Popular Paperbacks

So the Popular Paperbacks Committe was in rare form–but then it usually is!–during our first Midwinter session.

Here are some of the reasons why this is such a fun committee:
*the discussion is always EXTREMELY lively–there is absolutely NO danger of nodding off, no matter how late you were up carousing last night
*committee members seem to truly like and respect one another, no matter how much opinions might differ (see below) and how much name-calling there might be. In a good way, of course!
*everyone respects the groundrules–like no throwing things at each other, at least inside
*the snacks are excellent
*everyone cares passionately about coming up with the best possible lists to reflect our charge of popular books promoting pleasure reading for teens

After introductions and overviews, there were two hot issues today. First does Uglies belong on the Criminal Elements list or the Books That Don’t Make You Blush list? After hearfelt debate, the Blush list got to keep Uglies (Hurray!) and the decision was made to avoid setting a precedent of having a book on two lists simultaneously.
And secondly, one of the lists next year will be books about Religion in Our Lives.

And a meeting highpoint was when a certain Blush Sub-Chair burst out with a certain F word prompting deafening applause.

Stay tuned for more PPYA news!

Sally Leahey

welcome to San Antonio

I drove in from Houston yesterday afternoon witht the sun shining and the temps hovering near 80. Last night my roommate and I made the rounds of some of the publisher receptions. It was a relaxing way to meet and greet colleagues from across the country. The Riverwalk was ablaze with lights and alive with ALA members strolling, asking for directions, laughing, and flat out enjoying our balmy weather.

YALSA meetings begin in a few hours, so I thought I would take a couple of minutes to go online before heading out the door. Next stop is YALSA All Committee meeting.

Gaming Night – Wow

Posted by Linda W. Braun

OK, I’ve had a full day. The Institute was jam-packed, as I just wrote in my blog, and then so too was the gaming night. (Although it was a different kind of jam-packedness.)

Game Crazy brought an amazing number of games and amount of equipment for those attending the gaming night to play. There were large monitors for playing games like Guitar Hero, Dance Dance Revolution, Karaoke, Madden Football, Congo Bongo, and more. Upper Deck brought trading card games. People were playing, singing, dancing, fighting, laughing, and more. It was really amazing. At one point you could hear librarians singing Material Girl – what a sight!

Game Crazy and Upper Deck were incredibly generous. Not only did they bring games to play and staff to help in the play, they also brought an array of giveaways including tote bags, t-shirts, wrist bands, backpacks, and more.

Alliance Games was also able to give us several role playing games to give away. While not everyone won a prize in our raffles, everyone did go home with lots of “parting gifts” from our sponsors.

I know of a few librarians who are addicted to DDR and others who are ready to duke it out with John Madden football.

By the way, 90 people signed-up for the gaming night. That’s incredible. To those of you who participated – what was your favorite game? Why?

Midwinter Teens and Technology Institute – Wow

My brain is spinning after a full day of great speakers and interesting ideas. There was an amazing amount of content presented today and I think for anyone who was there that if they are able to take at least one idea back to their home library and start working on that idea progress will be made. We are going to link to the presentations on the blog but not all of them are available yet. So, check back for those links. For now here’s a brief recap with a link to my presentation.

  • Anthony Bernier from San Jose State University started things off with an inspirational overview of the teen literacy landscape. A primary concept within Anthony’s presentation was that teen’s can find joy in their literacy practices and he gave some specific examples of how we see that in the reading, writing, and community building that they do. Within his presentation Anthony discussed the writing that teens do in the print world in a variety of teen-driven magazines and newspapers and he also showed participants examples of radio and TV production that teens take part in.

    At the end of his presentation Anthony posed a variety of questions for participants to consider. Each was incredibly thought provoking.
    They included a asking that we question how we define YA literature. With the explosion of teen produced content Anthony suggested that we start recognizing not just the literature that adults produce for teens but also the literature, podcasts, blogs, and so on that teens produce themselves.

    Anthony also asked participants to consider how libraries and librarians are going to use space in order to work with teens within the new literacy environment filled with needs to build community, collaborate, and create. He talked about inverting library spaces so that what we present to teens first is comfortable space for community building and collaboration and that the collections are on the periphery of that space. Beth Gallaway blogged about Anthony’s presentation on the PLA blog.

  • I spoke next about what I call the teen 3Cs – community, collaboration, and creation. I put together a website to go along with my presentation and it’s available now. In my presentation I focused on how teens are using blogs, wikis, and podcasting to create content that helps them not only expand their literacy but also helps them understand who they are. I talked about Charlotte a 15-year-old in southeastern MA who publishes a blog and her blog postings demonstrate how teens write/produce thoughtful well-written content via their blogs. I also showed Charlotte’s end of 2005 recap in which she discusses her past year month by month and reflects on how she changed over the year.

    We also looked at how teens are creating podcasts in order to talk about things that are important to them as a part of their personal and global experience. I played a clip from the Pod Princess podcast that is produced by a 15-year-old in New Jersey. The podcast is well developed with content that is obviously outlined and well-thought-out. I contrasted the podcast with Emo Girl Talk which is not as well thought out but is a perfect example of a young teenage girl just having fun with the technology. Mariana Butler who is the host of Emo Girl Talk was the first teen podcaster to acquire a sponsor.

    The podcasting environment is making it possible for teens to express their literacy skills in different ways including writing and outlining content, presenting that content to a specific audience, and marketing the content to the world. We then talked about how schools and libraries are using wikis as a way to help teens write books about a variety of topics.

    I talked about how wiki software gives teens the chance to collaborate with their peers in writing. I also mentioned that podcasters can use wikis as a place to have listeners write about what the podcaster talked about on the show. That way some teens can produce and perform the podcast and others can write about it after it’s over.

    As a final part of the presentation I talked about My Own Cafe a website for teens that provides several opportunities for reading and writing including very active discussion boards. Teens are able to talk about topics of interest to them – movies, books, games, local news, and politics. They are active participants in the discussion boards thereby producing content and creating community on a regular basis. I ended by outlining for participants the important features of the things talked about previously that support and enhance literacy including writing, reading, building, thinking, and making choices.

  • After lunch Frances Jacobson Harris talked about the ethical issues related to teen’s use of technology. Frances broke down the ethical issues into a series of mind-size-bites and discussed how teens sometimes intentionally do unethical things via technology but also are unethical in unintentionally. What really stood out in Frances’ presentation, at least to me, was how open she is with teens about ethical behaviors in an online world.

    Frances went over the scenarios she uses with her students in order to help them understand technology ethics. She showed that there is no one right answer when it comes to figuring out how to behave in various technology situations. For example, she showed clearly how a teen’s viewpoint when it comes to downloading MP3s illegally is rationale and reasoned from the teen perspective. She showed how teens think through situations related to linking to pornography on a teen site that is not hosted by the school. She talked about issues of privacy and freedom of speech when a school-wide email list is involved. The specific examples she was able to use along with quotes straight from the students with whom she works were wonderful.

    One story Frances told keeps coming back to me. She told of a student who had gone through the ethics lessons with her. He then went off and did something unethical and asked Frances, “Am I now going to be a scenario.” The student obviously knew that his behavior wasn’t ethical but he did it anyway. In other words we can do our jobs to help teens understand right and wrong behaviors but we do have to then let them go, make their own choices, and learn from their mistakes.

  • Next were Robin Brenner and Beth Gallaway who talked about graphic novels and games and the connections between the two. Robin went first and talked about several things that I could tell the audience was going “wow” or “cool.” At one point she dissected what illustrations in manga really mean and that was obviously enlightening to lots of people.

    Robin brought up some interesting points about how teen interest in manga has actually had an impact on their interest in international news, culture, and so on. She mentioned that as teens read Manga and watch anime they become interested in Japanese culture. That was interesting to me as we had earlier talked in the day about teens on the My Own Cafe website talking about real-world issues and perhaps part of their interest in those issues comes from their reading of manga and graphic novels.

    As a part of her presentation Robin also talked about how teens create content related to manga and graphic novels on the web. She showed some examples of fan art, fan movies, and fan fiction that teens have posted on the web. Teens are obviously creating content as a part of their interest in manga and graphic novels and as a result are improving their literacy skills.

    After Robin’s presentation Beth spoke about the games teens play, why they play, and who teen gamers are. One thing she talked about was how gaming encompasses Role Playing Games, Video Games, Online Games, Card Games, Board Games, Handheld Games, etc. Games come in a variety of styles as do the teens that play them. Beth also mentioned that there are a lot of gamers that you don’t see in the library and that librarians need to be aware of the number of teen gamers that there are in the world.

    Beth talked about the fan fiction that teens write related to the games that they play. She said that teens develop game histories based on their play as well as stories around the characters, setting, and events in games. That’s is definitely an example of teen literacy practices.

    In Beth’s presentation she talked about how teens are influencing the creators of games through the modifications and enhancements they make to game play. Producers of games work with teens who have modified games and incorporate those modifications in future versions of the game. The manufacturers also hire those modifiers. Soon the teens will be the owners of the gaming companies and we will see quite interesting product coming out of those companies.

  • Anthony Bernier brought us back together at the end of the day to recap some of the ideas discussed and to facilitate a question and answer period. In Anthony’s recap comments he talked about how what he heard during the day reminded him of important movements in our history including the civil rights movement and the feminist movement. He connected the ideas we’d discussed related to community, collaboration, and creation to some of the foundational elements of those movements.

    Anthony also talked about how the topics and discussions of the day made him realize that we were talking about a new type of YA librarianship. He said the YA librarians we talked about during the day didn’t fit any of the job descriptions he’d ever seen/read.

    Another important idea Anthony highlighted was that we need to start thinking beyond summer reading clubs and book awards to awards and such for those teens that are creating and producing in the electronic world. It’s a world beyond books now and YALSA, librarians, educators, etc. have to recognize that and move in some new directions.

At the end of the day I think lots of people were feeling stuffed. But, I also think that everyone was able to leave with at least one new idea with which to work. It would be great to know what ideas, inspiration, and so on participants left with. Comments to this blog related to that would be great.

Blogs and My Space

At today’s Teens and Technology Institute someone came up with the idea to have participants at the program post links to their My Space and/or blogging sites. So, if you have a My Space site or a blog that would be of interest to librarians serving teens add a comment here with the URL and any info. that you think would be of interest to those looking at the site. If there’s something from today’s programs that you think connects to your blog or My Space site mention it in your comment.

Thanks.

All-Committee Meeting Agenda

Posted by Meg Canada

Wondering what is happening during the All-Committee Meeting? Here is a first look at the agenda:

ALL COMMITTEE MEETING AGENDA
For YALSA Committee Members

2006 Midwinter Meeting, San Antonio

Saturday January 21st, 9:30am – 12:30 am

Marriott Rivercenter (MAR) Salon E

9:30 – 10:00: Continental breakfast sponsored by Listening Library.
Have a bite to eat and mingle with your fellow YALSA members!

10:00: Meeting Begins.

1. Welcome, Introductions & YALSA Highlights– Pam Spencer Holley, President

2. Board Liaison Introductions – Christine Allen, YALSA Councilor

3. YALSA Nominating Committee Message – Jennifer Hubert, Chair

4. Committee Appointment Process – Judy Nelson, President-Elect

5. YALSA’s 50th Anniversary Taskforce – Mary Arnold, Co-Chair

6. Marketing Your Committee’s Accomplishments – Beth Yoke

7. YALSA Periodicals –

  • YAttitudes: Amy Alessio, Editor
  • Young Adult Library Services: Valerie Ott, Editor

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

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

10. Breakout into Committee Work Sessions

Leadership Development

I’ll be at leadership development bright and early on Saturday morning. This morning I was looking at the agenda for the meeting and it looks really full. A couple of things jumped out at me as things I’m interested in learning more about.

It looks like we’ll learn more about ALA’s Online Communities. That’s great. It will be good to have a collaborative space where committee members can meet online and talk about work, goals, and such. I’m not sure how it’s going to work but I’m looking forward to finding out.

Also, I thought it was great that on the agenda there are items that should specifically help committee chairs expand their committee work by getting involved in YALSA in a broader sense. We’ll get to hear about how to help publicize committee work in YALSA publications. I think that lots of committee chairs and members would like to let others know about the work they do, but are never quite sure how to do that. Maybe this part of the agenda will get the word out.

I also noticed that it looks like there are going to be time for small group discussions during leadership development. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that at one of these meetings before. That sounds great. We tend to sit at Leadership Development and listen or ask questions as part of a large group. To be able to talk to others in small groups will be great.

Once the meeting is over I’ll blog back to let readers know what really happened at the meeting.

Just a few more days

I’m really starting to think about getting ready to go to conference. There are lots of things I’m looking forward to – of course the Teens and Technology Institute and the gaming night – but also getting to see people that I’ve met through various projects with YALSA. One of the best things about working on YALSA Committees and special projects is the chance to meet other people, find out what’s going on in their library and work, and build networks.

I discovered that the people I’ve met in YALSA are people I get to connect with in other parts of my life and are people that I often refer others to. It’s great to find out what’s happening in other libraries and then when I’m back in the real world – after conference – I can tell others who might want to do something similar.

I also discovered that I never remember why I took someone’s business card. So, now I know for me it’s a good idea to write a note on each of the cards that I take so when I get back to regular old work I’ll know why I wanted to contact that person.

It would be interesting to know the techniques that others use to network during conference. Of course there are meetings, dinners, and receptions. Those are all good venues for finding out what’s going on in other people’s library worlds.

Awards Press Conference Webcast

ALA announced today that the awards press conference scheduled for Monday, January 23rd, will be webcast. The press release reads:

ALA to provide live Webcast of top children/teen literary awards announcement January 23

(CHICAGO) For the first time ever, the American Library Association (ALA) will pilot a live Webcast of its national announcement of the top books and video for children and young adults – including the Caldecott, King, Newbery and Printz awards – on January 23 at 7:55 a.m. CST. The award announcements are made as part of the ALA Midwinter Meeting, which will bring together more than 12,000 librarians, publishers, authors and guests in San Antonio from January 20 to 25.

Online visitors will be able to view the live Webcast the morning of the announcements by following the links that will be on the ALA home page and at news.ala.org. High-speed access will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. For ALA Midwinter Meeting participants, the press conference will be held in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center Ballroom C, and doors open at 7:30 a.m.

This year also marks the premier of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award, which honors both the author and illustrator of an outstanding book for beginning readers, and the 10th anniversary of the Pura Belpré Award, which honors Latino writers and illustrators whose work best portrays, affirms and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in a work of literature for youth. In celebration of the anniversary, ALA will show (and Webcast) a clip from a new Belpré video created by Scholastic and Weston Woods before the formal press conference announcement begins. The Alex Awards for the best adult books that appeal to teen audiences also will make their Midwinter Meeting debut. In past years, the 10 book picks were announced during National Library Week.

Awards to be announced January 23 are:

The press release announcing the 2006 award winners will be available online at www.ala.org by 10 a.m. CST. Adult book awards also announced during the conference include: Notable Books for Adults, the Black Caucus of the ALA Literary Awards and the Stonewall Awards. For more information on ALA literary awards, please visit: http://www.ala.org/Template.cfm?Section=bookmediaawards

Teens’ Perceptions of Technology

A new Lemelson-MIT program, compares the beliefs of teens and adults of how technology will shape the future with an invention index. Many teens believe that technology will solve a range of the world’s problems including famine and pollution. Still only fourteen percent of the students in the study named technology as their primary interest in a career. With Arts and Medicine listed as their top choices, I sincerely doubt these teens will not have a technology-emphasis in their career choices.