I'm cheating a little because I haven't actually played Minecraft with teens on the brand new multiplayer server space I just rented. ' But I do play a lot of Minecraft with my friends, I have talked a lot about it with teens, and I am going to offer the game as a regular teen program starting next week.'  Here's what I'm doing to bring Minecraft to the library, and links to some interesting ideas about things you might do with it.

But first, what is Minecraft?

Minecraft is a game where you roam a landscape full of different sorts of blocks that you can move around to build anything you want.'  You can dig deep to find different resources, and explore to find a variety of environments.'  At night, zombies and other monsters come out, so you need to protect yourself.'  The game was created by Swedish programmer Markus Persson, and is being developed by his company Mojang.'  It's still in beta,'  so there are new updates all the time.'  Minecraft is getting prettier and more involved with each new permutation.

I love this game because it demands creativity.'  You have a world, and you can do anything.'  It's even more fun with friends, where in building your world you find yourselves cooperating by sharing resources,'  planning building projects,'  helping each other and showing off for each other.'  I can't wait to see what happens when I turn my group of teens loose in their new world.

Here's a video for you to take a look at Minecraft.

Click through for more.
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Awesome author of young adult literature Neal Shusterman will be in Second Life today at 7 pm ET/4 pm to talk about writing and his books.'  The presentation will be telecast into Teen Second Life so that those under 18 can talk to him, too.'  If you've never visited Second Life before, this is a great opportunity to try it while attending an actual event.'  I remember my first encounters in Second Life were very frustrating mostly because I wanted to see it in action.'  I knew that people were doing awesome things in it, but every time I went, I didn't feel that sense of community others were talking about.'  Then I attended my first author visit, and it was completely different.'  It takes a little time to set up your avatar and go through orientation.

The event in Second Life is being held at the USDLC Star Island.'  In Teen Second Life, the event is at Sparta Island, which will be open 30 minutes before the event starts.'  You can also use a slurl to find it at the Literacy 2 Learn page.'  For the slurl and more info about the event, click here.

In this 4 minute podcast, teen author Cynthia Leitich Smith talks about her new book - Eternal - and her experiences as an author in Second Life.

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  • Visit YALSA's Podcast Page

Leitich Smith is interviewed by Christen Higgens, Library Assistant, at the Charlotte Public Library.
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cynthia Children's and Young Adult Author, Cynthia Leitich Smith will stop by Teen Second Life on Tuesday, February 24 at 1pm PST to discuss her newly released book, Eternal. Leitich describes Eternal as a gothic fantasy. She has decided to get involved in Second Life since it's a 'very contemporary and very 'now' space' as are her books. Check out her

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For those who won't be attending the American Library Association's Midwinter Meeting in Denver, Colorado, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) will recreate the YALSA Mixer and Tech Playground in the 3-D virtual world, Second Life.

The exhibit includes 8 stations on twitter, handheld gaming, image editing and more.

This interactive exhibit, which runs Jan. 9 through Jan. 31, 2009, features models of some of the gadgets being featured at the special event, which kicks off YALSA's Teen Tech Week™ and will be held Jan. 23 at the Hyatt Regency Denver, 8 – 10 p.m. Gadgets are displayed on platforms at ALA Island (61, 228, 35). You may need to fly to see all the platforms! A menu with locations is in the large column at the entry point.

Each gadget featured in SL includes an informational notecard with tips on incorporating the item into Teen Tech Week events. Teen Tech Week is a national initiative sponsored by YALSA and aimed at teens, their parents, educators and other concerned adults to ensure that teens are competent and ethical users of technologies, especially those that are offered through libraries such as DVDs, databases, audiobooks, and videogames. The 2009 theme for Teen Tech Week is Press Play @ your library'®. Teen Tech Week is March 8-14, 2009. Read More →

"Can I have more time on the computer?" "Just ten more minutes please?!" This question is frequently asked at my library in regards to using the virtual world of Teen Second Life. Teens themselves are the ones that marketed this technology to each other in the library. It started off with one teen using the program to teach peers around the world how to speak Spanish.

The point I want to make about telling this is not about TSL in particular. But, I want to makea point about introducing technology and supporting the access of it so that the teens who probably would not have picked up on it otherwise, because the places they come in contact with might not have it available, know that it exists.

What other technologies have we as libraries been able to support in ways that other places haven't? What skills are teens learning by allowing teens to use various technologies? How can we as organizations support the power of viral marketing, from our patrons, to grow a program?

It's great to watch interest unfold and discover the lessons of introducing skills and programs that originally might have seemed impossible to start.

This weekend, I'm in Tampa, attending the Second Life conference. I've already met a handful of librarians involved in Second Life (some I knew already, but didn't know they were librarians). Jean Gardner with, the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, is working with community organizations and teens on their island, Oz, to simulate a geography project that has a real life impact on their town.

This conference follows right on the heels of the Virtual Worlds Expo: The Future of Media and Communication in LA. Check out Anne Collier's post about it that gives a shout out to several school and public librarians involved in using virtual worlds. Read More →

In this podcast Linda Braun talks with Barry Joseph and Amira Fouad (of Global Kids and RezEd) about topics related to teens, gaming, education, and virtual worlds.

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On Tuesday, August 5, at approximately 11am EST, Marc Aronson is going to participate in a live stream to talk about his book Race: A History Beyond Black and White and about how and why he is bringing it into a virtual world. Participants can watch, hear, and interact, via text chat, with Marc and Kevin Jarrett, faculty in the Graduate School of Education at Walden University. You do not need an account to watch and listen but you will need to sign up for a free one if you want your teens to be able to participate in the chat. The session will also be recorded so that it can be accessed at a later date.