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!

Booklist Forum

Posted by Beth Gallaway

I make it a point to get into twon in time to see the Booklist Forum at each ALA. Traditionally 8-10PM on Friday night, it is always a delight.

Mo Willems, former stand-up comic, opened with how to draw his famed pigeon: An “O” within an “O” for a head, a strategical placed pupil to indicate emotion), a sideways letter M for a beak, two lines for the neck and to deliniate a throat (sound effects optional), a “cirdrangal” (starts out as a circle with a triangular end) with a wing, stick legs and letter V’s for legs. “The faster you draw the more life it has,” said Willems, before congratulating us on our differently-styled brids and imploring us to “make people draw pigeons!”

Author Lisa Yee spoke about humiliation, headache and heartbreak in humor (Willems helpfully drew a large letter “H” to illustrate her alliteration) and talked about her everyday life that includes researching her books through spying, mostly on her children, blowing up peeps in the microwave (hint – put 2 in, stick a toothpick in each, and let the jousting begin!) and “dropping Mentos… into diet Coke to watch the explosions.” In her research to prove that guys can be sensitive (“Right? Right? Back me up, guys,” she asked of her fellow panelists – Lubar made a great show of laughing at this assertion) she gave us great and funny quotes from young readers. “Girls travel in wolf packs and just talk and talk and talk… about why unicorns have horns” Lisa’s son informed has informed her.

David Lubar was uproarious per usual, noting that now we’d all learned two lessons – don’t go on car rides with Mo and make sure Lisa doesn’t have Mentos when she’s drinking a Pepsi. He gave us some great reasons for writing humor:

  • Mark Twain lived til he was 75 – Kafta, 42
  • Angst is for whiners
  • High school would have been bearable if the Pearl had been funny

Punctuated by two signature Lubar booklists (“Great Books Set in New Orleans” and “Edgiest Books”), David (who is not bitter at all about his books being virtually ignored by bestowers of YA lit awards, really) touched on the need for more humor in fiction for teens. He doesn’t need to write books about kids with alcoholic parents and in other terrible situations: “I don’t write books about those kids… I write FOR those kids.”

Jack Gantos delivered a more sober speech about the background of comedy in the history of literature – the Homeric tradition of engaging the reader by making him/her her smarter than the protagonist. This is Gantos’s way of thinking about the reader when he was writing. Comedy is based on a foundation of truth, and is doubly successful when the character reinforces the reader’s view of the character’s stupidity. He also discussed his theory of dramatic comedy.

The evening ended a little early, but it was a great program – so full they had to bring in more chairs.

Reading with Your Ears Preconference

Posted by Jamie Watson

Highlights #2 from the YALSA Preconference.
Presented by Daniel Bostick and Bruce Coville, Full Cast Audio; Tim Ditlow, Random House/Listening Library; and Eileen Hutton, Brilliance Audio.

Q: How do producers determine what to publish?
A: It must be a good book! Random House gets thousands of manuscripts a year with potential to become just a small list of audiobooks. For Full Cast, a book must be driven by dialogue since, they are read by a “full cast” of characters. All publishers agree that a good review in a review journal can alert them to something they may want for audio. Publishers also look for a balanced list – a variety of age groups, genres, etc.

Q: Is having a cd that releases simulteously with the print book important?
A: For Brilliance, since they are predominantly a retail publisher, it is very important. Now that Listening Library is a part of Random House, there can be a simulatenous release, taking advantage of joint publicity. Often, in retail situations, when a book sells out, retailers will handsell the audiobook.

Q: In terms of young adult material, how do you deal with challenging, potentially controversial material?
A: Full Cast mentions controversial language (ie. the “f” word!) They made the decision to include a “strong language” note on the package. Listening Library mentions that at one time they had the Top 10 Challenged books all on audio. Both agree that if the “controversial” contact is organic and true to the book, not gratuitious, that is a valid reason for publishing the material. Brilliance publishes predominantly adult material, and they label them as such ( ex. Adult Fiction.)

Q: How are casting decisions made?
A: Full Cast has a stable of readers (think theater troup!) They use actual teen readers to narrate the teen characters. Authors are not always (and usually not!) the best choice to read their own works – trained actors and narrators are the true professionals. Sometimes accents drive the decision – Full Cast doesn’t record works that require British or Southern accents, since their stable is from upstate New York. Listening Library hunted far and wide for an authentic midwestern accent for their recent “Dairy Queen.”

Q: How about format? Cassettes, cds, downloadable?

A: Cassettes are over! Retailers are not buying them at all – libraries and schools still are to a point, but it is on a life support. The retail side of Listening Library’s offerings via Audible is now 15% of their total sales.

And now for lunch! Back this afternoon.

Reading with Your Ears Preconference

Posted by Jamie Watson

Throughout the day,I’ll be posting highlights live from the YALSA Preconference entitled Reading with your Ears. Comment if you have any questions, or send me an email at watson@hcplonline.info.

Curriculum Connections
Presented by Sharon Grover, Hedberg Public Library, Janesville, WI and Mary Stump, Arlington County, VA Public Schools.

Why Listen?

Most important point: Listening is not cheating!

A good way to enhance literacy is NOT to try to read along : the narrator can read faster than you can keep up. Rather listen first and then read, or read first and then listen.

Listening can add to the reading experience just like a movie version does.

Preponderence of mp3 players is giving an extra motivation to try listening.

What’s the best reason to listen to audiobooks? It’s fun! The quality of narration is superior and often provided by well-known actors. It’s also a wonderful family activity. It’s a great way to give parents the opportunity to share books with their teens. You can stop the book manually and talk about the story.

How to Listen?

Is the book appropriate for audio presentation? Is the book or story one that lends itself to being read aloud?

And yes, correct pronunciation of all text is REQUIRED for a good audiobook!

An audio edition may make the material more accessible to a wider audience.

Several audiobooks were shared, complete with clips, and then linked to specifics from a variety of statewide curriculum standards. In many cases, the audio demonstrates the selected standard in an even stronger manner than the print version does.

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.

Eve of Departure

Posted by Beth Gallaway

  • Made handouts for presentation & meetings? check!
  • Packed (including umbrella, sturdy shoes, and band aids)? check!
  • Touched base with roommate? check!
  • Boarding Pass printed? check!
  • Hotel confirmed? check!
  • Shuttle reservation made? check!
  • harged cell phone? check!
  • RSVP’d to events? check!
  • Updated itinerary in Google Calendar? check!

Next: Shower. Sleep. Airport!

Gaming Events of Interest at ALA Annual in New Orleans:


Sunday June 25th, 1:30-3:30 YALSA Teen Gaming Interest Group
Hilton New Orleans, Riverside 2 Poydras St
Chequers Room, 3rd floor

The purpose of this discussion is to discuss issues relating to teens and gaming and to develop and disseminate best practices in collections, programming, and related topics in the field of gaming (including video, computer, internet, handheld, mobile, board, card, and miniatures) for young adults ages 12-18. Bring a program to share, a game recommendation, or your questions about starter collections or successful gaming events. Teens are VERY welcome to attend – we could really use their opinions, experience, and expertise to add to the discussion.

Can’t attend? Join in via Skype or Second Life

contact Beth Gallaway
(informationgoddess29 AT gmail DOT com or Kelly Czarnecki (kelly.queenofthejungle AT gmail DOT com for details.

Notes will also be posted on the YALSA blog, and online in our community at
http://communities.ala.org/Default.aspx?alias=communities.ala.org/teengamingdiscussiongroup

Moderators: Beth Gallaway, Metrowest MA Regional Library System

Waltham MA & Kelly Czarnecki, ImaginOn, Charlotte, North Carolina.

Monday, June 26th, 1:30 to 3:30
LITA: Exploring the Technology of Gaming
Morial Convention Center, Room 286/287

This program will concentrate on the validity, opportunities and
adoption of the provision of adult and teen games as the emerging new

literacy and literature of the immediate and long term future. Gaming
technology represents a fundamental learning and information exchange
of the future and by adopting it, libraries have the opportunity to
get ahead of the curve in an important emerging component of society.
Speakers: Kevin Ferst, Teen Librarian, Jacksonville (Fla.) Public Library;
Matt Gullett, ImaginOn (Charlotte, NC);
Eli Neiburger, Ann Arbor (Mich.) District Library;
Beth Gallaway, Metrowest MA Regional Library System, Waltham (Mass.)

(Although not a YALSA program, it has a strong teen focus, and conflicts only with YALSA selection committee meetings, according to event planner.)

Summer Reading -at the Jail

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

My ever-thinking colleague suggested we offer to sign up the young men (16-17 year olds) in the Freedom Reads! book club at Jail North in Charlotte, NC for the Teen Summer Reading program. Of course and why not! Since the program is online and the young men do not have internet access, we had to be a bit creative. They chose a username and password which the librarian at the jail will keep track of. They will record their hours on hard copy and turn it in when they reach their goals. Some even said they would read for thirty hours straight and right away. What do they read? So much! Astrology, Dead Sea Scrolls, James Patterson, teen dating violence prevention, and most recently titles from the Great Stories CLUB grant program.

Come see our display (among many others) at the Diversity Fair at the conference on Saturday, 3p-5p at the Convention Center in the Special Events Area behind aisle 3700.

A few other related programs:

All Committee meeting, Saturday, 10a-12p, Hilton Grand Ballroom. Visit the Outreach to Young Adults Special Needs Committee.

Behind Bars: Books & Teens and the Criminal Justice System, Saturday, 1:30p-3:30p, Convention Center, Room 288-289.