New Issue of YALS

Posted by Linda W. Braun

In my mail yesterday I had my new issue of Young Adult Library Services (YALS) – the official publication of YALSA. The theme of the issue is get active @ your library (which is the Teen Read Week theme this year.)

Inside is an array of articles that demonstrate some things librarians and teens are doing together – ways in which teens and librarians are being active. Included as demonstrations of activity are:

  • DDR playing
  • Technology integration
  • GLBTQ programs and services
  • Volunteer opportunities

Take a look at your copy to discover ways you can become active with the teens in your library and community.

Still Things to Do

Even if you do not serve on a committee, did you know there are ways to become involved in their work? Nominating books for Quick Picks, BBYA, and other lists is one way you can contribute to the work of these committees. Instead of bemoaning the fact that your favorite book was overlooked (something I admit readily to doing in the past), fill out an online form and nominate it for the committee’s consideration. Field nominations are welcome because committee members do not always see the latest books.

It is not too late to volunteer for service down the road, either. Be active and make YALSA even stronger by your participation.

Posted by Teri Lesesne

Out of the Closet and Into the Library

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

A fantastic and call to action presentation was given by four panelists at ALA on Monday: Erin Downey Howerton, School Liasison for the Johnson County Library in Kansas, Brent Hartinger, author of Geography Club and upcoming book about the attack of the soul sucking brain zombies (at least that’s what I think I heard), Sara Ryan, Teen Services Specialist for the Multnomah County Library system in Portland, Oregon and author of Empress of the World, and David Levithan, author of Are We There Yet? (All the panelists are so much more than what I mentioned, but those are a few things about them.

Erin talked about how she wanted to add GLBT books to the collection and the fact that people might object to them. It was a good sign that Rainbow Boys by Sanchez and The Misfits by Howe were tattered copies already in the system. Lists from the ALA 2000 annual conference put together by the GLBT roundtable and updated in 2004 were used as guides to build the collection.
Rainbow Kite by Shyer is a story about a gay teen’s coming out that Erin shared her enthusiasm for with colleagues that opened a lot of doors for further conversation. Adding booklists to binders so that teens don’t have to approach staff for suggestions if they would prefer not to and putting booklists inside of books to point out similar reads were suggested to connect teens with GLBT themed books. Erin thinks of books as people and wants them to meet the people they were always destined to meet. Further recommended resources:

2006 Popular Paperback GLBTQ list
The Heart Has Its Reasons: Young Adult Literature with Gay/Lesbian/Queer Content, 1969-2004 by Michael Cart
Outsource: A Handbook for Serving Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Teens at the Library by Hillias Martin and James Murdock

Brent Hartinger told his story of growing up as a gay teen and how he didn’t see himself represented in books. There was a made for tv movie called What If I’m Gay? which was done from the point of view of straight friends which was not very helpful or enlightening. Like Geography Club, he started a support group and safe meeting place (away from the seedy bar) which grew to 450 members of GLBTQ teens and even offered themselves as a resource to counselors.
Geography Club was in its 3rd printing in less than a month, turned into a stage play, and brought about an avalanche of emails and letters from people that related to Russel (even straight people who understood that everyone knows what it’s like to have a secret). He talked about the controversy of this book in his home town and the importance of continuing to foster diverse collections and helping spread the word as a library for GLBTQ folks.

Sara Ryan suggested the article: If I Ask, Will They Answer?: Evaluating Public Library Reference Service to Gay/Lesbian Youth by Dr. Ann Curry, published in the Fall 2005 issue of Reference and User Services Quarterly. Sara has a fantastic booklist for teens with GLBT related themes and links on the Multnomah County Library site. Sara has been spotlighted by YALSA for the phenomenal work she does (that I can’t possibly capture here).

David Levithan’s book, Wide Awake, comes out September 2006 which is about a gay Jewish President of the U.S. This is his form of a protest song against the last presidential election. As the last speaker of the session, his discussion on the moral imperative of GLBT books themselves and what we do with them was truly uplifting and nothing short of a call to action. In talking about preaching your beliefs, he said that sometimes we need to preach-even though we can’t shove our beliefs down anyone’s throat or force people to do what they don’t want to do, we cannot be afraid of our beliefs just because there might be people louder than us. “Let us make this the loudest god damn fire there is, book by book, shelf, by shelf. . . “ it is about making progress and making things right.

Day of Silence (or no name calling) was recommended for a library program. Partnering with local GLBT organizations, book displays, book lists, and adding authors to your library web site, adding authors myspace accounts to your library’s, adding Spanish/English language GLBT materials from the Human Rights Campaign to the collection-these are free!, adding search words to your catalog that reflect the needs of GLBT people were some of the ideas shared by the panelists and audience.

Also, check out one of this years Movers and Shakers, Bart Birdsall from Tampa Florida, who indeed made the freedom of speech for gay teens the loudest god damn fire there is.

There is such a thing as a Free Lunch

Posted by Jami Schwarzwalder

Remember back in high school economics, where the teacher went on explaining why there wasn’t such a thing as a free lunch? Well at ALA your old economics teacher was wrong.

One part of ALA is attending programs and learning more about interesting opportunities available, hopefully getting just enough ideas to not be overwhelmed.

Another aspect is networking, for students this track could be more important than the programs. Since your time is completely overbooked, and the exhibit hall is overwhelmingly large, many exhibitors offer breakfasts, lunches, and cocktails for invited guests. It doesn’t cost to attend, but what the exhibitors get is your attention for longer than you would stop by their booth. And that to them is worth paying for a meal in exchange for your attention and time.

I would encourage everyone (especially poor students) to pay attention to the pre conference mailings so that you can get some meals for free, and also learn about many different things going on in the library world, because as we all know it is the exhibitors at the different conferences that are our biggest supporters.

A couple of new titles

Posted by Linda W. Braun

There are two new titles I just purchased that I thought would be of interest to readers of this blog.

The first is a downloadable book available from Amazon in pdf format – My Space Safety: 51 Tips for Teens and Parents. I was curious about the book partly because it’s written by two parents of a teenager and partly because I assumed it was going to be particularly negative about My Space. I was basically wrong. It’s a good book that says teens are gong to use sites like My Space so here are some things you, as a parent, can do to make sure they are safe.

The other book is a new one by Will Richardson called Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. It covers the basics of newish technologies and provides good ideas for how they can be used for, with, and by kids and teens.

Announcing LibLand for SLIS Students

A few ALA staff and members put together a wiki geared toward Library Science students and new librarians. It’s a work in progress, so please feel free to add information or suggest improvements. The wiki includes contact info and links to all of the ALA student chapters, blogs and web sites for new librarians, information about ALA resources specifically for students and more.
Posted by Beth Yoke

Sad Facts of Librarianship

All technologies evolve and die. Every technology you learned about in library school will be dead someday.

You fear loss of control, but that has already happened. Ride the wave.

You are the middle-man to filter information to the users.

You are not a format. You are a service.

The OPAC is not the sun. The OPAC is at best a distant planet, every year moving farther from the orbit of its solar system.

The user is the sun.

The user is the magic element that transforms librarianship from a gate keeping trade to a services profession.

The user is not broken.

Your system is broken until proven otherwise.

That vendor who just sold you the million-dollar system because “librarians need to help people” doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about, and his system is broken, too.

You spend money on things that are free.

Most of your most passionate users will never meet you face to face.

Most of your most alienated users will never meet you face to face.

The most significant help you can provide your users is to add value and meaning to the information experience, wherever it happens; defend their right to read; and then get out of the way.

Your website is your ambassador to tomorrow’s taxpayers. They will meet the website long before they see your building, your physical resources, or your people.

It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than to find a library website that is usable and friendly and provides services rather than talking about them in weird library jargon.

Information flows down the path of least resistance. If you block a tool the users want, users will go elsewhere to find it.

You cannot change the user, but you can transform the user experience to meet the user.

Meet people where they are–not where you want them to be.

Help users learn the library is not just about books.

The user is not “remote.” You, the librarian, are remote, and it is your job to close that gap.

If you don’t continue to challenge yourself to meet new goals, you will fall behind.

The average library decision about implementing new technologies takes longer than the average life cycle for new technologies.

Revolutionary for libraries is old news to most teens.

If you are reading about it in Time and Newsweek and your library isn’t adapted for it or offering it, you’re behind.

If we continue the format and ignoring the user, we will be tomorrow’s cobblers.

We have wonderful third spaces that offer our users a place where they can think and dream and experience information. Is your library a place where people can dream?

Your ignorance will not protect you.

There is hope.

Libraries:
Start today by forming a TAG group, and listen to their ideas.
Listen to your patrons and connect them with your technology staff.
Pick something you have the resources for and make it digital. Focus on this one thing and do your best to make it what the patrons and the library wants. Then write an article about it, or do a presentation, and start something else, while maintaining the old one.

Student Librarians:
Pick one something besides reading that teens you know like: blogging, machinima, manga, gaming, web design… and start enjoying it, and then create something related to your interest. Figure out how to use the different technology and use them.
I know there is a lot of reading in library school but find the time to listen to audio books instead of reading a book, read at least one blog regularly that relates to an interest of yours, and one librarian blog.
Watch a few Teen movies, and machinima. Try listening to a podcast about anything you are interested in.

Start a Flickr account
Start a Blog
If you ever see or read about technology you don’t know about try it out.

and most importantly be original and Have Fun.

origially posted on Free Range Librarian
modified and added to by Jami Schwarzwalder

Webcomics

Ok. Everyone is preparing for ALA, but I have something I also want to share with you, the fine readers of YALSA Blog: Comics.

I recently created a pathfinder for Comics for one of my classes, which helped motivate me to write this post.

Webcomics started in the late 90’s with Sluggy Freelance, PVP, Penny Arcade, Its Walky, Mac Hall, and Megatokyo. These comics and many others made this style popular. Now there are over 6,000 comics online. These aren’t the regular newspapers cartoons either. Many had taken the infinite space available on the web and used it for stunning effect. One example is Once Upon a Table’s 500th Strip. The comics generally deal with topics relevant to gamers, and college students. Many use a more Manga art style. Since it is easy to read a comic you miss, many of these comics are serial. For more webcomic history read T. Campbell’s History of Webcomics.

It’s important to know about webcomics, because many are now being translated to graphic novels. For the more serialized comics, it is easier to read in a book format, because turning a page is faster than loading a webpage. Just like video games, these are culturally significant. Many deal with modern issues in a fantasy setting, and most of the artists keep a blog on the main page, where they can communicate with the readers. Two of the biggest holidays in webcomics is April Fools and Halloween. These two days artist do anything and everything they can think of to confuse the readers, from dressing the characters in others clothing/drawing different styles to posting fake legal papers on the blog.

Dominic Deegan

One of the more popular comics is Dominic Deegan. The creator, Mookie, now updates everyday with color Sundays. A year ago he left his day time job, to focus primarily on the comic, and increased from a M-F schedule. He rarely misses an update without posting notice on the main page. Sometimes when he’s at a conference he will post filler art or have a fellow artist fill in.

Dominic Deegan has a very active fan community, but that’s true for most webcomics. For two years the comic was hosted on Keenspot, with free forums. The comic is hosted on a different server now, but the forums are still active. Every day fans will stay up until the wee hours of the morning to catch the comic, and be the first one to start the thread about it. Also the forums are used to have contests related to the comic. I hosted a trivia contest once, and There is a very popular caption contest(one entry). For complete oddness there is a word continuation thread that is active off and on. The forums are also used for general chatter. When Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was released people posted their progress in the book, and held discussions about the ending.

On Mookie’s site he has a link to a new comic that is just staring, and an entire page dedicated to the fan art. The fan art ranges from re-drawn characters, to colored strips, to new comics featuring the characters or the creator.

Dominic Deegan is a special webcomic, because in addition to using many puns, Mookie focuses on telling a story. Each year he hosts a panel at Anime Boston titled Writing Unique Heroes & Memorable Villains. His first storylines deal with a lonely Seer, who lives with his talking cat in the town Lynn’s Brook. He works as the towns seer answering those important questions of “Where are my house keys?”, “Why does it hurt every time I touch my face, arm, and leg?” by the townspeople, and the most important question “When will I be feed?” by the cat.
Soon Dominic has his door ripped off (literally) by a knight, and cursed with “Fish Falls on your head every time you smoke” curse. From there his adventures progressed, as the creator dealt with more controversial topics including rape.

posted by Jami Schwarzwalder