App of the Week: House of Horrors Movies


Title: House of Horrors Movies — Great Halloween Movies
Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: .99 for iPhone and Android, $1.99 for iPad version

Are you or your teens staying in this Halloween? Share some classic Hollywood scares with this App which streams full-length feature films.

App developed Fling Soft has made a range of classic horror and suspense films easily accessible on mobile devices. Each film can be viewed over both data or wifi connections, or added to a queue within the software for later consultation. Menus offer quick access to thirteen early Hitchcock movies, thirteen starring Bela Lugosi, and a dozen with Boris Karloff.
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Bullying: Not Just An Issue for One Month

This week, 15-year-old Felicia Garcia killed herself, just days after tweeting that she could no longer handle the way she was being teased and tormented in the school halls. She was being bullied for making a choice at a party with and shamed mercilessly for it.

Earlier this month, Amanda Todd’s story made the rounds. She, too, made a choice that impacted how other teens treated her. She made a YouTube video discussing in detail the sorts of torture she endured in the school halls – even after switching schools. She ultimately ended her life.

These two teens aren’t part of a “trend,” nor are they exceptions to stories of bullying. According to the recently-released results of an online study conducted by Love is Louder and Harlequin Teen, of the over 1,500 16-21 year old females who responded, 70% had been bullied. Of those surveyed, 78% also believed that adults don’t take their claims of bullying seriously enough. The full results of the survey are eye-opening.
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Getting the most of RPGS in your Library PT. 2: Collection Development

This article is about collection development for Tabletop games. LARP games will get their own love in a post about LARP programming. If you have questions about this post or you would like to request that I focus on something specific next, please contact me @MichaelBuono on twitter. 

Collection Development for niche hobbies is difficult. The materials are not as well reviewed as we would like, they are expensive and there is a limited audience. My friends and I have easily a thousand dollars worth of books. That says nothing of our dice, figurines or random medieval weapons. But we are fans first, and so we buy things we don’t need. There are ways to develop a collection to support the hobby without busting your budget.  First and foremost, only buy the titles that reflect the interests of your teens. I have included a list of recommended buys at the bottom of the page.

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YALSAblog Tweets of the Week – October 26, 2012

A weekly short list of tweets that librarians and the teens that they serve may find interesting.

Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between October 26 and November 1 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.
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Connect, Create, Collaborate: Sparking the Maker Movement at your Library

A makerspace (sometimes also referred to as a hackerspace, hackspace or hacklab) is a location where people with common interests, often in computers, technology, science, electronics, engineering, and/or digital or electronic art, can connect, create and collaborate. Makerspaces can be viewed as open community labs incorporating elements of machine shops, workshops, and/or studios where hackers and makers come together to share resources and knowledge to build and make things.

Many libraries have embraced the maker movement and have incorporated makerspaces into the services they provide as they both encourage community building, skill sharing, participatory learning and the concepts of scientific and technological savvy as 21st century literacies.

Photo of Arduino, breadboard & blinky LED

In the past year and a half or so, encouraged by my fiance who is a hardware prototyper by day and a hackerspace member as a hobby, I’ve gotten involved in Null Space Labs (NSL), a hacker/makerspace for adults a few blocks from the library where I work. Some of the cool projects that NSL members have worked on include trying to create a theremin and a quadrotor helicoptor robot from scratch.  At NSL, I learned how to solder LEDs to a circuitboard. The device I made is called a Cylon because the LEDs are reminiscent of characters from the original Battlestar Galactica TV series. While the Cylon is kind of small and doesn’t do very much, I felt amazingly empowered knowing that I now had the ability to make an electronic device work. It was definitely the kind of feeling that I wanted to share with patrons of all ages, but especially with my teens.

Through my interactions at NSL and after hosting two popular programs – one featuring a local high school robotics club and another showcasing a friend from Blizzard Entertainment who spoke about careers in gaming, I started thinking more seriously about how to cultivate science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) programs and spaces in the library. Continue reading

Share Your Innovative Programs with YALSA!

YALSA will select up to twenty-five innovative teen programs from all types of libraries to feature at the YALSA President’s Program at the 2013 ALA Annual Conference and to include in a sixth edition of Excellence in Library Service to Young Adults.  Successful applications will focus on programs that address new teen needs or interests, or that address ongoing teen needs or interests in an innovative or unique way.  The top five programs will receive cash awards of $1000 each. Up to twenty “best of the rest” applications will receive cash awards of $250 each.  For more details, or to apply, visit YALSA’s web site.

App of the Week: The Room

 

Title: The Room
Platform: iPad 2 or higher
Cost: 4.99

 

The Room is an old-fashioned puzzle adventure updated for the interactivity of the touch screen. You begin the game, like a proper tale of mystery and suspense,  with a hastily scribbled note left by a vague acquaintance imploring you to solve the puzzles he has left behind.  “The stakes are higher than you could imagine,” writes A.S., who instructs you to begin by finding a special lens. To navigate around the game, you use your touch screen in many of the familiar ways: pinch and pull to zoom in or out, tap an object to get a better look, or slide to look around.  The best part is, instead of using a keyboard or a controller to interact with the puzzles in front of you, you can touch the things you see: turn a key, slide open a panel, rotate a series of metal rings. You can explore each puzzle more physically than a game where you can only see and hear.

The graphics are intricate and beautifully rendered: wood finish and shiny metal mechanical parts. Reviews are comparing the game to Myst, and The Room certainly has a similar intriguingly suspenseful tone. You know intellectually that it is not the kind of game where any enemy will appear and attack you, but the first time I used the lens to look around for clues, I jumped when I saw the invisible ink it revealed.

Full disclosure, I haven’t had a chance to play through the whole game. I don’t have an iPad, but I have a friend who does. My friend Anna is an avid gamer on all platforms; she’s the person who first introduced me to Minecraft. I find her gaming habits to be a helpful resource because she always knows about games I haven’t played and tends to be familiar with games that are popular with my teens. Friends are a part of your personal learning network. It’s always worthwhile when I learn from mine.  Fellow App of the Week blogger, and all-around technology advocate, Linda Braun, mentioned this in her column, The Unbound Word in this month’s VOYA. You can always stay up to date on a device you don’t have by asking a friend to let you play.

So far the only complaint I’ve heard about The Room, is that it’s too short. Anna broke it down for me this way: the game costs 4.99 for maybe four or five hours of gameplay. Initially, she thought the price seemed a bit high, but when she compared it to a more expensive PC game that might be four or more times as long, it seemed to work out fairly.

Take a look at the game in this quick spoiler-free trailer:

 

For more app recommendations, visit the YALSA App of the Week Archive