Dear Teens at My Desk,

Just as I was about to begin writing my long overdue blog post on the YALSA website you bounded to the circulation desk and challenged me to a duel of wits. “Anything can be linked to Harry Potter” you exclaimed. With such confident swagger and determined stares, how could I NOT take you up on this challenge?

How was I to know that asking’ you about HP’s relationship to formal poetry, chemical engineering and Antarctica would lead to talk of Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events, Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why, and Geraldine McCaughrean’s The White Darkness?’  I don’t know how it happens that I’ve never seen the Harry Potter musical on You Tube though you aren’t the first to try to show it to me. And I’m proud of you for returning to the text to find evidence to support your assertions.

Still, how could I predict that two more would ‘ join your forces– adding environmental sustainability and William Golding’s The Princess Bride into the conversation equation? And why did I’ believe showing you this MeowFail was relevant? Was I linking Winston to Crookshanks? How is it that over an hour passed while we talked? Finally looking back at my screen, I see that ‘ I only have’ a partial’ sentence written for my post:

“While this post is arriving part of the way through National Library Week”

and I’m sure that really just won’t do. Didn’t you all come to the library to do some work or something? Continue reading

The Problem with Cool

I started out this post by titling it “Libraries are not Cool.” But then, the more I wrote, the more I realized I don’t really agree with that statement. For some people, they really are. And it’s important for librarians to talk up their libraries, find out ways to make them more appealing to all age groups, and allow for the library to approach levels of coolness — by lifting food and cell phone bans, bringing in video games, and talking in normal voices, for a start.

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Best iPhone/ iTouch Apps for Teens

Ed. note: This post from 2009 remains a perennial favorite for readers, but don’t forget to visit our extensive App of the Week archive for more suggestions on iOS and Android applications for teens.’ 

An article in a local newspaper recently touted the launch of a new iPhone application (iCommunicate) designed to help parents of autistic or developmentally delayed children. It sounded like such a wonderful tool, and it made me wonder if there were any apps out there (other than games) that might be useful for teens. I decided to do a little research and see what I could find. Continue reading

WrestleMania Reading Challenge Registration Ends July 31; Sign Up Today

Registration for the 2009-2010 WrestleMania Reading Challenge will close July 31 —teens and tweens at your library could win a trip to WrestleMania XXVI in Phoenix, and you could win $2,000 for your library! Just complete Teen Read Week™ registration at www.ala.org/teenread and say “yes” to the WrestleMania Reading Challenge by July 31. .

The WrestleMania Reading Challenge, sponsored by YALSA and World Wrestling Entertainment, encourages teens and tweens in grades 5-12 to read one item a week for 10 weeks, starting in January. Teens and tweens can win prizes and incentives from WWE, including the chance to compete in the national WrestleMania Reading Challenge championships to win ringside tickets to WrestleMania XXVI in Phoenix in March. The sponsoring library of each finalist wins $2,000. Details on the 2010 challenge are available on YALSA’s website. After the jump, find out how students can win a trip to WrestleMania this year and read about the experiences of last year’s finalists.

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Teens’ Top Ten Nominees: Paper Towns

Paper Towns
Paper Towns by John Green is a fantastic book and a wild ride. Green takes the audience through the adventures Quentin ‘Q’ Jacobsen has with Margo Roth Spiegelman. Q is a very bright senior who is planning on attending Duke the following fall. He is fairly shy and mainly just talks to his band friends. However, he has always loved Margo from afar. One night Margo slips into Q’s room and she takes him on the craziest night of his life. The next day Margo disappears. Q is shocked but he finds clues that Margo left for him. He religiously follows the clues in search of Margo.
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Best of 2008… Teen Blogger Style

It seem’s like EVERYONE’s doing best of 2008 lists.’  Rolling Stone, though that’s expected yearly, which was also the case with Spin (even if the Jonas Brothers appeared on both lists – what gives, music critics?)’  Multitudes of the manga sites I stalk… er, frequent… listed their Top 10’s, 20’s, etcetera.’  Even this very site followed the trend with Joseph Wilk’s Best Albums post (which, he’s admitted, wasn’t based on his own opinion, but plenty of fine albums made their way onto the list.)

So without further ado, here, have a teen perspective on the Best Of 2008 in music, manga, fiction, and other library-related categories.’  No, no, no, don’t thank me.’  (Insert dismissive hand-wave here.)

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When I Get Bored, I Write Essays.

I, Otaku: Inside The New American Geekdom

“You’re just a manga artist, discharging evil into society! How dare you live in a place with a roof?!”

– Excel, Excel Saga

Index

‘·Introduction: Social Studies of a Different Sort<

‘·Otaku: Who Are They, and Why Are They Dangerous?

‘·Types of Otaku: A By-No-Means-Definitive Field Guide

‘·Q&A: Common Misconceptions About Otaku, Manga, and Fandom in General

‘·Serving Otaku: What Can You, As a Librarian, Do?

‘·Otaku-Dom: Is There Anything Really Wrong With It?

‘·Appendices

– Appendix A: Anime Every Library Needs (Seriously)

– Appendix B: Wait, Where’s This Go?

Introduction: Social Studies of a Different Sort

So I heard this great joke today: two girls walk into a library. One points at the manga section and says “That’s all pornography.”

… Yeah. I don’t get it either.

Apparently I’m supposed to find this funny. And I do, in a sort of sarcastic way. I mean, the plight of the average American otaku is rather humorous, struggling to be understood in a world that would rather have us impressionable American teens obsessing over the Jonas Brothers or the latest Hilary Duff flick. It’s more socially acceptable, after all, to indulge in these entirely mainstream things, is it not? Continue reading

Where are All the Good Female Characters Hiding? Are They Under My Bed or Something?

I often find it annoying that, while I’m searching for manga at the library, I overhear other patrons talking about just how awesome and thing-I-am-not-allowed-to-say-in-polite-company-kicking their favorite male characters are. As a girl otaku (manga and anime fan, for the uninitiated) I find this rather disappointing. Now, I’m not saying that male characters are bad (you won’t find a huger Edward Elric fan in all of Pittsburgh than me. Well, probably) but where’s the gender equality? Way back in the early days of manga, Osamu Tezuka (yes, THAT Tezuka, the one they call the God of Manga?!) revolutionized the hero archetype with his comic Pricess Knight, featuring a heroine who could handle a sword just as well as any man. Where’s that spirit in today’s comics, I ask? Continue reading

Teens’ Top Ten: What are Teens Voting For?

Teen Read Week and voting for the Teens’ Top Ten begins in just 5 days. I can’t wait to see the votes come in and find out which of these books are teens’ favorites! Remember, this is the only teen choice where the books are nominated and voted on by teens all over the USA. It’s practically an American duty for teens to vote!

I asked a few teens what they were planning on voting for. Here are some of the responses: Continue reading