If you're going to Dallas for Midwinter, you've probably seen the different lists of places you should visit and eat. Having lived in DFW (that's short for Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, by the way), for a couple of years now, I can tell you that a lot of places that make those lists aren't the true gems. I asked around my library friends and what follows is a list of our combined must-see and must-dine places in DFW: Read More →

Going to Midwinter in Dallas?

Win a fabulous YALSA prize package by being the first to complete the Teen Tech Week QR Code Scavenger Hunt! Participants will visit locations both in person and online throughout ALA Midwinter. Solve the clues, find the codes, and scan them into your phone's QR code reader (visit this page for recommended apps for various platforms).

If you can scan all the codes, you may win an assortment of YALSA goodies. To participate, visit the Teen Tech Week website starting Friday, January 20th. (For more information on QR codes, visit the Wikipedia page on the subject).

Thanks to the Teen Tech Week sponsors for helping make the scavenger hunt possible. Good luck!

Title: Skitch
Cost: Free
Platform: iOS 5 or later, Android 1.6 and up

I've used the Skitch program on my MAC for several years. It's a great software that makes it easy to take and annotate screenshots. Last week when I learned that there was now a Skitch iPad app I thought, "That's going to be interesting." Then when I tried it out I thought, "This is really useful."

skitch main screenThe basics are pretty simple. Once Skitch is installed all a user needs to do is select from the screenshot options to begin working with an image. Options include annotating photos from the device camera roll or photos taken within Skitch using the device camera, web pages, and maps. Once the screenshot type is selected users can start annotating using the built in Skitch tools. These include drawing, text, and cropping tools. It's also possible to use different colors in annotations (the color palette is pretty limited however) and highlighting content using different shapes - square, circle, and freehand.
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Take a break from shoveling the snow and do some armchair traveling. Start planning your ALA Annual Conference experience for next summer in sunny Anaheim, June 21 - 26, 2012. Think palm trees, sun, surf, and networking with fellow teen librarians!

Believe it or not, just as we are about to take off for ALA Midwinter, the schedule of programs and events hosted by YALSA at Annual is already available for your perusal. The membership submitted their votes on the programs a few months ago.

Here are some highlights that need to end up on your ‘must do' list while in Anaheim!

Start your conference off right with a PreConference'  on Friday

Books We'll Still Talk About 45 Years from Now: Explore styles and themes of YA fiction through recent years and how to decide what YA novels to promote.

Source Code: Digital Youth Participation: Learn about potential applications of digital media and how to work with teens on a virtual project.

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You lead a busy life, yet you are taking time to follow this YALSA blog. That demonstrates you share YALSA's mission to expand and strengthen library services to teens everywhere. You are dedicated to providing the best library services for teens. You want to give teens the opportunity to access quality books. You also support your colleagues in their efforts to do the same. Would you be reading this if you weren't?

Because of your dedication you would like to extend your influence beyond your own community. You would like to bolster the entire teen library profession. You can do that right now, and you don't even have to leave the comfort of your home or office!

Donate to Friends of YALSA today. Your contribution of any size supports initiatives and projects that benefit teens and the library professionals who serve them. Your generosity can help sponsor emerging leaders, fund attendance at National Library Advocacy Days, or put books in the hands of disadvantaged young people. Did you receive one of the awesome Teen Read Week resource kits in October? That was made possible by contributors just like you.
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I remember the day my husband came home and told me we had received orders from the Navy and we were moving to Okinawa. My immediate thought was not one of adventure or exotic travel, but “Aw, man. I'll never get a job there!”

Okinawa, part of the Ryukyu Islands

The job prospects were slim. Though there are libraries on each of the bases, the jobs most available are Library Technician positions. Unfortunately, there is a hiring freeze for GS jobs preventing qualified applicants from stepping into full librarian positions. What was I to do until I got a job? How could I keep my newly minted librarian skills fresh? How could I do all this in a foreign country so far away from the library community I knew and respected? Enter Internet. Read More →

Have an abstract concept to solve like, figuring out what is needed for the library in order to create the kind of experience we want for our teens? Ask our teens what they want from us.

Sure we may hear things like, 'a roller coaster', 'a swimming pool', 'a McDonald's attached to the library'. Then it's our turn to ask those probing questions (we're Librarians after all, we are likely familiar with the reference interview). We add a variable by saying something like, I don't know that we could have a McDonald's but what about better food in the library?' It's the teen's turn and they suggest a compromise in their original idea because they understand context and figuring out another way to do something (think 'choose your own adventure books!') and suggest a snack bar. By then you might be thinking to yourself, 'why not, why couldn't we have a snack bar and what would that even look like?' Maybe it turns out to be allowing food in the library where there once never was before. Seemingly small change but HUGE impact.
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Title: Netflix

Platform: Nook Color (similar versions available for Android, iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad)

Cost: Free to download, but requires a Netflix subscription (one month free trial and then $7.99 a month).

Barnes and Noble is shipping out the latest addition to the Nook family, a tablet that rivals the Kindle Fire and iPad. The new Nook Tablet looks enticing, but Nook Color owners not quite ready to empty their wallets for the latest device will be happy to know that Nook Color has also become more tablet-like. Over 300 apps were released this month and a massive update introduced highly desired functionality, including vivid graphic novels and streaming movies. This App of the Week post will evaluate one of the most significant upgrades, Nook Color's Netflix app.

Available as a free download, the Netflix app delivers crisp, quick-loading videos. Upon logging in with my Netflix username and password, I was greeted with a row of videos that I had started earlier in the week on my television (see picture at left). With a tap, I continued watching The Office: Season 2 right where I left off. Read More →