Give Teens What They Want

I started working as the YA representative in my library in 2008, amid the fight to prove to the world why gaming belonged in libraries. This was a fight that YA librarians across the country were involved in, so much so that books, journal articles and blogs were made dedicated solely on the topic. In my library system, we won this battle and now have gaming systems at every branch in our system. And this is true nationwide. If you take a look at the teen programs offered by most library systems, you will find gaming on the agenda. We won this battle.

So what happened? YA librarians seem content to let it stay at this level, when in fact, we should be continuing to push to make more and more technology available to teens in the library. A recent study by McCann Worldgroup showed that teens would rather lose their sense of smell than their techonolgy.(http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2385960,00.asp) And technology consists of much more than just gaming.  There are many free websites available that allow users to create their own animated videos, like xtranormal.com.  Scratch, a free software program designed by MIT (http://scratch.mit.edu/), allows users to program their own video games.  All of this is available through technology we already have in our buildings and we should be using it in teen programming.  YA librarians have already shown that technology is an essential part of teen programing.  We have an obligation to teens to continue to push to get free technology in their hands.

So why not ask for green screen technology like Charlotte-Mecklenburg uses for their teens?  Why not ask for digital  and video cameras so we can teach teens how to create their own short-length movies?  Why not ask for Macs to use Movie-Maker?  Why not ask for Photoshop to teach teens how to edit their pictures.  All of these things are becoming basics in information literacy education.  One of the new rolls libraries are striving for is to become teachers of information literacy- to become the experts on these topics.  So why not ask for more?  The worst that can happen is to be told no.  The best that can happen is to be able to give teens more reasons to love the library.

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