Gilroy Library was fortunate enough to receive a YALSA & Best Buy Teen Tech Week grant.  This wonderful news has meant that I have the means to realize a fully-fledged TTW program for my library.

The dilemma with planning for TTW this year was not about what ‘could’ we do, but what couldn’t we!  With so many great activities to choose from it was hard to narrow down what we could feasibly offer to our teens for our TTW programming.

Working with this year’s theme ‘Create it at your library’ I decided to mix things up a little. I wanted to provide a variety of activities that focus on different skill sets.  After a lot of deliberation (and online shopping!), I was able to experience the joy of opening delivery boxes full of creative goodness.

Part of the challenge for TTW was doing programming that I’d never done here at Gilroy before. This means that I’ve had to put in the time to experiment and learn.  My new skills now include basic soldering, ‘screen’ printing with light sensitive dye and the ability to sew a fantastic felt monster using conductive thread and extremely fun LilyTiny technology.

We’ll be putting teens graphic design skills to the test by using the Lumi Inkodye product to print designs on t-shirts using UV light. My experiment with fabric swatches was deemed a success and I’m excited to see what designs we’re going to come up with for our t-shirts.

inkodye collage

Using the LilyTiny was a lot simpler than I thought, I particularly liked that there is the option to go with the premade ‘patterns’ for our attached LED’s or if our teens are a little more advanced they have the option to add their own programming. Beyond that I had a lot of fun ‘dressing’ my monster and I hope that our teens will too.

lilytiny collage

We’ve strengthened our connection with Best Buy by also working with our local store to arrange for their Brand Ambassadors to present a workshop during Teen Tech Week. They’ll be showing teens how to take great photographs with both digital cameras and with their own phones.  We are also working on a ‘Music Workshop’ where teens will get to use a variety of equipment to mix and produce music. We’ll be using Garage Band and have enlisted a local music tutor to help us out with the technology and teaching (bonus for this is that our library staff will get to learn along with the teens – here’s to future programs!!).

Kelly McKean is the Teen Services Librarian at Gilroy Library, a Santa Clara County District Library. Immigrating to the USA in 2008 Kelly spent many years working in a variety of Librarian roles in New Zealand but her most fondly remembered jobs always involved working with Teens.


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