Our program for Teen Tech Week 2016, “Read It, Review It!” will encourage teens to share what they have been reading with the community through video book reviews posted on the Dickinson County Library YouTube channel.  The teens will be directly involved in all aspects of the video creation process.  We will be encouraging them to read new books and then prepare a review of the title(s) they’ve read.  They will be in charge of lighting and directing their own videos, editing the footage, posting the final product to the Internet, and advertising these new reviews with their friends, family, and community.

Receiving the grant sponsored by Best Buy and YALSA is going to allow us to provide an amazing opportunity for our area teens.  We’ve already begun purchasing the equipment we will be using, including a new camera, tripod, microphone, lighting, backdrop, high capacity SD card, and carrying case.  We have also begun brainstorming on the various props we can make available for teens to use in their videos.  While we were prepared to run this program using a staff-loaned flip camera with an improvised shower curtain backdrop, we are so excited to be able to upgrade thanks to the $1000 Teen Tech Week grant!  Software is being installed as I type, and before long we will be ready to roll – literally!

In addition to being fun, the experiences the teens gain through these videos will promote confidence and development of public speaking skills that are beneficial in all aspects of their future – school, career, and general life situations.  The technology they will learn can be applied in many scenarios including: high school projects, college assignments, career preparations, and for fun personal uses.  This project will also promote teamwork, as they will be responsible for assisting each other with their personal videos, creating a sense of community.

The best part is that the fun doesn’t stop after TTW 2016 ends! The videos produced during TTW will be our first pilot videos ready for public viewing.  Teens who participate this March will become charter members of our “Read It, Review It!” team.  Throughout the year our team will grow and additional videos will be posted.   The program and “Read It, Review It!” team will be open to participants in grades 6-12.  The initial videos will be about teen and youth literature and will be created solely by the team.  Teens will be the target audience, although we encourage all ages to view the videos the team will produce.  Teens will be tasked to use their creativity and allow their personal style to shine, but supervising library staff will ensure a level of good taste prevails.  Each video will be viewed by the “Read It, Review It!” team prior to posting to ensure the approval of the final product.  All teens will be encouraged to seek help from their team before asking library staff in an attempt to help develop their communication and teamwork skills and ensure a harmonious teen driven product.  In the future, the teens may even be tapped to create videos for additional audiences in our community regarding library services.

While we feel that just offering the opportunity to use this type of professional equipment while fostering a team experience is a success, we will also be measuring the level of participation and digital feedback.  After the pilot videos are posted to YouTube we can utilize the YouTube statistics to view “likes,” comments, view count, and viewer demographics for each video posted.  This will enable the team to create additional videos in genres or areas of youth literature that are deemed to be more popular as determined by the statistics and viewer response. This will allow us to grow an engaged audience that seeks out our videos regularly.   The community will also gain a better perspective of library programming for teens by watching these finished products.   Throughout the year, the team will continue to monitor the YouTube statistics to improve quality and content.

Two initial “Read It, Review It!” sessions are planned during TTW 2016 – Thursday 3/10 @ 3:30 pm at the Solmonson Branch in Norway, MI; and Friday 3/11 @ 3:45 pm at the Dickinson County Library in Iron Mountain, MI.

The Dickinson County Library is located in Iron Mountain, MI.  One of our goals is to provide teens with the space and technology they need to thrive.  Our library is proud of the limited resources we currently offer and are now empowered to offer much more through the Teen Tech Week 2016 grant opportunity, sponsored by Best Buy and YALSA.


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