During October a small group of YALSA bloggers are posting ideas and information about positive uses of social networking tools in schools and libraries. Here’s positive use #18.

Social networking is all about participation and integrating social networking technologies in libraries provides librarians with great oppotunities for creating and developing youth participation projects. For example:

  • Teens can setup and maintain the library’s MySpace space. As a part of the process teens would have to figure out who is responsible for what aspects of the space, what to include on the space, and how to add and respond to friends and comments. See Donnell Teens for an example of a library MySpace space managed by teens
  • Teens create a library Flickr account and upload phots of library programs and events to the space. As a part of the process teens would have to determine what photos to upload, how to tag them, how to describe them, and how to organize them on the space.
  • Teens maintain a library blog of reviews, news, etc. Teens who work on the project would have to figure out what to write about on the blog, how often to post, setup a schedule of posts, and make sure the blog was updated on a regular basis.

These are all ideas that have been mentioned in some way already as a part of YALSA’s 30 days of social networking on this blog. However, it’s important to focus on the fact that each of these is a youth participatory activity that can support teen development. Teens can take part in these project-based activities from the library, from home, from school, wherever they can access the Internet. They can be involved in activities that have meaningful results and make a difference to the community.

Social networking is a perfect opportunity for youth participation in libraries. DOPA would limit the ability of libraries to offer teens the chance to do things that make a difference and that are actually of personal interest

About Linda W Braun

Linda W Braun is a YALSA Past President, the YALSA CE Consultant, and a learning consultant/project management coordinator at LEO: Librarians & Educators Online.

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