Google’s Cr-48 Chrome Notebook pilot program generated a lot of buzz in the tech community when, late last year, laptops started appearing on people’s doorsteps–laptops with solid-state hard drives, no capslock keys, and built-in WiFi and 3G capabilities. The laptops were sent to people who, as Google put it, were “living on the web […] doing everything in the browser, from using web apps to storing all your files online.”

You can take their quiz to find out if you’re living on the web–but teens most definitely are. As adults, I think we get pretty settled into having our own computers at home, our own computers at work, and moving back and forth between them. But teens may be sharing a family computer at home, using computer labs at school, and doing homework and playing games on the computers at the library; they lead much more fluid technological lives with fewer fixed points. We need to be familiar with websites, apps, programs, and services that allow the user identical access from multiple devices–with things that keep their data in the cloud.

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A recent news article demonstrated how video games are fast becoming an international platform for musicians to showcase their work. If your library is using free software like Game Maker or the RPG Toolkit to develop games with teens, consider partnering them up with teen artists to develop the soundtrack.

Teens have access to a number of resources to help them understand where video game music comes from and what makes it successful. Read More →

If you’re free today, Wednesday, May 14 at 3:30pm EST, tune into for a presentation by Librarian Joseph Wilk on connecting with teens and music at your library. Go to, type in ‘plcmc’ in the upper right corner where it says ‘search here’, choose the ‘PLCMC Teens 1’ channel when it says ‘live’ and you’re in! You’ll need headphones and the latest Adobe Flash Player to view it. Think of the possibilities for using such a tool-gaming with other libraries, teens giving hosting their own radio show, author talks, etc. For more ideas, check out a past post by Linda Braun on the YALSA blog about Ustream and some other ideas and similar software from School Library Journal. Feel free to share your own experiences.

Long before the book (and way longer than cell phones), information was shared through music. Chuck D’s now-famous statement that hip hop is the “CNN of the streets” takes its cue from ancient texts like the Samaveda and the epics of Homer.

A recent New York Times story showcased how teens are carrying this forward at the annual convention for the Organization of American Historians. Teens used dance and singing to communicate the history of their communities, as well as their place within that history. Another recent story featured the teens at the Howland Public Library, who engaged in “creative conversation” through a teen drumming circle.

When libraries sponsor drum circles, online music collaboration (through sites such as eJamming, Kompoz, and Indaba), or showcases where teens have an opportunity to perform songs about their favorite book, they give teens the tools to carry the creative conversation into song–a place where public knowledge has existed for millennia.

Free Image Hosting at MTV is hosting a create your own video contest in their virtual world with video/audio editing software and MTV$ as the prize. What a great program to offer teens! Using collaboration, story/script writing, film techniques, and music interpretation-it’s chock full of a set of literacy skills to give teens the opportunity to communicate in multi-media formats. Official rules are here which is also a good model for being safe on the Internet: No depictions of gratuitous violence, personally identifiable information, hard liquor, illegal drugs or alcohol. There’s a helpful list of tools for shooting machinima. Great preparation for the YALSA Gaming Extravaganza at Midwinter! Check out more links to machinima on YALSA’s page here.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usThis weekend, adults and teens will be teaching teens how to create better machinima on Eye4You Alliance island in Teen Second Life. We’ll be using free software including the built-in second life recording software and YouTube’s Audio Swap which allows for pre-approved audio to be used with videos people create. Teens dj’ing will fill in the breaks by bringing people out to the dance floor and adults will be teaching self-esteem building workshops as well.

Any teen is welcome to sign up for a free account at: and join the events on the island.

Free Image Hosting at We have a printing press where teens make tutorial guides to use the software.

Free Image Hosting at We have matching shirts for the classes. I detached my hair for the photo because it was blocking the logo and now I can’t find it.

We’ll share the machinima after the weekend.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usGreat post about concerts in Second Life! Eye4You Alliance Island streamed our first concert into TSL last week. We’re partnering with Muse Isle on the main grid of Second Life and worked with a live band in Atlanta, Lee Broderick, and Sarah Mac. The teens created a performance stage right away and really enjoyed the music.

You can use a microphone or Winamp to stream in music to Teen Second Life. We just need a URL and we’re good to go. I’d invite any library that is having a concert to contact me, we can stream the music to our island so that teens from all over the world can listen to it: or join our island as a volunteer. We’re hoping to partner in real life this weekend with Dancing for Darfur so that we can raise money on the Teen Grid for a good cause and the teens can have a great time.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Many libraries use ACID or GarageBand to create music. Music usually tells someone’s story and creating songs is probably only going to grow in popularity at libraries. How do we decide what can or can’t be part of someone’s story?

There are controversial topics and swearing in books, CDs, and DVDs purchased for a collection. Should song creation be treated differently? If libraries have rules in regards to music creation, does the library support these rules by not playing certain songs during library events or not using certain songs to promote something at the library because of the lyrics-or just hope that most people won’t notice? Is a certain type of music being targeted? Should content creation be reviewed before it’s deemed okay to leave the library?

Most teens are probably familiar with censorship because of the radio. Music is a great way to connect with teens and their stories. Many libraries have the tools and the space to engage teens to create their own music. Share your thoughts and don’t forget about YALSA’s newest discussion list, YA-MUSIC.