How are your preparations for Teen Tech Week 2011 coming? With budget and staffing strain it can be difficult to find the resources to plan events for teens in your libraries. However, the teens can be your biggest asset when it comes to program planning and presentation. Find out what they’re interested in and help bring their ideas to life. It will increase program attendance and could develop into an active Teen Advisory Group.

In case you’re still making arrangements for your event, here are some low cost Teen Tech Week programming ideas.
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The teens in my library are app-crazy! They are asking hard questions like, “I’ve made this app for my droid, but I need help getting the bugs out.” Then I’ve got the adults who don’t know an app from their, well, you know. Can you help me and my patrons sort out the ins and outs of apps? Tell me more about the app marketplace and how the web is being overtaken by the entirely more
convenient app world!


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Teen Tech Week is a great time to start thinking about how to incorporate technology into your library services the rest of the year. Budgets are tight in libraries all over the country but technology keeps humming along, moving faster than we can keep up with monetarily. Teens specifically have an expectation that we should be keeping up. They aren’t wrong. So how do you advocate for enough technology funding to keep up with technology?

We shouldn’t stop proposing new ideas for service just because we don’t have a lot of money. It just means that we have to be selective with what projects we propose and very creative with funding sources. We also need to put as much thought as possible into the proposal before we go to management with it.
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It’s time to get digital once again, as Teen Tech Week rolls around for 2011! This year’s theme is Mix and Match, encouraging teens to create content and share it with others across a broad network of users. It’s always an exciting time to encourage out of the box technology programming for teens, and a great opportunity to begin tech programs for teens if your library doesn’t have such programs set up.

First, let’s start with the basic Teen Tech Time. This is your opportunity to open up your library to computer based programs, with simple, self guided computer sessions. You reserve a bank of computers or laptops for a certain hour, and encourage teens to sign up with you. It’s important to note that these sessions are provided in addition to the teen’s regular internet appointment, rather than superseding it. Teens are able to use the additional time to hang out and mess around with the technology they are interested in, rather than having to choose to divide their single daily appointment between fun use and homework use. If you have have laptops and a programming space, Teen Tech Time can help you create a miniature teen space, one where they can be louder and more social around the computers than they could be on the main floor.
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Lately I’ve had a few computer malfunctions in my life. The laptop I used for work was stolen, and the hard drive on my computer at home had a crash that even spin rite couldn’t fix. I lost some documents I was currently working on, but thankfully I’d been saving most of my important documents to a shared work drive. Since these debacles I’ve been making sure I save in multiple places and even invested in a service called Mozy to back up my files at home.

I wanted to share with you what tools I’ve been using to help offset another computer disaster:
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Do your teens read comics online?’  Do they read independently published webcomics? Do they read digitized manga?’  How do they read them? Where do they read them?’  I might be about to start sounding like Dr. Seuss- do they read them in a box? do they read them with a fox?- but these are questions (minus the fox and box parts) we should be asking.
With the advent of technology like the iPad, with current troubles in publishing, with more and more types of content becoming available and being consumed online, the ways our patrons are accessing or might be interested in accessing digital comics is something we need to be thinking about.
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Over the past several weeks I’ve read articles and books and listened to podcasts that I think are must reads (and listens) for any person working in libraries and specifically with teens. Here’s the list:

Sherman Alexie recently appeared on The Colbert Report to talk about his new book War Dances and winning the National Book Award and somehow they got onto the topic of digital content.

Alexie commented that he does not want his books available digitally, citing the pirating problems the music industry encountered when they went digital and the fear that your reading habits could be spied on by others.’  Alexie lamented the loss of artistic ownership and personal connection in the digital world.’  He talked of a better time when he would visit a town on book tour and spend all day on radio shows, tv shows, in bookstores and libraries connecting personally and physically with his readers.’  Now he catches the afternoon matinee while he waits for his one scheduled event.

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Abby’s Road is a podcast in which high school senior, Abby Laporte, talks with peers and adults about a variety of topics of interest to teens and the adults who live and work with them. Over the life of the podcast Abby and her guests have covered topics including visiting colleges, sexual orientation, abuse, and, most recently, technology. (You can listen to the most recent podcast.) Listen

When listening to the latest podcast in the series, I was once again reminded of the value adults need to place on teen abilities to think critically. Throughout the podcast, Abby and the teens she talked with, demonstrated that they are all aware of the need to think about the actions that they take online. They also know that sometimes the actions they choose aren’t necessarily the best. Read More →