Currently a teen librarian with the Pierce County Library System in Tacoma, WA.She is passionate about technology, making, and learning. See what I'm up to at https://about.me/jamischwarzwalder

Supporting the Community

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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Hour of Code

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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Online Harrassment

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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Coding in your Library

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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Preparing students for Life After High School.

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. Continue reading

Gamification of Summer Reading

Home Screen of Teen Summer Challenge

Games often provide an opportunity to have fun, learn new things, simulate real life, and explore things only dreamed of before. Whether playing a board game, role playing game, or a video game, players are challenged to overcome obstacles and use strategy to solve problems and meet goals. In classrooms’ teachers are using game elements’ more and more to encourage practice, assess mastery, or explore new concepts with students, while keeping lessons interactive and engaging.

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Privacy and Safety

Reading Homeland by Cory Doctorow brings up many themes about the NSA, Privacy, and Edward Snowden.

June 5th‘ marks the anniversary of Snowden disclosing thousands of classified documents, and Fight for the Future is organizing a campaign to educate internet users about security, and encourage the use of free privacy tools.

Sunday‘ the New York Times ran an article about NSA who are creating a database of photos for facial recognition software.

Historically Libraries have been advocates for Intellectual Freedom (check out the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom for more information). We fight for our customer’s rights to have access to information, but as we work with the public, especially teens, we often need to’ teach‘ them how to protect themselves online rather than just have us do the protection for them.

Now is a great opportunity to have programs on internet safety.

Below are some resources you can use to create an internet safety program for your community.

Consider putting print outs or bookmarks about internet safety out with a display of Dystopian Fiction like Cory Doctorow’s books and Web Programming books.

Cyber Display

Even if you don’t have time to create a display, consider purchasing the independently produced audio edition‘ of Homeland, exclusively available on Cory Doctorow’s website, and adding it to your Overdrive Downloadable collection.

Living in the Cloud

Lately I’ve had a few computer malfunctions in my life. The laptop I used for work was stolen, and the hard drive on my computer at home had a crash that even spin rite couldn’t fix. I lost some documents I was currently working on, but thankfully I’d been saving most of my important documents to a shared work drive. Since these debacles I’ve been making sure I save in multiple places and even invested in a service called Mozy to back up my files at home.

I wanted to share with you what tools I’ve been using to help offset another computer disaster:
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