App of the Week: Words with Friends

Title: Words with Friends
Platform:’  iPod Touch, iPad, ‘ iPhone
Cost:’  free-$2.99′ 

Also available in HD version for iPad for $2.99

At the beginning of the school year I received an invitation from a friend who is a school librarian in Alaska to play a new game called WORDS WITH FRIENDS.’  Frankly, I had heard nothing about it.’  So, I scurried over to the APP Store and downloaded the free version for my iPod Touch.’  I was hooked:’  Scrabble games with friends or random opponents and all online. ‘ ‘ In some schools, students are coming in to the library at lunch and other free times to challenge one another (and to challenge the librarian, too) to games.’  I currently have 5 games going concurrently and love when I get a notice that it is my turn to play the tiles.

Scrabble Board for Words with Friends

Words with Friends board

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YA Lit Symposium: Some Post-Conference Reflections

There’ve been some great summaries of sessions at the 2010 YA Lit Symposium here, and I’ve written in detail about all of the sessions I attended on my own blog, but now that I’ve had some time to process everything I heard and talked about over the weekend and what I’ve read about the symposium since then, I thought I’d share some of my overall impressions from the entire conference here to continue the discussion.

One of of the themes I saw come up across multiple sessions was that reading allows us to vicariously experience things that are not part of our own lived experience, so reading books about people who are different from us helps educate us, allows us to test our values, and de-Others people like the character. In “Beyond Good Intentions and Chicken Soup: YA Lit and Disability Diversity: How Far Have We Come?” the presenters mentioned that for a lot of teens, reading a book about a person with disabilities may be their first experience with disability. Making sure that portrayal is balanced rather than stereotypical and that the character’s disability isn’t the primary problem in the story gives teens a more accurate portrayal of what people with disabilities can be like–that is, that people with disabilities are people, too. Continue reading

YALSA Lit Symposium – WOW!

And a great time was had by all!

What an interesting group of presenters and authors.’  This Symposium really brought the mind’s focus around to incorporating diversity in all aspects of your collection – print, non-print, and web-based.’ ‘ I particularly liked the fact that some of the authors gave us lists’ of their favorite diverse books (Cynthea Liu – http://www.cynthealiu.com) and that booktalks were everywhere.

I’ came home with lots of lists to use in buying and creating my own more diverse resource lists and in making displays.’ I came home energized and excited’ to try my own’ 30 books in 30 minutes program and Yack and Snack book discussion group.’ ‘ I came home with determination to promote my audio collection to teachers as well as students.’  And I came home with two autographed copies of Pat Mora’s Dizzy in Your Eyes: Poems About Love‘  (Knopf, 2010) for my high school boys who will copy’ the poems’ for their girlfriends.

Hurray YALSA!’  Conference job well done.

YA Lit Symposium: Your Presenter’s Preparations

If you’ve never made a presentation at an event like the YA Literature Symposium, watching the speakers might make you wonder how it all comes together.’  Those polished, funny, engaging speakers must have done some hard work, but they must also be lucky, right?’  Yet the process of crafting the presentation and actually making it isn’t a mysterious one, as this tongue-in-cheek timeline for a speaker at the YA Lit Symposium illustrates.

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Roving Versus Desk Reference

I recently moved from the Teen Services Librarian position at Red Deer Public Library to the teen job at the downtown branch of Edmonton Public Library, and while the two cities are only 1.5 hours from each other, they feel a universe apart to me. The teen area at the downtown branch has been without a librarian for the past few months (and in the 2 years before that, there was much turnover in the position). The space has been heavily used by street/at-risk/ inner city youth roughly aged 15-25, making younger teens and tweens feel intimidated to use the area to find library materials, let alone spend time there hanging out. Continue reading

YALSA Teen Lit Symposium: Author Happy Hour from the Authors’ Perspective

The thing I was looking forward to least about the whole YALSA Teen Lit Symposium was the Author Happy Hour. Neurotic me imagined me sitting by myself at a table while all the other tables were mobbed.

When the librarians started streaming in, I took a picture because it was just this mob of people coming in, like the Running of the Brides at Filene’s Basement in Boston. And then you mobbed us all! It was thrilling. Continue reading

YA Lit Symposium: Author’s Happy Hour

As I filed out of the excellent’ Images & Issues Beyond the Dominant: Including Diversity in Your Graphic Novel Collection (more on that later), I was surprised to see a milling mob of librarians waiting in the hallway. ‘ Then I remembered the Author’s Happy Hour(s): two hours of YA author superstars, signing free copies of their books, plus snacks and alcohol. ‘ Ah…. The eager chatter and press suddenly made sense!

Each attendee was given a small tote bag and five tickets, good for five books. ‘ However, with over 30 authors in attendance, each one of us had to make some serious’ decisions’ about which authors we needed to gush to and whose books we must have. Continue reading

YA Lit Symposium: A Side Trip…

As I was unable to make it to the YA Lit Symposium’s Pre-Conference Session: On Beyond Stonewall, I decided to head to a local bookstore Friday night for an intimate and informal discussion about LGBT issues in teen literature.’  Present were authors Malinda Lo (Ash), Lauren Bjorkman (My Invented Life), Megan Frazer (Secrets of Truth and Beauty), Alexandra Diaz (Of all the Stupid Things) and Kirstin Cronn-Mills (The Sky always hears me and the hills don’t mind), all of whose books feature characters dealing with LGBT issues. Continue reading