Every time I pick up an issue of Library Hotline as it circulates around the reference office, I’m reminded of the country’s economic woes.’ ‘  The’ public library district’ where I work has been fortunate so far, even as we’ve been affected by the budget issues of the larger system we’re a part of and of the state as a whole.

Our fiscal year began in July, so we are just halfway through the current budget cycle.’  We try to keep our board of trustees happy’ by displaying fiscal responsibility,’ because next year’s budget is in their hands.’  As we plan our budget each spring, Teen Tech Week is one program that we build in to our request.’  We start with the assumption that a few hundred dollars will be needed for programming, promotion and giveaways.

One popular and relatively cheap giveaway we’ve featured during the past couple of years’ are mini’ cards featuring’ art from our annual teen read week art contest and’ printed with’ the urls for our website, blog, Flickr and other social networking sites.’ We give these away to teens throughout the month of March in return for voting in our annual teen choice poll of favorite movies, music and video games.

We’re also planning two programs for Teen Tech Week.’  One’ is a’ low cost digital photo mashup program that I can lead with the equipment we already own and free software, and the other will feature a Q&A with a local game designer who will’  also’ lead a gaming session.’  We’re able to save some money on that program by exploiting social contacts and using our own Wii game system.

A few budget-related questions I consider whenever’ planning for Teen Tech Week include:

– What do we currently have to work with?’  What can we do with the software and equipment we currently have?

– Who do’ we know?’  Can’ we exploit our social networks to find a techy person (like a game designer or digital artist) who would be willing to lead a workshop for free or a small fee?

– What can’ we do?’  Is there an aspect of technology that someone at the library knows really well that would make for a fun workshop?

– What could’ we quickly learn to do?’ ‘ We frequently look’ for fun projects that we can learn and lead without burning ourselves out.

This last question is really important:

– What will be popular with the teens?’  Who wants to spend time, energy or money putting together a poorly attended or un-fun program?

It’s been mentioned before, but I thought I’d mention again that if you’ve got an idea for a Teen Tech Week program to promote reading, then there’s still time to apply for one of 10 YALSA mini grants !’  Apply by January 3.

About Teen Tech Week

Dawn Abron is the Teen Services Coordinator at the Zion-Benton Public Library in Zion, IL.

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