This article is about programming for Tabletop role-playing games.  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.  Feel free to share your own programs and ideas in the comments section, or you can reach out to me if your internet shy. My email is mbuono@gmail.com. Have a safe and healthy New Year.

Getting the most out of RPG’s in your Library PT. 1: Intro

Getting the most out of RPGs in your Library PT. 2: Collection Development

Programming is easily one of the most difficult parts of our jobs. First of all, it involves a ton of planning. Secondly, it directly involves other humans. That makes it difficult to predict exactly how things will go.  Before I became a librarian, I was well prepared for the task. In addition to prior job experience, I was a game master. I ran games that spanned years of characters’ lives, and that took two years worth of Tuesday nights to run.
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A version of this post originally appeared on the YALS site on Tuesday, December 25.

Have you heard about YALSA’s badges project – a project funded by the MacArthur Foundation; Mozilla; and the Humanities, Arts, Sciences and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC). The monies give YALSA the chance to develop a set of badges to help those working with teens in libraries gain skills and knowledge. The badges, which will launch in the spring, focus on the seven competencies covered in YALSA’s Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth.

You might wonder, what are badges and why should I care? We’ve got some answers for you in this podcast with me, Matthew Moffett – YALSA’s Podcast Manager, and association Board member Sarah Sogigian.


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dimensions logoTitle: Dimensions-The Sonic Adventure Game
Cost: Free (with in app purchases)
Platform: iOS 5 or greater

Before this week’s App of the Week review, a reminder to vote for your favorite app for teens in 2012.

I learned about Dimensions when reading through a list of the 12 most beautiful apps of 2012. (There are a lot of great apps in that list by the way.) The Dimensions app caught my eye because it integrated several features that I thought would be of interest to teens – music, augmented reality, and being able to play with others across devices and locations.

It is a beautifully designed app and the play is also intriguing and fun. First off, anyone who plays has to make sure to be using headphones. The music in the app (it is a sonic adventure game of course) is key to play. If you don’t have headphones plugged in the app will remind you that you should. As a matter of fact the app reminds you regularly of what you should be doing – which is helpful. The reminders come by way of text and the voice of the woman who narrates the game and gives information on how to play.
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The nominations are in and we have a short list of apps that you can vote for as your favorite for teens in 2012. It could be your favorite in helping with your work with teens and/or it could be your favorite for teens to use on their own. Let us know which you love. (If you have a favorite app that’s not listed, add it to the nominations. Who knows, maybe lots of others have the same favorite.)

Vote below by January 3 and we’ll post the results on January 4.

teen girl with mobile device Earlier this week I presented a YALSA Institue on Teens and Technology. The participants, library staff at libraries in the Southern Maryland Regional Library Association, and I talked a lot about what we know about teens in 2012/13, when it comes to technology. And, as I think about the topics discussed, it’s clear to me that quite a bit of what we covered is key in connecting with, creating for, and collaborating with teens in 2013. Here are some examples:

  • One YA librarian who has a brand new job in a brand new library talked about surveying the teens she works with to find out what they wanted and needed the library to provide. What did they tell her? They wanted space for hanging out with friends and being a part of the teen community. This might not be so surprising, but it does bring up a couple of key points related to connecting, creating, and collaborating in 2013. First, teens aren’t necessarily going to look at the library as their source of materials. While we still want to connect teens to materials, more importantly we need to provide space for teens to create and collaborate on their own and with their peers. This may be via a makerspace, a learning lab, and/or a flexibly furnished teen space that teens can turn into something that works at the exact moment for a specific need. It’s about the space perhaps along with the materials. And, maybe in some cases, the space more than the materials. This is also space that parents and caregivers feel comfortable having their teens spend time in. While we can’t be 100% safe, teens telling adults in their lives they are going to the library to hangout with friends is most likely something that parents will feel comfortable with. Read More →

Applications are still being accepted for two kinds of mini grants for 2013 summer reading programs made possible by YALSA and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.  Apply today!

  • Summer Reading Funding: Twenty libraries that provide programming to underserved teens will receive $1,000 to support their outstanding literacy focused summer reading program.
  • Summer Reading Teen Assistant Funding: Twenty $1,000 grants are available to be used to recruit, train and compensate teen assistants to help with summer reading programs.

Books_DG_LitfinalIndividual library branches within a larger system may apply.  Deadline extended to January 14, 2013.  Apply at www.ala.org/yalsa/awardsandgrants/yalsaawardsgrants.

GoodGuide

Title: GoodGuide

Cost: Free

Platform: iOS and Android

Last minute teen shoppers need not worry their consumer consciences, the GoodGuide app allows users to identify the health, social, and environmental impact of a gift before they buy. Using the RedLaser product database, the app provides multiple access mechanisms to pull up particular items, including a keyword search, a menu-driven directory (including personal care, household cleaners, and food) and, most expediently, a barcode scanner function using the device camera.

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From cell phones to cat food, each entry provides handily colored-coded scores in the areas of Health, Environment, and Society. Health caveats include ingredients which have raised concerns in humans, while the Society and Environment areas consider corporate policies and practices as rated by the GoodGuide team. Any applicable manufacturer credentialing is reflected, and when relevant, nutritional information is listed. Most helpfully, it offers alternative products with better ratings. Read More →

As the end of the year inches ever nearer, it’s time for the requisite best of lists. Advocacy is no exception and deserves special attention because keeping our libraries and open and thriving allow for all of those other best of lists to have purpose in LibraryLand. The YALSA Legislative Committee brings you the best of advocacy in 2012, in no particular order.

  • This girl: Whittier, CA seventh-grader Molly Hansen is running a campaign for keep her school library open. Molly started a petition that garnered more than 330 signatures from fellow students and now has the town mayor, several city council members, and other stakeholders supporting her. The word is still out on whether her efforts will result in open library doors, but Molly’s passionate advocacy serves as a reminder that anyone can be an advocate.
  • Readily-available advocacy tools: YALSA offers myriad tools for advocacy. The Speaking Up For Library Services to Teens guide is a comprehensive, easy to enact tool kit. The Tweet Your Senator Map allows people to advocate directly to their senators via Twitter. A Tweet Your Representative Map is planned for 2013 in time for National Library Legislative Day, another opportunity for advocacy which is also available in virtual format! Read More →