distinction is that social networks and music use differs between age groups. While older people who use social networks for music discovery might be looking for vetted recommendations from those “in the know” (which they might find on blogs and the algorithms of Pandora), teens are looking for the social interactions of passing along recommendations to each other and tapping into an aggregated listening experience.

Congratulations Movers and Shakers

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usThe following YALSA members were awarded 2008 Mover and Shaker from Library Journal. This award is given annually for people who are emerging leaders in the library world.

Sarah Erwin, Director of Programs & Youth Services/Assistant Director, Kirkwood Public Library, MO

Jamie Watson, Assistant Materials Manager, Harford County Public Library, MD

Stephanie Anne Squicciarini, Young Adult Librarian, Fairport Public Library, NY

Karen E. Brooks – Reese, Coordinator of Teen Services, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA. View her blog here.

For the complete listing of 2008 Movers and Shakers view here.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Learning History

When I read in the New York Times about the survey that “Finds Teenagers Ignorant of Basic History and Literature Questions,” I couldn’t help but think what their knowledge would be like if they learned about those subjects while in an immersive environment. In January 2008, the Land of Lincoln island on Teen Second Life came into existence as a result of a vision from the Alliance Library System. Even though the title is about Lincoln, the focus is a bit broader, covering the 1850’s and 1860’s. Right now it is a wild west theme. Teens are designing structures such as a gold mine and bank, objects including horses and soon clothes from the time period. It’s not simply the fact that being in an immersive environment might make information stick, it’s because of the way knowledge can be shared and collaborations take place. Teens that build might rely on another teen to do the research, add the computer programming language to make the horse move, design a sign for the stable. All of those things engage the teens because they are working on this together-sharing their previously formed knowledge and learning new information as a result of working together.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Guitar Hero Gets Geekier with Shredz64

For teens who’ve caught the 8-bit retro madness of the chiptune craze, the people at SyntheticDreams have managed to make their dreams come true: Guitar Hero on the Commodore 64.

The FREE Shredz64 project let’s folks hook up their guitar controller and play along with a huge user repository of .sid files, which are music files designed to be played on the Commodore 64 system. These range anywhere from NES games to cheesy 80s hits.

If your library still has one of these lying around the office (and I know some of you do), then you and some adventurous teens can breathe new life into the old system. If you don’t, you can lead teens into the wonderful world of emulation. Here’s what you need:

  • Commodore 64 emulator. Your computer can simulate the C64 environment, opening up your computers to a whole host of fun, independently-designed games. PC users can check out CCS64, while Macs have Power64. For Shredz64, what matters is that your emulator can emulate paddles. Commodore 64 emulation can occasionally be tricky, so make sure you read the documentation.
  • Playstation to USB adapter. This will let you hook up your Guitar Hero controller to the computer. The Stepmania site currently has a great guide to finding the one that will work for you.

After a couple of mouse clicks and text commands, you’ll be all set. Have fun, and be sure to check out the demo on Youtube!

Young Adult Literature Symposium Stipends

YALSA will be offering two stipends up to $1,000 each to attend the first Young Adult Literature Symposium. One stipend will be awarded to a library worker who works directly with young adults and the other will be awarded to a student enrolled in an ALA accredited MLS program with a focus on serving young adults in a library setting.

Have a YALSA personal membership
One to Ten years of serving teens in a professional library setting (for library worker applicants) or enrollment in an ALA Accredited MLS program (student applicants)
Incomplete submissions will not be considered

Applications can be downloaded from the Young Adult Literature Symposium website

Application and current resume must be sent to yalsa@ala.org by Midnight, May 1, 2008. Supporting statements from a professor or employer must be emailed seperately and received by the same date. (Make sure that your name and “supporting statement” are included in the subject line).

Criteria for selection:
Candidate’s commitment to Young Adult library services
Candidate’s desired learning outcomes for attending the conference
Candidate’s financial and professional development needs
Strength of supporting statement

Winners will be announced July 7, 2008.

Questions should be directed to Nichole Gilbert at ngilbert@ala.org or 1.800.545.2433 x4387

PS-Be sure to check out the Young Adult Literature Symposium Sponsorship Opportunities page and thank the sponsors at ALA this summer.