Reading with your ears.

Posted by Jami Schwarzwalder


Bruce Colville was turned on to audio books when he too a two month trip with his teen.

He learned:
1 Audio books are a great way to share a story
2 Pride and Prejudice is engaging when traveling through Kansas

How they handle adult content
“Try to reflect the real world”
Would a parent and teen be comfortable listening to the content together?
Would an intelligent adult and mature teen consider it family friendly?

To signal parents about adult issues they will put Adult fiction on the description of the material that may contain situations that are adult.

Not going to but ratings on audio books until they put ratings on books. That is a strength of the library, because parents can go up and ask is something is appropriate for their child’s age.

Still asking themselves How do you handle that 12-14 age range?

First thing is can we cast the book
Longer books are impossible to release an audio book with the book with a full cast
Biggest challenge is to find the perfect voice for that first person narrative

Sometimes they trade off easy production with a trained actor, to have a believable narration with a narrator that brings the story to life.

Each company has a unique sound.

Cassette in of a life support system
They will still have cassettes for libraries
People don’t buy cassettes in the store

Whatever the technology the production is important

No matter what format it is in the story has to be narrated well, because the sound generally will be the same.

A new format is on a chip you can put in a phone or a Palm pilot. That plays like an I-pod
Playaway is another new format.

Tamora Pierce

We come from long history of story tellers

Its fun recording books

The key is to shape the book
It fills out a story and makes it broader.

Multicultural Books

Hear the rhythm, follow the sentence, hear a story the words could not convey

An audiobook that is well done can transport us to a different world

Spending time somewhere helps you know their culture. Even if it’s a week long vacation

Don’t be intimidated by foreign words

It’s important to be authentic (so it rings true with a broad range of listeners) but quality comes first.

A good audio book allows you to close your eyes and imagine someone for the specific culture telling the story.

Audio books Reviews

It is hard to fit the review in just a few hundred words.

Have to listen to the entire audio book to get a fell

Review the audio book experience

They don’t cover the plot, which is hard as a reviewer to write.

Already reviewed the plot when reviewing the book.

Covering the audio book experience is unique for each reviewer and that is what makes it interesting.

Since snippets of reviews make it on the back covers reviewers have to think about writing for both librarians and

Is a teenager going to enjoy this?

New review they are doing is podcast reviews. Some librarians have put these on websites, and are getting positive results.

Listen to many different audio books on commute, but it helps with reader’s advisory.
Listen to a book while cleaning the house.

No galleys for audio books, because the recorders use ARCs to make recordings.

Will look at book to compare visualizations, but generally just review the audio.

Bartemous trilogy did an excellent job with making text and footnotes seamless.

Look for a book that listens well.


When you do book talking play an audio books/include audio book. The beginning makes you want to keep going.

Hungry Minds Listening Club. Half our before school feed donought and have them listen to the audio books.

Allow students to check out cd and cassette players

Do displays with cassette tape holders.

Encourage audio books to count for summer reading.

Download audio books onto ipod shuffles and circulate, as well as allow downloading to personal ipods.

Audible books integrated with iTunes.

Overdrive has a list of YALSA’s recommend audio books.

Burger’s Blogger Bash

Posted by Beth Gallaway

Burger Blogger Bash, ALA2006

Photo: Leslie Burger welcomes guests to her Blogger Bash – folks from the biblioblogosphere mingled with heroes whose libraries and lives have been devasted by Katrina.

I showed up at ALA President-Elect Leslie Burger’s hospitality suite Saturday night expecting to rub elbows with fellow bloggers and thank Burger for her open acceptance of the biblioblogosphere. There was lots of elbow rubbing going on that night and Burger greeted each visitor as s/he walked in the door.

Invitations to the reception were extended to Gulf Coast libraries, and it was Burger’s hope, since she is a shrewd and savvy woman who recognizes that blogging is an important communications tool, that bringing these two groups together might help extend the message that the devestating effects of Hurricane Katrina have not diminished much.

We heard heartwrenching stories from public, academic and school libraries about loss of staff, defected to other parts of the country; losses of millions of dollars worth of books and computers; the struggle to maintain some basic library services to citizens still living in tents; the plea for “NO MORE BOOKS!!! We need MONEY!”

We also heard heartwarming stories, some told to the crowd, others exchanged one on one, about children who raised a few hundred dollars with lemonade stands, of libraries in other parts of the country who did local fundraising to send to specifically designated sister libraries in New Orleans; an academic library that saw an opportunity to promote remote and electronic services; a school than managed to graduate its class in December. The evening was a much deserved tribute to and celebration of the workers who returned and are every day heroes for simply doing their jobs in such terrible conditions. I’m not convinced I would have done the same.

I asked where the donation bucket was – how could you not want to give something after watching the emotion play out on someone’s face as such losses are described? – but I can’t help feeling that although I agree libraries are essential – ESSENTIAL! – perhaps permanent shelter, clean drinking water, and public health & safety are higher priorities than new books and computers. What do the rest of you think?

Donate to the New Orleans Rebuild Project at

Serving Teens Behind Bars

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

I’ve recently started providing outreach to the teen male population at a local Jail facility in NC. The speakers at this presentation had well developed, successful and award winning programs for incarcerated teens with lots of great ideas. Jack Gantos, author of Hole in My Life, spoke after the panel and recounted his own experiences in jail and as a writer. Michele Gorman moderated through her involvement on YALSAs Criminal Elements booklist.

What the panel seemed to have in common was a genuine desire to work with and not judge these readers, to meet them where they were at in their reading levels and interests, and not take no for an answer.

In the programs represented by the panel, incarcerated teens have participated in author visits (started off with just cold calling authors to see if they’d speak at the jail), storytellers, and musician visits,
Great Stories Book CLUB recipients, visual art on display at city hall, created partnerships with the judge, probation officer, teen and librarian to read and discuss books, produced a literary magazine and provided readers advisory.

While a mutual goal was to increase awareness of the library as an important community resource and to use literature as a vehicle for discussion, outreach to a jail is not without its obstacles. Funding (grants, scholarships, and donations sought), security (we are part of the library’s security program by being there), and staff (one jail staff member was teasing a teen that they should read the picture book b/c they weren’t smart enough to read. This interaction turned into the teen joking with the staff and choosing the book anyway. While we might not understand or respond in the same way the jail staff does, we need to understand, most have the heart to work there with the teens and connect with them too) can be challenging.

Reduction in recidivism
Teens read a book for the first time and keep on reading
Reading helps with social and personal issues (Flinn’s Breathing Underwater was a catalyst to for a teen to talk with his girlfriend about her manipulative behavior toward him)
quote directly from a teen:

”Keeps my imagination moving”
(there were more but that’s all I have for now)

Check them out when you can:

Austin Public Library: Second Chance Books created by Youth Specialist, Devo Carpenter.

Hennepin County Library: Home School and Juvenile Detention Center created by Outreach Manager, Patrick Jones.

Johnson County Library System: Read to Succeed created by Teen Services Librarian, Tricia Suellentrop.

Alameda County Library: Write to Read created by one of this years Movers and Shakers, Librarian Amy Cheney.

There are many other libraries serving teens in jails. What kind of tips do you have to share? What has worked well? How many are not quite sure they are comfortable in offering library services to this teen population?

Changed Priorities Ahead (Stephen Abram’s session revisited)

Beth did such a great job synthesizing, and I will add my thoughts.
As an HCL person, look back for a post on how to pimp your MySpace. Also the handout the YALSA committee created is here.

Abram asserts that we need to create experiences for millennials (like Kelly’s ImaginOn animation studio)! “Kids are prepared; service providers aren’t.” How do you deliver information to millennials’ “point of need”? Look at Thomas Ford Memorial Library’s IM Reference service which now drives their statistics.

If you missed the session, here is a video of Stephen Abram in Minnesota this spring. Well worth the time to watch.

Meg Canada

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.

Teen Tech Week (TTW)

Posted by Linda W. Braun

The Teen Tech Week Committee met for the first time face-to-face during Annual and got a lot of work done. One exciting thing is that the Committee selected a logo for TTW and a theme for this year’s week. (Watch this blog and the YALSA site for a formal announcement of each.)

The logo was selected from a group of entries submitted by teens. There were several good entries and the Committee had a good discussion about which to select, how to select, why one over the other, etc. In other words, the teen artists provided quality work. That’s not a surprise but really nice to see.

When looking at the logos, Committee members realized that the teens were really focused on what they knew or thought about libraries and technology. In other words the images created didn’t show a teen technology world of music, games, chat, etc., but instead focused on books/text coming in and out of a computer. (The traditional use of technology in the library.) In the future it would be great if teens and librarians were able to connect technology beyond the traditional sense of the library to a more expansive view of the intersection of teens, libraries, and technology.

Another discussion of the Committee centered around the types of programs and activities libraries might host as a part of TTW. There are an amazing number of ideas out there and more details will be provided on the TTW website over the next several months, but here are a few to whet the appetite:

  • Podcasting Academy with teens as the podcasting teachers/leaders
  • Teen tours for adults of the online world
  • A Machinima movie night
  • Online polls and contests

And there’s lots more.

As plans of the Committee continue and the website for TTW expands I’ll post more on the blog to let readers know what’s up and coming up. Keep your eyes tuned.

The Kids are Alright, and Stephen Abrams is great

Posted by Beth Gallaway

The YALSA Technology for Young Adults committee traditionally hosts a program at the crack of dawn on Sunday morning (okay, 8:00 AM – it’s early!) and it is ALWAYS worth getting up for.

This year, Stephen Abram, whose job title is Vice President of Innovation (how cool is that!?) and blogger extradordinaire of Stephen’s Lighthouse, presented The Kids are Alright! Millennials and their Information Behaviors to a LOT of other people who found were bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and eager to hear what he had to say.

I walked in to hear him encouraging the audience to pay attention to gaming (yay!) and to read Beck & Wade’s Got Game (the paperback edition is named The Kids are Alright. Abram went on to impart characteristics of the millennial generation and show by example how they are different from Boomers and Gen X/Y. They are generally:

  • More direct (polite but assertive and demanding)
  • Smarter (IQ tests are revised and made more difficult every year; the current standard of 100 would have been genuis level when the test was first standardized) Healthier (about 8% smoke)
  • Both more liberal and conservative (multiculturally and globally aware, and patriotic and spiritual)
  • Well-balanced (able to both multitask and commune with themselves.

Some stats:
90% own a home computer
85% spend at least an hour a day online
75% have a TV in thir room (cramming 8.5 hours of television viewing into 6.5 hours, due to multitasking

In light of these facts, Abram challenged libraries to meet the youth where they are. “They live on the phone,” he said, challenging us to make our webpages be readable on small screens, to set up IM screen names and get into MySpace where our users are.

One of the most interesting things I heard was they the eyeballs of millennials move differently when reading – they skim the bottom and edges then focus on the center. And specific COLORS attract and repel -red draws attention first, neon green and orange are skimmed, and black is ignored completely. A slide on the teen brain compared activity patterns to show the shift on how the millennial’s brain is being used differently than the boomer’s brain.

Audience questions included:

  • Do you think the prevalence of cutting is due to the detachment of kids and immersion in technology? to which abram replied it’s not a technology related problem, it is more likely a response to pressure to perform and succeed placed upon youth by adults;
  • How do I get my OPAC search bar into MySpace? to which Abram recommended contacting Hennepin County, whose page he had highlighted during the presentation
  • Where can I find a poster of the image of the brain you showed, to use a tool for teachers, parents, admin to SHOW how these kids process information differently? Abram gave several sources for text posters.

All in all, well worth getting up for – watch for the PPT presentation to appear.

Please continue the discussion of Millennials right here on YALSA’s blog! Do you agree with Abram’s assertations of millennial characteristics? What other programs and services are YOU offering to meet their needs? Share your ideas via comments!

Gaming Discussion Group

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

The Gaming Discussion group met on Sunday afternoon-and what a discussion it was! Chaired by Beth Gallaway and co-chaired by Kelly Czarnecki. Many stories were shared from libraries all over the U.S. of how gaming as programs and services are already working. Several people came to the meeting because they knew that’s what teens are interested in, but didn’t necessarily know a lot about gaming. We apologize for the Skype cast and presentation in Second Life having to be cancelled, but the room the meeting was scheduled in did not have wireless capabilities.

The group was in agreement to request the board to take further action to appoint a video game selection committee. Similar to the committees that select the best audio books or DVDs for teens, this selection list would guide libraries to purchase recommended video games for their library.

Other initiatives the Gaming Discussion group will be involved in include:

  • acting as an interest group which would create bibliographies, tip sheets, brochures, and seek to publish articles in publications such as YALS, SLJ, VOYA, or YAttitudes. (of which the last three all have regularly published gaming columns). Jami Schwarzwalder, discussion member, created very helpful brochures that were passed out at the meeting to get us started on resources. Check out the Mario Brothers Memorial Public Library for more info. Handouts on creating Library Runescape teams, created by Chris Rippel, Central Kansas Library System, were also given out.
  • engage in a research component by applying for the Frances Henne grant which would develop a project that would research aspects of teens and gaming.
  • work with the YALSA Technology for Young Adults committee to help with the marketing aspect of gaming for the 50th anniversary celebration of YALSA.

Other ideas shared that felt this discussion group could contribute to:

  • recommendations on gaming equipment for libraries (cost, differences, age attraction, etc.)
  • addressing the shrinkage problem (i.e., games stolen from the circulating collection)
  • youth participation component (teens wanting to run tournaments and creating promotional materials-videos for games)
  • funding ideas and experiences for gaming programs
  • resources such as where to go on the Internet for cheat codes (GameFacts was recommended).
  • how to convince administration that they need to offer gaming programs and services (relate to mission/vision statement, developmental needs and assets, and new literacies)
  • what are other programs and services related to gaming (CosPlays, anime, machinima, fanfiction)

This discussion will also be available as a podcast. Join the LibGaming listserv to ask questions about video gaming at your library. There are over 300 members and this is an excellent resource for libraries and gaming.

Leadership Development and All Committee Meetings

Posted by Linda W. Braun

On Saturday mornings at Conference YALSA members who serve on committees meet together to get some work done. Today was no different.

The day started with Leadership Development for Committee Chairs. At 8 AM a breakfast, sponsored by Rosen Publishing, was available. At 8:30 the meeting started. There was a full agenda – but it went quickly. Committee Chairs learned about the recent work of YALSA including plans for a Teen Summit and a YA Literature Institute. One of the most exciting pieces of news was the continued rise in YALSA membership. Go YALSA!

Following Leadership Development, and after a short break, Random House sponsored a breakfast for committee members. At 10:30 Pam Spencer Holley called the All Committee meeting to order. After a few short announcements and introductions, committees that meet at All Committee got to work.

Every time I attend an All-Commmittee meeting I think to myself – “wow, there are so many people here and it gets so noisy how will anyone get work done.” But, the fact is, a lot of work does get done. People hop up from tables to ask a question of someone on another Committee. Sometimes there are interuptions as friends and colleagues show up to say hello to someone they haven’t seen in a long time. But, that kind of thing doesn’t seem to have a negative impact on the work of the Division.

It’s all pretty impressive.

Margaret A. Edwards luncheon

Posted by Kara Davis

For those of you who didn’t have the opportunity to make it to the Margaret A. Edwards awards luncheon today, it was fantastic! The winner of this year’s Margaret A. Edwards award is Jacqueline Woodson, for I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This, Lena, From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun, If You Come Softly, and Miracle’s Boys. The luncheon was in the Hilton Ballroom A, and was put on by YALSA. The tables were decorated with complimentary Tabasco cookbooks and miniature Tabasco bottles. Each attendee also was given a copy of School Library Journal, as well as a canvas bag from School Library Journal. The event was opened with a Welcome and Introduction of Guests by President of YALSA, Pam Spencer Holley. Jacqueline Woodson’s speech literally brought a tear to my eye. She is extremely passionate about young adult literature, and commented that although this was a lifetime achievement award, she is nowhere near done with writing and hopes to have many more lifetime achievements. Everything was just wonderful, so if you didn’t get to go, make sure you buy tickets to the one at the next annual conference! Hope to see you all at the events this week!