Don’t Forget to Tune in LIVE for the Inter-library Brawl Tournament!

Don’t forget to tune in today @ 3:00 PM for the Brawl BATTLE TO THE DEATH between the 412 Brawl Team (comprised of teens from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh) and teens from the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County.

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh will be broadcasting a live stream, chat, and teen play-by-play commentary on its Teen Media Page, while PLCMC will be broadcasting live from the Library Loft on its own page. Tune in early to get a load of the set-up as well as a lot of our backend, back & forth conversation as we try to get things underway.

Joseph Wilk
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Teen

You Can’t Judge a Teen by Its (Album) Cover

Music’s been blamed for all sorts of things, from infecting teens with devilish sexual urges to causing them to commit murder. Yet, rarely has anyone suggested that what a teen listens to is indicative of any deep-seated disorder–until now.

According to’ a recent study by the Australasian Psychiatry journal, a teen’s music tastes can be a useful diagnostic indicator for mental health and behavioral issues, from sexuality (pop) to violent tendencies (rap) and suicide & depression (heavy metal). Doctors are being urged to ask teens what their tastes are, to determine if they’re at risk. Continue reading You Can’t Judge a Teen by Its (Album) Cover

Program Planning: Online Brawl Tournaments


Wednesday morning, Kelly and I tested the online play and live streaming, and everything ended up working out great (see my previous post for info on the setup)! Be sure to check out the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Teen Media page on Friday, August 22nd @ 3:00 PM for streaming video directly from our Wii. We’ll be streaming the menu process as well, so if you catch us early you can see how to set things up.

Oh, and as promised, now you can watch the video of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s public “call out” to the teens of PLCMC, featuring Shing, Spig C, and myself on the mic:

or download the MP3. Continue reading Program Planning: Online Brawl Tournaments

The Twilight Fortune Telling Widget (And How to Make Your Own for Any Book)

As everyone knows, Breaking Dawn will be released August 2nd. And libraries across the country will be partying until dawn. On the ya-yaac list, Dawn McMillan and the teens at the Boone County Public Library had the great idea to create Twilight Saga fortunes, based on quotes from the three books so far.

When I was a teen, I loved coding. Though it’s been over 10 years since learning Javascript and coding much of anything, I was able to use a combination of W3 Schools, Tizag Tutorials, and a hint Google searching to whip up a rudimentary widget that translates their great work into an online fortune teller. Continue reading The Twilight Fortune Telling Widget (And How to Make Your Own for Any Book)

Stan Lee and Perry Moore Announce Partnership

According to Newsarama, Stan Lee made a surprise guest appearance at the San Diego Comic-Con’s “LGBT Portrayals in Comics” panel to announce a budding partnership with Perry Moore, the author of Hero. What that partnership actually entails is still up for spectulation (do I smell a movie?).

Hero gained a great following for its epic portrayal of superheroics through the eyes of gay teenager Thom Creed. Thom must navigate both his budding sexuality and superpowers while under the watchful eye of his disapproving, ex-hero father–all while an unseen assailent is murdering the world’s superheroes. While plots and mysteries abounded, Perry Moore managed to keep the book grounded in the characters. It was an altogether exceptional debut. Continue reading Stan Lee and Perry Moore Announce Partnership

Program Planning: Online Brawl Tournaments

In Pittsburgh, getting teens to rally for a common cause can be tough. Our city’s teens are often affected by intense neighborhood loyalties and splintered social groups. However, if I have learned anything from the last several years of Steelers playoff runs or the Penguins’ most recent trip to the Stanley Cup, it’s that a city-affiliated team can still band teens together like it did when I was a teen, when my dad was a teen, and so on.

Your library can connect with this energy by gaming online, giving teens a chance to face off against other libraries throughout the world. That’s why, for the last few months, Kelly Czarnecki and I have been planning a YALSA first: an online Super Smash Bros. Brawl tournament between the teens from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County (which will be livecast online). Now that things are finally picking up, we’re going to each blog about the process, highlighting our unique challenges. Continue reading Program Planning: Online Brawl Tournaments

Tools of the Trade: Video Software

In my last post of the series,’ I detailed’ how to get the most bang for your buck with’ budget camcorders.’  However, while many of them offer basic software, you might want to expand what you can do with your footage.’  Thankfully, there are many free options–some of them right under your nose.

For the many of you using Windows at work, Microsoft has bundled its operating system with Windows Movie Maker.’  Windows Movie’ Maker is’ a competent free program that will serve a number of simple projects,’ such as book trailers or’ breaking up long Wizard’ Rock sets’ (run the Windows Update program for the latest update).’  Check out the getting started‘ page to see what you can do with the program.’  For more info, take a look at the tutorials on About.com‘ or Atomic Learning. Continue reading Tools of the Trade: Video Software

When It Comes to Teens & Tech, Don’t Forget Accessibility

The digital divide isn’t always about money or age. Physical ability is often overlooked in the discussion, though it can make the difference in whether a teen can access the digital resources your library provides. It wasn’t until stumbling upon the article “As Personal Technology Explodes, Deaf and Blind People Feel Left Behind” that I thought about the effect that moving toward streaming, online multimedia and mobile devices can have on deaf and blind teens, as well as other teens with disabilities.

For deaf teens, a library podcast means nothing without a transcript, and book trailer can be unintelligible without closed captioning. Blind teens won’t be able to find links embedded in flash, images, or DHTML if their screen readers or accessible browser can’t find them. Teens lacking in certain motor skills may struggle to click inside small text boxes or navigate drop-down menus. It’s important we don’t leapfrog these teens as we introduce exciting new services and content to our patrons.

If you want to learn more about how you can make your digital services more accessible without compromising any of the exciting gains in digital technology, you can visit the Web Accessibility Initiative. For issues related to gaming, check out the Game Accessibility Project or work with teens to build their own games through the Audio Game Maker, a free program that helps visually-impaired people make their own accessible video games.

Joseph Wilk
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Teen

Three New Resources for Music Videos (Plus an Idea for Mashing Up Your Library)

While many teens already know to go to Yahoo! Music Vidoes, Youtube, and Myspace for music videos, they may not know of these new resources.
Continue reading Three New Resources for Music Videos (Plus an Idea for Mashing Up Your Library)

Tools of the Trade: Choosing a Budget Mini-Cam

In my last post, I showed some of the ways libraries are using video to provide information in new forms, promote their libraries, and provide fresh programming opportunities.’  In my next few posts, I’ll explore some of the low-to-no cost options you can use to incorporate video in your library services.

In the last couple of years, a new generation of digital camcorders has emerged, aimed at ease of use, point-and-shoot functionality, and uploading online. These simple, sub $200 devices offer a small set of controls and automatic features, allowing you to point, press record, and upload easily.
Continue reading Tools of the Trade: Choosing a Budget Mini-Cam