A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

It’s hard to believe that half of December has passed and we’re nearly into 2016! With the countdown to Winter Break comes a familiar scene to those in academic, school, and public libraries — groups of teens stopping by to study for finals or work on projects and papers. As they set up camp in our study rooms or computer areas, plug their gadgets into every available outlet, hook up all of their devices to our wifi, and take over the group study tables, their eyes are a mix of focus and stress. What can we do help alleviate some stress and add some fun to their day? Have the Finals Fairy come for a visit!

This past week several academic libraries were visited by the Finals Fairy who left hidden treasures for students to find. Through posts on Instagram, students were encouraged to participate and received clues as to where gifts of candy, Red Bull, coloring books, and coupons for free coffee were stashed in the library. Gifts were not hidden all at once, but were spread out throughout the days of finals week. The Future of Library Services for and with Teens discusses how the majority of today’s teens are online, use social networks, and are accustomed to 24/7 access to friends, family, and peers. Hiding goodies in the library and posting about it at all hours of the day (and night) is a way for libraries to engage with teens both in a fun way and on their time schedule. A game such as the Finals Fairy can be used to highlight specific resources and collections that are useful to student projects in addition to non-school related items such as the entertainment DVDs. Although the selected Instagram images are from academic libraries, the Finals Fairy could visit any library where teens and patrons are feeling the end of the year crunch.

Not only is it finals week for students, but we are also in the midst of the holiday season and libraries are decked out in book-themed decorations. This year many libraries are constructing snowmen, fireplaces, and trees out of books complete with lights, scarves, and faces. Has your library made one of these displays? We want to hear from you! How do you determine which books to use? Are the books from reference, donations, weeded items, or current items from the collection marked in the catalog as unavailable or on display? Have you ever had a patron who wanted a book from the middle of the display? Could be a fun winter project to get your teens involved with!

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A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

International Games Day (IGD) took place on Saturday, November 21 as libraries worldwide hosted an array of gaming events. Now in its eighth year, IGD is guided by the American Library Association (ALA) in collaboration with Nordic Game Day and the Australian Library and Information Association. Participation is free, and libraries can request game donations from sponsors or opt to join online international games such as this year’s Minecraft Hunger Games tournament and the telephone-style game, Global Gossip.

In addition to highlighting another way that libraries offer more than books, IGD provides an opportunity for teens to participate in an intergenerational program that is social, educational, skill-building, and fun! Participating libraries offered a variety of activities from tabletop games to life-size versions of Twister, checkers, and Scrabble. Some libraries also provided an opportunity for teens to try their hand at new technology  through video games, virtual reality gaming, Lego Mindstorm activities, augmented reality sandboxes, and iPad games. The Future of Libraries for and with Teens report suggests that libraries give teens the chance to experience technology tools and devices in an informal setting, and IGD can provide such occasion.

Did your library participate in International Games Day? Have you hosted teen gaming events at your library? Share with us in the comments section below!

Please visit the International Games Day website for more information about this worldwide event.

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A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

The adult coloring book craze is a trend that continues to take the library world by storm, with libraries around the country organizing coloring book clubs. Containing far more detail than children’s coloring books and used for stress relief and relaxation, these books make for fun and easy programming with both teens and adults. The Future of Library Services for and with Teens report discusses the importance of developing individual relationships between library staff and teens in the community. Hosting a teen coloring event may be successful both in terms of bringing new faces into the library and getting those that might be more shy to open up during a quiet and relaxed activity.

Have you held a coloring program at your library? Any favorite books or online sites with printable pages that you’d recommend? Markers, pencils, or pens? Share with us in the comments section below!

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A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

The week of Sunday, October 18 through Saturday, October 24 marked YALSA’s 2015 Teen Read Week. With a “Get Away @ your library” theme, libraries were encouraged to showcase resources and activities to the teen community and support reading for fun. This year’s theme was selected to “help teens escape from the day to day grind of school, homework, family responsibilities, part time jobs and so on by picking up something to read.” Started in 1998, Teen Read Week is held every October to encourage teen reading and library use.

From author visits and in-house or social media contests to book giveaways and food, libraries spotlighted a number of creative ways to bring teens into the library. Maintaining connections with current teen library users and reaching out to new, potential users through both physical and digital library channels is important in light of comparisons provided in The Future of Library Services for and with Teens report. Whereas youth participation in libraries was previously a formal library-driven activity to gain feedback on collections or space, the envisioned future of youth participation is much more flexible and informal, with all teens in both the physical and digital library space receiving an opportunity to develop, implement, and evaluate programs and services. Encouraging teens to engage in the library events such as Teen Read Week may be the perfect way to gain insight from those hard to reach teens!

Did you celebrate Teen Read Week at your library? We want to hear from you! Share with us in the comments section below.

For more information on Teen Read Week, please visit the Teen Read Week website.

More information on the envisioned future of youth participation in libraries, please see The Future of Library Services for and with Teens report.

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A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

Banned Books Week kicked off yesterday, Sunday, September 27 and Instagram users are posting photos in celebration of their fREADom to read. Running from September 27 through Saturday, October 3, this year’s Banned Books Week focuses on young adult books. It may be easy to call to mind cases of challenged books and censorship that made their way to media outlets, but both the YALSA wiki and the American Library Association’s Challenges to Library Materials page remind us that a challenge can also include a patron expressing concern over an item or requesting that it be shelved in another collection. YALSA’s The Future of Library Services for and with Teens report lists intellectual freedom as one of the core values librarians should hold as they protect the rights of teens to access information and educate the community about intellectual freedom.

Are you doing something to celebrate Banned Books Week? Book lists, displays, games, posters? We want to know! Share with us in the comments section below.

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A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

As libraries continue to evaluate the needs of their communities, the physical space of libraries may evolve in an effort to meet those needs. Space may be repurposed for a teen area, new tables and chairs might arrive so patrons can create their own collaborative spaces, and group study rooms may be constructed. For patrons that rely on digital devices, additional outlets or charging stations could be in demand, desktop stations may move to make room for laptop bars, and mounted televisions for gaming, video conferencing, and collaborative projects may be needed. Below are some examples of libraries that underwent renovations, purchased new furniture, or reorganized bookshelves to make room for more open spaces and meet the changing technology needs of their patrons. Has your library undergone a similar change? We want to hear from you! Share with us in the comments section below.

For more information about teen spaces and the envisioned future of library spaces, please see The Need for Teen Spaces in Public Libraries and The Future of Library Services for and with Teens report.

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A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

This week we’re looking at ways to reach teens by venturing out into the community. Teens are a diverse population and their interests and circumstances may not always bring them into our library buildings. What can we do to reach out and meet them where they are around town? Which outreach programs should we offer? How can we establish ourselves as a partner in the community, bringing the materials and services to those that need it? Below are some examples of libraries that have partnered with local organizations and sports teams and, through book mobiles or book bikes, have brought library services out into the community.

Does your library have a book mobile or book bike? Have you partnered with local schools, organizations or sports teams? Set up a booth at a community market or sporting event? We want to hear from you! Share your outreach services with us in the comments section below.
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A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

This week we’re looking at two ways to spice up your library’s Instagram account and engage users with library memes and opening lines of books. With websites that allow you to create your own memes using popular themes or uploaded images, the possibilities for witty library humor are endless! For #firstlinefriday or #firstsentence posts on the first of each month, some libraries share opening lines of books as a way to engage followers with trivia, to advertise an upcoming book club, or showcase new materials in the collection.

Have you created memes for your library’s social media accounts? Have a preferred go to meme generator? Posted any opening lines? Share with us in the comments section below!

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A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.
As of this year, the American Library Association (ALA) has designated June as GLBT Book Month to celebrate authors and books depicting the lives and experiences of members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. While many libraries Instagrammed their GLBT displays earlier in the month, many more images were posted after last week’s Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage. With photos of book spines arranged in rainbows, #bookfacefriday posts, and images of library booths at pride events, libraries showed their support for the GLBT community.
For resources on selecting materials for displays or collection development, the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) provides resources including the Stonewall Book Award recipients and lists of Rainbow Books and Over the Rainbow Books for youth and adults, respectively.

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A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what is a video worth? Instagram may be best known as a platform for sharing images that have been enhanced with just the right filters and photo editing tools, but it also comes in handy for sharing video content. The app may limit video to only fifteen seconds, but users can either shoot video live through Instagram or export content created through another app to Instagram of sharing. From book reviews and clips of programs in progress to behind the scenes looks and how to use library resources, the videos that can be shared with users are endless. Do you take so many photos at programs that you can’t decide which ones to post without overloading your followers? Apps like SlideLab, Replay, and Flipagram allow you to select and organize your photographs to create a slideshow, add music, share the final product on Instagram, and not feel the pressure to pick only a few favorite pictures. Looking for something different to spice up your feed? With the Dubsmash app you can take video of yourself lip-synching well known bits from movies, tv shows, commercials, or songs for a post that’s hilarious and shows a different side of the library staff. Turn up your volume and take a look at a sample of library Instagram videos that we’ve included below. Have you posted videos on your library’s Instagram? Tell us about it in the comments section below!

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