Category Archives: Teens & Libraries

Making Teen Trax!

Those South Carolina librarians just rock:

Yesterday, we hosted our first teen services institute, TeenTrax. It was a blast! Patrick Jones, *the* teen services guru in my book, started the day with a great reality check.

What do you call young adults in the library? By their names! It’s all about relationships, and you can’t have a relationship with someone if you don’t know their name.

How true!

Michele Gorman, the truly awesome Teen Services Manager at Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s ImaginOn, gave us some of the basics on doing Reference for teens, and followed up with practical approaches to creating programs that meet the developmental needs of teens. The thing that really blew me away is that she’s had her Teen Advisory Council assist in the hiring of three recent employees. The teens create questions and interview the candidates. That’s what I call radical trust. Best part….the results have been terrific!

Teen services is one of the hot topics right now, but I don’t believe it’s a fad or a ignorable trend. I think it’s a central part of the library landscape for years to come. I admit, I’ve never really had an interest in doing teen services in my relatively brief career, but being around people so passionate, it’s hard not to get catch the fever. I hope TeenTrax helped create the fever in a lot of people yesterday.

The information about this institute extends then to FVINSC’s Twitter page:

Michele has her teen advisory council participate in interviewing potential YA librarians. 01:15 PM October 04, 2007 from web

Your teens can help you figure out how to develop your space, your programs, your collections. 01:13 PM October 04, 2007 from web

if you ask your TAG to help with collection development, but don’t buy what they recommend, they’ll know, and it makes a statement. 01:12 PM October 04, 2007 from web

meaningful participation–a teen advisory group isn’t a TAG if they don’t advise you 01:11 PM October 04, 2007 from web

The one in bold just blows me away. The same could be said for asking for feedback from other groups and from staff — and then not doing anything with the data. That’s a slippery slope to losing good people, losing users and becoming a rather opaque organization.

Those Pesky iPods: Technology and Schools

Will Richardson has a nice post rounding up recent articles about schools, students and tech:

This caught my eye:

…Seems the beligerent kids in San Diego schools are actually text messaging during class, admitting to cheating with their phones, and listening to iPods during lectures. Why is that? “Social psychologist Jean Twenge believes she knows why personal technology devices are all the rage among teenagers. Her research indicates young people today are [wait for it…] more self-absorbed than ever before, and iPods and cellphones play into that.” Was that absorbed or abs-bored? The administration response? No surprise… “So Vista students now can only use electronic devices at lunch, break, or after school. Students who break the rule more than once could face detention. And the district is even holding teachers more accountable.” But here’s the good news. There is another voice! Jeff Robin of High Tech High says “Kids will always change, it’s up to the teachers to do something more, and it’s a lot of work. I’ve seen so many teachers out there that say, well I’ve been giving these same worksheets out for 30 years and if it’s good enough for them, then it’s good enough for these kids. It’s not though, times have changed.” Get out of the county…

Pews: Teens. Privacy & Social Networks

New report from Pew: Teens, Privacy and Online Social Networks: How teens manage their online identities and personal information in the age of MySpace

The majority of teens actively manage their online profiles to keep the information they believe is most sensitive away from the unwanted gaze of strangers, parents and other adults. While many teens post their first name and photos on their profiles, they rarely post information on public profiles they believe would help strangers actually locate them such as their full name, home phone number or cell phone number.

At the same time, nearly two-thirds of teens with profiles (63%) believe that a motivated person could eventually identify them from the information they publicly provide on their profiles.

This would be a great report for a staff meeting discussion.

Teens Can Make Movies! (Updated!)

Video Contest

George from writes:

Michael, Just wanted to point you to the video editing contest that our Teen Corner is having for National Library Week. We just debuted a Teen area with furniture, shelving and 4 computers with video editing software and dvd burners.

Thanks George! I also see that the library had a “Make a Movie Night” presented by the teen advisory board. This is good on many levels:

Make a Movie!

The library has technologies the teens may want to use to create content (remember those Pew numbers?) and a space just for them.

The TAB is actively working to educate their library user peers about what the can create with the technologies.

The librarians have created a space – physical and online where creativity and collaboration can play out.

I’ll be using this example at my talk at ALA Annual “Using Technology to Market to Young Adults” with Kimberly Bolan. Hey George – tell us more? What kind of set up? What kind of financial investment?


Ross writes: There’s lots more about the Teen Corner project (including the live band made up of local high school students that we hosted on the kickoff day) starting here on our Flickr pages:

We combined funding from an LSTA marketing grant with funding and other support from our library foundation, the Friends of the Library, an endowment and the plain old library budget to pull this all together.

Then George responds: Ross is being a little modest. There was a lot of community involvement: a local Friend helped with all of the interior decorating and color choices, a comic book artist ( did our graphics and a local furniture company stepped in to help with furniture.

We designed a new Teen Library Card and started offering monthly programs with our TAB spearheading most everything.

We have been shocked and very pleasantly surprised that the Teens are raving over the space, the Teen Card and the new computers.

We took the attitude that we were doing this for the teens and let them dictate a lot of what we have done. Especially with the new pc’s. They asked for video editing software and we got it.

We can wait to see what happens next!

Emphasis in bold mine? Teen departments..YA librarians… what are your teens asking for? Are you listening?

Teen Web at LAPL

Teen Web at LAPL

One of my students shared this URL with our class: Take a look. It’s engaging and entertaining. I like the iPod earbuds and cell phone with images graphics. Dig a little deeper for discussion, book reviews and links out to some refreshingly frank and useful sites.

A few more clicks led me too — maybe I’ve missed coverage of this but it was new to me. In the tradition of The DaVinci Code, it’s a library adventure game! Here’s a shot:

Goodhue Codex

Well done LAPL!

Young & Wired:How Today’s Young Tech Elite will influence the Libraries of Tomorrow

New Pew: Teens, Tech & Libraries

New from Pew:

Libraries are the living, breathing internet that existed long before the digital network that we know today. They are the connected nodes of information and community exchange that we have relied on to communicate, collaborate, share resources and preserve knowledge in our societies for centuries.

But there are concerns about the future of physical libraries, given that so many of us have easy access to virtual libraries of information on our computers at home. Recent Pew Internet Project research examines technology use by teenagers and suggests how the behavior and expectations of young internet users might shape the libraries of the future.

Pew Powerpoint here!

Please download and take a look. Maybe share the PPT amongst staff or devote time to it at your next staff meeting.

Brian Kenney Challenges Public Library Directors

Brian Kenney, editor of SLJ, urges public libraries to provide more activities, tools and tech for young people. Most librarians get it..but:

It’s the public library directors who need to listen. Staff members need better tools and skills, while their youth need more space, materials, and computers. As Gómez says, “We cannot view out-of-school-time programming and services as an adjunct to core library services.”

For that to be true, a lot of public library directors will need to take a hard look at their library’s resources and how they’re spent. Maybe it’s time to stop moaning about that seldom-visited reference desk (now quiet because adults are using the Internet) and hire more staff that can serve your major clients: children and teens. Maybe it’s time to take your materials and programming funds and actually align them to your usage statistics.

Do you have a teen department? A teen librarian? How about a gaming librarian? It’s time to look closely at staffing models (yes, especially at the reference desk) and at the silos in some PLs and think about inviting spaces and welcoming faces. Just sayin’.