I’ve heard about some cool tools to use for images and sound and thought I’d pass them on.

  • Quick Thumbnail is a site where you can quickly and easily resize images. You simply find the image on your computer, choose the size you want it to be (either a specific size or a percentage of the current size,) click the generate button, and save the image and you are set. People are always asking me for easy ways to do this without having to use a photo editing program and this is the best I’ve seen so far.
  • Soundrangers.com is a place to go to get sound effects for audio productions. There is a small fee for each effect that you download, however it’s just about $1.65 and if you need a few things for projects you are working on with teens it’s a great place to find what you are looking for.
  • iStockphoto is something I’ve been using for awhile but I realized when I was learning about Soundrangers that it’s a site others might not know about. iStockphoto is where you can find good quality images for web pages, brochures, and such at a very reasonable price. The search tool is really good and makes it possible to hone in to find exactly what you want/need.

These finds came from my podcasting listening – as usual – this time with net@night and MacBreakWeekly.

As a library consultant I miss working with teens (especially doing fun programs with them!) and putting my hands on great young adult literature, Doing an online author chat with a young adult author certainly modeled the process and technology to youth services librarians, but it was also a great way to get back in touch with some of those things I miss.

As part of a Meet the Author program founded by my colleague Susan Babb at NMRLS, I invited one of my authors to join us virtually. Ned Vizzini, author of It’s Kind of a Funny Story (Miramax, 2006), Be More Chill (Miramax, 2004), and Teen Angst? Naaah!… a Quasi-autobiography (Free Spirit, 2000) was a willing test subject for this experiment.

Bonus! You can listen to Ned’s presentation and read the transcript of the session online

We used the free Internet telephony program Skype to connect with Ned in New York (I was in Massachusetts). Skype is just like AIM, but… instead of typing, you actually talk! No phone numbers required, you just “call” your buddy and a two-way audio channel opens up.

Skype has a recording feature, but since I don’t have and fancy equipment, like a digital sound mixer, I could only capture my half of the conversation.

A quick fix was to stick my iPod with attached iTalk Griffin microphone next to the computer speaker. It picked up both our voices pretty clearly. The glitch was that the Internet was a bit intermittent, so there were a few times where we couldn’t hear Ned too well, but I posted a transcript to fill in most of the gaps.

After the event, I plugged the iPod into my computer, used a free program called Audacity to transfer it to an MP3 file, and then uploaded it to Lib Syn’s easy to use web interface.

Haven’t heard of Lib Syn? Me neither, until a week ago. Someone on an email distribution list mentioned it, and when I started having trouble with Ourmedia, a free media hosting service, I signed up for Lib Syn on the spot.

For $5-$30 a month, depending on how much storage and bandwith you think you’ll need, you get audio/video hosting with an integrated blog for your show notes. Lib Syn helps you through creating IDV3 tags (metadata! think of it as a MARC record for your podcast), builds a feed for you, AND pushes your podcast out to iTunes, Yahoo! Podcasts and Odeo podcast directories. It also tracks stats so you can see how many people are listening and how they are listening – direct from the web, or though a podcatcher.

Another great option for podcasting on the cheap and easy is Gabcast. You can post by telephone for FREE. Yes, FREE! Set up a free account, call their 1-800 number, and fill out a short form to connect your existing blog to their service. It’s as easy as leaving a message on an answering machine, except your audio is turned in a digital file and embedded into a blog with a feed, so it becomes subscribable. It works with Blogger, Livejournal, Typepad, WordPress, and Friendster, among others.

I’ve embedded audio into my region’s Storytelling blog and am demoing it in the Advanced Blogging class I’m teaching this afternoon.

What can you do with teens and podcasting?

  • Author/Illustrator visit recording
  • Battle of the Bands recording
  • Booktalks
  • Book Reviews
  • CD Reviews
  • DVD Reviews
  • Instruction: how to place a hold request!
  • Library News
  • Library Tours
  • Poetry Slam recording
  • Program promotion
  • Storytelling
  • Other?

With such great, cheap options, there’s no reason not to give it a try! Some great teen podcasts to listen to for inspiration (note: all are subscribable through iTunes, but I’ve provided links to their websites):

OCLS Podcast
Teens… promoting library programs!

Mugglecast

All things Harry Potter

Coulee Kids
A variety of student projects

You don’t have to know how to podcast or edit or transfer audio to do this; chances are your teens know how, or can figure it out in two minutes or less. Give them the resources and paramaters, and let them do it.

Podcasting has potential to build developmental assets in all eight categories! Podcasting could build self esteem, make teens feel part of their community, engage teens in after school programming, offer a creative outlet, create a socializing opportunity, foster role model and mentor relationships, encourage reading for pleasure, provide an occasion to show responsibility, utilize planning and descision making skills, and enforce boundaries and guidelines.

How can podcasting enforce boundaries and guidelines? It can be a perfect springboad to discussions about SOCIAL NETWORKING SOFTWARE, INTERNET SAFETY and CYBERETHICS! Discuss how much personal information they will (or won’t!) give out), what they can (and can’t!) say in their podcast, what music is ok to incorporate and how and where to write for permission or locate “podsafe” music, and cover the ethics and legalities of blogging, for what is a podcast, if not an audio blog?

When your successful podcast is up and running… tell the library world! Add it to the Library Success: Best Practices Wiki’s Podcasting Page at http://www.libsuccess.org/index.php?title=Podcasting!

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 #28.

Teen dating violence is one of the issues explored through stage performance by the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. The actors visit a battered women’s shelter before beginning rehearsals as part of their research to understand some of the issues that surround dating violence.

I had the opportunity to interview the actors and the Director of Domestic Violence Services at United Family Services. The actors talked about their experiences with performing, and the domestic violence director talked about teen dating violence in general. I will post the podcasts on the YALSA podcast page ASAP to share with you the conversation.

Podcasts are social networking tools that can be used to open up dialogues and comments for the purposes of informing and learning from one another. While teens would still be able to listen to podcasts even if DOPA is passed, they might miss out on the opportunity of playing a role in the dialogue at the public or school library. When it comes to raising awareness of issues, that’s not a tool we should have to lose.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

In preparation for Teen Tech Week March 4-10, 2007, we would like to take away any trepidation that teen librarians and educators may have about generating a podcast. There are many web sites that will assist with the process, but some of them are so intimidating. Fear no more, one visit to the Teen Tech Week wiki resource page and you will get inspired.

The wiki is chock full of excellent information, like the Podcast Education link where you can listen to samples of student podcasts. You will become a podcast aficionado that in no time you will be able to record, produce and publish your own podcasts in preparation for the launch of TTW 2007. Don’t forget, if you want to add any links to the resource page, please do so.

Visit the Teen Tech Week wiki resource page, and soon you will be podcast savvy, the envy of all of your colleagues and a hit among of your Teens.

Learn Out Loud has educational audio book and podcast content. Last week, one of their free downloads was an audio tour of Rockerfeller Center and the Diamond District in NYC. Is anyone else offering audio tours of their library?

This would be a great project for teens (especially for that Teen Advisory Board you recruited last week!). Instead of busywork – cutting out story time crafts or dusting shelves – it’s an opportunity to create something of use that will help other patrons.

For a list of other libraries doing podcasting, check out the Library Success: Best Practices Wiki at http://www.libsuccess.org. If your library is doing something cool and replicable, join and contribute! For podcasting, look under Technology.

New to podcasting? Check out the presentations from the Podcast Academy at Boston University last weekend: two days about equipment, marketing, and how-to’s of making your own audio files that can be sent as attachments with RSS. This amazing resource has the video from ALL of the speakers, plus their powerpoint presentations:
http://www.bu.edu/com/podcast

Posted by Beth Gallaway

Posted by Linda W. Braun

Today I listened to the latest Inside the Net podcast. The hosts interviewed the people behind Big in Japan – a collection of web-based tools. One of the tools they talked about was PodServe. It sounded intriguing so I had to check it out.

It’s a great tool that I think librarians working with teens could definitely use. The first thing you need to do is register for Big in Japan. It’s free and very easy to do. Then setup your podserve space. You do that by giving your podcast a name, decide if you want it listed in iTunes and a few other services, describe the podcast, and give it some keyword tags.

Another thing you can do is decide if you want the podcast to be what PodServe calls a “Social Podcast.” The idea behind the social podcast is that a group of people create podcasts on a theme and upload and distribute them from the same PodServe space. For librarians working with teens I envision that a group of YA librarians might all work on a podcast together. Teens in different libraries could create podcasts and upload them to the same PodServe space. Imagine if each week, or even every day, a different group of teens published a podcast as a part of the social podcast space. That could be an incredibly powerful way to give teens in a variety of communities a voice.

Once you setup the podcast at PodServe you can then start uploading audio files as you create them. PodServe then acts as the host and distribution mechanism for your podcast. You don’t have to have server space or create the RSS feed for the files.

If you’ve been trying to figure out how to get podcasts going at your library PodServe might be just the thing you need.