Webcomics

Ok. Everyone is preparing for ALA, but I have something I also want to share with you, the fine readers of YALSA Blog: Comics.

I recently created a pathfinder for Comics for one of my classes, which helped motivate me to write this post.

Webcomics started in the late 90’s with Sluggy Freelance, PVP, Penny Arcade, Its Walky, Mac Hall, and Megatokyo. These comics and many others made this style popular. Now there are over 6,000 comics online. These aren’t the regular newspapers cartoons either. Many had taken the infinite space available on the web and used it for stunning effect. One example is Once Upon a Table’s 500th Strip. The comics generally deal with topics relevant to gamers, and college students. Many use a more Manga art style. Since it is easy to read a comic you miss, many of these comics are serial. For more webcomic history read T. Campbell’s History of Webcomics.

It’s important to know about webcomics, because many are now being translated to graphic novels. For the more serialized comics, it is easier to read in a book format, because turning a page is faster than loading a webpage. Just like video games, these are culturally significant. Many deal with modern issues in a fantasy setting, and most of the artists keep a blog on the main page, where they can communicate with the readers. Two of the biggest holidays in webcomics is April Fools and Halloween. These two days artist do anything and everything they can think of to confuse the readers, from dressing the characters in others clothing/drawing different styles to posting fake legal papers on the blog.

Dominic Deegan

One of the more popular comics is Dominic Deegan. The creator, Mookie, now updates everyday with color Sundays. A year ago he left his day time job, to focus primarily on the comic, and increased from a M-F schedule. He rarely misses an update without posting notice on the main page. Sometimes when he’s at a conference he will post filler art or have a fellow artist fill in.

Dominic Deegan has a very active fan community, but that’s true for most webcomics. For two years the comic was hosted on Keenspot, with free forums. The comic is hosted on a different server now, but the forums are still active. Every day fans will stay up until the wee hours of the morning to catch the comic, and be the first one to start the thread about it. Also the forums are used to have contests related to the comic. I hosted a trivia contest once, and There is a very popular caption contest(one entry). For complete oddness there is a word continuation thread that is active off and on. The forums are also used for general chatter. When Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was released people posted their progress in the book, and held discussions about the ending.

On Mookie’s site he has a link to a new comic that is just staring, and an entire page dedicated to the fan art. The fan art ranges from re-drawn characters, to colored strips, to new comics featuring the characters or the creator.

Dominic Deegan is a special webcomic, because in addition to using many puns, Mookie focuses on telling a story. Each year he hosts a panel at Anime Boston titled Writing Unique Heroes & Memorable Villains. His first storylines deal with a lonely Seer, who lives with his talking cat in the town Lynn’s Brook. He works as the towns seer answering those important questions of “Where are my house keys?”, “Why does it hurt every time I touch my face, arm, and leg?” by the townspeople, and the most important question “When will I be feed?” by the cat.
Soon Dominic has his door ripped off (literally) by a knight, and cursed with “Fish Falls on your head every time you smoke” curse. From there his adventures progressed, as the creator dealt with more controversial topics including rape.

posted by Jami Schwarzwalder

Speakers at Printz Program

At each Annual Conference YALSA hosts the Printz Program and Reception, which honors the authors recognized by this prestigious award and celebrates young adult literature. This year, two of the honorees will not be able to attend in person due to extenuating circumstances. Instead of giving their speech live, they will be airing a videotaped message at the Printz Program. Markus Zusak and Marilyn Nelson are the two authors who are unable to attend this event. John Green, winner of the ’06 award for his book, Looking for Alaska, will be present to give his speech, as will Margo Lanagan. Tickets for this program may still be purchased online. They will also be available on site. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact the YALSA office at yalsa@ala.org. -Beth Yoke

Committee Meetings at Annual

Posted by Linda W. Braun

Last week Pam Spencer Holley sent out information and agendas for Leadership Development and All Committee meetings coming up at Annual. Both take place on Saturday morning June 24. Leadership Development is from 8 to 10 AM and All Committee is from 10:30 to noon. Both take place at the Hilton in Grand Ballroom B.

I’ve been to quite a few of these meetings over the years, and am very pleased that recently the format and content of each has been revised in order to provide more opportunities to learn about what’s going on in the Division. This includes the distribution of agendas before the meetings take place, and the inclusion of presentation of information at All Committee. It’s been a great way to keep more people in the loop and in the know.

Another thing that YALSA staff, Board members, and Committee members have been working hard at over the past couple of years, is making sure that those who attend these meetings, perhaps for the first time, are welcomed. If you are familiar with Leadership Development and All-Committee it would be great if you made sure to welcome any newbies you encounter. If you are new to the “scene” feel free to walk up to a table, sit down, and introduce yourself. We might seem like a big scary bunch to some. We might seem like a cliqueish group. But, actually I think everyone is pretty open to welcoming new members in the Division and on Committees. So, take the plunge.

All Committee is a great way to find out what’s going on in YALSA Committees. Even if you aren’t on a committee you can walk around, sit in on discussions, and ask questions. There’s no better way perhaps for getting involved.

Below are the agendas for Leadership Development and All Committee.

Leadership Development
1. 8:30: Meeting Begins. Welcome – Pam Spencer Holley, President

2. Strategic Plan Update – Audra Caplan, Chair

3. Organization and Bylaws: How this Committee Serves You — Stacey Creel-Chavez, Chair

4. Program Planning: What You Need to Know – Erin Downey Howerton, Chair

5. Youth Participation Coordinators: Including Teens at Programs – Jerene Battisti & Lynn Evarts

6. YALSA Publications: Get Your Committee in on the Action—Julie Bartel, Chair

7. YALSA Business Plan: Where Does Your Committee Fit In? – Amy Alessio, Fiscal Officer

8. Board Liaisons: An Important Resource for You – Judy Nelson, President-Elect

9. Working with the Board – Pam Spencer Holley

10. Working with YALSA Staff – Beth Yoke

11. YALSA Nominating Committee Message – Jennifer Hubert, Chair

12. ALA Nominating Committee Message – Allen Nichols

13. Responsibilities of YALSA Committee Chairs – Pam Spencer Holley

14. Questions You’ve Been Dying to Ask – David Mowery, Immediate Past President

15. Passing the Baton—incoming chairs meet with outgoing chairs

Chairs and Incoming Chairs: before you leave, be sure you have:

  • Roster of your committee members
  • Observer Forms
  • Program Planning Forms
  • YALSA Mission & Facts
  • Leadership Tips & Tools
  • Benefits of Speaking at YALSA Programs
  • Committees: Get Your News & Info Online
  • PR & Marketing Basics for YALSA Committees

Go on line and complete:

All Committee Meeting
Agenda – All Committee Saturday, June 24. Hilton Grand Ballroom B

1. 10:30: Meeting Begins. Welcome, Pam Spencer Holley, President

2. Board Liaison Introductions – Judy Nelson, President-Elect

3. Building YALSA’s Assets – Amy Alessio, Fiscal Officer

4. Questions and Answers – David Mowery, Immediate Past President

5. Breakout into Committee Work Sessions

a. Circulating During Work Sessions:

i. Valerie Ott, YALS editor
ii. Amy Alessio, YAttitudes editor
iii. 50th Anniversary Taskforce members
iv. Publications Committee members

v. Board Liaisons

Also of note: All Committee is an open meeting. Please welcome any YALSA members to your table who are not currently on the committee, but who may wish to sit in and learn about the committee before deciding whether or not to fill out a Committee Volunteer Form.

Events at Conference for Students & New Librarians

Interviewing 101, Fri. June 23, 9:30a – 11:00a
This workshop will help you appreciate the opportunity that interviews create… and hopefully alleviate some of the stress! This workshop is held in connection with the ALA Placement Center. Speaker: Vicki Burger
Why Should I Hire You?, Sat. June 24, 1:30p – 3:30p

Managers and jobseekers, learn how to interact with each other before, during, and after the interview process. Hear best practices and tips about job interviews and hiring from a panel including a human resources manager, career consultant, public library director, recent library school graduate, and an organizational psychologist. Speakers: Sheila Anderson, Charlene Holly, Erica Klein, Jill Ratzan, Elisa Topper
Professional Portfolio Development, Sun. June 25 10:30a – 12n
ALA-APA Placement Center Workshop. For more details visit www.ala.org/ala/hrdr/placementservice/placementservices.htm
Getting What You’re Worth, Sun. June 25, 1:30 – 3:30p
This interactive session will give you the opportunity to learn the principles of salary negotiation during your interview and your promotions, and to engage in mock negotiations. Co-sponsored by ALA-APA and the ALA Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment. Speaker: Mary Pergander.
Marketing Yourself, Sun. June 25, 1:30p – 3:30p

This session will include the basic methods to create, update, and maintain all current information that is vital and invaluable for annual performance evaluations, career changes or salary review. Speaker: Vicki Burger
Conference Orientation, New Members Round Table (NMRT), Sat. 8:30 – 10:30a
Get a fun and informative introduction to the Conference. Learn to navigate the exhibits, decipher the conference program, how ALA really works, and ways to get involved.
YALSA 101, Friday, 4:00 – 5:00 pm
Learn about YALSA in a basic orientation which will include an overview of the division and its activities. New members and those considering membership will learn more about the benefits, and established members are welcome to attend this great networking opportunity. Light refreshments will be served courtesy of School Library Journal.
Library Education Discussion Group Topics
Saturday, June 24, 3-4pm: Jobs, led by Heidi Dolamore
Sunday, June 25, 12-1pm: Adjunct Faculty, led by Rita Premo and Maggie Novario

-Posted by Beth Yoke

Broadband and Content Creation

Posted by Linda W. Braun

Age, however, remains a distinguishing feature among those who put things online and have high-speed at home. For broadband users under the age of 30, 51% have placed content on the internet, 25% have their own blogs, and 41% have posted online a bit of content they created themselves. For those over 30 with high-speed at home, 36% have been a source of online content, 6% have their own blogs, and 28% have posted any sort of creative work to the internet.

That is one of the findings in a very interesting report released on May 30th by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The report on broadband access in the home looks at the levels of high-speed access in the United States and briefly how people are using that access to create content for and on the web. (A full .pdf version of the report is available.)

High-speed access continues to grow and the report also shows that wireless networking at home is also starting to take off. While rural high speed access is still behind urban, the report also points out that rural access is growing at a steady, and fairly rapid, pace. As teens in a variety of locations gain access to broadband, libraries of course have to be able to provide services that meet their style of access.

A chart in the report shows that 43% of survey respondents in the 18 to 30 age group had posted content online. This was the highest percentage within the age brackets listed and I would bet that if 13 to 18 year olds were surveyed the percentage might be even greater.

Wifi at ALA’s Annual Conference

From ALA’s Conference Services Department:
ALA Conference Services has contracted with the Morial Convention Center to provide free wifi access at the Annual Conference. This access will be available to all registered attendees for the duration of the event. Wifi coverage is available throughout the building with the exception of the exhibit halls.

In order to use the in-house wifi you must have a wifi-enabled device.
Simply open your browser and you will be logged on to the center’s server, and you will then be free to browse just as you would in other public wifi situations.

This service is provided for basic internet use like browsing and checking email. This is not meant for use with VPN or other point-to-point communications.

Wifi internet access is offered “as is” – neither Conference Services nor Datasis can provide technical support for this service.
-posted by Beth Yoke

This and That

Posted by Linda W. Braun

I’ve been reading various articles lately and found interesting technology news that I think relates to teen services. Information I recently picked up includes:

  • Nike and Apple joined up to create tools that allow runners to collect and view information about their run on a Nano iPod screen. Of course this is a way to sell more sneakers and more iPods, but I also think it’s an example of how technology and life are continuing to converge. More and more we are going to see tools to use that allow us to easily keep track of information in real-time. It won’t be long before this is the norm for teens.
  • Apple and Pearson Education have extended their relationship so that more content from Pearson will be available for iPods. The partnership enables parents to access information about student homework and such on screen. As textbooks and related educational materials become available for teens to access in handheld formats, how will libraries support that access? Or is the question, will libraries support that access?
  • New Dell computers will be available with Google applications for searching the computer desktop and that integrates the Google toolbar into the web browser interface. This is supposedly a blow for Microsoft since the tools make it very easy to use Google instead of MSN search and to use Google Desktop Search instead of the Windows desktop search tools. Does it matter in the services that we provide to teens that the teen world may become even more Google-centric? How do libraries embrace the Googleization of technology into their programs and services for teens?
  • Google has a couple of new tools – Google Notebook and Google Calendar. Each of these products includes features that will appeal to teens. The Google Calendar makes it easy to share a calendar with friends and family. It’s also possible to have a text message sent to a phone as an alert prior to an appointment. Imagine if teens were able to get text messages related to homework assignments? Google Notebook makes it easy to take notes and link to sites in an online notepade. The notes travel with the user – based on the user’s Google login. This means a teen could take notes on a computer in the library and access those very same notes from home once logged into their Google account on their home computer.

I’m always collecting bits of information about new technologies – most often the info. comes from the podcasts I listen to, which I’ve blogged about before. Some of the other resources I like to use to keep up include:

  1. Digg
  2. Engadget
  3. O’Reilly Radar
  4. TechCrunch
  5. TechDirt

Where do you go to keep up? What interesting news have you heard lately that you think relates to teens and library services for and with teens?

Free Software

For one of my classes I was asked to explore educational software. I chose to explore Tech4Learning. I downloaded Video Blender to create a Machinama, and discovered that the software wouldn’t allow me to upload video clips. I had to either open the video file with the software, or load each frame individually. It also wouldn’t allow me to draw. I had to create the frames in a photo editing program, and then import it in. Lastly I was unable to import all of the sounds I wanted that were different file formats. The software seemed best fitted for adding sound to a PowerPoint, but as I was saving my file I noticed gif was an option. I realized that this software cost money to do the same thing I can get from various free software. I then looked at examples of the various products from the software, and couldn’t help laughing when I saw the product of the SimplyVR. I saw the same “Virtual Reality” type photos ten years ago, on a walk through the Bible CD. I though it was lame then as a teen and I think it’s still nothing close to virtual reality. I can make that with an animated Gif with screenshots in Second Life if you guys want to see, but that won’t capture the reality of the virtual world, because you can’t truly interact with it. It’s just a 360 rotation of High definition photos.

I once used kidspiration my freshman year in my undergrad. I thought it was alright, but I quickly realized you were paying for the graphics. I can make the links and text boxes in Paint, and if I had the graphic collection of Kidspiration I could make the exact same thing for $10 (the cost of a graphics collection from Best Buy). Word offers a similar feature, but you can’t switch models as easily as you can with inspiration. Is $50 per student a worthwhile investment for a visual brainstorming tool? Is there any other software that could be used?

With Flickr’s Creative Commons license, it should be easy now to get pictures a teacher needs to use. There is some great freeware that allows you to search Flickr as well. Two examples are a Color Picker , and a Shape Drawer , in addition to the regular tag search.

As I used Kidspiration, I could see how useful it is for elementary school classrooms, which need to have software that is easy to use for both the teacher and the student. As the student enters Middle School and High School I think they should have software that has multiple uses, and keeps up with their skills. The Macromedia Package , now owned by Adobe, has three software programs that allow for teens creativity (Dreamweaver for Web Design, Flash for Animations, and Fireworks for Graphic Editing), and Apple offers a similar package in iLife . How can we expect the educational software to compare with these? What about the schools who can’t afford this? What will happen now that Adobe owns Macromedia?

There is some free software that is better than VideoBlender, and Inspiration, but not as good as the software Macromedia and Apple offers.

For those who want to know what is possible you can look at www.chooserespect.org. This website lets teens edit little movies, and mix their own soundtrack. Everything is preselected, so it only has one purpose, but that doesn’t mean we should not strive to meet at least that level of interactivity. Another web-based software is Clesh, , which allows the user to upload video to edit it and add soundtracks; this is very useful for creating Machinama. Garageband from Apple is very popular for editing sound, but if the software is too expensive, Audacity is a free sound editing tool, that many podcasters use. Photo editing can be very difficult, but normally you don’t need the all the features they offer, unless you are on a very advanced level. When I was talking to adults about creating outfits for Second Life, they recommend Gimp. I have found this software just as complicated as Adobe and Fireworks, but more advanced than Paint. The only option it lacks is the ability to make animated gifs, which is what I used for my icon. The best software I have found to make this type of animation is Gif Animator. The only software from the Multimedia packages that I haven’t mentioned a free counterpart for is Web Development. If you know html, you can use HTML Kit to create WebPages very easily. It color codes the text so that you can visibly see the structure of the code, and all of the tags are available through the shortcut bar.

All of the free software mentioned does have its disadvantages, but it’s better than having tools that students don’t want to use. I grew up with computers. In third grade I had already learned how to type well enough to do my spelling words with a Garfield game, and had mastered a game called Mario Paint that allowed me to do everything available in VideoBlender except export to the computer. In school, I had computer classes every week, and by the time I was in middle school, I could access anything on the library computers I wanted to, including the games students like me hid on the hard drive, I could create flyers, greeting cards, and handouts using Publisher; Charts and Spreadsheets using excel; Word documents with word art; and by the time I entered high school I knew how to use PowerPoint.

I can adapt to computers very quickly, and the teens and children we have today are even smarter, and more tech savvy than me. I think we should prepare to help them use the tools that are as flexible as they are. If not we will be left in the dust.

The way I look at technology is as a tool. It lets me get things done faster and better. When you stop treating it like a tool, and expect that just having the technology is good enough we risk failing to meet the needs of the children and young adults we work with.

Posted by Jami Schwarzwalder

10 Things to Do Before You Get to the ALA Conference:

Plan:

1. If you want to minimize costs by sharing a room with someone, post your request on the YALSA-L discussion list, or ask coworkers.

2. Find a coworker, classmate or friend who is also going to the conference and plan to meet up for a meal, to tour the exhibit hall and/or go to receptions. Milling around a gargantuan convention center with 20,000 strangers can be daunting, but having a friend or even acquaintance to join you in attending specific activities makes things less stressful.

3. Do some pre-planning to identify what programs and events you’d like to attend at the conference. You’ll find information in:
a. The official conference site
b. On the YALSA Conference Page

c. From ALA’s Conference Wiki

4. Plan things to do while you’re in New Orleans

5. There isn’t a bus or commuter train available from the airport to downtown (it was this way before the hurricane), so arrange to share a cab with someone, or reserve a seat in advance on one of the airport shuttles. Shuttle information is available here: www.flymsy.com/. ALA offers a discount with Airport Express. It is only a $2 savings, but you can make your reservations online.

6. Purchase tickets for the Printz Program & Reception, Edwards Luncheon and/or Reading With Your Ears Preconference. To purchase tickets, contact Nichole Gilbert at ngilbert@ala.org or 1.800.545.2433 x4387. Only tickets for the Printz event will be available on site (& they’ll be $6 extra).

Pack:
7. Very comfortable shoes. Really.

8. An extra bag, or plan to ship items that you purchase or get for free from the exhibit hall.

9. A sweater. It will definitely be hot and muggy in New Orleans, but almost everything is air conditioned, and the convention center especially can be chilly.

10. Lots of business cards to give to colleagues you meet, potential employers and/or to exhibitors for a chance to win prizes.

If you have any questions about YALSA at the Annual Conference, please don’t hesitate to contact the YALSA Office at yalsa@ala.org or 1.800.545.2433 x4390. If you have general registration questions, please contact 1.800.545.2433 and press 5. Advance registration is now closed, but on site registration is available.

We’re looking forward to seeing you in New Orleans!

-Posted by Beth Yoke

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