Instagrams, Tumblrs and Vines, Oh My!

Just four or five years ago, I would send out postcards to remind teens of our monthly Teen Advisory Board meeting but today this method of communication would be completely foreign and unfruitful for my purposes.

Today, the library, like many other components of a community, is largely an intangible presence existing entirely as mobile communication. Today, I can save the postage and send out a Vine or Instagram to engage my teens up-to-the-hour of a library event. Today, I’m seeing many more new faces at my library events because of my digital presence as a librarian.

As Facebook and Twitter intersect with more instantaneous rivals, such as Snapchat, that offer more content options, such as Tumblr, it can be a fun challenge for librarians to keep up with the nomadic sprawl across various platforms of mobile teen connectivity.

We learn as we go, break new grounds, we talk with our teens and remember to never reinvent the wheel.

Here are my top three Vines, Instagrams and Tumblrs that worked as kick starters for my own YA librarianship in 2013:

Vine

1. Metropolitan Library in Oklahoma County describes their vine as “your inviting innovation link to the world,” and gives us insight into their teen programming, services and displays. Continue reading

Tech Trends to Watch in 2014

Which technologies are likely to gain more traction in the new year? Some modest predictions about the tools and trends with appeal to teens and the librarians who serve them.

leo

Really ephemeral social media
Adults, like teens, are grappling with finding self-destructing social media which won’t haunt them into adulthood. First came Snapchat, with its associated imperfections, now Leo is all of-the-moment, but the platforms will likely change over time as adults cotton on to them. But, as TechCrunch points out, that need is not just about privacy:

Yes, its messages self-destruct after a few seconds, but the rationale behind doing so isn’t necessarily about privacy. For Leo co-founder Carlos Whitt, the ephemeral nature of the app is more about getting rid of the “cognitive load” that comes with photos or videos being saved or shared in public. People act and share differently when they know that a photo or video will live forever, the thinking goes. One need only look at Instagram and the all-too-perfectly filtered photos that appear there to know what Whitt is talking about. The impetus behind Leo, then, is to be able to share what you’re doing without having to worry too much about what happens to it.

Fuss-free augmented realities
This was the year augmented realities finally got some traction in the edtech world. Right now, most augmented reality is still a bit clumsy through interfaces like Aurasma and Layar. For now, augmented reality too ofter requires you to run a specific app to pull up applicable virtual content when you happen upon associated places in the physical world, kind-of like QR codes, which I find way too fiddly. I like Chirp, which uses an auditory, rather than a visual clue, to signal availability of digital resources.

Pebble Watch
Wear-able wearable computing Continue reading

Library Test Kitchen: Call for YALSA Feedback

by Paulina Haduong

Hey YALSA!

I’m an Ed.M. Candidate in Technology, Innovation, and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. This semester, I’ve been a student with Library Test Kitchen, a library innovation class at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. I’m working on a class project right now that’s designed for teens and YA librarians, and I’d love to get some input!

library test kitchen

For the last few months, I’ve been fascinated by the YA GoodReads community, and the recent trend of using GIFs in book reviews. To that end, I’ve been developing a kind of “photo booth” for use in a library’s teen room. The gist of the concept is that teens (or anyone, really), would be able to scan a book and make a selfie-GIF as a #bookfeel. I’m playing around with the idea here, and the outputs are on this Tumblr. In theory, the app would sit on a computer inside of a cardboard photo booth.
Continue reading

Amplified: Going Digital and Social With Your Advocacy

european cyclist's federation creative commons photo of a microphone. Often when people talk about advocating for teen services the focus is on face-to-face activities. But, using social tools such as Twitter and Tumblr gives you a great opportunity to reach more people with your advocacy efforts. It also gives you the chance to start advocacy conversations that might not be possible face-to-face. Here are four ideas to get you started:

  • Twitter I have to begine by saying that YALSA does a great job at using Twitter as an advocacy tool and anyone that is looking for ideas on how to be a social media/digital advocate will do well to check out the association’s Twitter feed. Why do I say this? Because YALSA mixes it up a bit. The association retweets what other organizations with goals similar to YALSA’s tweets. I don’t doubt that these other groups notice YALSA’s tweets and as a result notice the association and what they are about. Continue reading

Connect, Create, Collaborate – Connect, Connect, Connect & Don’t Assume

image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons user niiicedaveA couple of recent events and conversations have me thinking, once again, about the importance of library staff working with teens connecting with stakeholders, administrators, teens, etc. to make sure that teens have the best services possible. Here’s a brief rundown:

  • When Chris Shoemaker and I presented on YALSA’s Badges for Lifelong Learning project at the ALA Midwinter Meeting some participants talked about the struggles they continue to have in their schools and public libraries accessing what now we might call traditional technologies – YouTube, Facebook, Tumblr, etc.
  • I’ve been reading about the “new” digital divide and talking to library staff that work with teens who talk about why they can’t use devices with those they serve because of access issues.
  • I listened to teens at the YALSA Summit on Teens and Libraries talk about their use of digital media (including the aforementioned Tumbler which is filtered out of some libraries) and the importance of relationships with library staff on library use.

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App of the Week: Tumblr

Title: Tumblr
Platform: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android running 2.1 & higher
Cost: Free

Tumblr is a blogging software that works well for sharing all kinds of media. ‘ It’s been around for awhile, but some of the teens I know have been using it, so I thought I would check out the free’ app.

When you open up the Tumblr app there are five options across the bottom of the app screen. “Dashboard” is where you can see the posts of other tumblogs you follow.’  “Likes” takes you to a list of posts that you have clicked the like button on.’  “Post” takes you to the options for posting: text, photo, link, quote, audio and video.’  These different post types for different media are in my opinion, Tumblr’s strongest feature. You can have multiple blogs on Tumblr, and the “Blogs” tab lets’  you access these blogs and statistics about them.’  Under the “Account” option, you can see the’ blogs you follow and’ search tumblr for new blogs to follow. Continue reading