Positive Use of Social Networking #14 – YouTube

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 #14.


Have you ever searched for library on YouTube? If not you should give it a try. Two things to notice when you do:

  • Libraries show up on YouTube as active fun places where teens hang out comfortably. (What a great thing.)
  • Teens (and librarians) can create useful library instruction videos.


YouTube ends up being for libraries:

  • A great place for libraries to advertise programs and services
  • Where teens can feel empowered by publishing work they’ve done and seeing what their peers can do.
  • A resource that highlights constructive use of time through video creation.
  • An outlet for creative expression. There are library mystery, horror, music, and more videos on YouTube.
  • A place to learn, in entertaining and creative ways, how libraries work.


Of course, video on the web is nothing new. However, the fact that teens and librarians can create video and upload it easily to a central website (and the library doesn’t have to pay for the hosting of the video or the bandwidth) is fairly new.


Of course, teens creating videos as a means of self-expression is nothing new. However, the ability to publish that video for the world to see as a way to show the active and positive things teens can do is fairly new.


A library that works with teens on creating videos for YouTube provides teens with opportunities for engaging in both visual and text-based literacies. Teens and librarians that work together on YouTube videos get the chance to plan, manage, and implement a project that uses time management and organization skills. And, teens and librarians that work together on YouTube videos support the community by showing what a great place the library is as a positive support for and advocate for teens.


If DOPA were passed teens could of course continue to create videos. Librarians could of course continue to create videos. But, the library and teens working together on projects would no longer be possible. Librarians would lose the opportunity to help teens understand how to use a site like YouTube in ways that support positive teen development. That would be unfortunate.

Positive Use of Social Networking #13 – Second Life

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 #13.

Second Life(SL) is a 3D virtual world for adults age 18 and over where one can create an avatar, interact with others, and design the world they want to live in. Over 100 universities and colleges are involved in SL to offer their students a learning experience through this world.

Teen Second Life is for teens, 13-17 and is separate from adults because of safety reasons. Teens can own land, run their own business, design clothes, create machinima, bring their favorite story scene to life through build and design skills, and learn about social issues such as child pornography and sex trafficking which was what GlobalKids did through their camp in Second Life this summer with teens. Schools such as Suffern Middle School in New York, is aligning curriculum standards for their 8th graders with Teen Second Life, and will have a presence to serve their students hopefully by next month.

The Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County in NC and the Alliance Library System in IL have announced a partnership last week to collaborate on library services for teens through Teen Second Life. The project will involve a collaboration with libraries and other youth serving organizations to reach teens where they are at and keep the library relevant to their needs. To find out what libraries are already doing on Second Life with adults, check out: www.infoisland.org Many YALSA members are already involved in Second Life with incredible and tremendous talent and are involved with the teen library project as well. The Alternative Teen Services blog links to Second Life under their ‘connect’ list.

While background checks are required for any adult working with teens on Second Life, if DOPA in its current form, had passed, teens at public and school libraries that are offering Second Life as a program, might be unable to access it or at least the rich world of communication tools that surround the virtual world such as blogs and wikis that foster collaboration and information for projects.

Developmental needs such as community support, motivation to learn, and cultural competence are perfect combinations to build upon through Second Life.

For more information on the library project, or to get involved, check out www.infoisland.org. To find out what other educators are doing in Second Life, go to the SimTeach wiki at: www.simteach.com.

It’s not too late to participate in Info Island’s open house going on this weekend in Second Life. Create an avatar and join the fun! Audio presentations will be archived on OPAL

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Great Stories CLUB

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In March of this year 181 libraries were selected to participate in the Great Stories CLUB, an initiative funded by Oprah’s Angel Network aimed at getting books into the hands of troubled teens. The initiative, implemented by ALA’s Public Program’s Office and YALSA, helped establish book discussion groups for teens in alternative schools and juvenile detention centers. To read about one librarian’s experience with the initiative, go here.
-Beth Yoke

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

WrestleMania Reading Challenge

Have you registered to participate in WWE & YALSA’s WrestleMania Reading Challenge yet? If not, there’s still time. The deadline to register is Oct. 21st. 60 lucky registrants will win 5 copies of Paul Volponi’s book, Black and White, compliments of the Speak & Puffin Books divisions of Penguin Young Readers Group, and a copy of Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher, compliments of HarperCollins.

This program is designed to get more reluctant readers reading. The challenge is for teens in grades 9-12 to read a book a week between Teen Read Week and Jan. 16th. Five libraries will win $2,000 to buy teen materials and your teens can win books from Simon & Schuster, WWE merchandise and even tickets & a trip to WrestleMania. Find out all the details and register here
-Beth Yoke

Positive Use of Social Networking #11-Building a Community around Gaming

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 #11.

Many libraries are offering gaming programs for teens on a regular basis and have been for awhile. This year’s ‘Get Active @ Your Library’ theme for Teen Read Week provides a perfect fit for DDR, which many libraries are participating in during this week.

Librarians have also worked to build community around gaming programs through social networking tools.

  • The sheer number of comments from teens on the Ann Arbor District Library gaming blog is amazing.
  • Another site to check out is the Gamefest site from the Bloomington Public Library in Illinois which again builds community around gaming by using social networking tools such as Flickr and linking to local gaming conventions which use discussion boards and blogs to communicate their events.
  • Last year, during a DDR event at the Thomas Ford Memorial Library in Illinois, Aaron Schmidt wrote about ‘harvesting content while they were there.’ By making Audacity available, teens recorded materials reviews during the gaming event, including books, to later be posted to the library web site.
  • Many libraries are using MySpace pages or blogs to host videos, photos, and announcements for their gaming events. One teen created his own MySpace page, boasting how he would be the winner of my library’s summer gaming tournament.

Consider connecting with the social networking resources that are already in your community to let them know about your gaming events. Local gaming conventions, Teen Clubs that offer video gaming nights, DDR Freak allows people to post about their gaming events-and teens do check this board, and websites for specific games often have a place to post about upcoming tournaments and events through a discussion board.

If DOPA passes, opportunities to connect with millennials who are gamers with the library, will be very difficult.

Join the MacArthur Foundation discussion on gaming from October 16-November 3; Everywhere Now: Three Dialogues on Kids, Games, and Learning.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Wikis

Often I have reference questions that are about current technology, and when I ask in IM reference chat for information on that top my university normally sends me to a wikipedia page and that’s it.

Wikipedia is not the only wiki out there. In fact wiki’s are easy to create, ALA has several: http://teentechweek.wikispaces.com/ http://wikis.ala.org/iwa/index.php/Main_Page http://wikis.ala.org/midwinter2007/index.php/Main_Page

You see a wiki allows participants to share information and add to what previous people have said. If for example we had this discussion group as a wiki instead of a listserv people could add titles to lists requested, discuss issues on the discussion pages, and be able to find the information easier than locating the subject of a specific thread. Wikis can contain more information that a normal website as well, because more people can work on it. Imagine if instead of a vertical file in a room, your library set up a local history wiki on pbwiki. Community members could upload pictures to share, The older citizens could work with the teens to share what they know about the community. It would be a way for the whole community to participate in their story.

Expand that concept to a community on the Internet for example web comics. There are a few websites about the different comics: http://www.thewebcomiclist.com/ is considered the best. They are updated by the webmasers who depending on the community could be overworked and understaffed, or could pull in “expert” fans. Another site about webcomics is http://www.comixpedia.org/index.php/Main_Page. Its a wiki started by a site that focused on webcomic news. This allows fans, the creators themselves, and others to upload information. The job of the webmaster changes, because now they fill in the blanks of what people started, and delete the necessary spam, but more information is able to be shared through this venue.

Did you know that the number of attacks on wikipedia increase whenever their is an article about how easy it is to place false information. In a way we all know that even the information in our encyclopedias and books can be wrong due to date, or inaccuracies by the author. Generally that is what we examine when reviewing books, so it is understandable that librarians would be leery of wiki’s but I believe that they have a valuable purpose and place in our information rich lives. One great use is understanding pop culture and technology, but also it adds to the feeling that the teens are valued experts on something when they can post a message about a show, game, or other thing they know about from reading books and from experience.

In my mind I treat Wiki’s like encyclopedias. We can have encyclopedias of reviews, conference information, best practices, anime, webcomics, video games, and more, but you have to take the first step of faith to see what a wiki really can do well. which is enrich communities

Positive Uses of Social Networking – What About You

We are up to day 11 in our posting of ideas about the positive uses of social networking for teens. If you have ideas that you’d like others to know about let us know by posting a comment to one of the blogs in this series or posting a comment to this blog posting. It would be great to find out what others are thinking in this area, what’s worked to sell social networking in different communities, and how teachers and librarians are using social networking tools where you are.