Positive Use of Social Networking #25 – Freedom to Choose

During October a small group of YALSA bloggers are posting ideas and information about positive uses of social networking tools in schools and libraries. Here’s positive use #25.

Social networking technologies often allow for people to express their own opinions. A teen can set up their own blog in less than five minutes, post a comment on a forums board, or share what materials they are reading through LibraryThing. Check out SLJs recent article and podcast on LibraryThing here.

People who read and contribute to blogs, forums boards, wikis, etc. are being given the choice to be exposed to information that they might not otherwise come across as readily. Is it not slightly ironic, that DOPA targets school and public libraries, which are places that historically protect the freedom to access information?

It is my opinion that there are many parallels between Banned Books and freedom in the digital world. Making connections between the two, as well as being familiar with sites such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation might help us understand why DOPA is not the beginning and is not going to be the end of legislation affecting the digital world. It might help us to want to inform the teens we work with who use these technolgies of what the bigger picture is and not just be reactive or hope it will go away.

I wonder if Teen Tech Week might be one of many places to continue the dialogue of freedoms in the digital world and why/how it is just as important as protecting our freedom to read books.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Positive Use of Social Networking #12 – Photo sharing

During October a small group of YALSA bloggers are posting ideas and information about positive uses of social networking tools in schools and libraries. Here’s positive use #12.

Photo sharing sites have come a long way since the early days of consumer-oriented digital photography. At first these sites were just a means for uploading photos to processing labs and ordering prints for friends and family. Now people can keep entire albums online and share them with far-flung friends, family, and even the world-at-large. Furthermore, photos can be subject-tagged, which makes them searchable and links them to related photos uploaded by others.

Teens can use photo sharing sites like Flickr and SmugMug in a grand variety of ways. They can create shared galleries which allow a group of friends (or a team or a club or a class or…you name it) to upload photos, tag them, and comment on them. Galleries can be made private or public, and teens can keep up with changes in galleries by subscribing to RSS feeds. And, yes, teens can still order glossy prints.

This semester at my school we have a small group of students working on a photo gallery project which will consist of school sports photos taken during the past several years. The students’ primary task is to select the best photos, tag them, use image editing software to correct lighting problems and other technical imperfections, and upload their selections to a photo sharing site. We’ve advised the students to use SmugMug because it does not post advertising on its pages. The school will pay the $40 annual membership. Why would the school make such an offer? Once these photos are available and searchable, parents, relatives, athletes, and friends can order high quality prints for reasonable fees. Of course, the school can (and will) define the community that can view the photos. As a bonus, the school, as the content provider, will actually get a small percentage of the fees!

By doing this project, our students will learn valuable skills as well as provide a real service to the school community. If DOPA, in its current form, had passed, students like ours would no longer have had these learning opportunities and their schools would have lost out on the resulting benefits. Let’s hope that a DOPA reincarnation does not occur in future sessions of Congress.

DOPA/Social Networking Update

What is the status of DOPA? The Senate and House are not in session and won’t be until after the election. When they return to DC, they will be focusing on leadership elections and appropriations bills. According to the ALA Washington Office, the Senate has no plans to consider any social networking bills during the rest of this session. That means DOPA, in its current form, will die at the end of this session and not become law.

What might the future hold? It’s possible that in the next session, which begins in Jan. 2007, that the issue of social networking technologies might come to the forefront again. The House very well might try to pass a similar bill at that time.

What are next steps? Librarians should continue educating their Congresspersons, local decision makers and library users about social networking technologies. Since Congress will be home for the holidays, you may want to invite your legislator to the library for an event that centers around computer use and/or social networking technologies. Other tips and ideas for educating legislators and others about this issue are in YALSA’s Social Networking Toolkit, which you can access from here.

YALSA would like to thank all of you who reached out to their Congressperson and communities to help ensure that library users continue to have access to critical communication tools. Your voice matters!
-Beth Yoke

ALA Launches Teen Contest

To go along with the “Get Active” them of Teen Read Week, ALA’s Washington Office is challenging teens to create a theme and design a logo for the 2007 National Library Legislative Day. The teen with the winning logo wins a trip to Washington DC for two. To find out more, go here. Teens ages 12-18 are eligible, and the deadline to participate is Oct. 29th.

What is National Library Legislative Day? It’s a two-day event in which people who care about libraries participate virtually or face to face by taking part in advocacy training sessions, interacting with Capitol Hill insiders, and visiting congressional member offices to ask Congress to pass legislation that supports libraries. In 2007 it will be held May 2-3. Find out more about this event here.

-Beth Yoke

Online Advocacy Course

Don Latham posted the following on YALSA-L

Judy Nelson asked the YALSA Legislation Committee (of which I am the current chair) if some of us could try out the online course “Messaging and Talking with Congress” (see Beth Yoke’s message below mine for the link to more information about the course).

I took the course a couple of days ago, and I thought I’d share my comments with the list, as many of you may who are interested in advocacy may want to take the course as well. Remember, right now it’s FREE–a great bargain!

Here were my comments to Judy on the course:


I wanted to let you know that I completed this online course this afternoon, and I’d give it pretty high marks. A few comments/observations:

1. I worked straight through the 3 modules and (brief) final exam. It took me about 75 minutes altogether. However, you can complete the course at your own pace, which I think is a plus.

2. The material is useful. It’s quite readable, conversational in tone, and very practically oriented–all pluses.

3. As would be expected, the material is focused on library advocacy with legislators, not specifically on youth services in libraries. However, I think the advice can easily be applied to specific issues related to teens and libraries.

4. The interactive elements are nice–self-quizzes, downloadable worksheets and handouts. I didn’t print out every page of every module, but I tried a couple and they seemed to print just fine. Some people might want to print out the whole course.

Overall, I think this is an excellent value at no charge. I think YALSA can recommend this resource without reservation.


At least one other member of the Legislation Committee is taking the course–Christy Mulligan. Christy may have some comments she’d like to add at some point.

Thanks. I hope many of you will take advantage of this great opportunity.


Don Latham

College of Information

Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL 32306-2100



ALA’s Washington Office has just announced a free online course on legislative advocacy. You can read about the details here:


“Messaging and Talking with Congress” guides users through the process of developing messages, teaches users to communicate effectively with Members of Congress and other elected officials, and offers strategies on building lasting relationships with Congressional staff. Users may navigate the course at their own pace and download and print helpful worksheets.

Beth Yoke

Executive Director

Young Adult Library Services Association,

fastest growing division of the American Library Association

50 E. Huron St.

Chicago, IL 60611

1 (800) 545-2433 x4391



Register for Teen Read Week!


Celebrate Oct. 15-21, 2006

In this time of DOPA this seems like a perfect course. Don’t forget to pass the word on to colleagues who might also benefit by this course.

Free Online Legislative Advocacy Course

ALA’s Washington Office has just announced a free online course on legislative advocacy. You can read about the details here. “Messaging and Talking with Congress” guides users through the process of developing messages, teaches users to communicate effectively with Members of Congress and other elected officials, and offers strategies on building lasting relationships with Congressional staff. Users may navigate the course at their own pace and download and print helpful worksheets.
-Posted by Beth Yoke

Graphic Novel Suggestions for Librarians

The National Coalition Against Censorship, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, and ALA, produced an “informational booklet offering background and reference material about the graphic novel category.” The booklet can be found on the NCAC site as well as ALA. The article with this information can be found here.

Are any libraries highlighting particular graphic novels for Banned Books Week? Any libraries combining information on DOPA with BBW?

Any recently discovered online resources for graphic novels and libraries to share? I like Getting Graphic!which also has a great list of links related to graphic novels and libraries.

Published by Kelly Czarnecki

DOPA Reminder

YALSA president Judy Nelson sent out a DOPA email reminder to various lists and I thought it was important to post it here too. Judy noted in her email that Congress will be back in session next week and it’s very possible that DOPA will be on the Senate’s list of bills to deal with.

Attached to Judy’s email was a Word document that is a reminder of what we can do to help let Senators know what librarians think about DOPA. You can download that file here.

Also, don’t forget about the YALSA wiki that includes DOPA and social networking information.

DOPA Information & Resources

YALSA’s Legislation, Technology and Web Advisory Committees have created the following resources for librarians and library workers:

1. DOPA Information Packet
2. Legislative Advocacy Guide
3. Teens & Social Networking in School & Public Libraries Toolkit

Please use these resources to help educate your community members about positive uses of social networking technologies and to take some grass roots action against DOPA. They are all available for free as .pdf files from here.

-Posted by Beth Yoke

6 Steps to Save Your Library from DOPA

1. Contact your Senator before Sept. 5th to:
a. Tell him/her your opinion of DOPA (see YALSA’s Legislative
Advocacy Guide for quick tips on contacting your Senator).
b. Educate him/her about the positive uses of Social Networking
Sites (use the information in YALSA’s Toolkit on Teens &

Social Networking in School & Public Libraries).
To find out who our Senator is & what number to call, go here.
To email your Senator, go here.

2. Sign the online petition opposing DOPA at Save Your Space

3. Host an information session at your library about DOPA and social networking sites (see YALSA’s Toolkit on Teens & Social Networking in School & Public Libraries for tips and ideas).

4. Tell YALSA how you’re using social networking technologies at your library. Go here From there you can add a link to your library’s MySpace space as well as join in on the discussion about how you’re using social networking technologies in your library.

5. Invite your Senator to your library while they’re home from DC between August 7th and September 4th.
a. Have teens on hand to demonstrate productive ways they use

social networking technologies
b. Provide the Senator with a photo-op (e.g. giving a summer
reading award to a teen or reading a story to kids)
c. Give the Senator information about social networking sites and show him/her what your library is already doing to keep
children and teens safe online.
6. Personalize and send the follwing sample letter to the editor to your local newspaper, and encourage your library patrons to do the same.

Sample Letter to the Editor
(please feel free to make additions or changes so that it better fits any particular messages you want to get across)

Librarians care deeply about children and teens and are concerned about their safety online and in our community. While Congress’ effort to make children and teens more safe online is admirable, the proposed Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA) that is currently being debated by our nation’s legislators, will actually do little to make our kids safer. What it will do is block access to critical Internet resources and communication tools in schools and libraries that our kids need to learn how to use in order to be successful in college and the workplace. It also takes control away from communities like ours, and leaves the decision making about what our children can access on the Internet to the politicians in Washington DC.

DOPA seeks to further limit kids’ access to online resources at school and in libraries. That means it would prevent librarians and teachers from instructing students and their parents about how to use all kinds of Web applications safely and effectively. Because it is linked to federal funding, DOPA also hurts most those kids served by schools and libraries in low-income communities.

DOPA would restrict online support groups, email programs through which family members can communicate with each other, and educational tools used to provide distance education, squashing kids’ first attempts at becoming acquainted with applications that will soon be essential workplace tools. Just one example of what could be lost in a rush to legislate is a recent online field trip to Carlsbad Caverns in N.M., in which more than 10 million students participated and First Lady Laura Bush took part.

Perhaps the most troubling part of DOPA is the false sense of security it gives parents who are seeking solutions to the problem of online predators. Like dangers to kids in the real world, dangers on the Internet are not easily overcome. Teaching young people to practice safe behaviors and guard their privacy online the same way they would in public is critical if we want to protect them.

Please join me in urging Congress to make a real commitment to kids’ safety by abandoning bad legislation like DOPA and funding our libraries and schools adequately so they have the resources they need to empower our community’s kids to stay safe on the Internet.

[insert your name here]