ttwbingoThe Johnson County Library (Overland Park, KS) is hosting Teen Tech Bingo this week. Teens are entered into a drawing for every five tech activities completed. Activities include make your own avatar and creating a video on We have mounted table-top tents on top of the public youth computers that point teens to the internet location where they can begin Teen Tech Bingo.

This is a self-directed activity, which helps because we can get very busy at the neighborhood branches. It’s easy for staff to recommend the activity, whereas putting together an afternoon program during the “schools out” session would require a lot more effort (i.e. schedule changes and program prep time).

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Happy Teen Tech Week!

How can you celebrate this week?

  • Have your teens take the YALSA Teen Tech Week Survey, where they can tell us about how they use online video and vote for the 2010 theme! (Theme options: TMI @ your library, FYI @ yourlibrary, and Create Listen Learn @ your library). There is also a write-in box where teens can suggest their own themes!
  • Tell us what you’re doing for Teen Tech Week on the Teen Tech Week Wiki
  • Take photos and videos of your events and share them with the world. Tag the media with “TeenTechWeek”.
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Libraries of varying shapes and sizes are gearing up for Teen Tech Week, including school libraries, libraries on a budget, and even some first-year celebrators! If you work in one of these’  library types, then you’ll want to check out the Teen Tech Week Voice Thread presentations. These free online presentations’  walk through the steps and ideas for arranging Teen Tech Week celebrations within restricted access school environments and’  low/cut budget scenarios.

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They’re’ Back…

I’ am happy to announce that YALSA will once again award 20 Teen Tech Mini Grants, each valued at $500! The grants will assist’ libraries that are planning creative Teen Tech Week events for the 2009 celebration, Press Play @ Your Library.

Applications are due no later than January 19th, 2009.’  Winners will be announced the week of Feb. 9th.’  The brief grant application is available. Read More →

What goes on in the mind of the authors that write for tweens? How do they approach the tween audience? During the YALSA preconference, Got Tweens? Serving Younger Teens and Tweens, the audience heard six tween authors share their thoughts. Below are some notes regarding their take on being a tween and writing for a younger audience. Read More →

While attending the ALA conference I had the wonderful opportunity of hearing first-hand the successes of a very active teen advisory group located at the Oakland Public Library. Active teen leaders shared stories about reaching out into the community to represent the library to their peers and elders. Here is a summary of what teens at Oakland Public Library are doing to connect the community with library resources:

  • Teens participate in library legislative day by traveling to the state capital and meeting with senators to advocate for libraries.
  • They represent the library and youth library council at public speaking and community events.
  • Teens present concerns and issues to the library board.
  • The teen panelists explained how being YLC members has provided them with opportunities to develop skills in public speaking, organization, and reaching out to others. Read More →

Congratulations to the winner and finalists of the Teen Tech Week Best promotional song contest! Our teen contestants created songs promoting Teen Tech Week and the technology resources that the library has to offer. Songs were judged on creativity, lyrical construction, effectives of promoting technologies in libraries, and overall craftsmanship. The submissions were all very creative, drawing from a wide spectrum of musical talent and style.

Michelle Visent, a student at Felix Varela Senior High School in Miami, Florida, is the winner of the 2008 Teen Tech Week Song Contest! Check out her winning song, “The Library”!

Second place went to Bryan Aguilar, also a student at Felix Varela Senior High School in Miami, Florida, for his song, “You’re a Handy One.”

Leon Moskatel, Anne McGrath, and Sarah Brandon of North Hollywood, California, came in third with “I Find It at the Library.”

Fourth place goes to Ben Heston and Josh Mattison, Longview, Washington, for “Overloading the Outlet: Library Song”
Stay tuned for Teen Tech Week 2009! Have a contest idea? Submit it to Stephanie Iser, committee chair for the 2009 celebration.

Teens from both Central and Hoffman Heights branches of Aurora Public Library competed in our first collaborative Runescape tournament! The teens started with brand new avatars on Tutorial Island and had one hour to collect as many points as possible. We used cell phones to determine the start and the finish of the battle at the two branches.

Both winners won a $25 gift certificate donated by Nickel-A-Play Arcade in Aurora. Mark was awarded an additional $15 gift certificate to Anthony’s Pizza and Pasta for being the Grand Champion!

Librarians Lisa Cole and Crystal Niedzwiadek and Library Clerk Antwoine Chapman coordinated the event with the input of teens at a planning meeting. We started by getting familiar with Runescape and creating our own avatars. Admittedly, we only made it partly through the Tutorial Island before we began to feel overwhelmed. We decided to keep it simple for the tournament and had our teens start from the beginning with a new avatar. This proved to be a mistake—several of the teens at both branches were disappointed that they could not use their own avatars for the battle. In fact, two teens at Central decided to boycott the event until their friend convinced them that it would be fun.

During the competition we kept in touch with our cell phones to determine who was in the lead. The teens at Hoffman Heights began to get bored when they realized that Donny was well in the lead. So, one by one they logged off and started to play with their own avatars. Crystal had to calm two teens down who got into a bit of a verbal scuffle. Apparently, there are egos involved with some gamers.

After the winners were announced, pizza and soda was served and we talked about how we could make the tournament better. The teens suggested that we let them use their own avatars and that we have Bounty Hunter, Clan Wars and Duel Arena battles. We are really not sure what this means, but we hope to find out. There was also the issue of some teens being members and others being non-members. All and all, we were pleased with our attempt at doing something fun for the 14 teens that attended our TTW event!

Crystal Niedzwiadek

Youth Programming Specialist
Aurora Public Library, Colorado

To celebrate Teen Tech Week the Brewster Ladies Library partnered with the Lighthouse Charter School of Cape Cod for a Library 2.0 Community Night designed and staffed by teens. The project was conceived in December 2007 during a brainstorming session with a Language Arts teacher at the charter school. We wanted to encourage teens to come to the library and learn more about its resources and ultimately decided to offer a “Library 2.0” seminar for students. (Each semester, the charter school offers elective seminars in addition to the normal curriculum, covering topics of interest selected by the instructors.) We put together a course description and to our delight, the class filled immediately.

Beginning in January twelve students and their teacher came to the library on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons for 90-minute sessions. Since this was a new undertaking, we decided to let the kids set the agenda-for the most part. Not surprisingly, they chose to pursue projects using social networking technologies. They picked some of their favorite applications and a few new ones and set out to become “experts.” Working with Blogger, Flickr,, LibraryThing, Project Playlist, and YouTube they mapped out the basics of each tool.

The teens created a blog called Interesting Teen Books to discuss their favorite reads, which will be linked to the teen section of our website. Each student learned how to use LibraryThing and created a personal page. They also made suggestions for the Library’s LibraryThing page of new teen titles. Using Project Playlist each teen created a playlist of songs for a favorite book and burned the songs onto CDs (after legally purchasing them). Our traditional list of links to homework help and cool websites is being retooled using The students mastered the site and can now make suggestions for adding additional links to our BLL Teens page. To spice up our website the kids wanted better pictures and decided Flickr was the way to go. The library’s new Teen Gallery will be available to the public on Flickr as soon as they all hand in their photo release formsJ You Tube was the biggest challenge since the group wanted to write, shoot, and edit their own PSA about using the library. Armed with two brand new video cameras, purchased with funds from our LSTA Serving Tweens and Teens grant, they shot footage in and around the library and downloaded it to the library’s new iMacs. Editing with iMovie, the teens are crafting their take what it means to use the library.

Everything came together on the final day of the seminar, which coincided with Teen Tech Week. The library opened its doors to community to let the kids show off their stuff. The library auditorium provided the venue for most of the “stations.” With laptops in hand, students acted as teachers and tour guides and helped family, friends, and community members set up their own accounts with various social networking tools. They had all practiced with a particular application and were ready to go. Videos rolled, CDs played, pictures snapped, and there was even a session of Guitar Hero on the library’s new Wii to keep the party going. Refreshments were donated by local merchants and the evening was a total success. The best part of all? The teens in the seminar asked if we could offer “Library 2.0, Part 2” next semester so they could continue with their projects!

Kathleen Mahoney, Youth Services, Brewster Ladies Library

We had a VERY busy TTW in the Eagle Valley Library District! Our Library District includes 3 branches in Eagle County, CO, serving an area that encompasses everything from the ski resorts of Vail and Beaver Creek to cattle ranches and very small towns (but no big cities).

We spent our mornings and early afternoons this week doing presentations to almost every 8th grader in the Eagle County School District (241 kids in 11 classes) on how to access and use our numerous online databases for research. We also explained about audiobooks and downloadable eaudiobooks, and gave them each a booklet of all of the teen titles we have in each format.

Additionally, we were fortunate that singer/songwriter/recording artist Kathy Moser, who is from Pennsylvania, was going to be in our area this week and had some time to fit in a songwriting and recording program for each of our 3 branches. She has a portable recording studio, using the Garage Band program, to record songs to which the teens themselves write the lyrics. Kathy has the kids do almost everything, from running the computer to adding some of the background sounds. This time she called her program “Living in the Digital Age” and had them write lyrics about both good and bad aspects of technology. She also had a conversation with them in which she brought up the effects on the environment, both good and bad, of technology. Even the shyest teens were enticed to join in the rap recording, all 3 of which can be heard on Kathy’s MySpace page

Gypsum’s lyrics

I check my myspace everyday
just to see what my friends say

even though my friend’s page is really stacked
my myspace keeps getting hacked
one thing you can say about hackers
they work like dogs, they ain’t no slackers
my computer’s soooo sloooooooow
I just want to kill it, to make it go

Eagle’s Lyrics

So Much information is such a frustration
everything is digital for our generation
I-pod, cellphone, Blackberry, laptop
smaller, faster, coming to the shop
gigabyte, megabyte, touch screen, touch screen, what a sight
internet connecting, texting all night
fits in your pocket- take it anywhere
with all those screens, all you do is stare

Each library also had individual programs. At the Avon Library teens will spend this afternoon eating pizza and watching the movie “School of Rock”; the Eagle Library teens were given a music trivia scavenger hunt to do for a prize; and at the Gypsum Library the teens created their own anime music videos (AMVs) and showed them at a Teen Night Thursday night. The AMVs ran the gamut from drama and love stories to comedy, and were amazing. These take a lot of patience, creativity, and knowledge of anime. We plan to expand on this and create an AMV club this spring.

We want to give a HUGE thank you to YALSA and Dungeons and Dragons for the mini-grant that allowed us to fit so much programming into the week!

Julie Richards, Teen Services Librarian, Eagle Valley Library District