“It’s Teen Tech Week and I work in a school. Now what?”

For a lot of school librarians, celebrating Teen Tech Week can present some steep challenges. Not every librarian teaches classes, or has a designated time with their students to demonstrate and create, leaving tech programming a little up in the air. Many may not even see the point in celebrating– “If I only have the kids when they stop in for five minutes each day to print, how can I show off this really cool cloud tool or have them make an awesome podcast?”

If you find yourself in the “I want to, but when” boat, never fear! Here are some easy ways to integrate technology into your library for the week without disrupting classes or running yourself ragged. Continue reading

TTW Ideas: No Budget, No Time Book Adaptations

Teen Tech Week 2012 is still months away (March 4-10), but planning for it is well under way at my library, Niles Public, in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.’  The deadline for’ finalizing spring programs at my library is January 9 (gulp) just a month from now.

Fortunately, the official Teen Tech Week website has a planning toolkit that includes ideas for events and activities, including one that I worked on over the summer that called “No Budget, No Time Book Adaptations.”‘ ‘  The goal is to create a short movie adaptation (2 minutes tops) of a favorite book. Pull out only the most important parts and write a 2-page script, draw stick-figure storyboards, and put together simple costumes and props from materials you have on hand. Shoot it in order and do just one take of each shot. Edit it using simple software like Windows MovieMaker or Apple iMovie, or upload your footage to youtube and edit it there (yes, youtube has some editing software built into their site, now).

The idea sprung from a project I worked on with the Niles Teen Advisory Board for James Kennedy’s 90-Second Newbery festival.’  The TAB members chose to create a 90-second adaptation of The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle.’  They did everything from writing the script to selecting royalty-free music for it.’  I was there to serve as an adviser and help with the editing.

The end result is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6GJZZDNsWU.‘  Go watch it right now, then come back.’  Here are a few things that I learned from working on that video:

1. More’  Script = More Time
Umm, you probably noticed that it’s a little longer than 90 seconds.’  The script the TAB-members came up with was about 5 pages; 3 pages too long if you figure that one page of script amounts to about 1 minute of screen time.’  The dialog was really funny though, and when it came time to edit the finished video I didn’t have the heart to cut out all of those funny lines.’ ‘ A longer script also means’ more time spent shooting and editing, so if you only have a few hours to work on a video’ then you’ll need to set a page limit and stick to it.

2. Let the Teens Do All the Work
Besides writing the script, they came up with costumes and props.’  The locations we used were all in the library, and the teens were in charge of decorating the set.’  One teen worked the camera while another one worked the microphone.’  I did a lot during the editing process (more on that, later) but they were there with me, telling me what parts I could cut.’  The teens have more fun when they are doing everything.’  Give everyone a job, even if it is something deceptively simple like monitoring the set and props to make sure nothing is missing from shot to shot (this is an actual profession called “script supervising” that’ is’ perfect for’ people who like to pick movies and tv shows apart for continuity errors).

3. Don’t Skip Steps Like Storyboarding
We did, because the’ TAB members’ who like to draw were unavailable when we were in the planning stages.’  I think the video suffered because of it.’  Storyboards are basically a rough comic’ book version’ of what your video will look like when it’s done.’ ‘ They show you what each scene should look like’ from the camera’s point of view,’ which makes deciding where to set the camera much easier.’ Storyboarding’ takes time in the beginning, but having that visual guide’ ends up saving time later, especially when you get to the editing stage.

4. Editing Can Be Tedious, Simple Software Can Make It Less So
The more time you spend trying to figure out how your editing software works, the more time editing your project is going to take.’  My library has Sony Vegas editing software.’  It’s great software, and can do some cool things like speeding up and slowing down the video footage.’  It’s also not software that many teens (including our TAB members) are familiar with, and not the most intuitive software available.’  In my opinion, both Apple’s iMovie and Windows MovieMaker are easier to use.’  I had the teens help me, and their extra sets of eyes were a great help in figuring out how to do things like speeding up some sections of the video footage.’  If we’d had iMovie, they could have edited the whole thing themselves, and I would only be there to step in if they had a question.

5. Have Fun
The teens were a little disappointed that their no-budget video didn’t look professional.’  They were embarrassed to watch themselves on screen, even though they’d had fun when they were acting in front of the camera.’  To make them feel better, I showed them a bunch of the other crude-looking, badly acted 90-Second Newbery videos on youtube.’  Making a video with your teens should be fun.’  Try to inject some professionalism into it by using storyboards and a designating a script supervisor, but remember to laugh at your funny costumes, line flubs and’ flimsy set (part of ours fell down during the shoot) along the way.

Check out the new Teen Tech Week website!

YALSA launched its new Teen Tech Week website at www.ala.org/teentechweek! This Teen Tech Weekâ„¢ (March 4–10, 2012), YALSA invites you to Geek Out @ your library! This year’s theme encourages libraries to throw open their physical and virtual doors to teens and showcase the outstanding technology they offer, from services such as online homework help and digital literacy-focused programs to resources like e-books, movies, music, audiobooks, databases and more.

What can you do at the website?

  • Begin by registering for Teen Tech Week. Registration is free and gives you access to the 2012 logo, which you can use to promote Teen Tech Week by adding it to your library’s website, blog, Facebook page, or other resources. Also, whenever you log in, you can access the logo by hovering over the “Registration” navigation bar and selecting “Download the Logo.”
  • Check out our new Toolkits section, with planning resources, tips for getting teens involved, publicity tools and more, including downloads
  • Tell us what you have planned in the Showcase section and add your library to the Teen Tech Week Google Map
  • Check out Teen Tech Week products from ALA Graphics and YALSA at the TTW Web Store, www.alastore.ala.org/ttw12, including decals, posters, bookmarks, digital downloads and more, all featuring this year’s theme, Geek Out @ your library.
  • Questions? Find an answer in our FAQ, submit your own question, or contact us at yalsa@ala.org.

Teen Read Week and Teen Tech Week Tips and Resources

How many times has Teen Read Week or Teen Tech Week rolled around and you’re busy reading the latest YALS issue or scouring the YALSA wiki to come up with programs for your teens related to the theme? While those materials won’t go away anytime soon (and thank goodness for them each year-right?!), we wanted to make sure you’re aware of another great resource that’s a compilation of ideas for both of YALSA’s national initiatives.

Earlier this year, YALSA published a book through the American Library Association, edited by Megan Fink, Teen Read Week and Teen Tech Week: Tips and Resources for YALSA’s Initiatives. Following is an interview with Megan about what you can find in this great read. Continue reading

Keeping Teen Tech Week Alive Throughout the Year

With Teen Tech Week winding down many of us have already held our program(s) and we are packing up our supplies and putting all TTW related thoughts and ideas on the back burner until next year, but before you do this here are a few thoughts to keep with you throughout the year.

Teen Tech Week is about ensuring, “…that teens are competent and ethical users of technologies, especially those that are offered through libraries such as DVDs, databases, audiobooks, and videogames. Teen Tech Week encourages teens to use libraries’ nonprint resources for education and recreation, and to recognize that librarians are qualified, trusted professionals in the field of information technology. “ (YALSA, 2011)

Naturally TTW is a great time to advocate for teens and technology, but as librarians our job is never really done. It is important that we keep TTW alive throughout the year for a number of reasons, but what it really comes down to is this: teens don’t just use technology during TTW, and we don’t want teens to just use the library during TTW. Here are some ideas for staying connected with your teens and keeping TTW alive throughout the year: Continue reading

You & Your Teens Can Win an E-Reader from Figment This Teen Tech Week

You’ve made all your plans for Teen Tech Week and are just about ready to celebrate Mix & Mash @ your library, March 6-12. But as you finalize those details, be sure to include two contests from YALSA and TTW Promotional Partner Figment.com in your plans! One contest, starting next Monday, gives teens an opportunity to win a Nook e-reader and a $50 gift card at Amazon.com. Beginning March 9, you could win an e-reader too! Read on for details

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28 Days of Tech #26: eBook dilemmas

Last December, ‘ my 12 year-old’ niece’ and not-12 year-old best friend both received Kindles for Christmas. By the time I saw them, both had uploaded a few books and a few games, and both were raving about the size and convenience. It was the first time I’d seen the new editions up close, and they certainly are sleek and clear.

My library currently owns two older edition Kindles (courtesy’ of a donation), and by Christmas, we were still wrestling with to how’ ‘ to acquire and advertise our Kindle eBook collection. In addition, my colleagues and I were debating the fit of a ‘ Kindle purchase model at our library, and so movement with the two we already owned was slow. I thought we had time on this.

But seeing eReaders in the hands of two of my favorite readers, I realized the eBook revolution had to become a priority. It was time for this concept to take center stage. ‘ So I’ve spent this new year trying to catch up on the eBook conversation, and figure out the best way to integrate eBooks into our school library.

I’ve asked myself a few questions: What are different libraries doing to incorporate eBooks and eReading? What are the road blocks? Is there a model out there that our library can follow? How do we’ proceed?

So far, the answers to these questions are vast and varied–‘ Here is some of what I’ve discovered. Continue reading

28 Days of Teens & Tech #22: For the Record

I work for the Weber County Library, a 5-library system in Utah, 45 minutes north of Salt Lake City.’  In 2008 we started a One Community, One Book program called Weber Reads.’  We’ve read Beowulf, Frankenstein, Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. Our 2011 program focuses on the Slave Narratives of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs.

My library system focuses on learning rather than entertainment, so I was not surprised when I was asked to combine our 2011 Teen Tech Week program with our Weber Reads program.’  The question was HOW? Lucky for me I listen to NPR on my 30-minute daily commute, and as I was listening one day, I heard about StoryCorps.’  StoryCorps is all about collecting and sharing people’s stories, and this struck a resonating chord with me. Regardless of our personal histories, we all have our stories to share. Continue reading

28 Days of Teens & Tech #19: Database Mobility

For months now, School Librarian and SLJ blogger, Joyce Valenza, has been raving about Cengage Gale’s iPhone appAccess My Library,” ‘ which allows students and other library users access to their library’s Gale subscription databases.

But Cengage Gale is not the only vendor in the mobile marketplace. ‘ Other library reference services are also available on mobile devices. These services may not have “apps” per se, but they often provide a version of their resources that is more accessible to users on the go.

Here are some of the subscription services with mobile offerings:

Have you made sure your library is set up to take advantage of these great resources? If your library pays for this service, make sure you get your full money’s worth! Then, once you’ve contacted your customer support services and improved your mobility, don’t forget to spread the word to your teens via email, QR codes, facebook, twitter, etc. ‘ And if you want to get your own library mobile, you can check this blog post for more suggestions.

I’m sure I’ve missed some other mobile reference tools, so what else is out there? Does your library have a mobile presence? ‘ Tell us: How have you shared the great news of library mobility with your teens?

28 Days of Teens and Tech #10: Advocating for Technology in Your Library

Teen Tech Week is a great time to start thinking about how to incorporate technology into your library services the rest of the year. Budgets are tight in libraries all over the country but technology keeps humming along, moving faster than we can keep up with monetarily. Teens specifically have an expectation that we should be keeping up. They aren’t wrong. So how do you advocate for enough technology funding to keep up with technology?

We shouldn’t stop proposing new ideas for service just because we don’t have a lot of money. It just means that we have to be selective with what projects we propose and very creative with funding sources. We also need to put as much thought as possible into the proposal before we go to management with it.
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