In today’s New York Times there is an article titled, Sorry, Boys This is Our Domain, that focuses on the ways teen girls are using technology to create and collaborate and even to make names for themselves in the greater world.

Teen girls highlighted in the article include:

  • Martina Butler who was the first teen podcaster to receive national sponsorship for her podcast, EmoGirlTalk.
  • Lauren Renner and Sarada Cleary who started the web site A Girls World.

It’s exciting to read about what girls are doing as content creators and collaborators. Obviously, technology provides expanded opportunities for teens of both sexes to make their ideas, art, music, and so on available to a world-wide audience.

At first when reading the article I thought, Wow, this is a great way to help teen girls succeed in the area of empowerment as outlined in the developmental assets by the Search Institute. Then I thought, I wonder how this translates into the technology-based programs and services libraries provide all teens (boys and girls)? Are libraries giving teens the kinds of opportunities to create and collaborate that they want and need? Then I wondered, what would it look like if the library did provide these programs that were very specifically focused on content creation and collaboration? Would it mean simply making sure all teens have the ability to create and collaborate on library computers? Does it mean the library should definitely host blogs, wikis, and such that teens can add to? Does a library give all teens the chance to teach younger children about online content creation and collaboration?

Probably all of the above, but I also wondered, what does this article mean to libraries in terms of the gender preferences outlined? Do we need to think about different programs and services for the different genders? Should programs about creating online video – which is said to be a format/activity with more boy participation than girl participation – be geared to boys more than girls? Should blogging workshops – which are said to be of more interest to girls than boys – be geared specifically to girls?

The answers of course can only really come from talking with teens. Check out the article to find out what research seems to show about gender preference related to content creation and collaboration. Then see what your teens have to say about things. If they say the article is all wrong, or if they say it’s all right, maybe you can have them create content by writing their thoughts in letters to The New York Times.

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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