This post was written by Jennifer Manning, AspireIT Partnerships Program Director

The National Center for Women & Information Technology’s Aspirations in Computing (AiC) program is designed to support young women in computing by providing recognition, encouragement, and opportunities to jobs, scholarships, and connections to the tech community. NCWIT Aspirations has recognized over 10,000 women in 9th -12th grade for their aspirations and passion in computing and built a supportive network in each of the 79 regional affiliates. This network includes parents, industry professionals, community leaders, and educators all working together to increase the meaningful participation of women in computing and technology within their community

Applications for the next Aspirations cohort are open now and it’s your opportunity to encourage high school girls to apply (and at the same time become their mentor and supporter). More than two-thirds of past applicants said they applied because they were encouraged to do so by an educator or mentor. As Aspirations in Computing Award recipients, those selected will join the nationwide AiC Community and have exclusive opportunities available as they pursue computing and technology in their academic and professional careers. Aspirations is a research-based program that provides long term support to program participants, with 91% of past award recipients continuing on to study STEM in college as a major or minor–77% of those in computing or engineering.

To learn about the array of NCWIT Aspirations in Computing engagement opportunities available, please take some time to watch the 30 minute informational video

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I often find it annoying that, while I’m searching for manga at the library, I overhear other patrons talking about just how awesome and thing-I-am-not-allowed-to-say-in-polite-company-kicking their favorite male characters are. As a girl otaku (manga and anime fan, for the uninitiated) I find this rather disappointing. Now, I’m not saying that male characters are bad (you won’t find a huger Edward Elric fan in all of Pittsburgh than me. Well, probably) but where’s the gender equality? Way back in the early days of manga, Osamu Tezuka (yes, THAT Tezuka, the one they call the God of Manga?!) revolutionized the hero archetype with his comic Pricess Knight, featuring a heroine who could handle a sword just as well as any man. Where’s that spirit in today’s comics, I ask? Read More →

fly on the wall  by e. lockhart fly on the wall is a three part story about Gretchen Yee’s sudden insight into the actions of boys. How? She’s turned into a fly on the boy’s locker room, of course. :3

And who uses the guys’ locker room? Why her crush, OF COURSE. And those other guys. The jocks/stoners. And some more guys. Like the gay ones. Well. She gets more than she bargained for, but it all comes together. Read More →

Okaaaaayy….since I’m bored and this is supposed to be a blog for a library and hence a library means books and I’m a teen and I read books why not babble on about new books/old books that I adore?

Right, done with the justification for random BLAH that suddenly is going to pop up on the blog.
boyfriend list coverthe boyfriend list by e. lockhart (LOLZ.), and the sequel

the boy book by e. lockhartthe boy book

These two (and possibly more) books document Ruby “Roo” Oliver’s unfortunate interactions and escapades with boys/guys/boyfriends/possible boyfriends/guys she’d love to have as boyfriends, and one “rebound” boyfriend (you know, the guy-you-go-out-with-for-one-date-because-your-boyfriend-just-broke-up-with-you dude.)

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In today’s New York Times there is an article titled, Sorry, Boys This is Our Domain, that focuses on the ways teen girls are using technology to create and collaborate and even to make names for themselves in the greater world.

Teen girls highlighted in the article include:

  • Martina Butler who was the first teen podcaster to receive national sponsorship for her podcast, EmoGirlTalk.
  • Lauren Renner and Sarada Cleary who started the web site A Girls World.

It’s exciting to read about what girls are doing as content creators and collaborators. Obviously, technology provides expanded opportunities for teens of both sexes to make their ideas, art, music, and so on available to a world-wide audience.

At first when reading the article I thought, Wow, this is a great way to help teen girls succeed in the area of empowerment as outlined in the developmental assets by the Search Institute. Then I thought, I wonder how this translates into the technology-based programs and services libraries provide all teens (boys and girls)? Are libraries giving teens the kinds of opportunities to create and collaborate that they want and need? Then I wondered, what would it look like if the library did provide these programs that were very specifically focused on content creation and collaboration? Would it mean simply making sure all teens have the ability to create and collaborate on library computers? Does it mean the library should definitely host blogs, wikis, and such that teens can add to? Does a library give all teens the chance to teach younger children about online content creation and collaboration?

Probably all of the above, but I also wondered, what does this article mean to libraries in terms of the gender preferences outlined? Do we need to think about different programs and services for the different genders? Should programs about creating online video – which is said to be a format/activity with more boy participation than girl participation – be geared to boys more than girls? Should blogging workshops – which are said to be of more interest to girls than boys – be geared specifically to girls?

The answers of course can only really come from talking with teens. Check out the article to find out what research seems to show about gender preference related to content creation and collaboration. Then see what your teens have to say about things. If they say the article is all wrong, or if they say it’s all right, maybe you can have them create content by writing their thoughts in letters to The New York Times.