imagesTitle: Quizup
Cost: Free (with in-app purchases available)
Platform: iOS and Android

Is Quizup the latest app-craze to take over your teen area?’  Available initially only for iOS, this addictive trivia game was released for Android platforms just this month.’  With over 10 million iOS users already, the game is well on its way to over 1 million Android signups just 10 days after its platform release.’  In February, Quizup CEO Thor Fridriksson told Adweek‘ that on average, users spend 30 minutes per day on the app’s trivia challenges.’  So take a breath and get ready to plunge headlong into the world of Quizup!

With Quizup, players pit their wits against friends and strangers alike in real-time, intense, timed trivia challenges on hundreds of topics.’  With over 220,000 questions, and more added all the time, it is a hard game to get tired of.’  To start players sign up either through Facebook or an email address.’  If a teen chooses to use their Facebook account (which most of the teens I know do), the app will connect them with Facebook friends that also have the game. (The app will also notify players when Facebook friends sign up.) Privacy issues when using a Facebook account of course abound so library staff should encourage teens to think carefully when choosing this option.’  Players teens connect with in the game will see a teen Facebook profile picture and cover photo as well as being able to send messages through the app.
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foldifyTitle: Foldify

Cost: $2.99

Platform: iOS

Released in December of 2012, Foldify is an app that is quickly making the art of papercraft even more exciting.’  Using a mixture of finger painting tools, photos, and pre-build patters, Foldify allows you to create 3-D designs on your iPad that you can then print out and fold up into real 3-D figures.

Foldify offers 16 templates for different types of figures.’  With Foldify you can print your figures directly from the application via AirPrint or send it as a PDF over email.’  Any action you take in the app is instantly previewed in 3-D without delays or extra steps.’  Zoom in, rotate, draw on the templates, or add photos from your camera or library.’  Use stamps provided by the app like eyes, mustaches, mouths and more to enhance your design.’  The app also allows you to upload your creations to the Foldify serve and browse other user’s designs and print them as well.’  You can also share your figures through Facebook and Twitter with the rest of your friends!

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photo courtesy of flickr user Vancouver Public Library

photo courtesy of flickr user Vancouver Public Library

I’m on the job hunt.’  I have been for some time despite loving my job.’  I’m lucky enough to have found a position fairly quickly after graduating doing pretty much exactly what I want to do, being a teen librarian. ‘ I am also the first teen librarian my library has ever had.’  Yes, they have a separated YA collection (an only slightly more recent addition than me), but they had yet to offer a cohesive teen program let alone have a staff member devoted to the teens and to creating programming for them before I started working there.’  I got to start from scratch; to try out programs I thought would be fun and throw out things I saw didn’t work.’  It’s been a lot of work and while there is so much I would change or do differently and so many things I really want to do with my teens; I think that my first year as a Teen Librarian at a library experiencing their first year with teen centered programming, has been a great success.’  (I reserve the right to take back that statement after I see how our first teen summer reading program goes!)

But remember, I said I’m on the job hunt.’  Not because I don’t love my job, I really do.’  I’m looking for a new position because I am only part-time.

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“The greatest service which can be rendered to any country is to add a useful plant to its culture…”’ â€“Thomas Jefferson; Memorandum of Services to My Country, after 2 September 1800

You may have heard a lot of talk lately about seed libraries. In February, NPR ran a story entitled “How to Save a Public Library: Make it a Seed Bank.” ‘ If we put aside the argument over whether or not public libraries’ need‘ to be saved, this story actually highlighted an interesting movement that has been sweeping across the country and libraries are leading the way.

A seed lending library works on the simple principle that you can ‘lend’ out seeds to be grown by patrons who will then harvest new seeds and return them to the seed library to be lent out again.

Hosting a seed library can help you’ connect, create, and’ collaborate with your community, and especially with your teens.

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I’ve wanted to host a Minecraft program at my library ever since I began working there last August.’  I mentioned the idea to our teens and quickly saw that there was a captive audience for it. ‘ Minecraft is the epitome of this year’s YALSA presidential theme; with this game you can connect with your teen patrons, encourage them to collaborate, and create amazing things within the game! When Teen Tech Week came along, it felt like the perfect opportunity to test out a Minecraft program.

Working in a small library with limited resources, I knew there would be obstacles to overcome.’  We have eight public computers that are positioned directly in the center of the library and do not have a separate room for a teen space.’  Our lack of computers limited the number of potential participants right from the start since I knew I wouldn’t be able to use all of the computers. We also share a network with the other libraries in our consortium so I knew that hosting a server would be complicated.

I was also worried that my Minecraft skills were not up to par. I know a lot about the game, but I have to confess that I don’t really play….at all.’  I worried that I wouldn’t be able to monitor the players in a way that would work for everyone.’  I worried that I wouldn’t be able to help players who got stuck.’  I worried that something would go wrong with the game, and I wouldn’t be able to fix it.

Even with all these obstacles, without a budget, and without much technical know-how, I was able to pull off a successful Minecraft program at my public library…and you can, too!

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