The theme for this year’s Teen Tech Week is “Libraries are for Creating,” and an important aspect of creativity is failure and the ability to embrace trying something new to see what happens. Programs based around improv games and experimenting with recording video can give teen and youth patrons an opportunity for low-risk creation. Read More →

drawing of raised hands of different colors The official start of summer is four weeks away but it’s definitely not too early to plan what your going to take part in for professional learning over the summer months. YALSA’s webinars, self-paced eLearning, Snack Breaks, and Annual Conference programs might be just right for your summer learning needs.

Creative Youth Development: a Three Part Series

In June, July, and August YALSA’s monthly webinars have a singular focus, Creative Youth Development (CYD). Each webinar brings together teen library staff, IMLS staff, and staff of the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards to talk about what CYD is, how it can be integrated into library programs and services for and with teens, and how to secure funds for CYD library activities. The webinars take place on the third Thursday of each month at 2PM Eastern. Members can reserve a seat (it’s free) for each of the webinars. Non-members can purchase the webinar within 24 hours of the live recording. Groups may purchase seats to attend the live session. Learn more about the series and how to access the content on the YALSA website.
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Title: Hyperlapse
Cost: Free
Platform: iOS 7 or later

A couple of weeks ago Instragram released its new app, Hyperlapse. What does Hyperlapse do? It enables users to shoot time-lapse videos. And, while you might have other apps on your iDevices that already do that, Hyperlapse has the added benefit of a stabalizer so that hand-held time-lapse creations actually look pretty good. Take a look at the video below to get some idea of what I mean.

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Title: Adobe Voice
Cost: Free
Platform: For iPad iOS 7 or later

Adobe Voice is a brand-new app for creating videos that integrate voice, text, music, and images. It makes it easy to create professional looking movies that are informative, creative, and entertaining. The screencast below gives you an overview of how the app works.

The app is very simple to use and is a great tool for teens for class projects, storyboarding ideas, turning creative writing into moviemaking, and more. Ask teens in your community what they want to do with Adobe Voice. I bet they will have ideas.

ZombieBooth 2 LogoTitle: ZombieBooth 2
Cost: Free (for Lite version; Pro version costs $1.99)
Platform: iOS (an earlier version of the app is available for Android)

Just in time for Halloween, ZombieBooth 2 will give you the power to see what you or any of your friends (or even pets) would look like as a Zombie. Using an image from your device’s library, camera or even your Facebook account, this app will create a fully animated zombie. The results are actually surprisingly believable and slightly disturbing!

Once you have selected an image, you will be asked to line up the eyes and mouth with a prompt from the app. This helps the app to detect the location of key facial features and allows it to replace the eyes and mouth with animated, zombified features. The result is a moving image with bloodshot eyes, a gaping bloody mouth and a senseless, zombie moan. If you swipe your finger around on the screen, the eyes (and mouth) will follow you. If you make the mistake of getting your finger too close to the mouth, you might even have a bite taken out of you.

You can also edit the image to change the appearance of the mouth or eyes or to add additional facial wounds and accessories (such as a cleaver in the head or glass shards). You can also add filters to the image to change the look of the image. The resulting image is recognizable as the subject of the original photo but altered just enough to look like a zombie from your favorite zombie movie.

Once you are satisfied with your new zombie, you can take a picture or even capture of a video of it moving around to share on Facebook, Twitter or via email. Whether you are looking for a fun project for Halloween, need an app for use in a zombie program, or are just a zombie enthusiast, this app is well worth a try. Check it out in action in the video below.

For more app recommendations visit the YALSA App of the Week Archive. If you have an app you think we should review, let us know!

MixBit LogoName: MixBit

Cost: Free

Platform: iOS (with Android coming soon)

Last week the creators of YouTube launched their latest project, MixBit. This new app, which is available for free for iOS and has an Android version on the way by the end of September, is focused on helping people to create, remix and share videos. At first, it might seem a bit like Vine, Cinemagram or the new Instagram video feature, but it offers some features that set it apart, such as the ability to record up to an hour worth of video and to combine multiple videos that you have created in the app, uploaded from your device or remixed from other MixBit users. As of now, some of this editing functionality is limited to the web-based version of the tool. For example, you can save content from other users and add it to your own projects only by finding it and selecting it on the web-based version of MixBit and you can currently only access the embed code for videos on the website as well. Read More →

Cinemagram LogoTitle: Cinemagram
Cost: Free
Platforms: iOS, Android (this review refers to the iOS version)

For those who love to make short videos or gifs on their phone, Cinemagram is a great option. In many ways, it is similar to Vine, an app that exploded onto the scene a few months ago. As in Vine, users of Cinemagram create short (in this case 4 second) looping videos. And, as in Vine, Cinemagram is focused on sharing these videos online, with options to share finished videos via Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or email. To add to the social aspect of the app, you can also connect with friends from Facebook, Twitter or from your phone’s contact list or search through videos or users to find other people to follow.
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Title: VYou or Video You
Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: Free
Many teens use social media as a way to connect with others and share their knowledge. VYou lets you do this by posting questions and inviting others to answer via a video recording. There are many ways libraries can use VYou to enrich services and extend conversations well beyond the time the physical building is closed. Here are some ideas:

  • Ask questions related to an upcoming speaker/author
  • Start a dialogue about characters in a book many teens are reading
  • Celebrate National ___ Month by posing questions about the topic
  • Have teens generate questions related to a current event or an issue that’s important to them

The way the VYou app works is that first you sign-up for the site via the app. Then you can browse through questions and watch people’s answers, ask a question by typing it into the app, or answer a question by recording a video. You have 30 seconds to record the answer and then can choose to automatically upload to VYou for all to see.
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I’m back! After a month off for vertigo and another month of innovating, I’m glad to be resuming this column, even though it probably needs a new title, since it’s as much about innovation and general cool-stuff-is-happening-all-over-the-place-and-you-should-apply-it-to-your-library-work as it is about research. That said, here is some of the fresh new ideas coming out of the woodwork and being published or publicized this month.

  • After I’ve waited for what seems like forever (but is really just since I joined Twitter and started following Levar Burton), the website RRKidz is finally live and going somewhere! This 21st century incarnation of “Reading Rainbow” promises access to the classic episodes that I know I adored as a kid as well as new content for today’s media devices, those ubiquitous tablets and genius phones, curated by Burton himself. My first recommendation is for you just to get excited. But also consider that some of your patrons may still remember the original show, and my guess is that even if they claim to be non-readers, they’ll have some great memories of it. “Reading Rainbow” may be for younger children, but you can get your teen volunteers excited about it by mimicking the show’s popular “You don’t have to take my word for it” section, in which real kids recommended their favorite books to others. What a great way to get teens to sit in on storytime, or to volunteer in your children’s section, and they can just as easily create videos on library computers to share their favorite YA stories with fellow teens, along with your help.
  • The New York Times magazine recently held a contest for the best essay answering the question “Why is it ethical to eat meat?” The contest subject and its judges (all white men, mostly already known for championing animal rights and being vegetarians or vegans) immediately prompted outrage, interest, and annoyance, and all of the comments and criticism are well worth reading. Read More →

You know how, no matter how many hundred channels you have, there is nothing on TV? More and more, people are turning to webseries and vlogs for fresher kinds of humor and entertainment. So why not start a vlog series for your library website, or get a bunch of teens together to write a script for an original series? You could also take advantage of the short format of these videos and host a “festival” of screenings of the best series and vlogs out there. Now that so many computers come fully equipped with a basic webcam and editing software, this is an inexpensive way to get creative and to learn more about technology.

Here are some great vlogs and webisodes that should provide you with inspiration as they entertain you.

  • The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: This relatively new series transfers Jane Austen’s novel to the life of a grad student recording her angst. It’s funny and a great way to make classic literature applicable to our current times. If your patrons are having trouble getting ready for their AP English exam, use this to take off the stress. Read More →