Teen Avatar Design Contest for Jack Gantos and Meg Cabot

Today, teens had the opportunity to enter their avatar designs for Jack Gantos and Meg Cabot for a contest in Teen Second Life so that they can wear them when they come to TSL to interact with the teens. The enthusiasm and creativity were wonderful. We talked about what Jack and Meg write and some of the teens shared that they identified with some of the characters.

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Melissa de la Cruz’s Vampires in New York

Blue Bloods

Blue Bloods by Melissa de la CruzSchuyler Van Alen, scholarship student at the posh and selective Deschune school, has always had a cool head on her, even when sneered at because of her thrift-store clothing when the norm is something from 5th Avenue. Her cool head, however, is slowly developing something more for one of the richest kids in Manhattan, New York — Jack Force.

And whaddya know – he tries to throw himself under a cab right before the first time Schuyler talks to him. …..Ooooohhhhkay…..turns out he’s an invincible vampire. And so is Schuyler. And her new best friend, Bliss from Texas.

It turns out that Schuyler’s blood is kinda out to get her — she’s a vampire. Well, only half, but that makes no difference to the something that’s stalking and killing off vampires, ‘cuz, you know, the Committee’s really been lying to them about their complete immortality… Continue reading

YALSA Tech for YA Committee Poster Session

I’m a new blogger here at YALSA and I’m very excited to get to tell about the YALSA Tech for YA committee poster session at ALA Annual.It is always great to see what others are doing on a practical level. There were presentations by students as well as librarians.

Flamingnet Book Reviews Seth of Flamingnet Book Reviews began his site in 2002 when he was just 15 years old! It has now grown and has contributors from across the US.’  Seth was a delight to speak with and it you haven’t checked out his project, do yourself a favor and visit http://flamingnet.com

Morgan McPheeters and Jake Mayfield of the Farmington Public Library in New Mexico


Morgan McPheeters and Jake Mayfield of the Farmington Public Library in New Mexico showed off their poster on their teen zine, Blended.’  The teens were so knowledgeable and their project was very well done.The zine produced was a high quality, full color zine that any teen would want to read. Continue reading

Library Services for the Blind & Handicapped

I’m going to use my first post here to both introduce myself and my library. I’m starting off with a bit of an explanation, so when I post about offering services to and materials’ for “blind and other physically handicapped persons“‘ you’ll know where I’m coming from.

I’m Liz Burns; and I’m the Youth Services Consultant for the’ NJ State Library’s Library for the Blind and Handicapped (NJLBH). I work with patrons from ages 3 to 18.

Who are my customers? Continue reading

Books to Watch Out For: Let It Snow: Three holiday romances by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle

It may be 90 degrees and humid here in New Jersey, but “A Very Supernatural Christmas” is on the TV and I’m craving Chinese food, so this seems like the perfect time to write about Let It Snow: Three holiday romances by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle, coming in September. Continue reading

What’s Your Thing?

Going to conferences inspire me. Hearing about the fantastic things other libraries are doing, then getting together with my colleagues to exchange these tidbits over dinner is one of my favorite parts about the conference experience.

“How awesome is this?”

“Wouldn’t it be great if we could do that?”

While I’m always flooded with new ideas, it seems like every year there’s a stand-out message or theme that sticks with me…one that inspires me enough to become my mission. Last year it was gaming (flash forward one year later: we offer video game programs in most of our 34 branches and will—fingers crossed—be implementing our circulating collection this fall).

This year, it’s a little loftier, a little harder to measure. The word that kept resonating with me this conference was innovation. Burned brightest into my brain: innovation happens in times of crisis. I know that many libraries right now are experiencing crisis due to budget woes, and we are no exception: while we’re more fortunate than some, we are feeling the familiar belt-tightening that I’m sure many of you are.

So, this is my thing. Innovation. It’s time to get creative, find ways to get things done in unorthodox ways. Open my mind to outlandish suggestions and abandon those tired practices that just aren’t working. I’m thinking this will keep me busy for a while.

What’s your thing?

Edwards Winner Orson Scott Card Recommends The Thirteenth Tale

One of the highlights of the 2008 American Library Association’s Annual Conference was theMargaret Edwards Award ceremony, where Orson Scott Card was honored for his lifetime contribution to writing for teens for his novels “Ender’s Game” and “Ender’s Shadow.”What a memorable and moving lecture – be sure to read Card’s address in the upcoming Fall issue of YALS !

If you were in the audience, you heard Card recommend his favorite book: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. But more importantly, when Card spoke about reading The Thirteenth Tale, he described how he remained in his car to hear the story continue. Yes, that’s right – Orson Scott Card read the book by listening. To find out more about Card’s reaction to the audiobook, read his blog post here. Continue reading

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (fall 08)

There were two books keeping me sane during my wild and woolly flight back from Anaheim: Hunger Games from Suzanne Collins, of Gregor the Overlander fame… and Barry Lyga’s Hero-Type, reviewed on the blog by Carlie Webber.’  Hunger Games was the one book I was determined to get at Annual, and it certainly lived up to its promise.

Hunger Games inherits the crazy premises of both Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” and Stephen King’s Bachman novella The Running Man.’  It’s an unholy marriage to be sure, but the result is compelling, addictive, and relatable for a generation raised on the Survivor television series. Continue reading

When It Comes to Teens & Tech, Don’t Forget Accessibility

The digital divide isn’t always about money or age. Physical ability is often overlooked in the discussion, though it can make the difference in whether a teen can access the digital resources your library provides. It wasn’t until stumbling upon the article “As Personal Technology Explodes, Deaf and Blind People Feel Left Behind” that I thought about the effect that moving toward streaming, online multimedia and mobile devices can have on deaf and blind teens, as well as other teens with disabilities.

For deaf teens, a library podcast means nothing without a transcript, and book trailer can be unintelligible without closed captioning. Blind teens won’t be able to find links embedded in flash, images, or DHTML if their screen readers or accessible browser can’t find them. Teens lacking in certain motor skills may struggle to click inside small text boxes or navigate drop-down menus. It’s important we don’t leapfrog these teens as we introduce exciting new services and content to our patrons.

If you want to learn more about how you can make your digital services more accessible without compromising any of the exciting gains in digital technology, you can visit the Web Accessibility Initiative. For issues related to gaming, check out the Game Accessibility Project or work with teens to build their own games through the Audio Game Maker, a free program that helps visually-impaired people make their own accessible video games.

Joseph Wilk
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Teen