MySpace for Parents

In a May 2006 interview on DOPA and MySpace with Henry Jenkins and danah boyd, Jenkins states that, “Parents face serious challenges in helping their children negotiate through these new online environments. They receive very little advice about how to build a constructive relationship with media within their families or how to help their offspring make ethical choices as participants in these online worlds.”
At my library, my colleagues are offering a ‘MySpace for Parents‘ class where they teach parents how to set up their own MySpace account, and what to look for when their teens set up their own page. They also include resources in the workshop for further reading and information on other social networking sites the library uses.

What are other libraries doing to help parents help their teens ‘negotiate these online environments’? Or any ideas of what else we could be doing? Even if DOPA passes, parents will still need to know this information.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Tell YALSA about your tech programs

If you have recently hosted a successful technology-oriented program for the teens in your community, and would like to have information about it published in YALSA’s upcoming book Get Connected: 50 Tech Programs for Teens, please fill out and return this survey by no later than Sept. 30. Please send your responses via email to the book’s editor, RoseMary Honnold, at Be sure to put “Teen Tech Program” in the subject heading. The goal is to publish the book in 2007 as part of YALSA’s 50th anniversary celebration. We’re looking for teen programs that center around cutting edge technologies. The programs can be ones for recreation or education, and can be a one time event, or an on-going initiative. Thank you! -Beth Yoke

15 Years

I meant to blog about the web turning 15 a couple of days ago and forgot. Mostly, I wanted to point out that if the web is 15 years old, there are many teens who are younger than the web and therefore have grown up not knowing a world without the web

For me, I remember my first time seeing Mosaic and the web when I went with a school librarian friend, Ellen Berne, to MIT to see this thing called the web. We looked at the dead sea scrolls and were totally amazed.

Now, seeing primary source materials on the web doesn’t amaze me in quite the same way. Think about the teens and pre-teens you know. What makes technology amazing to them?

BTW, the BBC posted a great timeline of the past 15 years on the web on their site.


I’m curious in what ways librarians relax and why. Sometimes I think it is important to talk about who we are and what we do when we’re not librarians, gamers, fighting/educating about DOPA, promoting literacy, TABs, going to meetings, etc. Yeah, right. I’m not one to speak. My coworkers might get emails at midnight. They might get them at 6am and ask me, what in the world? I grew up with a father who was his job first (a policeman) and father secondary-maybe that’s where I get some of my work ethic from (not always admirable).

When Michael Stephens presented last week at my library, he asked the audience if they are able to play at work. How many are able to? Maybe I’m looking for answers. I don’t think I can ever stop loving what I do and feel my work is finished.

Tomorrow is my birthday. I’m volunteering 11 hours at a local literary festival. Nikki Giovanni, Omar Tyree and over eighty other authors will be there. Teen volunteers and other colleagues will be helping me to promote the library. Part of me feels where else do I want to be? The other part-I found an outdoor labyrinth to walk in the town that I live. The first one I ever walked was in was San Francisco. That’s where I’ll be after the festival. I know I’ll be smiling.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Gaming a way to Literacy

I have several ideas racing through my head at the moment. (That’s not so strange for me.) Partly, as a result of a wiki we are using in the YALSA New Literacies course. (Which ends this week.) On the class wiki students were asked, during this last week, to post resources they know that support the topics discussed in class and that they think their classmates should know about.

We’ve used the wiki a bit in other weeks of the class. From past experience with the technology, I know it’s a great way to gather resource lists. So, that’s how it’s working this week for students. Every time I use wikis in teaching I come up with new ideas for collaboration opportunities. While building resource lists may seem like a no-brainer way to use a wiki, there is more to it than one might assume. For example, not only can one student post and annotate a resource, another student might make a note in the annotation about what he/she really liked about the resource. Or, one student might post a resource and another might respond with a resource that takes the ideas in the first in another direction. There are lots of expansion opportunities and I’ve been thinking about how the simple activity of building a list of resources can lead to something else.

One resource on the student generated list is an article at Web Junction on a new branch library that is all about gaming. Reading the article I was struck by a couple of things. First, I was struck by the idea that funders are looking for and at ways libraries can break outside of the box and provide new and intriguing services to their communities. How exciting is that! Think about it, there are people in the world that want to give $ for developing new methods of serving a target population.

Another thing that jumped out at me is the focus on literacy. This isn’t a library that is simply having teens play games within the library facility. (Or as a part of a networked event.) Teens actually are extending what they do with and through gaming by writing, youth participation, training, and more. That is really pretty exciting.

Youth participation is huge in this gaming library. The teens are really involved in how the program works. It seems to be a library that supports teen participation near a higher level on the ladder of participation.

Yesterday, Beth blogged about My Own Cafe. Today, I’m blogging about another model of librarians serving teens in non-traditional ways. My brain is all revved up because it’s all really exciting!

My Own Cafe

What if a site like MySpace was hosted by a non-profit library system, supervised by adults and served to promote libraries and literacy, with Internet ethics and safety thrown in for good measure? The Southeastern Massachusetts Regional Library System’s LSTA grant-funded MyOwnCafe does exactly that, providing a virtual space library card carrying teens in southeastern MA to connect with local bands, programs, and people through moderated forums.

Did I mention teen developmental needs and assets? MyOwnCafe is a mix of creative expression, boundaries and limits, responsibility, meaningful participation, reading for pleasure, socialization, homework support and more.

Librarian Aaron Schmidt posted a fantastic interview with MyOwnCafe administrators Vickie Beene-Beavers and Kathy Lussier at calling it “a great example of libraries providing an online community for its young patrons without being too librarianish,” and going on to say “I think My Own Cafe is the best library site for teens around.”

Would DOPA block e-rate funded libraries in this region from participating? MyOwnCafe offers homework support through access to library materials, databases, and 24/7 reference but it could be viewed unfavorably as a social networking website. MyOwnCafe is an excellent example of libraries positively using social networking sites that you can share with your senators to demonstrate the realm of possiblity–and what opportunities we might be missing out on, if our powers to host, use and instruct with such web applications are pulled out from under us by DOPA.

Teen Tech Week

» “>Tweet

As a member of the Teen Tech Week Task Force, I will give you updates on how this new initiative will encourage not only the teens in your schools and libraries but you, the librarians who want to know what you can do to encourage literacy with the new and growing technology.
We will give you the resources that you need for the debut of TTW in March of 2007.


I’ve been a fan of Digg for awhile. First, I started with the podcast – Diggnation – and then I started paying attention to the website.

The premise of Digg is that users post links to interesting stories/content on a variety of topics – technology (which is what the site started with,) gaming, videos, entertainment, world news, and so on. Then, other visitors to the site get to “digg” stories. When digging, the user votes for a story. The more diggs a story gets the more popular it is and the more popular it is the more likely it is to show up on the front page of the site.

More and more I’m thinking about how the technology behind Digg could be used for library catalogs and websites. Imagine if readers, viewers, listeners could vote for favorite titles in the library catalog. Those titles that were most popular would show up on the main page of the catalog as a form of reader’s advisory. Readers, listeners, and viewers would want their favorite authors, musicians, etc. to be listed close to the the top so they would return to the library catalog and site in order to make sure favorites were given their due.

This could work for databases too. When a reader finds an article of interest she could post it and then others could digg it.

The possibilities are pretty interesting to think about. Here’s the question – how do we make it happen?

Who Owns What?

We’ve been talking a lot on the blog about how librarians can educate teens to use social networking sites safely and smartly! We have an important role to play.

There’s some other education we need to do and that’s about who owns content uploaded to sites like You Tube and My Space.

In the past few weeks both sites have come under fire for their terms of service. The terms of service on YouTube seem to say that the site has the right to sell the content users upload.

Singer Songwriter Billy Bragg was concerned with My Space’s terms of service which also seem to give the site ownership over content posted by users.

You Tube, My Space, and other social networking sites terms of service aren’t necessarily bad, (It really takes a lawyer to make complete sense out of them.) but it’s important that teens know about the terms of service on the sites they use. And, don’t forget, teens also need to know about Creative Commons and how to license the content that they create for sharing, mashing, and/or non-commercial (or commercial) use.

Sharing stories under the stars

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

I had the pleasure of dining this week with Michael Stephens and Michael Casey, along with other staff from my library, including, Helene Blowers, the tech goddess that organized their visit. I mention dinner not because I learned that Michael ordered stacked brie and tomatoes and scallops with lettuce on the side (wait until the tabloids get a hold of that one!) but because we shared our stories. Our stories about technology and how we use it to create and redefine relationships (idea shared: ask people to bring their laptops or provide computers to have a digital scrapbooking get together), what libraries are considered innovators (Michael S. mentioned Cherry Hill Public Library in New Jersey for ripping their entire music collection into iTunes), and what we can do as a large library system to embrace Library 2.0. (check out:

What resonated most about Library 2.0 to me is it’s relationship to DOPA and the affect it will have on the culture that many of us try to create for teens in our libraries. It’s not all about having the coolest and biggest technology available, but the relationships that are possible as a result of these technologies. It’s about our stories and their stories and how developmental needs are fostered through what Library 2.0 allows.

Library 2.0 / Developmental assets:
a culture of trust / positive values
self correcting / empowerment
participation and play / constructive use of time
transparency/boundaries and expectations
collaboration / support

Those are only a few. There’s so many more.

A story to share-we had a drop-in podcasting session at our library yesterday. The teens wanted to upload their recording to their MySpace page. I helped them and got to know them a bit more and they agreed to have their recordings on our library site as well. What are your stories with social networking? The discussion board on the YALSA wiki is a great place to share-because that’s what DOPA is really going to effect-and how dare it.

By the way, Michael S., if you’re reading this-you owe me a round (or two) of DDR.