Noise Permit @ the Ypsilanti District Library: Dollar General Grant Winner

The Ypsilanti District Library (YDL) was so excited and grateful to have been one of the recipients of the YALSA and Dollar General Grant. The grant allowed the downtown branch to support a teen tech internship this summer for 3 teens at the Michigan Avenue branch of YDL.

The teen interns attended Digital Arts classes and were trained on Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Tablets using Adobe Photoshop and Premiere to produce marketing flyers and promotional videos. Additionally, they learned Ableton, an interface to create beats and perform audio engineering. The team was integral in helping produce an all teen outdoor-on-stage-musical performance called Noise Permit for the entire Ypsilanti community.

Noise Permit was an all-day, end-of-summer celebration of the arts, by Ypsilanti teens, for teens, that culminated in an early evening performance. The purpose of Noise Permit was to bring creative arts programming to the Ypsilanti teen and young adult population. The library has a strong relationship with the music and arts community in and around Ypsilanti, and drew on the rich resources of young, professional artists who mentored and led teens in multiple workshops which culminated in a live stage performance and community event.

Alyssa Aldrink volunteered her time to help us train the teen interns. She is an engineer and graphic artist who has a passion for design, problem solving and intercultural exploration. She led summer classes on how to use Microsoft Surface Tablets to create original, digital art and edit/modify digital photography. The teens created the t-shirt logo for all of the 20 teen participants, designed the music program, produced all the marketing materials, and uploaded and shot most of the digital photography and video from the event. The teens even helped organize and create our promotional video for Noise Permit on YDL’s YouTube page—a Mannequin Challenge video with the Ypsilanti Police Department.

Ypsilanti teen mentor, Charlie Nanos, was also integral to the internship. He began using drum machines as a classroom tool at Willow Run High School in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The deal was, if students could take a break from tapping out drum beats on their desks, they could earn time on the beat making equipment. As a result of high student and community involvement, Nanos was able to recruit 20 dropouts into The Willow Run Academy, an alternative credit recovery program for students who had fallen through the cracks in the conventional system. Mr. Nanos used Ableton software, MIDI controllers and Apples Quicktime tools to transform youth enthusiasm for beat-making into a highly improvisational and fluid “edu-music” experience.

The Ypsilanti District Library is so grateful for YALSA and Dollar General for helping making this event, Noise Permit, happen! All the teens were walking taller for days after the event. We are so proud of the teen tech interns for all their hard work and energy.

Teen Tech Intern, Jonathan Bradley, wrote:

I really liked working as a YALSA Teen Tech Summer Intern. I really enjoyed the Digital Art classes where we learned Photoshop on the Microsoft Surface 4 Pro Tablets. I always showed up early and helped set up. I also enjoyed working with the other interns, Mohammed and Acire. And I really liked working the cotton candy machine during the event! 

Mohammed created great video and beats, Acire did a great job on writing the marketing materials and I excelled at the graphic design portion. Even though Mohammed used my face as a thumbnail for one of the videos, I forgive him. 

We helped design all the marketing flyers, the t-shirt logo and the video which was super fun making with the Ypsilanti Police Department. Noise Permit was a blast!


Jennifer Mann is the teen librarian for the Ypsilanti District Library. She has been a librarian for the past 15 years. She has been committed to youth advocacy and social justice issues for the past 25 years, including the role as researcher and educator. As a youth librarian, Jennifer has implemented numerous youth and teen programs funded through many grants, including starting a Teen Science Café, a social issues Book Club at an alternative high school and a STEM program for young girls.

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