The future of Music

In one of my classes this week we are talking about MP3s. One of my classmates pointed me to a Canadian broadcast, The End. They create three 22 minute segments about the future of Radio, TV, and Print.

As I was watching the segment about Radio, I realized another reason we shouldn’t block MySpace. We are keeping Teens from discovering music. Why would a library provide teens with headphones, and then block the music they want to listen to?

When I was in middle school we listened to the radio, in high school songs on the Internet, college downloaded music, and now I have playlists created in Itunes as well as loaded onto my iPod. In the past I have used various mediums to obtain my music, and one of the ways I have discovered new music was at the library. It is easy to pick up a new CD when I am unable to buy it. I know many individuals that use the library to upload songs to keep on their computer.

The format of audio has changed from CDs. Just as there are patrons that still want Records have an authentic listening experience there will be many patrons that still prefer tapes, and CDs. It is our job to make sure that the teens are not forgotten.

Now if you have never set up an account with Yahoo Music, Pandora, or Rhaspody, now is you chance. Also check out the Myspace page of a band you, or your teens like. Maybe we can get some ideas for programs, collections, and even services.

Posted by Jami Schwarzwalder

YALSA @ 50

Enter the WayBack Machine (with thanks to Mr. Peabody and Sherman!)

YALSA history nuggets– 1991

Young Adult Services Division of ALA changes name to
Young Adult Library Services Association, jump starting our acceleration toward the 21st century

We’re celebrating YALSA hitting the big 5-0 in 2007,

fifty years of serving young adults with excellence in libraries.

Your turn…the YALSA50 committee is looking for our luminaries–we’llcreate podcasts and interviews with YALSA leaders
to inspire and energize us all.

Suggest names here!

Your YALSA50 Committee

Posted by Mary Arnold

MySpace and other changes

I admire those librarians who have a willingness to try something new, but I wanted to tell them:
don’t hesitate to use good ideas. If you don’t ask now, you risk the possibility of worrying about it for sometime. I think it would be better to ask now, explain all the good reasons, and be told no, than to hope for months, doing projects to lead up to its approval, and then be let down after the anticipation.

If your library says no to MySpace, then you can offer to do something less intimidating projects such as start a blog on blogger, which in comparison maybe something the library is willing to do now.

If you want support you can point your library to some of the many Myspace library pages that have over 100 friends. Authors, Teens, College Students, Librarians, and other professionals are on Myspace. If your patrons use it, then why not have a presence there. You could ask the patrons, and use their quotes to convince the administration.

I know change can be scary, but if we do nothing for fear it won’t be accepted, we miss the chance to change things in the future. Talking to your administrators will make them think about how the library needs to change in the future. You would plant a seed for future change, and that could be worth everything.

Lay the groundwork today to have what you want in the future. If you have a well thought out and appropriate reason, then any good administration will help you find a way to meet the needs you observe.

We cannot be silent for our patrons. We may be the only one expressing their interests, especially when we work with teens.

Posted by Jami Schwarzwalder

Avatars and Self Image

In today’s society technology allows us to assume different pseudonyms. I think that librarians can sometimes be weary of this because it can be very unfamiliar, so I have composite an animated gif, that displays all of the different images I use to label myself.

Avatars
First I have my favorite webcomic- Dominic Deegan. I have been reading it for years, and become an active participant on the forums. I don’t really wear t-shirts but I have one from Mookie (the creator). Web comics are a part of my day. The first thing I do every morning is check the updates. (some nights I’ve stayed up until 3 am to catch it) In addition to reading the comic I am part of the online community of fans on the forums. We have interesting conversations and activities, the most recent being a caption contest, and before that I held a trivia contest. I will never meet my friends from the forum but to me they are the avatars and the screennames. Its how I would address them in public and online.

Second I have my name. In all definitions this is also a representation of me. When I publish, fill out a form, or introducing myself, I am representing who I am with random syllables and letters essentially. It is one of the conventions we accept in all cultures, some change to reflect the person while others are given with an ideal in mind(whether the memory of a loved one or story character, or a verb/noun that represents something wanted for the child)

Third is a picture of my husband and I. He has his arms around me in a loving embrace. The picture was taken at our anniversary. I am smiling (something I tend to do frequently).

Fourth is the word “is”. Such a powerful word. Is can link words together to describe poetically, hatefully, or simply. It can be anywhere, but it is the word that links all the other words of a sentence.

Avatars

Eiseldora Next we have my gnome. Isn’t she cute? My husband drooled and waited for almost a year to get World of Warcraft, and guess what happens. I take it over after my finals on Christmas break to create a level 33 fire mage in about 17 days. I am an officer in the “Little League” Guild, and caretaker of noobs. My two best friends are Zwws a Chinese grad student from Canada, and Ihalfaman a Australian master’s student who programs computers. This may seem odd to people who don’t play but for me its a whole different world where I can meet people, work together to finish goals, and have fun. The lag is terrible, but I kept returning because I love what I can be there. I think this is a big appeal to teens.

Next we have Eiseldora II. I loved playing World of Warcraft so much that I kept the name for Second Life. I joined after hearing the announcement that there was going to be a library in the game. I wanted to be able to go in and see what the plans were. I started out with a normal looking avatar, but I didn’t like it. I tried to get dark blue hair with two little buns like my gnome, but while playing I found I could add any texture to my hair, so I did. I thought the Flag looked very funny so I took it as far as I could go-spikes, length, volume. Now I look like a crazed Yu-gi-oh, but I like the expression of creativity involved.

Salafy is a Naroom Magi who specializes in regenerating creatures. She is excellent with baby furoks(another avatar I use often), eebits, and rabbage. She is from the 2i game Magi-Nation. A CCG that is now sold to a different company that is taking it in a different direction. The game was more than just collecting card and making decks. I was a member of a league when I was dating my husband. I made many friends, and was able to mentor a 12 year old girl. I would spend weeks building deck, and succeeded in getting a killer combination with Ninx and a Ritual Spear. My husband loved the story’s written about the cards, and the fan base who lived on insiider. Like Dominic Deegan I have a t-shirt with Salafy on the back.

Avatars

Next I placed my username. The one I use most often is kittykat813. I have since I first used the Internet. I love cats, and I wanted something unique and nice sounding. 813 stands for my birthday-August 13th. About a year and a half ago I started to do publish my professional work on the net. I was taking an independent study reading children’s literature which I abbreviated childlit and 2004 for the year. I liked it and the account I used so I’ve been childlit2004, childlit, and childlit513, ironic since I want to be a teen librarian. The 513 stands for my anniversary May 13th.

Now you can see my adorable cat-Frisky. She has been with me since I was in 7th grade. She is very vocal, and precious. I used to write stories about her and to her. She is a great listener, and still loves to play. My whole life she has competed for my attention from books. Now she is content because my husband loves her as much as I do. (He is the only male she has ever even liked) I used pictures of her for my first avatars. She was something that was important to me, and didn’t really identify me.

The smiley face represents many things to me. The eyes are the way my friend Tracy would write smilies. Smiles also represent instant messengers. I have been using ICQ for 8 years. I met a good friend who had the same username, school, and age as my husband. Smilies also represent for me happiness and joy, something I like to enjoy often.

Lastly we have a book. Books have helped me my entire life. When my mother was ill I escaped into books, when I was sad I would write books, when I went to 8th grade I found a profound joy in reading books, in college I found a joy in sharing books, now I enjoy listening to books while I play. I am a library science student, and love technology, but its books that I will always credit for helping me through my life.

This has been a rather lengthy divulge into my online life. I know most people don’t see deep into avatars, and there is no real reason to. Its just that for a whole generation we identify with these self made images that show the world who we are, what we care about, and what we want to do. I encourage librarians to make an avatar or a username that represents them and use it online when doing virtual reference, blogging, or as links on your library’s webpage.

Posted by Jami Schwarzwalder

Literacy

In one of my classes today we were talking about literacy statistics from the D. C. Literacy Clearinghouse. We were all shocked to find out that the number of adults with low-literacy abilities are quite high. In 1996, Approximately twenty-five of American Adults could not read well enough to address an envelop correctly. Forty-three percent of adults that are at the lowest level of literacy proficiency live in poverty, while only four percent of individuals with strong literacy skills are considered poor. The Ohio Literacy Resource Center reported that fifty percent of the nation’s chronically unemployed are not functionally literate.

What does this mean for young adult librarians? First we must recognized that individuals in the library, reading material is a good thing. It doesn’t matter that the girls are reading what we would consider trash, and the boys are going through car magazines. I remember high school English as being the most boring thing on earth, because all of the assigned reading was classics that didn’t even use the English I spoke everyday with my friends. I loved reading the YA novels that were in my high school media center, along with children’s books, chick lit, and comics. I would have people judge me for not really enjoying the classics, and now I look back and see I was the one who was right. Reading is reading.

Another thing we must realize, especially those just entering the profession and still in school, is that the people that walk in you door may not be able to read, and it may be extremely embarrassing to tell another adult that. We can’t assume that writing down a call number or directions will meet the patrons needs. It can be hard to remember sometimes that a college education isn’t normal, in fact a high school diploma may not even be the norm. The national average for high school drop out rates is one in three. That means that those teens that may be in the library causing you problems maybe the same adult that doesn’t know how to help their child in 10-20 years with homework, because they can’t read the materials. Engaging them somehow, and working with them may be a better idea than judging them for being teens (socializing, exploring different interests, and pushing the limits).

I think the library should be an inviting place for these teens to come and feel free to find themselves. It doesn’t matter if they are reading novels, or even reading at all, because the message you send when you let them have the space, and access to the information could tell them “You have a chance to make something of yourself. You are welcome in the library as you, and can use any of the information here how you want. You can even find pleasure by reading, which you may not find at school.” Who knows they could be not reading at the library because they have to read all day for school and they don’t have the time, but when they do have the time there the books will be right in reach.

Lastly I wanted to point out that all of the studies about literacy and child performance state that low literacy is a cycle. It affects parents who have to work extra jobs to make ends met when they don’t have the skills to have a higher paying job. The attitude that school is hard, and there is no help gets passed on to the children. Low literacy is also associated with poor health, since the parents can’t understand the medical advice given, or read the labels on the medicine. The most effective way to increase a child’s performance is to increase the education level of the parent’s. As librarians we can be human with our patrons, show them that we aren’t different from them. To break the cycle a child needs someone to go to for help with homework and encouragement. Middle school tends to be the place where poorly educated parents are no longer able to help their child and I think many libraries have great programs to help both students and adults, but it is important that we encourage it as acceptable.

You can make a difference in lives, but the impact you make maybe so small you may not realize it. Sharing your passion for reading with both parents and teens, as well as you willingness to help, openness to the teens suggestions, and commitment to creating great programs and selecting quality and popular titles, can make the difference between an illiterate adult who reads at a fifth grade or below level, and a college graduate. It is the connections with people that help make the library dynamic, so please make connections, and remember on the bad days you are doing good things.

Rantings by Jami Schwarzwalder
Statistics from D. C. Literacy Clearinghouse

Volunteer Tips

As we move into spring, librarians around the country are starting to think about using teen volunteers over the summer. Talk about YOUTH PARTICIPATION! I had the privilege of working with over 100 teens in the six years that I supervised a computer signup program. Teens to manage Internet signups for up to 26 computers and assist users with non reference transactions such as attaching files, printing, typing in a URL or setting up an email account. Even if you have software that manages your computer signups, consider using technology savvy teens to assist users with computer tasks.

It was a great program that met the needs of the library, gave teens community service credit, and built the following developmental assets as defined by the Search Institute:

Other Adult Relationships: Working with library staff and developing a relationship with YA librarian.

Caring Neighbors: Librarians were like caring neighbors – they grew to like kids and become concerned about their success and well-being.

Community Values Youth: The program itself demonstrated that we appreciated teens who provided this useful service. Volunteers were also invited to suggest web site links.

Youth as Resources: Teens brought computer expertise of their own to the job.

Service to Others: Teens earned community service hours for work.

[Library] Provides Clear Rules and Consequences: We gave volunteers the library rules and volunteer tips in writing and explained them in person; teens were held accountable in evaluations each semester as well as through supervision during their shift.

[Library] Monitors Behavior: Teens were supervised and expected to follow library rules and set a good example for peers.

High Expectations: Every teen who wanted to try being a TCC volunteer was allowed to get trained and try it. We expected a 20-hour commitment, and got parent buy-in – parents had to sign the volunteer form. I did train teens who dropped out after 4 or 10 hours. I also had one boy perform over 200 hours! He is a college senior now – and we’re still in touch.

Caring: Volunteers often came to work for us to help people.

Honesty: Teens had to treat all customers the same and be truthful and accurate about who was on what computer at which time; also, I didn’t work every shift and they had to accurately track their hours of service.

Responsibility: Managing 26 machines was a LOT of work! Just showing up was a responsible act.

Planning and Decision Making: Determining who to put on which computer, how to let someone know their time was up and learning when to get a librarian for help involved problem solving and critical thinking skills.

Interpersonal Competence: People skills were very important in this job, more than the computer skills.

Cultural Competence: Our busy city library allowed teens to interact with people for a variety of backgrounds, ages and situations.

High Self-Esteem: There were many opportunities to feel good about volunteering.

Sense of Purpose: For that 2 hour shift, that volunteer felt both expert and needed. We thanked teens for working at the end of every shift, praised them when they did well, and let them make mistakes to learn from. Most years we had a gathering of some kind, and teens were invited to the annual volunteer luncheon. I wrote many letters of recommendation for job and college applications.)

These were my volunteer tips when I ran a volunteer program. In an initial 45 minute training session, teens got an introduction to the reference staff, a quick library tour, and we went over the Internet policy, the behavior policy, the job description (they were computer volunteers) and computer signup procedures. I showed them lots of things in the volunteer manual and explained it was a resource, but I went over each of these tips in detail.

VOLUNTEER TIPS

Sign in/Sign Out. A sign-in sheet for each volunteer is located in this manual. Please keep track of your hours and check for notes from your supervisor on your page. (I totaled hours and did certificates for 20 hours, then at the end of each fiscal year; the number of teens and number of hours was counted in the annual report.)

Wear your volunteer pin. Pins are located on the desk. Pins let the staff know you are authorized to do signups and let patrons know to see you for help. (everyone hated the pins. Hats or t-shirts would have been nice. The pins didn’t have names unless the kids wanted to write them in – just s logo and the word volunteer. They always forgot to take them off. I lost a lot of pins.)

Introduce yourself. Make sure you greet the staff you are working with and remind them who you are. (this was important for helping me do evaluations. Also, staff members always thanked the teens for working – good for teen esteem – and allowed the staff to see teens in a positive light.)

Be friendly, polite and professional. This is a customer service job. You might be the only library person a patron talks to, so smile and speak clearly. (I reminded kids not to say WHAT? but to ask patrons to spell their names or write their own names, to make eye contact, etc).

Treat volunteering like a job. If you are scheduled to be here, be here on time ready to work. If you cannot make your shift, please call the library so we know not to expect you. (I told teens they didn’t need to ask permission to miss a shift, it was simply a courtesy.)

Users first. Get in the habit of looking around every 5 minutes to see if people left or sat down without signing up. When a patron comes over to you, STOP whatever you are doing. Smile and make eye contact THEN ask how you can help them. (This was just a reminder not to get completely engrossed in your own computer when volunteering.)

Ask for help when you need it. Don’t be shy! If you have a question you can’t answer or a computer you can’t fix, get a librarian right away. (I showed teens where to find answers to questions like how do I attach a file, but reiterated they could ask the same question every day and we would patiently show them/give the answer.)

Know when to get a librarian. It is not the duty of the volunteer to monitor peers for appropriate use, enforce rules, or discipline those who break the rules. See “When to get a Librarian” on the next page. (This was VERY important – I also encouraged teens to get an adult ANYTIME someone made them feel uncomfortable.)

Keep visitors to a minimum. It is okay to greet people you know, but please be brief. Friends and family should not pull up a chair and hang out, or even use a computer next to yours. Get a librarian to gently remind friends that you are working. (This was a question I treated with a little humor “You’ll see lots of people you know, but no one should pull up a chair and hang out like I am doing right now. If your friends are a distraction, let a staff member know and WE can be the bad guy and explain that you are working.)

Volunteering counts as your Internet time. Please do not sign up before your shift. If you need more time after your shift, you may sign up for an hour. (Teens who volunteered were guaranteed a computer while they were working. We had a 1 hour time limit, so getting the computer for 2-4 hours was a nice perk.)

Remember you represent the library. Please dress neatly — whatever you can wear to school you may wear here — and take care of personal hygiene. (Teens usually laughed at this one, but I addressed issues like low-cut blouses and short-shorts here – we did have an instance of an adult hitting on a teen volunteer who looked older with her dress and makeup. I encouraged them to carefully consider the messages they sent with the clothing they chose, and sometimes it could result in unwelcome attention. Again, reminded them to get an adult ANYTIME someone made them feel uncomfortable.)

Headphones are not allowed when volunteering. They are distracting and make patrons think you are unapproachable. (we sold headphones for a $1 at the desk for patrons.)

Thank you for not eating and drinking in public areas. Drinks and snacks may be left in the Reference Office. (Teens could get up anytime to get a drink or snack from the office.)

If you work 4 hours, you get a 20-minute break. This is MANDATORY. See a staff member to get to the staff room. You may, of course, use the lavatory or water fountain whenever you need to. (The break is a state law – anything that applies to working teens applies to volunteering teens, including hours they can work. We asked that if teen would be gone for more than 5 minutes, s/he let a staff member know so the area could be monitored.)

Talk to your supervisor. If you are unhappy or have questions or problems, please contact Beth Gallaway at the library, on AIM, or via e-mail. (Contact info followed.)

I am happy to send the volunteer manual as an attachment to anyone who would like a copy – many of the procedures may be out of date, and the library has gone to an automated sign up system. E-mail informationgoddess29@gmail.com for a copy.

~posted by Beth Gallaway

ALA Online Communities and YALSA

At my high school, after the first week of new quarter, members of the current graduating class in good standing could opt out of silent study hall and spend the rest of the quarter in the Senior Privilege area. “Senior Priv” was something for the freshman, sophomores and juniors to look forward to, and for the seniors to lord over the heads of the lower classes. It was nothing more than linoleum tiled room, directly under the library, outfitted with vending machines, breakfast service before noon, tables to encourage socializing — and games. Uno was the favorite activity in 1992, and pouring over Where’s Waldo? books in search of the man in the red & white striped shirt was a close second.

Today on the YALSA-BK list, someone asked about games popular with teens in libraries today – traditional board games, puzzles, and card games – that the library might purchase and have on hand. It sounds like a few librarians even jump in and play along.

The subject is a bit off topic for that particular listserv, so I recommended that we move the conversation to the new ALA Online Communities. Its like bulletin boards with discussion forums, calendar, and file space, and the new YALSA Gaming Discussion Group has a community all it’s own.

To access ALA Online Communities:

1. Go to http://communities.ala.org.

2. Login with your username (ALA #) and password). Don’t have a password? For password help, go to: http://www.ala.org/Template.cfm?Section=Login&Template=/security/PasswordHelp.cfm

If you know your membership # go to
http://www.ala.org/Template.cfm?Section=Login&Template=/Security/NoPassword.cfm

(If you are REALLY in a pinch, try calling 1-800-545-2433 during regular business hours.)

3. After you’ve logged in, to locate the YALSA Gaming Discussion Group:
Click “Divisions” from the left menu
Click “YALSA” from the left menu
Click “Teen Gaming Discussion Group” from the left menu

Click “Discussion Forums” from the top menu

FOR MORE INFO:
After you’ve logged in, click “Documents”
Open the ALA Participants File:
http://communities.ala.org/DesktopModules/NOLModules/NOL.Modules.FileManager/FileManagerRoot/0/ALA_Participants.pdf

The original query about games has not been reposted yet but I did start to compile a list of responses – look under the Board Games forum and add your response: What card, puzzle and board games do YOU recommend for in-house collections?

~posted by Beth Gallaway

Online Classes

As society progresses towards a more technically advanced work environment, you can guarantee that you will encounter an online class whether for professional development, or for completing classes towards a Masters or PHD degree.

Online classes allow participants to connect with people that generally share similar interests, responsibilities, and even sometimes time in life.
When you register for an online class you are choosing a subject that for some reason interested you, and many of the other participants will have done the same. Remember this when you are nervous and apprehensive, and even overwhelmed.

You get out of an online class what you put in to it.
The same can be said of a face to face class. The only difference between an Online class and a face to face class is the technology and the participants.

Here are some strategies for getting the most out of an online class

  1. Communicate-Don’t wait until you have read all of the assignments to start conversing with your classmates. Post your reactions, questions, and connections when they happen so that you can share with your classmates. Remember if you stay silent you are cheating your classmates out of hearing a different perspective, and experiences
  2. Plan Ahead-Set aside a time when you will focus on your class. Treat it as if you were sitting in a face to face class. Don’t schedule anything during this time, and even consider going somewhere like the library to escape the duties of home
  3. Don’t procrastinate-It is so easy in an online class to wait until the end of the week or the day before an assignment is due to start working. As I hope you can remember from your face to face classes this doesn’t result in your best work.
  4. Have Fun-Unless this class is part of a required curriculum you signed up for a reason. That reason may be that you were interested in the subject, or you are going to make a program and needed more information. Either way you owe it to yourself to enjoy your time immersed in this topic. Feel free to share any connections you make with this topic to your encounters. We ask young students to share connections made when reading a book, why wouldn’t we want that from adults.
  5. Participate– The amazing part of online classes is that it really is the students that make the class successful. Boring Face to Face classes generally involved a lecturer standing for an hour re-stating what you read in your textbook, with no real acknowledgement that there are people in the room. The lively fun classes were ones that the teacher had students talk to one another about what they had read, or thought about a certain subject. Each group would most certainly go on many tangents, but when they were drawn back together the students would respond on topic about what they had discussed. Going off topic is part of discussions, so don’t be afraid that you don’t fit the mold. An online class is similar to your group discussion only you have a longer time to discuss, and more people in your group.

Online classes are great opportunities, and if you do more than just read you will have a chance to learn more. The teacher and the other classmates will respond to you. You will be able to have some of your questions answered, and most likely be comforted that you are not the only one who has those questions.

Lastly, Remember you will be interacting in the same way that teens interact with their peers. Teens use IM and in-game chat (chat), Forums(Discussion Boards), Blogs, and podcasts to communicate ideas. The topics they discuss range from political to pleasure, depending on the person. Being a digital native does not mean that these technologies are only for you, it means that technology doesn’t intimidate you. In online classes there will be glitches, but if the participants are flexible you can move past the glitches and into learning.

posted by Jami Schwarzwalder

Instant Messages

Posted by Linda W. Braun

Recently I had the chance to go on a tour of the Seattle Public Library. I’d heard lots about the new library building and was really excited to see the architecture and the teen space. Walking up to the building one can’t help but notice the design of the facility and how it stands out on the city street. The instant message when viewing the building from the outside is “Well, this is quite something.”

I arrived at the library a little before the tour started and checked out the first floor where there is a very large sunny (yes sunny in Seattle) children’s room. The instant message when I saw the children’s room was, “Well, children are definitely an important constituency in this community.”

We met our tour guide and moved to the elevators as we found out the tour started at the top of the building. As we walked to the elevators I noticed in front of me a desk that said “Starbucks Teen Center.” As we moved closer I saw to the left of the Center comfortable furniture filled with people lounging – all adults. The Teen Center, I discovered, is a small horizontally designed space that does not include the comfortable furniture people were lounging in. The Teen Center is in fact much smaller than the children’s room. (Actually it ends up that by the end of the tour I discovered the space is much smaller than many areas of the library.)

I’ve been thinking about the instant message that the Teen Center sends to teens in the community. The fact that there is any space at all definitely sends a message that we know you exist. But, the fact that the space is small, somewhat dark, and nowhere near the size of other areas of the library sends a message that we know about you but don’t really need to think about you (or support you) too much.

Needless to say I was disappointed when I saw the teen space. I did have a renewed sense of the need to get the word out about service to teens and particulary the importance of designing space that supports teen needs and shows teens are a valued part of the community. The Professional Development Center section of the YALSA Website has a topic guide on space. For those interested in learning more about how to support teens through space it’s worth looking at.