For a Broken Condom, Press 1

Via RH Reality Check, I’ve learned about the awesome SexInfo. Launched in San Francisco by Internet Sexuality Infomartion Services (ISIS), SexInfo lets teens receive health information via text message when they send numerical codes for common questions–1 for a broken condom, 6 if you’re not sure you want to have sex, and so on. While the texts require minimal effort on the part of teens, the messages they receive in response fully utilize the character limit. Responses include clinic addresses, hours and phone numbers, and a brief (often empowering) message to the teen, like “It’s ur choice 2 have sex or not.” Continue reading

Youth as Changemakers

Millennials have a high rate of volunteerism and are said to contribute to their communities in ways that help the greater good. That’s why the Dream It Do It (DIDI) project might be a great opportunity for libraries to connect with teens. Global Kids, an organization in New York City that works with youth in a variety of ways including exploring digital media, have a partnership with Youth Venture and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to work in Teen Second Life with teens to launch a venture and be changemakers in their communities. Continue reading

Real World Skills in Online Environments

Many librarians are probably familiar with designing programs that build developmental assets. We help build youth assets like leadership, helping others, and succeeding in school so that there is less of a chance that teens will make destructive choices such as vandalism and drugs.

You may even have heard of asset building in Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMORPGs) and Multi User Virtual Environments (MUVEs) such as World of Warcraft, Entropia Universe, Teen Second Life and more. This article in the May Harvard Business Review, Leadership’s Online Labs, talks about how real world transference can occur as a result of game play – from being leaders in online games to being leaders in the work world. Continue reading

Young Adult Literature Symposium Goodies

Still thinking about registering for the Young Adult Literature Symposium? Check out these great goodies that each attendee will receive at the Symposium. These great badge holders are being sponsored by Scholastic and the conference bags are sponsored by Harper Teen. And, don’t forget you can read more about the Symposium on the YALSA Wiki and also register on the YALSA web site. (Click on each image to see a larger version.)
YA Literature Symposium Bag- sponsored by Harper TeenYA Literature Symposium badge holder- sponsored by Scholastic

The World of Search

Over the past couple of weeks new web-based search tools have popped up. These tools are worth investigating as a way to help teens expand their research lives. Two of these search sites use images, in two completely different ways, as a way to enhance the search process:

  • Searchme – When someone enters a search term at Searchme the results are displayed visually in a scrollable stack. The result images are screenshots of the sites that match the search terms. For anyone familiar with iTunes and Apple’s cover flow style of display, the results “list” is very similar in look to that.Along with the visual results display, Searchme also filters results into categories. For example, in the image below, when the search term YALSA is entered into the search box, a list of categories appears for that search – libraries, children’s books, etc. A searcher can click on a specific category and see the results for just that category. Or, the searcher can click on all and see everything that Searchme uncovered. Even if just one category is selected, on the results page the other categories are displayed so it’s easy to switch from one to another.

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Dancin’ in the Stacks

Remember Footloose? While getting recent news about high schools banning certain types of dancing at prom, I was reminded of Kevin Bacon’s struggle against the town’s ban on rock ‘n roll music and dancing. Banning dancing–or certain kinds of dancing–has long been a way to control “undesirable elements” within public space, long before Elvis Presley’s gyrating hips were censored for the good of teen girls all over America (not to discount teens of any other gender who might have found Elvis’s pelvis alluring). Continue reading


Avatar in Small WorldsSmallWorlds is a virtual world that runs inside your web browser. It has been in beta testing for several months and is due to be released in a few weeks. SmallWorlds integrates sites teens use at many of our libraries including YouTube and Flickr and also includes customizable widgets. The environment gives teens the ability to control their world. They do that through the creation of their own space.

This seems like it could be a great match for libraries. Jump in when it launches and share your thoughts. Participate in the Forums by providing feedback. Have a meet up online! Figure out how libraries could be involved and why. It looks like a lot of fun!

brightkite: What’s It Good For?

Recently librarians started to take notice of brightkite, a web-based service that calls itself a “location-based social network.” The idea of brightkite is that you sign-up for an account, add friends, and then using the web, IM or text-messaging check-in at brightkite to let those in your network know where you are and what you are doing. For example, type in the zip code 02115 and brightkite sends out a notice to all of your friends on the network (that they can read on a mobile device or on the web) letting them know you are in Boston, MA. The message also includes a link or display (depending on the device used to read the meassage) of a map showing where that zip code is in Boston. It’s also possible to post photos of that location and post notes about what’s going on there.
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Adults Time To Take Responsibility

Today when I read of the indictment of the woman whose harassment of a teen girl on MySpace led to the girl’s suicide, I wanted to cheer. The indictment was not however brought by the state in which the crime took place, the state couldn’t find enough evidence to indict locally, it was brought by the federal government. As the article in The New York Times states:

…Because MySpace, a unit of Fox Interactive Media, is based in Beverly Hills, Calif., and its server is here, federal prosecutors decided to wield a federal statute that is generally used to prosecute fraud that occurs across state lines.

The statute applies in the case, the indictment says, because by violating the user agreement of MySpace, which prohibits phony accounts, Ms. Drew was seeking information “to further a tortuous act, namely, intentional infliction of emotional distress.”

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Taking a BITE out of Teen Read Week Planning!

Teen Read Week is just 6 months away! Don’t wait until the last minute – start nibbling away at the planning process now.

I had the pleasure of presenting at the Vermont Library Association Conference about Teen Read Week and program planning (slides from the session are posted on Slideshare). After the overview, participants broke into small groups to plan a program for Teen Read Week that utilized the Books with Bite theme. The result? TEN programs! These bare bones programs, posted under TRW 08 on the YALSA wiki, still need a bit of fleshing out – I just asked the librarians to consider description, justification (what assets are being built), marketing and evaluation. Please feel free to set up a FREE account, log in, and add content!
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