I’ve wanted to host a Minecraft program at my library ever since I began working there last August. I mentioned the idea to our teens and quickly saw that there was a captive audience for it. Minecraft is the epitome of this year’s YALSA presidential theme; with this game you can connect with your teen patrons, encourage them to collaborate, and create amazing things within the game! When Teen Tech Week came along, it felt like the perfect opportunity to test out a Minecraft program.
Working in a small library with limited resources, I knew there would be obstacles to overcome. We have eight public computers that are positioned directly in the center of the library and do not have a separate room for a teen space. Our lack of computers limited the number of potential participants right from the start since I knew I wouldn’t be able to use all of the computers. We also share a network with the other libraries in our consortium so I knew that hosting a server would be complicated.
I was also worried that my Minecraft skills were not up to par. I know a lot about the game, but I have to confess that I don’t really play….at all. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to monitor the players in a way that would work for everyone. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to help players who got stuck. I worried that something would go wrong with the game, and I wouldn’t be able to fix it.
Even with all these obstacles, without a budget, and without much technical know-how, I was able to pull off a successful Minecraft program at my public library…and you can, too!
by Kip Odell
As we near the end of Teen Tech Week, librarians will begin to evaluate their programs. Experiencing and learning about library programs in action during this week is always a great reminder about how important technological literacy is for teens and how beneficial hands-on experiences can be for them. This year three things have stood out to me during TTW:
- While it has been said before, it is worth saying again, that Tech Week is really a year-round event. The programs we create during TTW are great to bring awareness to library technology and information, but they are also jumping-off points for teen services librarians to continue similar programs for the rest of the year.
- Collaboration is more important than ever. As technology moves forward and evolves, learning from each other helps everyone create relevant and necessary programs for teens. Luckily, there are numerous sources to keep you up-to-date, including great information from YALSA.
- Speaking of change, the move to provide active, hands-on learning experiences is upon us! This has really always been our charge, but it has been accelerated with the focus on things like maker spaces and the emphasis on mentoring teens as they become digital creators, not just media consumers.
I hope everyone’s Teen Tech Week was amazing and look forward to a year of new and exciting things to learn!
by Donna Block
My library is in the midst of a renovation project that makes planning Teen Tech Week programs difficult — mainly because we’re never sure whether we’ll have access to a room where we can hold events. Our current office space is located in what used to be a prime study area.
As a substitute to our traditional tech programs, we devised a QR Code Scavenger Hunt that can take place anywhere in the library, anytime we are open.
One of the pretty QR Code posters designed by our graphic artist. The bit.ly link appears in orange.
A weekly short list of tweets that librarians and the teens that they serve may find interesting.
Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between March 8 and February 14 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.
Wanna get involved in YALSA right now? YALSA needs your help! We’re looking for expert programmers, Teen Read Week gurus, Teen Tech Week geniuses, Road Trip afficionados, Common Core Standards experts and more!
Based on Board decisions at the 2013 Midwinter Conference, I’ll be making appointments to the following Super! Awesome! Taskforces! All you have to do is complete the volunteer form.
Platform: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, Requires iOS 3.1.3 or later
Slender-man is a game created in July of 2012 based on the legend of the Slender-man, who is known to only be seen by children just before he reaches out and grabs them. This game has developed a cult following of teens and tweens everywhere and in particular, at my library. I was first introduced to this game over the summer when I noticed a group of kids playing it on a computer. Suddenly, they all jumped back and screamed. As the screen went fuzzy, an image of a thin man’s face appeared on the blinking monitor. “If you see that, that basically means you have lost the game.” One of the teens informed me.
Confession: I have a graveyard of programs that did not work at my library. I am an enthusiastic programmer, and with no quantitative data on what teen programs worked at my library in the decade before I arrived, I have enjoyed free rein in attempting a vast variety of programs. Unfortunately, any great number of these programs have fallen flat, especially technology-related teen programs.
So with all apologies to Teen Tech Week, I’m declaring that technology-related programming does not work at my library. (more…)
Are you at Midwinter and do you want to win some fabulous prizes? Then take part in the Teen Tech Week scavenger hunt, by following the QR code clues throughout the conference and online. If you reach the end and enter your name on the secret raffle page, you’ll have a chance to win a fabulous prize package from YALSA and our TTW sponsors, including a copy of the 50th anniversary edition of The Phantom Tollbooth (signed by both Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer!), and a t-shirt from Figment.com!
Head over to the TTW 2012 website to begin the hunt, and good luck! Thanks so much to our TTW sponsors for making this all possible.
Get a pair of x-ray goggles that really work! While these may not see through a steel plate, they can see right through the Internet!
Going to Midwinter in Dallas?
Win a fabulous YALSA prize package by being the first to complete the Teen Tech Week QR Code Scavenger Hunt! Participants will visit locations both in person and online throughout ALA Midwinter. Solve the clues, find the codes, and scan them into your phone’s QR code reader (visit this page for recommended apps for various platforms).
If you can scan all the codes, you may win an assortment of YALSA goodies. To participate, visit the Teen Tech Week website starting Friday, January 20th. (For more information on QR codes, visit the Wikipedia page on the subject).
Thanks to the Teen Tech Week sponsors for helping make the scavenger hunt possible. Good luck!