When it was brought to public attention that Hillary Clinton had used a private server for emails that should be accessible as public record, it started a conversation in my organization about public record and data storage. Being a government employee at a public library means that some of the things I do could be subject to public record. The administration at my library encouraged professional staff to refrain from using personal devices or personal accounts to complete library work. However for years several librarians have used personal accounts on Facebook and Google, or personal devices like cell phones and iPads for all aspects of our job.

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Pizza Rolls not Gender Roles

Last week to celebrate Woman’s History Month several Youtube personalities created videos  highlighting some of the issues with America’s gender norms.

One of the vloggers, Kristina Horner, created a video about how YA literature has become gendered. From different covers to how we label genre’s there are many ways subtle clues are sent to potential readers about what books they are meant to read.

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Businesses all over Seattle showed their 12th Man Support. Image courtesy of downtownseattle.com

Here in Washington almost everyone has been excited to support the Seattle Seahawks this season. The Seattle Mayor even declared that Fridays were “Blue Fridays” in support of the team. Last year the fans were coined the 12th Man (there are 11 men typically on a pro football team - the fans are the 12th man on the team), and that continued throughout this season. Not a big fan of sports, I didn't think much of it, but as the season continued, everyone started to show their support. Teens, parents, and businesses found ways to dress up, display signs, or even keep their lights on at night in patterns of a 12.

On Fridays and game days, staff would dress up or wear buttons - this really impacted the way the community engaged with us. Many were excited to connect with us in a new way. People would come in and ask us what the score for the game was, then proceed to let us help them with other library business.

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In celebration of Computer Science Education Week Dec 8-14, students, parents, teachers and professionals will all engage in coding.

Dozens of websites will highlight free one hour tutorials to inspire and teach computer programing skills.

Curriculum has been created for use in classrooms all around the world, even if students don’t have internet.

57,000 events are scheduled to happen next week.

Here are some ideas for what you can do to celebrate!

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A conversation about Online Harassment.

For many teens, online is one of their 3rd places where they can find community and celebrate their various interests. These were safe places where they could find support outside of their physical community, especially if they were being harassed by peers.

Lately though many female content creators have been sharing their experiences which aren't positive. Female YouTube personalities have sexually suggestive comments posted. Many women in the gaming industry have come under attack, with their personal information being released publicly, forcing at least 3 to have to leave their homes. A female researcher's survey about sexism was corrupted by false data .We must also not forget the hundreds of celebrity photos that were released earlier this year.

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Anyone can learn to code!

That was one of the main messages that were broadcast during Computer Science Education Week December 2013. Code.org and several other organizations created hour-long activities to engage and support people of all ages in learning to code. At its heart, the goal of Computer Science Education Week is to create visibility around the value of coding education, and to encourage everyone to experience and experiment with coding and programming computers. At the time I thought it was a great learning opportunity, but couldn't quite see how it would fit into my library.

While at PLA earlier this year, one of the presenters mentioned a program they host at their branch called CoderDojo. This international initiative provides support and a network of resources for anyone who wants to host a meet-up for youth, parents, and mentors and focus on to learn the concepts and practices of coding in a fun, sociable, supportive environment. At CoderDojo, youth can develop websites, apps, animations, programs, games, and more!

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Free Events for Life After High SchoolFor me, my focus on helping teens transition from high school to adulthood began during the recession. I was working the help desk and there was a customer who was trying to complete the FAFSA on a paid website. I redirected them to FAFSA.ed.gov, but a few days later there was another customer who was doing a similar thing, only they had paid $80 for someone to fill out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

It may be the beginning of the school year, but one of my focuses this year is partnering with other organizations to ensure that accurate information gets to students and recent grads about college and alternatives to college. Read More →

The Information Policy & Access Center has released their findings from a 2013 Survey about Digital Inclusion.

You can read the full report online.

Digital Inclusion is more than Digital Literacy, focusing on not just access but supporting users to engage in digital communities. The report explored the roles of public libraries in four main areas: Read More →