Yesterday the New York Times published the first article, in a series, on the current state of reading. The focus of the first article is on the topic of electronic reading and whether or not reading text messages, blogs, web sites, etc. counts as reading. This is not a new question of course, and it’s a topic that I’ve posted on this blog about before, however, it’s important to pay attention to the New York Times story, and follow-up articles, for a few reasons, including: Read More →

Yesterday morning the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom sponsored a session titled Your Brain on DOPA.’  The program was designed to give attendees an opportunity to find out:

  • What is happening with federal and state legislation related to social networking (and with technology in general).’  John Morris, General Counsel for the Center for Democracy and Technology presented this part of the program.
  • What current research says about child and teen use of online tools in the areas of cyberbullying and predation. Dr. Michele Ybarra, President of Internet Solutions for Kids presented on this topic.
  • How libraries can educate their communities about the positive impact of social networking. This was the portion of the session that I presented.

Read More →

In this podcast, Kelly Czarnecki interviews Amy Alessio about the compilation of the 5th edition, Excellence in Library Services to Young Adults.

  • Listen
  • There will be a session at ALA on Monday, June 30 from 10:30am-12:30pm at the Marriott Anaheim Hotel, Salon A-D where “Winners from the Excellence in Library Services to Young Adults program will speak and highlight their initiatives in an interactive round table format.” For more of YALSA’s annual programs check out the wiki.

How often are teens criticized for not engaging in “proper reading”? According to a recent study by the UK’s National Year of Reading consortium, 45% of teen readers have been told off for their reading habits.

The researchers, through their “Read Up, Fed Up” report of British 11-14 year olds, also found the following:

  • There is an explosion of digital reading, with four out of ten top teen reads being online
  • Teens also love reading film scripts and song lyrics
  • Traditional literature is by no means lost, with Anne Frank’s Diary ranking just one place below Harry Potter nearly 60 years after it was written
  • A massive 80% of teens have actually written their own story, film, play or song

Read More →

Via RH Reality Check, I’ve learned about the awesome SexInfo. Launched in San Francisco by Internet Sexuality Infomartion Services (ISIS), SexInfo lets teens receive health information via text message when they send numerical codes for common questions–1 for a broken condom, 6 if you’re not sure you want to have sex, and so on. While the texts require minimal effort on the part of teens, the messages they receive in response fully utilize the character limit. Responses include clinic addresses, hours and phone numbers, and a brief (often empowering) message to the teen, like “It’s ur choice 2 have sex or not.” Read More →

Many librarians are probably familiar with designing programs that build developmental assets. We help build youth assets like leadership, helping others, and succeeding in school so that there is less of a chance that teens will make destructive choices such as vandalism and drugs.

You may even have heard of asset building in Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMORPGs) and Multi User Virtual Environments (MUVEs) such as World of Warcraft, Entropia Universe, Teen Second Life and more. This article in the May Harvard Business Review, Leadership’s Online Labs, talks about how real world transference can occur as a result of game play – from being leaders in online games to being leaders in the work world. Read More →

Over the past couple of weeks new web-based search tools have popped up. These tools are worth investigating as a way to help teens expand their research lives. Two of these search sites use images, in two completely different ways, as a way to enhance the search process:

  • Searchme – When someone enters a search term at Searchme the results are displayed visually in a scrollable stack. The result images are screenshots of the sites that match the search terms. For anyone familiar with iTunes and Apple’s cover flow style of display, the results “list” is very similar in look to that.Along with the visual results display, Searchme also filters results into categories. For example, in the image below, when the search term YALSA is entered into the search box, a list of categories appears for that search – libraries, children’s books, etc. A searcher can click on a specific category and see the results for just that category. Or, the searcher can click on all and see everything that Searchme uncovered. Even if just one category is selected, on the results page the other categories are displayed so it’s easy to switch from one to another.

    Read More →

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

I finished reading the results of Long Overdue, the national study conducted by the Americans for Libraries Council that was just released last week.
As Beth G.’s post indicated, providing services to teens is a high priority to many, according to the report.

While it is great to see that this is a number one priority, the justification for it seemed to me to be more out of using a deficit model for teens than as an opportunity and place where they can create and contribute to the library. Statements such as, “Concerns about the relationship between drugs, crime and teenagers were especially salient among focus group participants” or “providing a place for teens to congregate” seem to be missing something in terms of empowering teens to offer programs with true youth participation opportunities. Perhaps I’m splitting hairs, but maybe not-or perhaps by using a deficit model, it can be then justified hypothetically that since ‘our town does not have a crime problem among teenagers, the money does not really need to be spent to build stronger programs for teens at our library.’

Also, for a report to have the words ’21st Century’ in the title and not mention video games (please tell me I missed this in the report) is something I do not understand.

While Barnes and Noble and Amazon get several mentions as competitors for the relevance of libraries-what about Netflix or even social networking sites that provide a community many are seeking-which might be blocked in libraries and schools receiving e-rate funding? (side note: as Eli Neiburger says, ‘we’re in the content business, not the book business).

I hope people will respond about this report-either on the blog-especially to Beth G’s. discussion questions or in their own communities. What about teens themselves? I hope they were asked for their opinions too.