Pizza Rolls not Gender Roles

Last week to celebrate Woman’s History Month several Youtube personalities created videos  highlighting some of the issues with America’s gender norms.

One of the vloggers, Kristina Horner, created a video about how YA literature has become gendered. From different covers to how we label genre’s there are many ways subtle clues are sent to potential readers about what books they are meant to read.

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Snapchat in the media center?  Isn’t it just another photo messaging app that has filters and picture enhancements?  After all, Snapchat pictures disappear after ten seconds.  At least with Instagram, the images are saved for long term viewing.  So why should media specialists even consider it as a way to reach their students?

Spontaneity.  Simple glimpses into the daily life of users.  This is what has helped Snapchat become one of the fastest growing photo messaging apps since its release in 2011.  “Snaps” come off as unprepared and candid which can make the images even more engaging knowing that they are simply a snapshot of a moment in someone’s life.  What is daily life like in your media center?  Document it with Snapchat.  Images of a student nestled up with a good book in the stacks, a group of students engaged in research, or ideas at work in a makerspace.  All of these images are opportunities for media specialists to showcase their media center in a format that teens have quickly adopted.  Snapchat also offers a Story feature now that allows multiple images to be displayed for up to 24 hours.  Media specialists can highlight a whole day’s activities during a special event, such as Teen Tech Week.

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One of the biggest appeals to using Snapchat as a way to reach students is the group safety features that the app has in place. When an image is sent to multiple users, the message still appears as an individual message to each user.  There is no record of every user that the image was sent to.  A media specialist can send a “snap” to multiple users, but the users will not have access to the other users’ information.

Of course, every picture messaging app has its drawbacks.  Teens were quick to jump on the bandwagon of this social media tool, and Snapchat quickly earned a bad reputation as a “sexting” app since users assumed risque pictures “vanished” after ten seconds. Users learned that images can be screenshot and saved for long past the mere seconds that Snapchat offers.  In response to concerns, Snapchat recently created the Snapchat Safety Center and released a safety guide on Feb. 23, 2015 titled “A Parent’s Guide to Snapchat”.  Media specialists could also use the Safety Center information and the guide as part of their digital citizenship and technology safety program with students.

Media specialists are always looking for new ways to reach their students.  Snapchat is used by 42% of teenage mobile users, according to Statista.com.  If the students are using it, then media specialists should at least give Snapchat a chance.  It is easy to add users, just “snap” the ghost icon on a user’s Profile screen.  So set up an account today and start sending “snaps” to give your students a glimpse into the daily life of your media center.

A brief look at 'grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

Happy New Year! For many, the changing year brings with it a list of resolutions. What can we do for those who have made it a goal to read more books? For starters, we can share reading challenges with our teen patrons or create our own for our communities. The 2015 Goodreads Reading Challenge has users set a goal of a specific number of titles to read, but other sources like Popsugar, Book Riot, and the TBR (To Be Read) Jar Challenge give category guidelines in which readers select a title of their choice.  Others, like Epic Reads' 365 Days of YA reading calendar and YALSA's 2015 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge (which counts toward the upcoming 2015 Hub Reading Challenge), ask participants to read a number of books from a provided list. Either way, these reading challenge avenues provide inspiration for creating your own reading challenge for your teens. Check out Random House of Canada's year-long Reading Bingo Challenge (one general card and one specific to YA) -- fun and motivating!

Another way to engage teens in a discussion of their reading is through book photo challenges. Offered monthly, these challenges ask users to take a book-related photo a day and post it on social media with the corresponding hashtags. The sky is the limit when it comes to daily photo tasks! Engaging library users in this type of discussion can provide clues to collection development and potential programming.

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A conversation about Online Harassment.

For many teens, online is one of their 3rd places where they can find community and celebrate their various interests. These were safe places where they could find support outside of their physical community, especially if they were being harassed by peers.

Lately though many female content creators have been sharing their experiences which aren't positive. Female YouTube personalities have sexually suggestive comments posted. Many women in the gaming industry have come under attack, with their personal information being released publicly, forcing at least 3 to have to leave their homes. A female researcher's survey about sexism was corrupted by false data .We must also not forget the hundreds of celebrity photos that were released earlier this year.

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A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.

Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between October 17 – October 23 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.
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A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians' navigating' this social media platform. This week we're all about those book displays! Are your displays getting patrons in the fall spirit, providing inspiration for costumes and pumpkin carvings, or taking' the opportunity to spotlight horror novels? What's the coolest non-holiday display you've put together? Share with us in the comments section. We liked these ones a latte.

In honor of Teen Read Week which kicked off yesterday, October 12 and runs through October 18, we're highlighting a few 'grams of programs in the works and a few ideas from last year.

Have you come across a related Instagram post this week, or has your library posted something similar? Have a topic you'd like to see in the next installment of Instagram of the Week? Share it in the comments section of this post.

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A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians' navigating' this social media platform. From #librarianproblems to fun programs and new books to book messes, librarians are sharing really neat ideas through their accounts. Following library hashtags won't just provide inspiration, but can also highlight different ways to showcase your library to the public. Is that just a photo of your desk or is it a behind the scenes look at the Youth Services office? Can that photo you just posted of your craft sample be turned into an advertisement for the program? You see new books to cover, they see a heads up on new books to check out! Which library hashtags do you follow most frequently?

This week we're also looking at posts for Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) and the upcoming Star Wars Reads Day III (October 11).

Have you come across a related Instagram post this week, or has your library posted something similar? Have a topic you'd like to see in the next installment of Instagram of the Week? Share it in the comments section of this post.

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I was having a serious Cady-with-a-d Mean Girls moment two weeks ago as I walked into my first day in a new Teen Librarian position. Would the teens like me? Would they pity laugh at my jokes like the kids at my old job did? Or would I be just another crusty shushing-machine to them? It's the time of year when teens across the country make that same terrifying walk into new schools, new grades, and new hormone-fueled social challenges, so let's give them some extra special love from the library this week.

As for me at my new job, I discovered that a level 50 in Skyrim and knowing the lyrics to “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” can get you a long way. Sometimes all you need is to know a little bit about one thing that interests a teen and you can spark a relationship. Learn a little more, and pretty soon they'll be saying “hi” to you by name. Keep at it, and they might start liking you enough to actually take your reader's advisory suggestions.

It's good to be in the know. Here's some stuff teens are talking about in August 2014.

The band Five Seconds of Summer, or 5SOS (pronounced “5 sauce”), is currently touring the U.S. with One Direction and gaining popularity. The band, comprised of 4 Australian teenage boys, is often compared to their British your-mates, though they seem to be attempting a more punk rock image. (Attempting is a key word here.) Their self-titled debut studio album was released in the U.S. on July 22, and hit number one on the Billboard 200. Learn more about them here.

The 2014 Teen Choice Awards aired on August 10. Big winners were The Fault in Our Stars, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and Divergent (films); Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort (actors); Ariana Grande, Ed Sheeran, and One Direction (musicians); Pretty Little Liars, The Vampire Diaries, and The Voice (TV). Selena Gomez received the Ultimate Choice Award. The show also introduced a new set of web awards honoring a new breed of YouTube and social media stars. See the full list of nominees and winners here.

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Title: Wattpad
Platforms: iOS and Android, also web-based
Cost: Free

This spring, a student asked me if I knew about After, the One Direction fanfic "everyone was reading on Wattpad." Then I saw Clive Thompson looking for people who were publishing on Wattpad... and I fell into the rabbit hole that is the reading/writing/commenting site.

After had already landed author Anna Todd a three-book deal, but that wasn't the only interesting thing about Wattpad.
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Probably not surprisingly based on its fanfiction roots, YA is especially strong on Wattpad. The influences are somewhat predictable. One young writer named daven whose "story" (as all narratives as labeled) December I particularly liked, had a profile pic featuring her with Rainbow Rowell.
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