Social Media has been a positive force for youth. It lets them express themselves, helps them overcome social isolation and it gives them the ability to influence the world without the freedom granted by adulthood. There is a darker side to social media as well. The most evident in recent years has been cyber bullying, but it’s not the only issue.
American Libraries recently posted an article about programming for homeschooled kids and their families. There are a lot of great ideas there that you should take a look at, but very few of the ideas are focused on teens. Like any library media specialist knows, teens need to have their reading, research, and library skills in check before college, and those being homeschooled are no different.
In addition to inviting those teens to your regular programming and events, consider doing things for them during the lull of the day, when everyone else is in school. Not all parents who homeschool are necessarily schooled in how to use library databases, scholarly journals, and online media for research projects, so perhaps a small group might appreciate a workshop similar to the ones high school students get from their librarians. You could even designate a special hour a week for drop-in lessons.
On a similar note, homeschools don’t employ full-time college counselors, but you probably have a circulating and non-circulating collection of test prep books, college guides, and more. Another unique daytime program you can offer, then, is a college workshop. Invite some current college students, whose schedules also allow them to have some free hours during the day, to answer questions about local schools and essay topics, and see if any of your regular homework tutors can volunteer to come in and help with the process. Continue reading
Miss hiding out in your university library? Tired of only reading library publications? Want to know what other scholars are doing? Once a month I’ll do the browsing for you and let you know what’s going on in the world of pop culture, sociology, literature, pedagogy, and more. If it seems relevant to libraries or young adult services, you’ll find it here. When possible, I’ll also offer some insights or suggestions on application for libraries or librarians. Revel in being a student again!
- Contexts Discoveries, a sociology blog, says that Facebook isn’t just a tool for social interaction, but it’s a tool for sociologists to study how students create their physical social networks. With our world getting more technological every moment, it’s good to know how your patrons view their social roles and responsibilities.
- David Darts describes how artists and art teachers have combined social justice education with art education and created street art projects that didn’t just bring art to the public but also brought the streets to the public’s eye. Posing as panhandlers, street artists, and shoppers, students “performed” the streets after a series of activities in the classroom and out including field research, interviews, and journal reflections. This “performance art pedagogy” incorporated visual art, acting, and social research and made the students more aware of street life and culture, in both its positive and negative aspects. Take a look at the community surrounding your library, and think about your teen patron base–would this be an activity for them? And would it be an eye opening one, or a validating one? How can you approach the sensitive subject of homelessness, the sex trade, poverty, and social exclusion in a way that’s meaningful for your community?
Darts, David. “Invisible Culture: Taking Art Education to the Streets.” Art Education, 64:5, 2011. 49-53.
- There is a lot of talk in libraries about how best to serve the “underserved,” the “low-achieving,” the “at-risk,” and rightfully so. But what about serving and supporting the needs of gifted and creative young people? Two articles in the spring issue of Gifted Child Today address these issues. Continue reading
I was doing some research, and I came across the news that Teens Don’t Tweetâ€”as in teens Don’t Use Twitter.’ I started clicking through links, and discovered it’s a really hot topic.
The decades may be gone, but many of today’s teens still have an affinity for the albums that for generations have carried a cult following in America’s high schools. Here are 25 time-tested albums that you can share with the teens you serve, culled by teens at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.
Abbey Road (1969)
You can’t pick just one, but The Beatles’ last album to be recorded vies for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band for the most iconic cover. It also contains a nice array of songwriting contributions from all four members of the band, whether in Lennon and McCartney’s moody “Come Together” or George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun.” Mak Delaney’s Pepperland is a touching teen novel you can use to follow up with any Beatles-loving teen.
“Hiding the bruises and the hurt Paul inflicts on her is harder than getting straight A’s. But Paul’s happiness soon becomes more important to Johanna than her own. More important than her relationship with her parents and friends. More important than her grades, her safety, and her future.”-Things Change by Patrick Jones (Walker & Company, 2004)
Sound like anyone you may know?
The Pew Internet & American Life Project recently released the report, Generations Online in 2009. Data was gathered from over 2,000 people to show what different’ generations do online. Probably not too many surprises, though I do wonder if they ever ask adults who state that they *always* use email more than teens, yes, but do you like it?’. Continue reading
Like all good satire, the television show South Park is often thought provoking. The recent episode The Ungroundable hit me’ where I work. In it, the school’s popular students embrace the current vampire craze (Twilight is directly referenced) to the point of wearing black clothes, plastic fangs and drinking Clamato juice as a blood substitute. No one is more horrified and disgusted by this than show’s well established clique of goths. They feel this is an appropriation and debasement of their style. For me, the show raised an immediate question with larger implications; how as a youth librarian, do you cater to both the vampire kids and the goths?
As teen librarians, we have to connect with our users–and this may be true for us more than other library professionals. Teens are great at seeing straight through us, and being fake is no way to earn a teen’s trust or get them interested in using the library. With that said, there are some easy ways to learn about things that interest teens.
This past month has witnessed a lot of news and developments in the world of digital music, whether major acquisitions, new studies on teen habits, and cool new technologies. Here’s an extensive rundown… Continue reading