On a typical day of walking around the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Teen space, only one computer activity reigns alongside social networking: watching videos. Therefore, it was no surprise when I read the new Nielson study shows that teens are the #1 consumers of streaming online video. According to the report, teens mostly use online video for music videos, tv shows and anime, and to connect socially by sharing amateur videos with their friends.

They’re also turning to online video as a resource for information, from how to beat levels in video games to explanations of vector mathematics. With these trends, it’s likely that online video is going to play an increasingly important role in delivering information, as they can literally see the information play out before their eyes without missing a beat in any of their other online activities. Of course, this means online video will play an increasingly important role in your library.

On a basic level, online video has been a really fun way to connect teens with the services we traditionally associate with libraries–namely, books and authors. Throughout 2007, tons of teens logged into John (and Hank) Green’s popular Brotherhood 2.0 video blog. More and more teen authors are using “book trailers” to promote their books. This trailer for Meg Cabot’s Airhead has nearly 15,000 views and 40 comments from excited teen readers:


Library staff can also join the fun with imaginative recorded booktalks, as we see with one MLIS student’s take on E. Lockhart’s Fly on the Wall:


In other cases, teens are the ones producing content, artistically highlighting their own personal relationship with the books they read. Check out this rendition of Gabrielle Zevin’s Elsewhere:


You can also get in on the act by creating commercials for your programs. Whether big budget or amateur, you have a chance to grab attention in a way that keeps teens eyes glued to what you’re telling them. Check out these two offerings, from the Chippewa River District Library and the Jacksonville Public Library, respectively:


Searching Youtube for ‘library teen’ demonstrates a number of additional ways teen librarians are already using video to connect teens and their library. Whether demonstrating catalog techniques to simply getting teens involved in awesomely fun videos about robot dance parties, video can be a great way to capture both attention and imagination. In a future blog post, I’ll give a brief rundown of the tools of the trade. Meanwhile, take a look at this really great video done by teens for the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh:


About Joseph Wilk

I'm a teen library assistant with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Main location. Here, I'm the graphic novel and music librarian in addition to running anime, music, LGBTQ, incarcerated youth, and video programming. I'm happy to serve YALSA as a blogger, member of the Teen Tech Week committee, and as chair of the Music Interest Group. Otherwise, you can find me in da club.

One Thought on “Teens Primary Consumers of Online Video… Why Not Get in the Act?

  1. Thanks for keeping us updated Joseph. you rock!

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