Join author Henry Jenkins, to hear him talk about “We’re not playing around here!: The pedagogical potential of computer and video games.”
A live audio stream will be set up in Second Life on the New Media Consortium (NMC) Campus in the Huntley Ballroom. The lecture starts at 3pm sl time (PST) Wednesday, December 20. Stop by an hour before to show your moves on the virtual dance floor.

For more information, see:

Sign up for a free account on and teleport to the NMC campus.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

danah boyd, PhD candidate at the School of Information in Berkeley, CA is featured on this week’s spotlight for Digital Media and Learning about youth and net neutrality.

She writes, “Net neutrality is not just a geek thing; it’s a generation thing. If we want to build a world where youth have a voice online, we have to keep the net neutral.”

Be sure to watch the short YouTube clip on ‘Ask a Ninja’ to find out more about net neutrality.

In light of Time Magazine’s announcement as ‘You’ being the person of the year for 2006, “for the growth and influence of user-generated content,” net neutrality is a pretty big deal.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Free Image Hosting at

Anastasia Goodstein reports in this week’s BusinessWeek how and why teens are experimenting with their identity in virtual environments such as Teen Second Life and Meez.

Also, check out Mediasnackers podcast with Global Kids. They talk about bringing a youth development model to digital media, particularly Teen Second Life.

Is your library involved in a virtual world with teens? Consider adding it to the Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki Page or check YALSAs Teen Tech Week wiki.

btw, you might catch a glimpse of Santa at the Cybrary City opening tomorrow in Second Life at 2:30p PST, where librarians can showcase their local resources.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Thanks to Librarian and project director of the Write to Read Program, Amy Cheney, YALSA’s Outreach to Young Adults with Special Needs committee has been sharing information about an upcoming movie coming to theatres on January 12: Freedom Writers starring Hilary Swank. It is set to premiere in the following locations: Texas: Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, El Paso, Waco, McAllen, and Harlingen, Ohio, Nashville, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, and Washington DC.

The trailer is here and the movie is based on a true story about teacher Erin Gruwell in Long Beach, California. The writers perform events throughout the country. The movie was based on the book, Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them (Main Street Books, 1999) with Zlata Filipovic (of Zlata’s Diary, Penguin, 1995, 2006 reissue) being one of the contributing writers.

Bring teens to the movie!
Freedom Writers on MySpace

Don’t forget-the deadline for the Sagebrush Award is today! Have a reading program that has encouraged life-long reading habits for young adults? Apply to be awarded $1,000 to attend upcoming ALA annual conference in Washington DC.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Next Tuesday, December 5, 8:45amGMT, Young Adult Librarian Jean Gardner, from the Topeka Shawnee County Public Library will be presenting with other Kansas partners on their project in Second Life entitled, “Teaching & Learning in Massively Multiplayer Virtual Worlds: Second Life Adventures in Learning.” The audio stream will be available here or in-world at Pietros Place (Yora 70, 150). Jean will be talking about her project with youth in which book club members create and share SL resources based on Fahrenheit 451.

More virtual world news:

According to a BBC news article today, “Virtual Pals Soar in Importance” which talks about new directions the Internet is heading.

Look for Anastasia Goodstein’s (ypulse) BusinessWeek column next week where she writes about teens and virtual reality environments in terms of developmental theories.

Librarians (several YALSA members) and partners on InfoIsland in Second Life are gearing up for Cybrary City open house next Wednesday, 2:30pPST. Cybrary City is sponsored by Talis and is a virtual training space for librarians and a place for groups to come together that are working on different projects. There are several presences of virtual library services for teens in Cybrary City.

Virtual online travel agency. Check it out! Synthravels offers guided tours of virtual worlds. You pick the date, time, destination, have the program downloaded on your computer-and that’s it! Runescape, World of Warcraft, Second Life, There, and more (over 25!) What better way to understand why teens find these virtual worlds so compelling.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

During October a small group of YALSA bloggers are posting ideas and information about positive uses of social networking tools in schools and libraries. Here’s positive use #17.

YA author Brent Hartinger generously donated his time to talk about social networking issues and DOPA. If DOPA had passed, many teens would be unable to engage in opportunities to connect with authors such as Brent. Schools and public libraries miss out on being able to connect authors in places teens are at and comfortable in communicating.

1. When did you decide to start using social networking tools such as blogs and MySpace? Did you have an online presence and belong to any fanfiction communities, participate on forums, etc. long before you started publishing books?

Hmmm, interestingly, this whole online community thing sort of coincided with my emergence as a writer. I sold my first novel in 2001, and I immediately started putting together my website. I was definitely connected before that, but not nearly in the way I am now. It’s interesting to think about how connected I’d be if I wasn’t an author. Trying to sell books, and making myself available to readers, that’s definitely a motivation, partly because it’s so darn much fun, but also because, hey, this is how I make my living, and I need to eat!

2. How has having an online presence through these social networking tools allowed you to connect with teens and other authors or fans in ways that you wouldn’t have been able to?

Oh, it’s amazing! I respond to dozens of emails, and chat with at least another dozen people via IM every single week. And then there’s blog postings, and responses to my postings, which I always respond to. I swear, every single day, some new opportunity comes to me via the internet. Which is great, even if I’m chronically way over-extended.

I happen to be an author who does a lot of “live” events–I tour for every book, and speak at a lot of conferences and schools, something like 60 events a year. But even with all that, I don’t have nearly the “live” contact with readers that I have online, which is definitely in the thousands of people every year.

3. What is your criteria for ‘friending’ people on your MySpace page?

Well, I’m pretty liberal. But if I sense that it’s spam, someone trying to sell me something, I say no. Frankly, that really annoys me. I love to sell books too, but only if readers come to me! I’m an opt-in kinda guy.

4. There has been criticism of the scene(s) in Geography Club where Kevin and Russell, online friends first, meet in person. If teens do want to meet their online friend in person, what would you recommend?

Keep in mind that, in the book, Russel discovers that he and Kevin definitely go to the same school. So they “know” each other, and they know they’re both teenagers–they just don’t know each other’s names. That scene was also written in 1999, long before we became hyper-aware of these things.

In real life, I would always absolutely recommend meeting in a public place, like a mall, and definitely going with friends. Don’t EVER go anywhere with anyone alone on that first meeting. Believe me, there are lot of sickos out there–and most of them don’t necessarily look like sickos!

5. If the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA) had passed in its current form, and teens possibly would be unable to access your MySpace site from the school or public library, what does that mean for you?

That would be unforunate, because I do hear from a lot of folks from school. Mostly, I’d think it would just be sad, because I’d like to see individual schools pass their own policies on these things, based on the needs of their own students. If they must mandate anything, how about some kind of reasonable, non-hysterical online education? (With the funding to pay for it, of course!)

6. Do you have any idea how many young adult authors have MySpace pages?

More and more. Obviously everyone has limits as to what they can do in a day, but I happen to think it’s almost required. In fact, I often say that if you’re uncomfortable dealing with people, and don’t want to have anything to do with anything online, you might consider another profession than that writer of teen books. These days, it’s almost a requirement that you be accessible to fans, at least if you want to sell books. But honestly, it’s the best part of my job, and I didn’t think it would be. I mean, fan email? How could that EVER get old?

7. Anything else you want to add?
Well, I’m pretty proud of my website, which

I think it pretty unique and is hopefully an entertainment experience in itself.

Here’s my MySpace profile

And my Live Journal blog

And I also contribute to another blog,, one about issues of censorship and intellectual freedom, for a group I helped found called Authors Supporting Intellectual Freedom (or AS IF!)

Much thanks to Brent for his time!

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

There was a lovely profile of Gary Paulsen in yesterday’s New York Times. I spoke to the author of the piece and she indicated that her son asked her why she did not profile a writer HE liked. Hence, Gary’s name came up. The profile is vintage Paulsen and has a nofty quote from a NYC librarian and former chair of the Newbery Committee, too.