For some of us, it's an uphill battle advocating for the teens in our libraries. Budgets are never quite large enough, there's never enough time to do everything, so if any group gets the short end of the stick, it's our teens. We all know how important it is to have teen programming and teen spaces and an excellent teen collection, but it can be difficult getting the higher-ups to see it our way. You might find, as I have, that you need to justify your teen programs beyond getting teens in the door. Read More →

I've had STEM on the brain a lot lately. (For those of you who haven't yet become familiar with this acronym, it stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.) The library in which I work has fully embraced STEM programming, providing informal hands on science classes for students in Kindergarten through High School. I'm also privileged to be working on the YALSA STEM Task Force. At our library, we've done lots of traditional science experiments, held building clubs, and offered teens the chance to learn new technology. But in all this, I find myself asking, “Where's the math?” I came up with an unexpected answer.

The single place I use math the most, other than basic household bills, is when I craft. Read More →

It's time for the Teens Top Ten again!

Teens Top Ten is all about teen choice! Get your teen readers to vote for their favorite books from this year's list of nominated titles. The resulting Teens Top Ten will be announced during Teen Read Week. The nominated books are posted at ala.org/teenstopten. There is an annotated nominations list as well as tips for promoting the Teens Top Ten to teen readers. Please encourage the use of #TTT12 on Twitter when promoting Teens Top Ten and please help us get the word out!

The Teens Top Ten is part of an ongoing project that connects teen book groups with publishers of young adult books. The publishers provide advance reader copies to selected teen book groups and the teens evaluate the books and provide feedback to the publishers. These same teen book groups create the voting list for Teens Top Ten by nominating their favorite titles published in the previous year.

More information, including a list of the rockstar Teens Top Ten book groups, may be found at ala.org/teenstopten. Voting is open from August 15th through September 15th, so encourage your teens to vote before it's too late!

Posted on behalf of Kristen Thorp, TTT Committee member 2012-2014

Title:' Carrr Matey by Lionebra

Platform:' Android 1.5 and up /' Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 5.0 or later.' Android 1.5 and up

Cost:' Free for Android / The iTunes App store says this is Free for a limited time.

Just in time for International Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19 for ye scurvy land-lubbers.), my favorite GPS locator app has been released for the iPhone! If you commute to work in a busy city, drive to school,' use a park and ride system, find yourself headed to a theme park, or just do a lot of shopping at busy malls, this app will make finding your car at the end of an exhausting day much simpler. The pirate-themed app by Lionebra Studios allows you to save the location of your parked car, you can also:

  • Get map directions or use the compass to get back to your vessel
  • Share the saved location with your friends
  • Make notes about your parking location. Read More →

For the past few weeks, and for the next few weeks, the YALSAblog is talking about badges. This week our focus is on the positive impact of badge programs in school environments.

An example of a school-based badge program is the New York City Department of Education's course called DIG/IT. This course prepares students for life after high school. "The DIG/IT course provides a context that empowers and encourages learners to develop new real-world skills and knowledge that advance life goals, while engaging with others in a social give-and-take that builds community credibility and connections. Fun, motivating badges demonstrate to the world what the learners know and can do, and how others value their contributions." Read More →

Interview with Heather Gruenthal, recipient of the Friends of YALSA (FOY) scholarship to attend National Library Advocacy Day in Washington, DC.

By Gregory Lum

I had the pleasure to visit with Heather at the 2012 ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim.'  Both Heather and I served on YALSA's Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers selection committee in 2011.
GL: Tell me a little bit about where you work and what your focus is?
HG: I have been a Teacher Librarian in the Anaheim Union High School District in Anaheim, California for twelve years.'  We are a high school district, so I have been exclusively serving teens in grades 7-12. My main focus in working with teens is to get them to read, particularly the teens who are considered "at risk" and are placed in intervention classes.'  Many teens do not read because they can't find anything interesting, and when they don't practice reading for enjoyment they find it much more difficult to tackle their academic reading.'  Using YALSA's selection lists, particularly Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers has helped me find books for teens with a wide variety of interests.'  My co-teachers have remarked on how much their students' reading habits and abilities improved because they were actually reading something that was interesting to them.'  Students who couldn't be forced to read more than 5 minutes at the beginning of the semester were suddenly begging for more time to read.'  Some students even confessed that they had never read a book all the way through to the end until that year.'  These kinds of interactions are what make my job worthwhile.
Read More →

If you have a passion for serving teens, advocate for them! District Days is an excellent opportunity to speak directly to legislators and maybe even include your teens in the conversation.

There are many reasons to serve teens at your library, including that you may thoroughly enjoy reading young adult literature and helping teens find a book they might like as well.'  Did you know that the impact of libraries on teenagers reaches farther than we could ever imagine?'  Take into account some of the following statistics:

  • 25% of all public high school students fail to graduate on time
  • 34 million American between ages 6 and 17 are not receiving sufficient developmental resources
  • 74% of U.S.eighth-graders read below the proficient level

Libraries are vital but challenged sources of support for the growing youth population in the United States. Census data shows that in 2010 there were over 42 million young people aged 10 -19 (comprising 13.6% of the population) in the US.' '  In 2010, half of the nation's 14 - 18 year olds reported visiting a library to use a computer.'  The Opportunity for All study'  reported that youth ages 14-24 make up 25% of all library users, which makes them the largest group in the study, and that youth were drawn to libraries to use computers, receive help with homework, socialize, and participate in programming.' '  Similarly, school libraries are available to about 62% of youth enrolled in public schools'  and youth turn to their school libraries for recreational reading, learning support, and technology access.'  However, critical library resources are endangered by widespread economic impacts on public and school libraries, as noted in the State of America's Libraries Report 2012 .'  The 2012 PLA PLDS Statistical Report indicates that just 33% of public libraries have at least one full time staff person dedicated to teen services (down a startling 18% from five years ago).

Teens are likely to suffer most in the absence of library services, yet libraries are key to supporting teens' learning and development.'  The impact of library services and programming is astounding: students that are involved in library programs and have a library available to them with extended hours score higher on ACT English andReadingtests than those who don't.

We also have the opportunity to give teens not only positive reinforcement, but a visible role model who enjoys the pursuit of leisure reading. ' Other than the educational setting, many teens may not have a person in his or her life who noticeably appreciates the written word.'  You could be having an impact on a teenager without even realizing it.'  Isn't that worth just a little extra effort now and then?

What can you do?'  At the local level, you could become a Friend of your Library or start a Friends group, volunteer at your local library, sponsor or support legislation that helps libraries, or serve on your library's board of Trustees.' '  You can participate in National Library Legislative Day, District Days and other advocacy activities sponsored by ALA and YALSA.'  Check out the advocacy resources on YALSA's web site for more information.

Do teens need libraries?'  Of course they do.'  Keep these statistics in mind when talking to friends, colleagues, and administrators.'  This is why YOU need to participate in District Days!

Information used in this post was gathered from the YALSA Brochure “Teens Need Libraries.”

Megan Garrett
Legislative Committee

Title: Process
Platform: iOS
Cost: 9.99
(It was recently marked down to 4.99 when it was included on the "App Store Essentials" list, but the discount price has ended.)

Most photo apps give you a selection of filters to choose from, with Process you can make your own.'  There is something reminiscent of'  darkrooms and f-stops as you turn the dial of each of several possible image adjustments. Each time you make adjustments to a photo you can easily add and remove different effects and see your changes in real time. Once you create a combination you like, you can save your "process" and apply it to other images.

The evil kitty and my godson are both enjoying a "process" I called Blue. Read More →