Our annual digital camera scavenger hunt is among the easiest of programs to run. It basically works like a promotional street team: the teens leave the library, work with people in the town to cross off items on the list (and, in the meantime, spread the word about the library program), and then the teens come back with the evidence on their phones and cameras.

613 Teen Scavenger Hunt

First, the rules:

1. Someone from the team must be in the photo. In group photos, everyone has to be in the photo.

2. All team members must be aged 12-19 (2-4 team members per team)

3. All team members must start at the library together (hunt begins at 2:05 pm) and arrive at the library by 3:45 pm with their camera. For every minute you are late, 5 items are disqualified

4. All items must be visible in a photo

5. All team members must act respectfully at all times—this includes asking permission for taking anyone’s photo

6. Once arriving at the library, a team member must describe each photo to a library staff member.

7. All photos must be on the same camera, but multiple items can be in one photo Read More →

Yesterday the Pew Internet in American Life project released a report on wireless Internet use. When I first heard about the report I didn’t think very broadly about what the data might have to say about the impact of access for teens (and for libraries for that matter). But, when I read several news reports that highlighted findings that wireless access, particularly on mobile devices, is serving to lessen the digital divide I started thinking about teens. While not everyone has what some might consider traditional internet access at home – a wired or wireless connection that is used with a laptop or desktop – that doesn’t mean that the Internet isn’t available in the home. People are accessing the Internet with laptops and desktops and they are using game consoles and handheld devices for their access.

If outside of the school teens use handheld devices and gaming consoles to access the Internet, we need to look at how our resources are provided to the age group. We need to make sure to provide access to programs and services in ways that work well for someone using an Internet enabled device. For example: Read More →

In today’s New York Times there is a short article about the use of cellphones as a coupon delivery mechanism. What an interesting idea. And, what an even more interesting idea, when put within the lens of a library and serving teens within the library. For example, what if via their cellphones teens could access a coupon for:

  • A percentage off on making photocopies, or even a waiver on paying for copying?
  • A percentage off on their fines, or even a waiver of their fines?
  • An invitation to be one of the first people to be able to checkout a new book of a favorite author? (Or a new CD from a favorite musician, a new DVD with a favorite actor, a new game within a favorite genre, etc.)
  • The opportunity to be one of the first to try out a new program or service at the library? Do you want to know if teens are interested in something? Send them a coupon invite, via their cellphones, to try something out and let the redemption of the coupons fill you in on what their interests are.

Read More →

As Billboard.com reports, Grammy-winning and chart-topping producer Timbaland has struck a deal with Verizon Wireless to produce the first ever straight-to-cell phone album.

The tracks, which will be leaked to V Cast subscribers once a month through 2008, will feature Timbaland collaborate with different artists while touring the country in a mobile recording studio. Each will include a full-length MP3 and ringtone.

Cell phones may represent the new frontier for major record labels, who have been struggling to find a viable medium to sell their wares to new generations. And whereas artists used to brag about having a number one album, now they brag about having the top ringtone. This is in part due to the more stringent locks placed on cell phones, which record companies hope can keep users from redistributing songs.

Perhaps most striking is Timbaland’s statement, “every place don’t get a CD [but] everybody has a mobile phone.” Mobile phones have long overtaken CD players among teens, and as the surging popularity of music and camera-equipped phones are demonstrating a convergence in media and mobile communication that offers exciting possibilities for how media is delivered to teens (which Japan is already seeing with novels).

Now imagine your library sent teens snippets of novels through Twitter to whet their appetite for more, or produced and shared multimedia content with services like Qik, PixPulse, Orb, or MBIT TV. Hopefully, like with lots of other digital content, mobile media won’t leave libraries in the dust. Until then, try sum cell xprments 2 c if u cn get ur word out.

Exclusively via cellphone, “Thunder Road” by Steven Sanders will reach cell phones (Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T). Read the article here. Will you subscribe? If not, what comic would you subscribe to via cell phone? More reason to offer SMS to patrons? Share your stories.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki