By now you know that the Flip Video is no more. The Flip has been a staple of the teen library program since its introduction in 2006. At its relatively low price point, a library could purchase multiple cameras and put them in teens’ hands. The argument here is that high-quality video is now available on most smart phones, rendering the Flip obsolete, but can we really hand out iPhones to our teens for them to make short films? Here are some options for librarians who still want to make video cameras available to their teens:

1. Buy up Flip cameras. They’re still for sale, and the software you need to upload the files to your computer and the Web are built into the cameras themselves. For a great breakdown of how to keep using Flips now that they’re discontinued, see Marguerite Reardon’s April 15th “Ask Maggie” post on CNET. She actually talked to the people at Flip to see what was going on.

2. Check out other inexpensive video recorders. Here’s a sampling:

  • Kodak offers a few “pocket” video cameras under $200, including the Mini Video Recorder (on sale right now for $49), the ZxD ($99), and the PLAYSPORT ($149).
  • Sony sells the Bloggie ($149 and up), which is also built for users who want to share their videos online.
  • Samsung’s E10 ($79) films in HD and has a swiveling lens.

3. The iPod Touch now offers HD video recording and can be used for a whole host of other things, like gaming, reading, texting, and research purposes. Check them out to teens in the libary when they’re not in use for filming, or have staff use them to work with teens in the stacks or offer text reference services. While I personally can’t imagine filming with the large iPad, they also allow for HD video recording.

Easily-portable and simple-to-use video cameras are pretty much indispensable for teen library programs (as well as school libraries and classrooms – I use mine all the time, to both record student progress and to put them in student hands). No matter what you decide on, it’s a great idea to have as many mini-video cameras around as you can afford.

Check out all of the posts on the YALSA blog about film and video here. If you have more suggestions for Flip alternatives, please post them in the comments!

About Sarah Ludwig

I am the Academic Technology Coordinator at Hamden Hall Country Day School in Hamden, CT. Prior to that, I was the head of teen, technology, and reference services at the Darien Library in Darien, CT. I started my library career as a school librarian at a small boarding school in Western Massachusetts.

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