For Teen Tech Week this year I tried to do something more low key. Instead of having a big program I optioned to try and promote the different technology-related services the library offers by giving teens a list of questions to answer and tasks to complete. I tried to make them fun; the questions I used are below.

My goal was to promote library services, so I told my staff that they could hand out the questions to any patrons. I was given two $10 Borders gift certificates to give away as an incentive for the teens to complete 8 out of 10 tasks, and so far no teen has turned the sheet back in. However, this sheet has started many conversations with teens about what some of the things on the list are. Most didn’t know what Biography Resource Center was (the first technology on the list), and a few didn’t know what an audiobook was. All week reference staff and I have been explaining what the technologies on the list are, and how to use them. In that sense I think this has been a great success.

I also took the time to share the list with my local middle and high schools. Explaining that they could print it out and share with their teens as part of Teen Tech Week if they wished. I was happy to hear back from one of the librarians, who shared it with her teachers. Surprisingly she said some of the teachers only knew about one of the technologies on the list: Place a Hold.

While the program didn’t go exactly the way I intended I found it was a great conversation starter. Most of the time I don’t even think about what services the teens know about but don’t ask for. I do promote audiobooks when teens ask for books to read, but it’s harder to promote audiobooks during an Anime Club.

And now for the questions I used:

1. Look up a celebrity in Biography Resource Center.

2. Follow us on Twitter ( Your username_______________________________

3. Email a copy of your avatar for the Teen Area. send to my email.

4. Listen to a CD, Playaway, or Downloadable audiobook

Title _______________________________________

Did you like it? __ Yes __ No

5. Post a book review a book in our catalog or on one of the library’s booklist

Title ____________________________________

6. Place a hold on an item from another branch

7. Check out a DS

Game ___________________________________

Did you like it? __ Yes __ No

8. Talk to a Live Homework Help Tutor in any subject

Your question _____________________________


Was the tutor helpful? __ Yes __ No

9. Post a comment on the teen blog

Title of post ___________________________

10 Use Novelist to find a read-alike for your favorite book

Book _________________________________

Did you find a similar title that looks good? __ Yes __ No

About Jami Schwarzwalder

Currently a teen librarian with the Pierce County Library System in Tacoma, WA.She is passionate about technology, making, and learning. See what I'm up to at

2 Thoughts on “Low Key Teen Tech Week

  1. alexandra provence on March 14, 2009 at 11:21 am said:

    What a great idea! Thanks for sharing. This is something we could use at our library, even though a lot of the sites teens love are blocked! I love the fact that you had so many conversations with your students. Isn’t this what it’s all about?

  2. Thanks for trying to get them using Biography Resource Center — we’re a great resource for teens working on school assignments! Or so we like to think.

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