Tag Archives: teens

Portland Public Teen Library: 2010 Year In Review

-Post by Justin Hoenke, Tame the Web Contributor

Who knew a library could be so epic?

Last night, we held the first Teen After Hours event at the Portland Public Library.  This program was a collaboration between the library and Officer Ray Ruby of the Portland Police Department.

All in all, it was a great success.  We played video games, ate pizza, had a massive hide and seek game, and just enjoyed life.  It’s the best example of what I’m calling the teen “un-program”.  With the teen un-program, you have a program with lots of different stuff, you open it up to teens, and…well, just watch the video to see what happens.

I can’t wait until we have the next one.

(Many thanks to Portland Public Library Teen David Chu for filming/editing this video.  David takes awesome photos and videos and shares them with the world at his website)

*PS* At the end, the teens are very politely telling me to stop tweeting!  Ha!

-Post by Justin Hoenke, Tame the Web Contributor

The Google Translate Experiment

Two teens from Italy in Portland, ME over the summer.  One teen librarian.
What the heck is gonna bring them together?

It’s not a mind blowing idea.  But I will tell you this…it works.  Here’s our simple story about how we bonded thanks to some technology.

For the first two days, our interaction was limited to “computer” and “yes”.  They wanted the computer and I was happy to provide them with access.  It seemed to be the one bright point in their time at the library.  They could log onto to Facebook and chat with their friends back home.  Smiles erupted from their faces and for a brief moment, I was happy that I could give them that little bit of happiness.  But the librarian in me kept on brainstorming.  How can I extend their happiness?  There’s got to be more to America for these teens than just one hour of talking with their friends on the computer.

Enter Google Translate.  It started with one simple message:

Ti prego di perdonarmi. Non parlo italiano, ma spero che se io uso questo strumento posso parlare con voi.

Their first response?  They decided to forgo the Italian and communicate with me through a smile that went from ear to ear.

Their first use for the Google Translate came to me in the form of a question:

Una grande idea! Puoi aiutarci a imparare l’inglese?

Perfect.   I was able to see that the teens really wanted something more out of their trip than just some time in the states over the summer.  They wanted to learn English.  While I could not be their full time tutor, I could give them a start.  We exchanged some basic words and phrases in person, which we then went over using Google Translate to help us understand them a bit better.  Ciao, posso aiutarti con qualcosa oggi? was my first attempt at Italian and it has stuck in my head.  So, I guess this works…

Flash forward to a few weeks later.  The teens are regulars at the library a few times a week.  We learn some phrases each time they come in, but thanks to another librarian at my library the teens now have a tutor who speaks fluent Italian and teaches them English in the library.  Cool stuff.  Thank you Google Translate.

La biblioteca … la lingua universale

-Post by Justin Hoenke, Tame the Web Contributor

The iPad (through the eyes of a teen)

(a brief interview between Portland Public Teen Library @justinlibrarian and Portland teen @davidchuphoto)

What are you using it for?
I’m usually sitting in bed and using it as a computer instead of a laptop.  I would go back to a laptop if I got a MacBook.
What are your favorite apps?
Twitter, ABC Player, Doodle Jump, Tap Tap Revenge 3, Safari
What would you like to see the library do with Ipads?
Libraries should lend them out as ebook readers or portable computers and people could read them in the teen lounge.  People could be more relaxed with the iPad in the library.
Do you use it in school?  For what?
I replaced my school netbook with the iPad.  I use it for notes, create slideshows, and look up things on the internet.
Do a lot of teens have iPads?
I only know one other teen with an IPad.
If not, do a lot of teens want iPads?
At first, they did (especially at school).  If I use it outside, people passing me on the street ask me about it quite a bit.
How much do you read on the iPad?
I read a lot of articles on the internet.  Ebooks?  Not so much.  I haven’t purchased any ebooks.  I’ve  just downloaded public domain books.  I haven’t bought any ebooks because I don’t have enough money and I don’t have much interest in them.
What would you like to see the iPad of the future do?
Take pictures, a higher resolution, more storage on the base model (32gb as the first model!), and multi-tasking.
If a teen were interested in the iPad, would you tell them to get one now or wait and why?
I’d tell them to wait because I think the next one will be better.  iPhone 4 already makes the iPad obsolete.

-Post by Justin Hoenke, Tame the Web Contributor

A day in the life of a teen library

Three weeks have passed since the Portland Public Library reopened after a lengthy renovation (which I wrote about here).  The addition of a teen area is a completely new idea for the community of Portland, Maine.  At first, teens didn’t really understand that this was THEIR space.  However, over the last week or so they’ve started to trickle in and discover the space.

So what are they doing?  They’re connecting with their friends on Facebook in our computer lab.  They’re relaxing and tweeting on their IPads in our teen lounge.  They’re using their netbooks anywhere they can find a spot.  And don’t worry…they’re reading (on every sort of device be it book, phone, computer, ereader).

My words of advice?  Let them explore.  Say hello.  Let them know you are their friend.  Make sure they know that the teen library is THEIR space.

More Teen stuff at the Portland Public Library can be found here and here.

-Post by Justin Hoenke, Tame the Web Contributor

Using Social Media to Connect with Teens

It’s easy for any library to have a social media presence these days.  Translating that into success with serving a teen population?  Well, that’s another thing…

Be Yourself

The discussion of personal and professional profiles always comes up.  I didn’t want to have two profiles (done it before, hated it) so I had to make a decision: add teens to my own accounts or hide myself far, far away.  I went with what some may consider to be the unpopular route.  I added them to my own accounts.  I feel like it has made a world of difference.

I am happy to share the real Justin with the teens that I serve.  I have nothing bad to hide and all good to share.  Letting them in on my “personal” life has actually allowed me to establish a deeper connection with them.  For example, when one teen found that him and I shared an interest in The Mars Volta, he came running in the library one day in disbelief.  He was excited that I was into the same music as him.  He now comes in a few times each week and we spend a good fifteen minutes or so talking about music.

This is just one of countless examples of how opening up my personal social networking accounts to teens has made it easier for me to connect with them and provide them with quality service.  In the end, it makes you more of a real person to them.  They become your friend and they trust you.  The upside to this?  They’re using the library…and they love it.

Stay Active

There’s nothing that looks sadder than an abandoned profile.  If you’re going to have a public account, make sure you update it with the most relevant information.  Don’t just create the profile and let it fester and rot away.  An up to date profile will show your public that you care about connecting with them.  One of the golden rules I try to always stick to is replying to comments or posts.  Even if it is a simple hello or a comment on a link, say something back!  Conversation and interaction is one of the reasons why we’re all using social media.

Educate Them

Myspace is dead.  It lost its appeal when showing off how (badly) one could customize their page with videos, gifs, and pictures won out over connecting and sharing with others.  We can learn something from this.

Media 21 is a project created by Buffy Hamilton, a school librarian at Creekview High School in Canton, GA.  The goal of the Media 21 Project is to “expand teens’ information literacy skills by introducing them tools for constructing a personal learning network and to posit research as a real world activity for learning, not an isolated unit of study.”

The idea behind Media 21 blows my mind.  Taking a moment or two each day to educate the teens using my library about social media allows me to better serve them as a librarian.  They understand that social media is a real and credible way to interact, share and create.  It helps me be the best librarian I can be for them.  I know what they want, and they know I’m always here to listen.

Buffy further adds: “I wanted to them to learn how to use social media tools for constructing and sharing knowledge as well as to start thinking about ways social media can be an authoritative source of knowledge”

Right on, sister.

You can read more about the Media 21 project here

Many thanks to School Librarian extraordinaire Buffy Hamilton for her quotes and guidance.

Give Stuff Away

I love what they’re doing over at the Darien Library with FourSquare.  As a matter a fact, it got me thinking.  With the tips  feature, we’re able to create our own little mini scavenger hunts for teens.  I learned just how excited teens get whyen it comes to scavenger hunts when I hosted an all night teen lock in at my library last year.  The scavenger hunt was one of the biggest events of the night.  By offering daily scavenger hunts with rewards, teens will have more reason to come into the library, check in, and complete the daily tip.  You’ve got them inside the library and they’re actively participating in a library program.  Win!

(On a related note, I highly suggest checking out this excellent post by David Lee King.  “Personal Accounts, Work Accounts – What To Do?”)

-Justin Hoenke, Tame The Web Contributor