I get asked this question a lot. Sometimes it comes right after the “Oh, you have to go to school for that?” moment–you know, from someone who thinks a Master’s in library sciences means Basic Shushing 101 and Advanced Glaring Techniques.
Sometimes it comes up when I’m carrying around a couple of Guitar Hero controllers (or my new DDR pads–huzzah!) and I have to explain–again–why one line of my business card reads “Library Gaming Advocate.”
…Or sometimes it comes when I’ve just gotten back from an event with a swag bag that looks more like it came from a gay pride event than an educational conference.
Yes, I returned triumphantly from Sex::Tech 2009, a conference focusing on youth, technology, and sexual health.’ Folks from all over the map in universities, non-profits, health departments and more came to share the exciting work that’s being done where sexual health and technology collide to serve teens. And guess what? Some of that work is happening in libraries.
[For the text accompanying my presentation, please hop on over to Sagittarian Librarian.]
And some other highlights from the conference:
Buckworld – You just have to check out their videos, though the videos pale in comparison to seeing this amazing group perform live. Buckworld fuses hip-hop dance, spoken word and personal stories to weave energetic narratives of relationships, violence, race and life in the Inland Empire.
It’s Your Game – This is an interesting intervention for middle school students out of the University of Texas School of Public Health. (I have an invitation code that’s still valid as of this morning, but I’d rather not publish that publicly–if you want to explore the site yourself, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org) Note: while it does include a lot of other really great sexual health information, there’s nothing here about masturbation or queer sexuality. Blame abstinence-only funding, not the fine folks at UTSPH.
Sex, Etc. Sex education for teens, by teens. A lot of libraries already link here for sexual health resources, but there’s so much more here in terms of teen advocacy and social networking.
Still not convinced this has anything to do with libraries? Check out some of these other presentation titles from Sex::Tech:
Do Teen Sexuality + Adult Anxiety + Digital Technology = Public Trouble?
Finding Youth in Their Space: Using Social Networking Sites to Connect Youth to Sexual Health Services
Media Portrayals of Online Youth: What They Are and What You Can Do about It
Gosh, some of this sounds awfully familiar…
Sex Etc. is a fabulous resource- it’s great reading material for teens and their parents with an authentic voice. I always have it out on the coffee table in my teen zone, although it is one of the things we’re most likely to get a complaint about. It provides great balanced information- I’ve even given it to kids when they’re doing sexuality related debate work for school.
I LOVE Sex, Etc.! I should’ve mentioned that they were one of the groups I shared time with in my presentation slot. If it hadn’t been for them I wouldn’t have known anything about the profile creation options there, which allow teens to weigh in on the issues they’d like to see covered, tell their own stories–and possibly have their profiles featured on the homepage.