Wednesday morning, Kelly and I tested the online play and live streaming, and everything ended up working out great (see my previous post for info on the setup)! Be sure to check out the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Teen Media page on Friday, August 22nd @ 3:00 PM for streaming video directly from our Wii. We’ll be streaming the menu process as well, so if you catch us early you can see how to set things up.

Oh, and as promised, now you can watch the video of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s public “call out” to the teens of PLCMC, featuring Shing, Spig C, and myself on the mic:

or download the MP3. Read More →

This is a cell phone picture my colleague took of the screen for Super Smash Brothers Brawl (SSBB) when we were testing the wireless connection with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh for our online tournament on August 22. As Joseph Wilk’s previous post indicated, we have gone through process to find out how the connection works and to test run it before the actual event. Though I have to admit, when we did make connection at our libraries, it felt a bit like touching down on the moon.

The LAN adapter for my library arrived in the mail the other week and I have a lot more confidence that the connection will work better than the laggy wireless. Read More →

In Pittsburgh, getting teens to rally for a common cause can be tough. Our city’s teens are often affected by intense neighborhood loyalties and splintered social groups. However, if I have learned anything from the last several years of Steelers playoff runs or the Penguins’ most recent trip to the Stanley Cup, it’s that a city-affiliated team can still band teens together like it did when I was a teen, when my dad was a teen, and so on.

Your library can connect with this energy by gaming online, giving teens a chance to face off against other libraries throughout the world. That’s why, for the last few months, Kelly Czarnecki and I have been planning a YALSA first: an online Super Smash Bros. Brawl tournament between the teens from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County (which will be livecast online). Now that things are finally picking up, we’re going to each blog about the process, highlighting our unique challenges. Read More →

This is a screen capture of the leaderboard for the mini exhibition held this past Saturday afternoon for SuperSmash Brothers Brawl. Ann Arbor District Library, Detroit Public Library, and ImaginOn, the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County played against each other with four teens per library. Columbus Metropolitan was going to play as well but the wifi connection was cutting out. Read More →

I had done another stenographer-on-too-much-coffee stint at this session (see Millennial Leadership), but luckily for me (and for you, dear reader) a lot of the material from Beyond Gaming Tournaments is online at the ALA Conference Materials Archive. So instead of duplicating a lot of content, allow me to direct you that-a-way and just summarize a few bits from the program for those of y’all who couldn’t attend. Read More →

Over the years I’ve started almost every conference presentation or staff training related to mental health by sharing three key statistics:

  1. Roughly 70 percent of mental health problems have their onset during adolescence (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health).
  2. The 10th leading cause of death in the United States is suicide (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention).
  3. There is approximately $139 billion dollars in lost earnings per year due to serious mental illness (National Alliance on Mental Health).

Those numbers never fail to grab the attention of the audience because it highlights just how prevalent mental illness is and it reminds people that no community is exempt from these issues. 

As we wrap up the first month of YALSA’s Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff, Teen Growth and Development, we’re shifting our attention to the second competency; Interactions with Teens. Specifically, we’ll be spending time discussing youth mental health and exactly how library staff can better positions themselves as allie’s and community connectors for those in need. 

Before we dive in, let’s take a minute to discuss what exactly what people mean when they talk about mental health. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, mental health is the capacity of each and all of us to feel, think, and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face. Furthermore, it’s the ability to meet the psychological and emotional demands of everyday life.

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For the past few years, the topic of establishing healthy habits at an early age has garnered much news, investigation, and governmental action across the nation.’  As centers for community life and lifelong education, libraries are uniquely positioned to contribute to the formation of these healthy habits in young people.’  Indeed, given the special role of social responsibility many libraries assume in their charters and mission statements, supporting healthy habit formation may be viewed as a necessity in your library.

The Indiana State Department of Health summarizes the need for and suggests a direction to library involvement in this issue:’  “Ideally, population-based, sustainable approaches for changing the weight status, diet, and physical activity of people should include creating environments, policies, and practices that support increases in physical activity and improvements in diet, especially among those disproportionately affected by poor health. Interventions should go beyond people acquiring new knowledge and allow people to build the skills and practice the behaviors leading to a healthy weight. Supportive environments are necessary to sustain healthy behaviors.” [emphasis mine] (Indiana State Department of Health 2011)

What follows is a list of activities young adult librarians can put into practice to stimulate interest in and action towards healthy habit formation with their teen patrons.

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National Gaming Day is November 12 – a week from Saturday. It’s “an initiative of the American Library Association to reconnect communities through their libraries around the educational, recreational, and social value of all types of games.” [source]

Even if the idea of gaming makes you a little nervous, there’s so much you can do with your teens to celebrate NGD. School librarians may choose to hold an even prior to the day (Saturdays aren’t so great for us), while public librarians whose libraries are open on Saturdays can celebrate on the day itself. whether low- or high-tech, you’ll be able to pull something fun together with these ideas:

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What’s ROI? Return on Investment, or, spending a little, and getting a lot back. ROI = bang for your buck!

In tough budget times, libraries look for ways to stretch their dollars, and strive to maintain the level of services patrons expect. Board, card and/or video gaming is an excellent low budget investment, because hardware, software and equipment can be utilized for multiple age groups and styles of play. Read More →

In 2009, only months after the Pittsburgh Steelers won an NFL record sixth Super Bowl, the Penguins won the NHL Stanley Cup with players who–not too long ago–were teens themselves. The win came alongside news that The Economist ranked Pittsburgh America’s most livable city and that President Barack Obama hand-selected Pittsburgh to host the September G20 summit. Pittsburgh’s also been fortunate enough to be seen as a national example for recovery from media outlets like The New York Times and Newsweek.

Indeed, it’s been a banner year for the Steel City. But what does it mean for your library’s teen services? Read More →