April Eureka Moments

Happy Spring! Or is it still freezing cold where you are? Or already hot as summer? Regardless of the weather, spring is a great time for the birth of new ideas, approaches, and programming. Maybe something here will inspire you.

  • You might be working and living in the “stroke belt,” did you know? Eleven states (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia) are designated as areas with incredibly high prevalence of stroke, and new research shows that teens living in these areas are at higher risk for having strokes when they are older. This means that encouraging healthy habits and the cessation of unhealthy ones that could contribute to strokes, like smoking and diet, should be emphasized. Have you done any health programming lately? Read a news report on the study here, or check out the full article in Neurology. Continue reading

March Eureka Moments

How’s your team doing in March Madness? Mine just got to the Sweet Sixteen! While you’re waiting for the next time your alma mater plays, check out some of these interesting ideas and insights.

  • We all know that teens love to text. To respond to this, many schools and colleges now use text message alerts to notify students of school closures or safety issues. But what about health issues? It turns out, lots of doctors and researchers use text message interventions to tackle adolescent health concerns. In North Carolina, a free texting service offered teens the chance to anonymously ask questions about sexual health, and the teens involved in the study said that the service made them feel confident and encouraged them to follow up and learn more about their health. A similar study in 2011 offered teens weight management tips, and the weight and BMI of the study participants decreased after the intervention. College aged smokers participated in an intervention that left 40% of them staying away from smoking for a period of at least 7 days, while other participants reported less dependency on nicotine, which is also a good sign. Obviously as librarians, we cannot offer health advice. But what can you take from this study? Can school libraries use a texting service to alert students of new titles in the collection or upcoming book club meetings? Can public libraries partner with public health organizations to offer helpful services for teens concerned with a certain health or behavior issue? Can teen advisory groups pilot their own peer mentoring or counseling texting program? There are a lot of possibilities, and medical research shows that such programs can have really great results. Continue reading
  • Research Roundup

    I’m back with another month’s worth of interesting research and writing on scholarly and popular topics related to teen culture, literacy, and library services. I’ve decided to expand from just summarizing research to also linking you to fascinating articles, blog posts, or other more easily-accessed tidbits that might spark meaningful conversation, programming, or reference/advisory transactions. As always, if you have a topic you’d like to know about, or if there’s a journal you miss having access to, comment here and I’ll do some digging for you.

  • The Lilith blog, an online supplement to the Jewish feminist magazine, reports on a “freedom ride” in Jerusalem protesting the ultra-Orthodox custom of requiring women to board and sit in the rear of the public bus only. Sound familiar? If you’re looking for a way to allow your diverse patrons to connect with each other, try bringing this up as a topic and talking about the similarities with the freedom rides in the American South.
  • Continue reading

    Help Teens Get a Handle on Their Health!

    With the weather changing (and changing again, and changing back, etc.) and the adrenaline rush of finals starting to subside, it’s time to think about teen health.

    Whether teens have been chronically ill all their life or are just starting to get that weird tingle in the back of their throat, there are reasons to make sure that they get the kind of health care they need. Unfortunately, there are some traps that can keep them from visiting a doctor:

    • No health care – According to the 2007 Census, 11% of all minors are without health coverage. While many teens might take for granted that they can cheaply see a doctor for a stomach ache, it’s sadly not the case for everyone.
    • Busyness and presenteeism – Even if teens have access to health care, they might feel like they don’t have the time — or inclination — to use it. Their parents might be too busy to take them to the doctor for “little things,” or their coaches might tell them to “be a man” and fight through sickness.

    A number of great online resources exist to get teens through cold season, as well as any other health issues they might be battling. Of course, no online resource is a good substitute for a doctor, but it is a start. Continue reading