National Gaming Day is November 12 - a week from Saturday. It's "an initiative of the American Library Association to reconnect communities through their libraries around the educational, recreational, and social value of all types of games." [source]

Even if the idea of gaming makes you a little nervous, there's so much you can do with your teens to celebrate NGD. School librarians may choose to hold an even prior to the day (Saturdays aren't so great for us), while public librarians whose libraries are open on Saturdays can celebrate on the day itself. whether low- or high-tech, you'll be able to pull something fun together with these ideas:

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For years, I was scared of Scratch. I knew it was something I should feel comfortable using, but I'd go to the Scratch website or open up the application, stare at it for a few minutes, and then close it up again, thinking "yep, later." It looks HARD, especially if you're not a programmer. (Programmers can learn to use it in about 3.5 seconds.)

Then I took the plunge. I agreed to teach a class on Scratch to middle school students as part of a summer program at my school. So I had to teach myself how to use it. And honestly, I didn't truly become comfortable with it until I'd taught others how to use it. The thing about Scratch is that it's a language, literally. You need to understand how the language works before you can speak it. And the way to learn it is to practice.

Where do you start? Here:

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I hope those of you in New Orleans or those headed there soon are having fun! I'm filling in for Linda Braun this week. Here's a short list of tweets posted over the last week that librarians and the teens that they serve may find interesting (it's a bit conference-heavy!):

By now you know that the Flip Video is no more. The Flip has been a staple of the teen library program since its introduction in 2006. At its relatively low price point, a library could purchase multiple cameras and put them in teens' hands. The argument here is that high-quality video is now available on most smart phones, rendering the Flip obsolete, but can we really hand out iPhones to our teens for them to make short films? Here are some options for librarians who still want to make video cameras available to their teens:

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A short list of tweets posted over the last week that librarians and the teens that they serve may find interesting:

Do you have a favorite Tweet from the last week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between January 7 and January'  13 that you think is great, send Linda a direct message on Twitter (@lbraun2000) and it will go into the pool for consideration for next week's Tweets of the week YALSA blog entry.

Name: Evernote

Platform: iPhone/iPod Touch, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Palm, Windows Mobile

Cost: Free for basic account; $5/month or $45/year for premium account

I have only recently become an Evernote user, having wanted to try it for a long time as a tool for researchers of all ages. As it stands now, I certainly don't use it to its full capacity; that would require more time to immerse myself in it than I have. But I do believe that this app could be of use both to librarians and to teens. Here's why.

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In August, I left my job at the Darien (Ct) Library to become the Academic Technology Coordinator at Hamden Hall Country Day School. While I'd begun my library career as an independent school librarian (at Wilbraham & Monson Academy in western Massachusetts), I have never been in the classroom before.'  Having now switched from a school to a public library and back again, I feel like I'm getting a pretty good sense of the overlaps between the two areas, as well as the significant differences. If you're considering making the move to a school, here's what I've learned in my few weeks on the job. Read More →