The Art of Checking-In With Entertainment-Based Apps

Over the past couple of years location-based applications have become more and more popular with those using mobile devices. The idea of these apps is that from a mobile device a user can check-in and tell others where he or she is – a movie theatre, a store, a restaurant, a library, and so on. The people behind the location-based services make the check-in worth the user’s time because of the game-like features and virtual and non-virtual incentives integrated into the apps. For example, with brightkite the person with the most check-ins at a particular location gets to be mayor of that location. Establishments that know how brightkite works can offer rewards to mayors. For example, a library might give the brightkite mayor of the institution a discount on copying costs. With FourSquare user rewards come in the form of badges. For example, a FourSquare user can check into a specific Starbucks a certain number of times and earn the barista badge. Mayorships and badges appear in the user’s profile on the service. That means others can learn about the rewards earned. Rewards can also be announced via Twitter and other social networks. As I mentioned in a 2008 blog post, the possibilities for location-based applications in library services to teens are many.

Now there’s a new way to check-in, and that’s application and web-based tools that give users the chance to check-in when participating in an entertainment related activity – reading a book, watching a TV show, viewing a movie, and so on.
Continue reading The Art of Checking-In With Entertainment-Based Apps

Objectionable Content

It was bound to happen sooner or later.

I had stocked my library with edgy titles. Where once the shelves were mostly full of “classic” YA titles and somewhat aged adult mystery novels, now they’re full of books about queer teens, unexpected pregnancy, parents with drug habits, and graphic novels. (Books with pictures! The horror!)

They’re all appropriately reviewed, of course, and many of them are award winners, some several times over–but when it comes to content, they don’t pull any punches.

So it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that I recently got my first book complaint.

As librarians, we tend to talk a lot about intellectual freedom and defending our teens’ right to read whatever they want. But when push comes to shove, how do we really respond to book challenges in the heat of the moment?

Continue reading Objectionable Content

Dollars & Sense #12: Being Selective about Selection

Circulation reports are not as boring as you think! These reports can be an invaluable source of information for those librarians who find themselves dollar short. Most circulation software has the capability to run a myriad of reports that can instantaneously inform librarians of circulation trends in their library, which is wonderful because each community is different, and each group of patrons has unique needs. It is well worth your time to consult the technical manuals to learn about which reports your software can generate and familiarize yourself with the functions of each.
Continue reading Dollars & Sense #12: Being Selective about Selection

Dollars & Sense #7 – Collection Development on a Shoestring

How do you continue to add new materials to the collection when your budget is slashed? Or when, as happened to a friend in a neighboring town, the board says, “What do you need new books for? You already have a bunch…” Even with zero budget, there are some strategies that you can use to put new materials into your collection. Here’s how:

Continue reading Dollars & Sense #7 – Collection Development on a Shoestring

Step 2: Planning your graphic novel collection

In dream library world, planning would probably be Step 1 in building a graphic novel collection.’  But in real library world, I didn’t make a plan for how to define, collect, catalog, process, and shelve graphic novels.’  I just started buying them.

As I’ve blithely added materials to my graphic-novel-and-nonfiction collection, I’ve run into all kinds of interesting questions: If I shelve my graphic novels by author, am I devaluing the role of artists?’  If I have a graphic adaptation of a novel, like Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, do I shelve it under the name of the adaptor, or the original author?’  Can I make a meaningful distinction between superhero comic books and other graphic novels?’  If I do make that distinction, where do I put series about heroes without superpowers?’  And don’t even get me started on nonfiction. Continue reading Step 2: Planning your graphic novel collection

Let’s Give YALSA Members a Voice

One of the things that struck me the most about the many comments on YALSA’s new readers’ choice list, is the opposition some people in the field have had to the idea of creating a list based on input from YALSA’s 5,700 members.



One of the key messages I emphasized to the press during my year as president–something I said over and over again–was that teens and their caregivers should turn to their local school or public librarians for guidance in choosing reading materials.’  YALSA works hard to show that young adult librarians are the experts in the field–not just a few, but all librarians.’  It’s an important message and YALSA even has a white paper on the topic.’  Continue reading Let’s Give YALSA Members a Voice

The Accidental Teen Book, Vol. 4: A Very Bloody Winter Edition

The many teen novels we have in our collections are often about characters coming of age; reaching that point in life when they must face their insecurities, learn who they are, and take on the responsibilities of adulthood.’  This can happen in many ways, and for many different reasons.

Like, for instance, if the enemy butchers everyone around you and you pretty much don’t have a choice.

Such is the path of Orisian Lannis-Haig, one of the many vibrant characters populating our latest ATB:’  Brian Ruckley’s most excellent fantasy trilogy, The Godless World, which recently concluded with The Fall of Thanes (preceded by Winterbirth and Bloodheir).

Continue reading The Accidental Teen Book, Vol. 4: A Very Bloody Winter Edition

Connect with Small Publishers at ALA Annual

YALSA recognizes that often small press or independent publishers are not able to afford to exhibit during ALA’s Annual Conference. This year, YALSA will be holding a program that will feature small press and diverse publishers that normally do not exhibit at ALA’s Annual Conference. The goal of this program is to provide information to YALSA members about how to purchase books for their libraries from small press, diverse, or independent publishers. YALSA is looking for publishers that have a focus on materials for underrepresented groups in mainstream ya lit.

The program, Strengthen Your YA Collection with Small Press/Diverse Publishers, will be held Sunday, July 12, 2009, from 3:30-5:30pm at McCormick Place West, W-196b. Come to this open house featuring publishers that focus on publishing for diverse YA populations, but that normally do not exhibit at the ALA conference. Tables will be set up around the room where publishers will feature YA titles and representatives will be available to chat about their latest titles.

Publishers interested in participating should contact YALSA Program Officer, Nichole Gilbert at ngilbert@ala.org.

The Accidental Teen Book, Vol 3: Two Past Masters Edition!

“…between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars…”

…and hither to this came…The Accidental Teen Book!

So our latest installment of ATB is not any particular book, but rather two legendary authors, and not even all that accidental, considering that we’re heading back to long before anyone ever thought about writing books just for teens.’  And yet these two gentlemen, and their work, are always great to keep in mind for when that particular teen comes along.’  They are, after all, the progenitors of both modern horror fiction, and the heroic sword-and-sorcery tale.’  I speak, of course, of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard. Continue reading The Accidental Teen Book, Vol 3: Two Past Masters Edition!

The Accidental Teen Book, Vol. 2: Steampunk Style! (With Bonus Free Comic!)

I know what you’re thinking.

Ok.’  Scratch that.’  That would be creepy.’  Let’s just say I know what you’ve thought.’  “Where oh where can I find a book with with the theological implications of His Dark Materials, the glorious steampunk of Airborn, and a great coming-of-age quest so as to appease this poor, demanding, fantasy-prone teen reader!?”

Lucky you – I’ve got the answer, and it’s our next ATB: Jay Lake’s wondrous bit of steampunk philosophy, Mainspring.

Continue reading The Accidental Teen Book, Vol. 2: Steampunk Style! (With Bonus Free Comic!)