Another aspect of the CSLP theme “Own the Night” is Mad Science which ties in excellently with the 2012 BFYA pick, This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein by Kenneth Oppel. The book follows young Victor Frankenstein’s early attempts at alchemy as he strives to create the Elixir of Life to restore his ill twin brother. There are so many science programs that could be linked up with this book. Here are a few of my favorites. Read More →

For those of you who don’t already know, the Collaborative Summer Library Program‘s teen theme for 2012 is “Own the Night”, which calls to mind all manner of creepy, fun programs.’  Also, a lot of the books on this year’s Best Fiction for Young Adults list lend themselves to these creepy, fun ideas. Here are two “Own the Night” themed programs for the 2012 BFYA pick, Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake. Read More →

There are so many great fiction books on the 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults list that it was hard to pick just one to highlight. So, I fell back on an old favorite. The Chronicles of Harris Burdick shares 14 stories from well known young adult authors such as M.T. Anderson, Sherman Alexie, and Walter Dean Myers. All of these stories are based on the book The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris VanAllsburg, a book with wonderful illustrations and cryptic captions.

For years, I have used the portfolio edition of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick as a writing prompt for my teen writing group. They would each pick an illustration and write a story about it to share with the group. Now, with The Chronicles, I can also share stories with them by their favorite authors that were inspired by the same illustration. The stories are short enough that they could even be read aloud. A great, multi-week writing group program would be to show an illustration from The Mysteries and read the caption. Then, give the teens 30 minutes to write a short story based on the illustration. Then, read the corresponding story from The Chronicles. It’s a great chance to talk about point of view and perspective in writing because everyone can look at the same illustration and come up with a different story, which may or may not be wildly different from the version in the book. This could also tie in to talking about different books by the authors of the stories in the Chronicles and what the teens might have done differently than the authors if they had been writing the story.

To me, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick have always been inspiring. I’m glad to see that some of my favorite YA authors felt the same way. The Chronicles of Harris Burdick adds a whole new dimension to them.

With Thanksgiving over, winter break is fast approaching, and for most of us, that means an influx of teen patrons and their younger siblings. ‘ So, what’s a librarian to do with all these kids and teens? Frequently, winter wonderland story times and activities that are geared toward younger siblings are much too childish to interest our teen patrons, and holiday crafting programs that would interest teens are far too complicated for their younger brothers and sisters. Here are some fun activities that will have both your teen patrons and their younger siblings coming back for more. Read More →

What do your teens like to do? My county has a large population of teens who are interested in comic books, anime, and gaming. As any good library system, my system offers plenty of programming to draw this population in, but when the organizers of PalmCon– a local comic book and collectibles convention– approached the library with the opportunity to run a table at this year’s convention, we jumped at the chance. We saw it as an opportunity to gain exposure for our gaming and anime programs as well as our graphic novel collection.

We transformed our table into a mobile branch. Convention attendees were able to sign up for a library card as well as check out the popular graphic novels that we’d brought from our collections. They were able to learn about our anime and gaming programs. Publishers sent the library giveaways and prizes to hand out. Library staff members circulated among the convention’s 500 attendees encouraging people to stop by the library’s table which was busy the whole day.’  Costumed participants were photographed with their library cards.

The event was a huge success. Many of the convention’s attendees were not aware of the library’s extensive graphic novel collection or its related events. Convention organizer, Martin Pierro of’ Cosmic Times, said “‘ My motivation behind doing PalmCon was to help grow the local comic community and knowing that the library has a vast graphic novel collection – it just seemed like the perfect fit. It was a great arrangement, and as long as the library wants to come back, I will have a permanent table reserved’ for them for years to come.” Overall, the library signed up 11 new patrons, checked out 37 items, and made a lasting impression on the convention’s’ attendees.

So, having trouble attracting teens to your library? What do they like to do? Horseback riding? Crafting? Music? Start pairing up with these communities to find out about their events. Then, bring your library to your teens.

Even Stormtroopers love the library.

Even Stormtroopers love the library. Photo by Terry Bosky. Used with Permission.


Do you think Powerpoint is just for presentations? Meetings? Display? Think again. Powerpoint can also be used to create cool trivia and strategy games.

Creating trivia games is easy. Simply write down your multiple choice ‘ trivia questions and answers. Then, create a Powerpoint presentation with one question or answer on each slide.’ You can add animations, graphics, or’ sounds’ too. ‘ Then, hook up your computer to a projector or large monitor so everyone can see your presentation. Have your teens or teams create answer cards on labeled A-D on scrap paper. Then, when playing, they can hold them up before you display the answer.

TIP: It’s important to keep your script and to keep track of which teens or teams answered correctly before displaying the answer to avoid confusion.

Next, there are strategy games. These are similar to “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure” novels. They can be used to tease plots of book discussion books, or teens can create their own to share with the group.’ For these, you’ll be creating links to slides within the presentation. To do this with Powerpoint 2007:

Select the text that you wish to use1) Select the text that you wish to use to create the link. This will be part of your choice. For example, if you have the choice “fight the dragon” or “run away” you are going to create a link to a different slide for each choice.

2) With your mouse, right click on your selected text. A drop-down menu will appear. Select “Hyperlink” from this menu.

3) This will bring up another menu. On the left, you will notice tabs with places to link to. Select the tab labeled “Place in this document”. After doing this, you will see a list of the slides you have created on the right. Select the title of the slide that you wish to link to.Menu of selected items to link to

TIP: Be sure to map out your game so that you will know how many slides that you need for each decision. Also, keep your slide titles relevant to save time and aggravation when creating links.

You can create as many decisions, choices, questions, and answers as you want, but remember that each item you add will increase the file size which may create a problem when transferring it to another computer.

Facebook messengerTitle: Facebook Messenger

Platform: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android devices.

Cost: Free.

Facebook Messenger is an app designed by the popular social networking site to be able to send a message to anyone whether it be either text or Facebook message. This is different than sending messages from your Facebook app because it can also send the same message as a text to contacts in your phone who may or may not have Facebook. The app is also able to include pictures and your location.

Thinking that this would be a great tool for advertising library programs to teens, I was quick to download the app, and it is a great tool for messaging both phone contacts and Facebook contacts. The photo function and location functions are easy to use, and sending a message is just like sending a text. Unfortunately, the photo and location features are not accessible to teens already using the Facebook Mobile app on their smart phones. The message must be viewed from the full Facebook page or the Facebook messenger app in order to get these additional features. There is also privacy issue in that names of any recipient of the message are visible to the other recipients.

However, this has the potential to be a great way to send reminders about programs to teen patrons. It reaches them wherever they are, whether they have a smart phone or not. It would also be a great way to send messages to conduct a photo scavenger hunt as patrons could send photos and messages to multiple contacts, such as team members and the librarian running the event.

In a podcast during the 2011 elections, Sarajo Wentling urged YALSA members to get involved.’  Having been with YALSA for 13 years and serving on various boards and committees, our 2012 secretary certainly practices what she preaches.’  I had an opportunity to talk with Sarajo about her experiences with YALSA and her plans for her term as secretary.’  Here’s what she had to say.

What was your reaction when you found out that you’d won the election?

When I got the call from Beth Yoke telling me I’d won, I was super-excited.’  I’ve been serving on the Board in an ex-officio capacity for the last two years, and I’m really looking forward to having a more active role in both the Board and Executive Committee over the next three years.

How long have you been involved with YALSA, and what made you want to get involved?

I’ve been a member of YALSA since I was a grad student about 13 years ago. Time flies!’  I started on my first committee, YALSA’s Division and Membership Promotion in 2000.’ ‘  I knew that I wanted to work with youth, but it was the teen end of the spectrum that I was really drawn to.’  It seemed a natural fit, joining YALSA, to make connections and use the resources available to me.
Read More →

Name:Boopsie BookCheck CCPL mobile

Platform: Android, iPhone,iPad, J2ME, Palm OS, Symbian S60, Windows Mobile, and Blackberry.

Cost: Requires access to a library using Boopsie for mobile access.

You may be wondering why the App of the Week is BookCheck, but the actual app link is to the’  CCPL’  (Cuyahoga County Public Library) app.’  I’ve set up the review this way because BookCheck is a new app in a suite of mobile library apps’  powered by Boopsie.’  CCPL in Ohio is the first library to offer the app, which allows patrons to check out library books via their smart phones. Read More →