Hennepin County Teen Tech Squad: An Update (Winter 2013)

ipad keyboard on screen by Flickr Creative Commons User Music Radio CreativeIn 2010 YALS published an article in the winter Teens & Tech issue on the Hennepin County Library’s Teen Tech Squad. Members of YALS Editorial Advisory Board asked Cynthia Matthias to update YALS readers on the Tech Squad. Find out what they’ve been up to below.

Our Teen Tech Squad has gone through some changes since the YALS article was published. In 2010, Hennepin County Library received a grant from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Funds from this grant allowed the Teen Tech Squad to explore new tools for art and media creation. Since the beginning Teen Tech Squad workshops attracted many aspiring musicians, and while there were many free and open source applications available for the teens to use, none quite met attendee needs. The new grant funds enabled us to purchase MAC laptops, a cart of 10 iPads, midi controllers, studio monitors, and music and video production software and apps.
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Library Info-Tech: A Joyous Union (Winter 2013)

By Laura Bishop, High School Librarian at Léman Manhattan Preparatory (New York NY)

(or Why You Want to Be a Part of Your Tech Department)

Note from YALS: The winter 2013 issue of YALS focuses on technology and teens. Read this article to learn about more ways that libraries are integrating technology in programs and services for adolescents.

Being a librarian in a new school offers numerous challenges. It also presents opportunities. One opportunity arose for me last year with the creation of vertical departments that bring together our lower (pre-K-4)and upper schools (5-12).  There were numerous reasons for this: cohesion between divisions, creating departmental direction and goals, curriculum mapping for grades K through 12 and more continuity in curriculum.  Naturally, the librarians were slightly apprehensive. We were concerned that our role as information specialists and purveyors of literature would be subsumed by technology initiatives We thought that we would be “swallowed up”.

Compounding this fear is the current trend of technologizing school libraries to the point that school librarians are being tossed out with the books in favor of iPads and “Technologists,” “Technology Coaches,” or “Technology Teachers.” Whatever the title, it seemed to us that administrators, more and more, fail to understand that the work we do as librarians is actually more vital than ever as our society moves forward.  Also, what would being part of a blended department mean for the work we do teaching research skills and fostering literature appreciation? Would it mean we would spend less time involved with these important projects and tasks and be expected to solely teach tech skills out of the context of information gathering and knowledge building? Continue reading

Michigan Makers (Winter 2013)

by Rachel Goldberg, Media Specialist, East Middle School (Plymouth MI)

Note from YALS: The winter 2013 issue of YALS focuses on technology and teens. Read this article to learn about more ways that libraries are integrating technology in programs and services for adolescents.

Michigan Makers is a collaboration between several graduate students at the School of Information at the University of Michigan, a faculty member at that school (Kristin Fontichiaro), and me (a School of Information somewhat-recent alum). During the 2011-2012 school year, I started an after-school computer club at the request of several students who enjoyed coming to the library to play on computers. These students had once taken an ed tech class with me in which I introduced them to Alice. From Alice, I showed them Scratch, and from there, I started teaching them Python. That year, I also taught them about computing basics, like binary code and what it means to “debug.” In order to plan for each week’s computer club, I relied on books and online tutorials (thanks to Dr. Chuck Severance, who made his Python course freely available).

But my students wanted to program and I am not a programmer. I am, however, approximately twenty miles away from the School of Information. I reached out to graduate students interested in community informatics and eventually found a core group of future librarians who were curious about new, inexpensive technologies designed with budding computer programmers in mind. The graduate students and I began to talk about the possibilities that tools like the Raspberry Pi or the Arduino had the potential to afford my curious middle school students and, in short, Michigan Makers was born.

Now, almost one year later, we’re at a place where we can look back, thoughtfully, and see what worked, what didn’t work, and what we can do differently as we move forward.
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YALSA’s Virtual Town Halls: Be There! And Bring Others Too (Winter 2013)

yalsa forum on libraries and teens logoAs mentioned in a previous post, the winter 2013 issue of YALS includes an article about the National Forum on Libraries and Teens that YALSA is sponsoring this year. The first part of the forum was a face-to-face summit that took place for two days just before ALA’s Midwinter Meetings for 2013. A small group of attendees were invited or accepted to that summit. But now, YALSA is sponsoring a series of virtual town halls to give more library staff and stakeholders the chance to talk about the future of teen library services.

The first virtual town hall is just a week away and will take place on March 19, from 2 to 3 PM eastern. The theme is partnerships and the conversation will focus on the following questions:

  • Why are partnerships are important to library teen services
  • What are the opportunities for library staff and stakeholders to support teens through partnerships?
  • What do successful partnerships look like?
  • What is required of libraries and stakeholders to move forward in partnerships in order to serve teens into the future?

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YALSA Perspectives: The YALSA Blogs (Winter 2013)

The winter 2013 issue of YALS focuses on teens and technology. YALSA has a lot of technology-based channels for connecting with library staff working with teens and with teens themselves. This includes two extremely active blogs. The YALSAblog and The Hub. Check out the video below to learn more about each blog, how you might get involved, and how you can use them as a part of your library teen services life.

You can contact The Hub Member Manager, Gretchen Kolderup, or the YALSAblog Member Manager, Wendy Stephens, to learn more about each publication.

If you are a YALSA member YALS is a perk of your membership dues. If not a member learn how to join, or learn how to subscribe.

Minecraft and the Library (Winter 2013)

Minecraft image by Flickr Creative Commons User elias daniel.In the winter issue of YALS Jessica Schneider and and Erica Gauquier discuss how they brought Minecraft to teens at the Darien Library in Connecticut. Their article highlights the ways in which library staff and teens can work together to build programs and to support a wide-range of teen interests and needs through technology.

What is Minecraft? As Erica and Jessica describe it in their article:

Minecraft is a like a virtual and ongoing game of legos. Players mine for necessary materials in order to thrive in the game. You simply move blocks and build upon them gathering supplies as you go. As a player gets better and gains wood from trees, wool from sheep, meat from pigs, and diamonds from the earth, the possibilities for gathering new materials and resources becomes greater. The game can get even more complicated if you are so inclined, allowing players to create their own modifications (mods)- which leads to learning essential programming skills.

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Preserving Our Present (Winter 2013)

In the winter 2013 Teens & Tech issue of YALS, Lana Adlawan writes about the Preserving Our Present project at the Sacramento Public Library. This project gives teens in the community the chance to learn about their history by researching the lives of those who grew up and live in their neighborhood. The project website includes a host of multimedia that documents the work of teens that participated in the project. Below you’ll find two examples:


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YALSA’s National Forum on Teens and Libraries (Winter 2013)

YALSA National Forum on Libraries and Teens logoThe winter issue of YALS includes an article on the YALSA Forum on Teens and Libraries. At the time of the issue’s publication the summit, discussed in the article, was just taking place. The summit brought together a group of people from inside and outside of libraries to consider the future of libraries. Participants included library administrators, library staff working directly with teens, educators, publishers, members of the technology community, teen advocates, youth development experts, and more. (You can see the full list of participants.) It was an amazing group who spent two full days thinking about the world of teens and how libraries, and other youth serving organizations, can support those needs.

Some of the major themes that came out of the two days include: Continue reading

Talking to Stakeholders About Social Media (Winter 2013)

In the winter 2013 issue of YALS, Alida Hanson talks about the value of connecting with stakeholders to help them understand the importance of using social media in services to teens (particularly in school libraries). There are several resources YALS readers might find useful when investigating how to make these stakeholder connections:

American Association of School Librarians. White Paper on Educational Technology in Schools.

boyd, danah. The Power of Fear in Networked Publics.
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Autism? There’s an App for That (Winter 2013)

The winter 2013 issue of YALS is all about teens and tech. In her article on apps for teens on the autism spectrum, Renee McGrath, Manager of Youth Services for the Nassau Library System (Long Island, NY), writes about a variety of apps and covers apps helpful in organizing life, apps that aid in literacy and learning, and apps that are fun and relieve stress. Links to all of the apps discussed in the article are available below.

Social Skills and Apps for Daily Living

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