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1. Build Your Library's Capacity to Engage Teens through Connected Learning

Want to offer more hands-on learning opportunities for and with the teens in your community?  3D Systems Corp., in partnership with YALSA, is giving away up to 250 3D printers to members of YALSA.  Learn more and apply online by Oct. 30th.  Are you not a YALSA/ALA member yet?  Membership starts at $60 per year.  Contact Letitia Smith at lsmith at ala dot org, or 312.280.4390, to get the best rate and to learn about paying in installments.  And don't forget to check out all of the great maker and connected learning resources on YALSA's wiki!

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2. Archivist by day, audio enthusiast by night: an interview with Dana Gerber-Margie

This week, we’re pushing the boundaries a bit to bring you an interview with Dana Gerber-Margie, who publishes The Audio Signal, a “weekly digest about audio.” Troy and I are huge fans of the newsletter, as are Pop Up Archive and even the Wall Street Journal.

The post Archivist by day, audio enthusiast by night: an interview with Dana Gerber-Margie appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. Hacking health - and literacy - in the library

How do students’ research skills turn into love of inquiry?  The answer is HackHealth!  I work in a middle school library with grades six through eight.  Because I serve a population of over 1,000 students, it is challenging to see all of my students on a regular basis.  When I did see them, their research skills were very basic and most of them knew only Google.  Although I love Google myself, I know that there is so much more that goes into research.  How can I teach these skills to students with the limited time that I have with them?

The Beginning

Researchers at the University of Maryland (UMD) in College Park came to me with the idea to form a weekly after-school program, HackHealth, to teach students how to research health topics that interest them.  I jumped at the opportunity.  My first step was to recruit students.  There are several very effective ways to do this, but I will focus on the method that I used because it worked so well for me.  I approached my school’s science team.  I told them about the HackHealth program and asked them to recommend students who were interested and would benefit from this program.  I received responses back from almost 20 students who were interested.  We had an initial meeting with approximately 12 interested students where the program was introduced by the UMD researchers.

Implementing the Program

The HackHealth program at my school lasted for 12 weeks.  During the first session, I talked with them about choosing a topic.  Our students viewed short videos introducing them to the program. The next step was to explore possible sources for their research.  Students brainstormed sources which they would use to find credible information.  For example, would they use the Internet, ask a family member, read a newspaper?  They discussed the pros and cons of each of these sources based on prior knowledge.

How to Take Notes

sandwich boardsUMD researchers and I went over notetaking skills.  Three skills were introduced:  Mind-mapping, tables, and making lists.  The students were introduced to each method and then formed groups to practice these methods.  At the end, they were asked to present their assigned note-taking strategy to the group.  The group discussed which method is most effective for which circumstances.

Credibility Screenshot Activity

postit1 postit2

We used posters of various health-related Web pages for this activity.  The posters included: WebMD, Dr. Oz, Wikipedia, a government website (alzheimers.gov), a blog (“Sharing my life with Lewy Body Dementia”) and a kids health website (KidsHealth.org).  The students were given red and green post-its.  The red represented not credible.  The green represented credible.  The students wrote why they felt the website was credible or not on their post-its. We got together at the end of this activity to discuss the differences in opinion and how to handle the “grey” areas on assessing credibility of online information.


computerlabAnother activity that focused on the validity and relevancy of websites was an iEvaluate activity.  Students were given a list of websites that appeared at first sight legitimate, but were all hoax websites.  They were asked to evaluate these websites by looking at the website’s purpose, finding the author of the website, and analyzing whether they learned anything from the website.  Our students noticed a few red flags like no author name, no contact information, and facts that just didn’t seem accurate (like a tree-climbing octopus!)

The End

After all of the learning and hard work, it is finally time to show us what they know.  Our students were given several options to present their research findings and they did so very creatively.  We had an interview about discrimination against handicapped people, a Prezi about bronchitis, a song about thyroid disease, an interpretive dance about Kawasaki disease, and a chart presentation regarding sickle cell anemia.  

And best yet...they were very excited about returning again next year!

These are just a snapshot of a few activities that my students enjoyed during the 12 HackHealth sessions.

I would HIGHLY recommend HackHealth for library media specialists or any educator who is interested in teaching their students research skills.  The activities are so varied that students with different learning styles will benefit.  For educators who implement HackHealth, the options of lesson plans and activities are so varied that they can be incorporated into a variety of lessons.   To me, the abundance of lesson plans and activities, and the flexibility of this program are its strengths.  HackHealth can turn any student into a skilled researcher.

See http://hackhealth.umd.edu/about-us/project-phases/ to access the lesson plans and activities.

-Melissa Bethea is the school library media specialist at Charles Carroll Middle School in Prince George's County Public Schools.


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4. Teens and How They Use Technology – What’s Our Role?

This semester I’m enrolled in a Collaborations in Feminism and Technology class. It parallels the larger organization, FemTechNet. During our most recent class, our discussion turned to a frequently talked about: children/teens and technology. What sort of access to technology should they have and how will they use it?

Part of our class veered towards the idea of technocentrism (technology is the center of our world and it controls us. See Seymour Papert’s paper to read more) or technological determinism (essentially get on board with technology’s pace or forever be left behind). We discussed just giving kids and teens technology and counting on them to “just know” how to use it. We discussed restricting access because they aren’t old enough to really know how to use technology. And we discussed that teens simply don’t understand the permanence of putting something online.

However, some of my classmates (myself included) were not quick to jump aboard the technocentrism train of thought. I firmly ground myself in the idea of living in a socio-technical system – where I impact and shape technology just as much as technology is shaping and changing me. People in positions of power and privilege are making decisions on how they design and create technology and that has impacts on how we use and think about technology. So shouldn’t we be having some of these conversations with the teens we interact with?

I think we should take some responsibility for this education and problem posing of technology and its impacts. Because in many ways, the decisions we are making affect how current and future teens will use and think about technology (and the digital footprint that has been involuntarily created for them). Recently I’ve been hooked on WNYC’s podcast, Note to Self with Manoush Zomorodi. The focus of this podcast is our relationship with technology and a recent episode lets us hear first hand from a teen interviewed on her views of technology (and smart phones). Teens are actively using technology and making decisions about it and we should respect and think about those decisions (Manoush also has a great “back to school tech” post with links on [mainly] managing kids and educational apps and technology). These posts and podcasts made me think of participatory action research that people like Rachel Magee and others are doing that digs deeper into the relationships teens have with technology (a field I’m very interested in. Also Rachel is a new faculty member at the University of Illinois so I’ve been learning more about her work).

So how do we do this? How do we have those conversations? How do we talk about our permant identity on the Internet? How do we help teens to see the ways in which we shape and our shaped by technology. My main idea is through dialogue – both informal and formal. Everything from a passing comment to longer workshops (I wrote earlier this year about a week long Twitter workshop that could be led to show how information is distributed, biased, and controlled through Twitter and what users we select to follow). Or…how could we incorporate resources like YALSA’s 2012 Issue Brief on Keeping Teens Safe Online (or revise it for 2015)? How might we incorporate idea of connected learning into these conversations for a greater and long lasting impact? How can we take this Social Media Guide and turn it into an engaging program or informal conversation? Granted, I know these programs or conversations would take time – time to plan, time to think through the ideas, time to get to know the teens, and time to actually implement these ideas (I get a little tired thinking about how I would do that once I enter the working world of Library Land). But, what keeps me going is the idea that we too can impact technology. The sooner we have those conversations with our teens, the sooner we start engaging in that critical dialogue, the sooner we can start changing the world.

How do you do this in your libraries with your teens? How do you not get trapped in the idea of technocentrism and instead, strive to empower teens to think critically about technology and their technological footprint?

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5. Celebrating five years of Oxford Bibliographies

The librarians at Bates College became interested in Oxford Bibliographies a little over five years ago. We believed there was great promise for a new resource OUP was developing, in which scholars around the world would be contributing their expertise by selecting citations, commenting on them, and placing them in context for end users.

The post Celebrating five years of Oxford Bibliographies appeared first on OUPblog.

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6. Recorded Storytime Music: A Primer

New recorded music arrived at the library today! [Photo courtesy of the author.]

New recorded music arrived at the library today! [Photo courtesy of the author.]

While on vacation, I found myself in a store trying to pick out a movie that my sister, brother-in-law, and I would watch. Since I’ll watch pretty much anything once, I left them in the movie aisle arguing. I walked away only to discover The Ultimate Laurie Berkner Collection on the shelves of the store. I had tried to pre-order the CD a few months ago using our vendor and it wasn’t available. I immediately snatched up it up and tucked it in my basket. It was the best souvenir of my trip!

It took me a long time to enjoy and use children’s music. There are so many benefits to using music, but I have a half-decent voice and got through many years just singing a capella. It took starting my Music & Movement program — Shake, Shimmy, & Dance — to really start investigating recorded music.

Since I’ve passed thirty, I consider classic artists anyone that I listened to as a child. These include: Raffi, Sharon Lois & Bram, Ella Jenkins, Hap Palmer, and Greg & Steve. These are great core artists to be familiar with as you start learning about children’s music. I don’t incorporate a lot of their music into my programs because my programs tend to be a bit more high energy and my patrons prefer a more contemporary sound.

These are the fifteen artists (in no particular order) that I absolutely adore. I recommend checking out their entire catalogs and listening to them immediately. I did include my favorite album in case you’re pressed for time!

  1. Jim Gill (Jim Gill Sings the Sneezing Songs & Other Contagious Tunes)
  2. Laurie Berkner (Best of the Laurie Berkner Band)
  3. Caspar Babypants (More, Please!)
  4. Elizabeth Mitchell (Sunny Day)
  5. The Learning Groove (Rockin’ Red)
  6. Mr. Jon & Friends (Get Your Move On)
  7. Wiggleworms (Songs for Wiggleworms & Wiggleworms Love You — I can’t choose one!)
  8. Joanie Leeds & the Nightlights (I’m a Rock Star!)
  9. Bari Koral Family Rock Band (Rock and Roll Garden)
  10. The Wiggles (Hot Poppin’ Popcorn)
  11. Laura Doherty (Heartbeat)
  12. Aaron Nigel Smith (Let’s Pretend)
  13. Carole Peterson Stephens (Polka Dots!)
  14. Dreamtree Shakers (Come On a Picnic)
  15. Ralph Covert (Welcome to Ralph’s World)

And my top three tips for finding good recorded music:

  • Fellow librarians. It seems like a cop-out to say that, but Ally Watkins gave me Joanie Leeds. Storytime Underground introduced me to Mr. Jon & Friends. Jennifer Wharton is the first person I saw using Elizabeth Mitchell’s Sunny Day. Ask on Twitter. Read Angie’s M&M post. Read my lists. Check out Kelsey & Heather’s blog Song Catchers’ Library which is open for contributions.
  • ILL. Put titles on hold that sound interesting before investing your library’s money. I know budgets are tight. I have a fabulous library with a healthy budget, but I still want to spend our money in the wisest way that I can. I preview another library’s copy before purchasing our own. If you can’t do this, use Amazon’s song preview or check the artist’s website for YouTube clips.
  • Reviews & sales. School Library Journal will often have children’s music reviews. I also use our vendor Midwest Tapes for reviews/sale ranks. In addition to their magazine, they allow me to sort by what’s selling in the area. I’m able to see if I missed a big released from a familiar artist. I’m also able to see what new artists are selling at high numbers.

So that’s my quick primer about recorded music. Did I miss anything or any favorite artist? Let me know in the comments!

– Katie Salo
Early Literacy Librarian
Indian Prairie Public Library

The post Recorded Storytime Music: A Primer appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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7. Back to School with Homework Help Apps and Websites

Homework with iPad (Source: ND Strupler)

Homework with iPad (Source: ND Strupler)

As the new school year gets underway, parents and teachers will inevitably look to us for advice about how to help their students take advantage of the many digital resources available to assist with studying, research, and homework. This can seem a daunting task for anyone, but as mentors of digital media, library staff should strive to stay on top of recent developments in educational technology so that we can guide families to the apps, websites, and services that will best fit their needs. Luckily, we aren’t alone in the search for quality apps and websites, as many aids exist to help evaluate, review, and recommend digital resources in this area.

AASL Best Apps for Teaching and Learning (Source: AASL)

(Source: AASL)

Every year, AASL releases its lists of Best Websites for Teaching and Learning and Best Apps for Teaching and Learning, identifying resources that “foster the qualities of innovation, creativity, active participation, and collaboration.” Each year’s list is broken down into helpful categories, and the “Past Lists” links lead to sortable spreadsheets of all the apps or sites that have been recognized. The 2015 lists were released at the end of June, and offer some great up-to-date information to share with teachers and families.

appoLearning recently released a Collections feature, which allows educators to build and share customized lists of apps and websites for specific topics or lessons. appoLearning’s searchable database returns custom collections from users, as well as expert-reviewed resources pertaining to the same topics.

Don’t forget to promote the digital resources offered by your library, too! Many reference database providers have created specialized apps to give patrons quick access to their products both in and out of the library. Gale’s Access My Library (iOS and Android, free) and EBSCOhost’s mobile apps (iOS and Android, free) are some examples of these custom apps. If you’re not sure which of your database vendors provide apps for patron access, take some time to check, and be sure to download and explore the apps yourself.

Digital resources can also be incredibly valuable for special needs students, helping them access information, build skills, and organize and manage time and tasks. Smart Apps for Special Needs reviews apps that can help special needs students in many areas of their lives. ADDitude Magazine also frequently creates lists of apps for both children and adults with ADD or ADHD, available on their website.

Other sites to check out:

Tara Smith is a teen librarian at Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, and is a member of the ALSC Children and Technology Committee.

The post Back to School with Homework Help Apps and Websites appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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8. New additions to Great Websites for Kids

GWS logo

Once again, on behalf of the Great Websites for Kids Committee, I’d like to share our newest sites and enlist your help.

In case you missed the recent ALA press release, the following are the newest sites to be added to Great Websites for Kids:

Great Web Sites for Kids (GWS) presents links to high-quality websites of interest to children 14 years of age and younger, organized into diverse subject headings such as animals; art; history; literature; sciences; and more. Each site entry includes a brief annotation and a grade-level rating. GWS users can also rate sites, save their favorites for easy access, and share sites via social media and email.

Only three sites were added during this round.  Because of  previous committees’ excellent work in ferreting out great sites, and the trend toward more app-based content, the task of finding websites that meet GWS standards has become more difficult.  If you know of a great site that you believe merits inclusion, please submit your suggestion via this link: http://gws.ala.org/suggest-site.

Similarly, if you find broken links, etc. on the site, please alert us to that as well. Comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Members of the 2015 Great Websites for Kids Committee:

  • Lara Crews, co-chair, Forsyth County (North Carolina) Public Library
  • Lisa Taylor, co-chair, Ocean County (New Jersey) Library
  • Emily E. Bacon, Yorktown (Indiana) Public Library
  • Ariel Cummins, New Braunfels (Texas) Public Library
  • Jill Eisele, Bellwood (Illinois) Public Library
  • Krishna Grady, Darien (Connecticut) Library
  • Joanne Kelleher, Kings Park (New York) Central School District
  • Elizabeth Saxton, Tiffin, Ohio
  • Alia Shields, Cherry Hill (New Jersey) Public Library


The post New additions to Great Websites for Kids appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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9. YALSAblog Tweets of the Week - August 22, 2015

A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.

Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between July 24 and July 30 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.

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10. Hanging Out (and networking) with YALSA Librarians

I’ve been blogging for YALSA for almost year. Crazy to think I’m starting my second year of graduate school. Those job descriptions that come into my email box seem a little more real, and a little more attainable.

What makes me so excited about heading into the professional world of librarianship is when I get the chance to interact with other librarians, librarians that have experience and insight, insight that I hope to one day have. While I know they, technically, are my colleagues, I still feel a little out of their league. However, that doesn’t stop me from soaking up as much knowledge from them as I can.

I got an opportunity to meet a handful of other librarians (and YALSA) bloggers last week. Crystle, our blog manager, had arranged some Google Hangouts as a way for us bloggers to meet each other. I logged on Monday night, not quite sure what to expect.

Our hangout also had another purpose than simply seeing each other on our screens — we were discussing The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action. It was a report that resonated with me; many of the ideas proposed are ones that are in line with the readings I had done for my community engagement class this spring, along with the work I did with elementary students last year. I have found that if you let the interests and passion of the people you’re working with guide action, then we are setting ourselves up for success.

As we walked through the first few sections of the report, I was content to just listen to the librarians, who spoke about previous experiences with teens. I felt lucky to be a part of a conversation where I heard about the reality of things in library land; while we want to always think that reports and theory are accurate, we know that at the end of the day, real life isn’t as set in stone or black and white. It felt like I was getting a peak into what my job might be like in a year and frankly, it was incredibly inspiring and exciting. I wished we were all sitting around a table at a coffeeshop, where we had more time to share experiences and talk through new ideas.

This hangout reminded me the power of networking. While I didn’t speak much, I was still a part of this conversation. I was learning and processing and thinking about the ways in which these ideas could be put into place in my own practice as a librarian. I look forward to another year of YALSA blogging and navigating my way through teen librarianship.

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11. App of the Week: Crop

Title: Crop
Cost: Free, with $ 1 in-app purchase to remove ads and maintain aspect ratio
Platform: iOS

Sometimes an app is so simple, but works so well, it's hard to imagine how you would get along without it. For me, one of those is Crop by Green Mango Systems.


Whether it's focusing on the content of a screen-captured Instagram post or creating a quick thumbnail for an avatar, there are many occasions when you'll want to remove the bulk of an image or rotate it on the fly. You simply select the image, use the eight points of the image canvas to determine the size you want, and you can keep finessing things until you hit "Save." And unlike the crop option within the iOS photo roll, Crop saves your creation as a new file, so you don't loose the original.

In a digital photography workshop at our state edtech conference this summer, the presenter, Leslie Fisher, emphasized taking pictures from where you stood and cropping them instead of using the digital zoom feature in your device camera. She said that results in less degradation of the image quality. Crop is super-useful for anyone adopting that sort of digital photography workflow.

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12. Apps, Online Tools, and More!

Being a children’s librarian has to be one of the most fun and rewarding jobs a person could have, but that doesn’t mean it is easy! Balancing multiple responsibilities, tight scheduling, and having to constantly be “on” are just a few of the everyday challenges. Luckily, for us, there are tools out there to help us along the way. I posed the question to the ALSC Listserv “What are your favorite apps or online tools that help you stay organized, focused and energized?”

Here are some of the ways youth service staff are using technology to their benefit.


Google Keep is a post-it style system for checklists and notes. Share across your devices or with others. See real time progress on collaborative checklists or setup location reminder notifications.

30/30 is a task management system with a built in timer that tells you when to move on to your next task. The task list is controlled completely by gestures, and is the recipient of many awards and positive reviews.


Professional Development:

Many people use Evernote for note taking, but it can also be used for much more. Save program resources and collection development resources, tweets, bookmarks and more!

Pocket  allows you to store articles, videos or anything else to read at a later date. Save directly from your browser or from apps and access anytime, even without internet.



Headspace is a meditation app that provides personal training for your mind. Learn the basics of meditation and participate in guided or unguided exercises ranging from 2 minutes to one hour.

Pocket Yoga  lets you take your yoga instructor with you anywhere you go! Choose between different practices, different durations and different difficulty levels.



Canva  allows anyone to create visually appealing graphics. Flyers, social media posts, ads, and even presentations can be created by dragging and dropping images and fonts. Canva for Work is coming soon.

Finally, this one isn’t available yet but I know it will be worth the wait!

The Mother Goose on the Loose Online Construction Kit (OCK) is a free cloud- based tool developed by Mother Goose on the Loose, LLC that is designed to make planning storytimes easy by utilizing three big databases. One database aggregates nursery rhymes information such as:  lyrics, instructions, pictures, relevant illustrations, etc. The second database stores titles and bibliographic information of quality children’s books. The third database consists of developmental tips that can be used to explain the value and purpose of certain activities being done with children. There is also a wizard friend who will help users combine information from all of the databases mentioned above to generate either a barebones outline or a fully-fledged script with lyrics and instructions to help make planning high-quality programs for young children a breeze. OCK is still in beta testing, and anyone  who is interested can contact info@mgol.org

We hope these tips will help you further the amazing work you are already doing!

The post Apps, Online Tools, and More! appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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13. App of the Week: Padlet

Title: Padlet
Platform: iOS (Android coming soon)
Cost: Free with paid versions with extra features for schools, businesses, and personal use

padlet logoPadlet is a web-based tool that's been available for a few years. Recently an iPad app launched which makes it easy for libraries working with and for teens to use the tool in a variety of ways.

As with the web-based tool, the Padlet app is a good way to create walls of content. The content might be a curated list of resources - including audio, video, websites, Google Docs, images, and more - that a teen is going to use in a presentation. It, might be a wall where teens brainstorm together and collaborate on ideas for a new project. Or, it could be a place where library staff working with and for teens collect resources of interest to help them provide high-quality service to the age group.

The slideshow below takes you through the basics of using Padlet, adding content, applying settings, and inviting collaborators.

Padlet iPad App - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

New Padlets can be created in the app by selecting the "New Padlet" link. Then to add content all a user needs to do is to either double-tap on the screen or tap on the + at the bottom of the screen. When adding new content it's possible to add a title, a description, and then a link to the content (if web-based resources are being used.) I found that the touch-screen features were not as easy to use as I would have liked. Sometimes a double-tap didn't open up the content window and sometimes using my fingers to drag an item on the wall to a different location - as one is supposed to be able to do - didn't work as easily as it should.

All of the basic features of the web-based version of Padlet are available including changing the wall background and layout, adding notifications when someone adds to a wall (if collaborators are taking part in a Padlet project), adding collaborators, and sharing a Padlet for website or social media integration.

Using Padlet with teens who have access to tablets is a great way to give them opportunities to collaborate on content development and brainstorming. It's also a great way for teens to curate content for projects of academic or personal interest. The fact that it's now available as an app means that teens, who have access to tablets, will have more opportunities to use the tool.

If you or the teens you work for and with are already Padlet web users using the iPad app will be something that you can add to your arsenal of resources. If you haven't yet used Padlet for or with the teens you work with, give it a try.

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14. Get Away @Your Library: Setting Goals to Reach Underserved Teens

With our youth patrons returning to school, now is the perfect time to re-evaluate your community’s demographics and set goals to “Get Away” and connect with those underserved populations. As you consider where to start, the first step may seem daunting, but tackle the unknown in a way that is most comfortable for you. We’ll be sharing our ideas about setting goals during our Teen Read Week Twitter chat Setting Goals to Reach Underserved Teens onFriday, September 11 at 2 pm EST. If numbers and statistics read like a first language, you’ll probably have your own plan of action in which to gather information and compile results into charts and graphs. However, many of us need a different approach in order to ease our way into such unfamiliar territory and we offer a few ideas here.

Demographics from an insider view

Consider your teen patrons’ habits as a diving board into better knowing your community. For instance, if your teens often ask library staff for change to spare for food, comment about not eating breakfast, or are eager to attend library programs especially for the free snacks, you may want to further explore this trend. Start by investigating the nearby school’s stats on free and reduced lunches, the city’s poverty percentages, or the state’s caseload counter for food stamp families. The location of these resources will also provide other relevant data that may offer a more detailed view into the issue. Once you have a baseline of data, connect with local food pantries and other social service providers and start a conversation. You may discover any number of ways to partner with these organizations from creating a bookmark for the public listing the location of these services to facilitating meal programs.

Demographics from a bird’s eye perspective

Map the government, parks, nonprofit, and other community agencies within your library’s service area. If a particular trend in services exists, investigate its related statistical topics and connect with those organizations. Also, the types of businesses in your service may offer a starting point into better understanding your community. If you notice an unusual number of liquor stores in your area, you may check the location of rehabilitation centers or AA groups and connect with them. Another way to address your map of agencies, is to first connect with the organizations located nearest to your library, as those service are directly targeting your immediate area.

Take action with us in better understanding your community by joining the Teen Read Week Twitter chat on Friday, September 11 at 2 pm EST. Come ready to share your goals and gain new ideas and resources from your peers. When joining the Twitter chat, be sure to use #TRW15. See you there!

Amanda Barnhart is the current chair for YALSA’s Teen Read Week committee, an MLIS student, and a Young Adult Associate for the Trails West branch of The Kansas City (Mo) Public Library.


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15. Technology and the evolving portrait of the composer

It’s a cartoon image from my childhood: a man with wild hair, wearing a topcoat, and frantically waving a baton with a deranged look on his face. In fact, this caricature of what a composer should look like was probably inspired by the popular image of Beethoven: moody, distant, a loner… a genius lost in his own world.

The post Technology and the evolving portrait of the composer appeared first on OUPblog.

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16. Send ALSC to SXSWedu!


Delicious! (image courtesy the author)

A sure sign of the approaching end-of-warm-weather in my office is the farewell party for our summer interns. (While that’s bitter in several ways, it’s especially sweet when my colleague Michelle makes her amazing cookies for the occasion.) This year about half a dozen high school students joined us and, of course, we have asked them what they learned while working here the last couple of months and how their perceptions of libraries have changed. And it’s been interesting/fascinating/frightening to see how even among this group of engaged young people with library cards most had arrived without full awareness of everything libraries have to offer.

This is another reminder of how important it is for us to advocate and tell our story to all ages, and so, looking to reach out to new audiences, ALSC has submitted a program proposal, Library Media Mentors Transform, for SXSWedu, an educational innovation conference from the South by Southwest folks, which will be held in Austin, Texas, this coming March.

SXSWedu “fosters innovation in learning by hosting a diverse and energetic community of stakeholders across a variety of backgrounds in education” and is an ideal place for ALSC to bring our message about Media Mentorship and fighting the 30 million word gap. The objectives of our program proposal include:

• How to identify and support the roles librarians serve as media mentors to families in your community
• Evidence-based guidelines for media usage with young children
• How to partner with libraries to enrich your family engagement effort and support the goals of your educational program.

Media Mentorship in Libraries Serving Youth white paper

Media Mentorship in Libraries Serving Youth white paper (image courtesy ALSC)

And for ALSC to get there, we need you! SXSWedu sessions are selected by an advisory board and staff, but 30% of the decision comes from votes from the public, so please help us spread the word about youth services librarians as media mentors by casting your vote here for the Library Media Mentors Transform program proposal. Public voting is open now through September 4, and while it does involve creating a log-in to vote, it’s worth those extra couple seconds to bring ALSC advocacy to this new and emerging arena.

Thanks for your help!

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17. Considering Access and Library Spaces

A person’s right to use a library should not be denied to or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views. — Article V of the Library Bill of Rights

Photo courtesy of the author

Photo courtesy of the author

First, let me introduce myself demographically. I’m chronologically gifted. In other words, I’m older than rock and roll, and I began working as a public librarian in the 1970s. At that time, the cutting wave of censorship for the protection of innocent children from the degrading influence of the contents of the public library was to paint underpants on Mickey In the Night Kitchen with Wite-out®.

But that was then, and this is now. Now we have the Internet. Now kids can play games on the computer. And, as many in my demographic cohort express themselves, “THIS IS A LIBRARY, not a fun house for kids! Others are here to do important things on a computer!” (Remember if anyone is having fun it means they cannot be learning. If it’s educational it must be tedious and boring.)

To avoid this generational turmoil many libraries have installed a game room, complete with videogames. It’s as big a draw as afterschool snacks. Which brings me to the main topic of this post. Do age-segregated areas in the library violate Article V of the Library Bill of Rights?

Some libraries set aside computers for children, complete with child-size furniture to ensure that children have access to computers and don’t just get shunted aside by larger people. To me, this not a case of access being restricted that conflicts with Access to Library Resources and Services to Minors, because it’s designed to ensure that access. For its Children’s area, The Seattle Public Library has a laudable statement of this practice on its website:

Children’s areas within Library facilities are special parts of the Library housing special collections, programs and services designed especially for children. The purpose of the Children’s areas in Seattle Public Libraries is therefore to provide children and their caregivers with access to these special children’s materials, programs and services.

Children’s departments are available for use by those patrons who are accessing the special materials contained in the children’s collection and for use by children and their caregivers, to attend children’s programs, and to utilize other services provided by children’s departments. Patrons not included in these categories may be required to leave the children’s department and instead use other areas of the Library.

However, over the years at various libraries, I’ve encountered adult customers who don’t agree. Often, as mentioned above, they have important things to do on the computers and they aren’t any free in the adult area, or the ones in the children’s area are more convenient for them for other reasons.

  • What do you think about this line of reasoning, and how do you handle this in your library?

The next questions may be even stickier, or more problematic. The following was designed to remediate the problem of overcrowding in the game room with only a limited number of screens and game controllers.

Photo courtesy of the author.

Photo courtesy of the author.

  • How does it fit with the Access to Library Resources and Services to Minors? Especially the part that reads, “Children and young adults unquestionably possess First Amendment rights, including the right to receive information through the library in print, sound, images, data, games, software, and other formats.”
  •  Would you adopt a policy like this? If not, what do you, or would you, have as a policy?

And for extra credit consider these questions:

  •  What do you say to the eleven-year-old that wants to play Grand Theft Auto V?
  •  Would you, or have you, selected Grand Theft Auto V for your collection?

Your comments are invited.

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18. YALSAblog Tweets of the Week - August 14, 2015

A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.

Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between August 14 and August 20 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.

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19. Teen Design Lab Day Four -- Time to Design!

Another good day at the Teen Design Lab. We had a pretty free form day, complete with some inspiration, project time, and stickers.

What we did:

  • Watched some library related humor videos (such as Check It Out made by the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library — what a great job they did incorporating Taylor Swift into EVERYTHING). These videos served as inspiration and a potential design project. We wanted to give teens the option of making a video parody to promote the library.
  • Then it was design time. This is the neat part of the camp. We just let the teens be, serving really only as sounding boards and offering words of encouragement. We provide laptops, paper, pens, and other design supplies (such as clay, building blocks, felt, etc) so they can create a prototype of some sort. It was neat to see the teens find their element — some needed to make something with their hands while others made detailed dream plans and steps to success charts. The design process also the teens to showcase their talents and strengths, which is awesome. At the same time, we are aligning with library and community priorities — giving suggestions on how to make the teens feel welcome or participate in their community and or library.
  • The day ended with a sticker workshop. Again, this pulls from Makerspace and Fab Lab ideas and equipment (check out the Maker & DIY Programs YALSA Wiki page for more information about this sort of programming). It was an easy setup — laptops running Silhouette software, Silhouette vinyl cutters, and vinyl for the stickers. It’s another workshop where the teens really have free reign over what they want to do. Our only suggestion was using a silhouette image for the cleanest cut. The teens really took off on this project, most printing multiple sets of vinyl. They picked up on it pretty quickly (and a few had done this before). It was a nice way to end the workshop.

The teens will be back tomorrow, continuing to work on their designs and then give a brief presentation to their peers and community members we’ve invited to come so the teens’ opinions can be heard!

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20. India’s unique identification number: is that a hot number?

Perhaps you are on your way to an enrollment center to be photographed, your irises to be screened, and your fingerprints to be recorded. Perhaps, you are already cursing the guys in the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for making you sweat it out in a long line.

The post India’s unique identification number: is that a hot number? appeared first on OUPblog.

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21. Digital dating dynamics: age differences in online dating profiles

Online dating is becoming an increasingly prevalent context to begin a romantic relationship. Nearly 40% of single adults have used online dating websites or apps. Furthermore, the world of online dating is no longer confined to young adults; reports suggest adults aged 60 and older are the largest growing segment of online daters. Obviously, adults using these websites are motivated to find a partner, but we know little about why they want to date or how adults of different ages present themselves to potential partners.

The post Digital dating dynamics: age differences in online dating profiles appeared first on OUPblog.

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22. App of the Week: Google Cardboard

Screenshot 2015-08-04 at 6.58.57 PM
Title: Cardboard
Platform: Android and iOS
Cost: Free

It's more than a high-tech Viewmaster. Google Cardboard that takes advantage of the gyroscope in your phone to replicate 365 degree, stereoscopic viewing. Cardboard itself is an app which helps you get started, calibrate your device, and learn to manipulate the navigation and controls. A whole stable of apps and games build upon the Cardboard concept, but the populist VR trend is so new that the content is very uneven. Even in Google's demo, the international capitals captured through Street View pale next to the underwater landscape of the Great Barrier Reef.


Google Cardboard is truly low-barrier. It works as well with Android as with iOS, so more students can use it, manufactured Cardboard cases are inexpensive and you can download a kit to create your own headset.

Some of the apps viewed through the Cardboard headset offer the most generational kinesthetic gaming improvement since the Wii. I use Cardboard to play Debris Defrag, what is essentially an immersive version of Asteroids that makes having a space gun seem absolutely fantastic. The virtual reality experience itself is leaps and bounds beyond holding your phone at arm's length to view a HistoryPin photo screen or an Aurasma layer.


All those online video watchers can use Cardboard as another wrinkle to their experience. I spent a lot of time looking at standard video through Cardboard Viewers, but it was kind of like watching 2D television on a 3D television set, the effect was minimal. It seems to work more as a way to experience high concept video and games that others have created. I had a much better experience exploring the products posted by savvy marketers capitalizing on the nature of the medium. The North Face has a fun video. For teens waiting on the Oculus Rift, Cardboard is a fun stopgap.

Our App of the Week Archive features more great apps. Got a suggestion for App of the Week? Let us know.

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23. Creating Classroom Environments: Are You Ready for Technology?

One question I am often asked about using technology is, “How do you get started?” The answer is actually a simple one - humbly.

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24. YALSAblog Tweets of the Week - August 7, 2015

A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.

Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between August 7 and August 13 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.

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Many of today’s teens spend hours each day online communicating with friends. They visit their online friends in social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter; they share photos and videos via services such as YouTube, Vine, and Snapchat; and they send each other text messages throughout the day – and night – via their ever-present cell phones.

In a recent research grant funded by IMLS, we set out to study how public and school libraries fit into teens’ increasingly online information lives, especially when it comes to searching for information. To that end, we collected data through interviews, focus groups, and surveys from two populations of U.S. high school students. One population attends an urban public science and engineering magnet high school which is known for its award-winning integration of technology throughout the curriculum and its 1:1 laptop program. The school enrolls about 500 students, about 30% of whom are economically disadvantaged and 65% of whom are minority students. The second student population attends a suburban public high school located outside of a major U.S. metropolitan area in a different region of the country. About 55% of the students are economically disadvantaged and 75% are minorities. This second school also supports a small science and engineering magnet program within its total student body of about 2500. Our research sample from this school included both magnet and non-magnet students.

A total of 158 students from the two schools took part in the study. As a group they were heavy social media users, and the majority had used social media services such as Facebook and Twitter to ask (77%) and answer (61%) questions. More than half of the participants had asked or were willing to ask questions about 20 common information needs topics, ranging from social activities and entertainment to careers and health information. School was the most common topic they asked about online, with 77% reporting that they had used social media to ask questions about school-related topics such as homework and class scheduling.

These findings demonstrate that – contrary to common belief -- teens are not just wasting time when using social media. Often they are seeking information and sharing what they know with others. Recognizing that teens are using social media for beneficial uses such as information seeking and sharing can help libraries to better support teens’ information needs. Libraries can develop policies that support teens’ use of social media and consider providing informational content through these outlets. Library staff can also encourage teachers, school administrators, and other adults who interact with teens to consider the value of using social media for information access and sharing.

Based on this research, we’ve put together an infographic that summarizes some of the main points we learned in direct contrast to common myths about teens and social media. The infographic uses direct quotes from teens in our study to contradict five common myths about teens and social media:

MYTH #1: Teens talk about everything online and have little regard for personal privacy.

MYTH #2: Facebook and other social media just distract teens from schoolwork.

MYTH #3: Teens’ use of social media is frivolous.

MYTH #4: It’s dangerous for teens to interact with adults online.

MYTH #5: Internet in schools and libraries is just for finding information.

You can find the infographic at: http://youthonline.ischool.drexel.edu/.

Would you like to display the infographic in your library so that parents, teachers, other library staff, and even teens can learn some of the positive benefits of teens’ social media use? We’ll send you a free poster of the infographic if you contact us at youthonline@drexel.edu (first come first served, while supplies last).

Also, please let us know what you think of the infographic in our brief survey (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MXKDSXR). This will help us to develop our ongoing research about teens, social media, and libraries, and to improve the ways we share our research results with library staff, teachers, parents, and others.

And…there’s more from this project! We also talked with teens about their perceptions of libraries. We focused on this part of the study in our Spring 2015 YALS article “The Teens Speak Out: What Teens in a Tech High School Really Think about Libraries…and What You Can Do To Improve Their Perceptions.”

You might also be interested in our short quiz for assessing the quality of your teen services: 10 Questions to Ask about your Teen Services.

Lastly, for more information about the research team and our work, visit the Drexel University Youth Online Research Group website.

(This work is based on research conducted by Drexel University’s Youth Online Research Group, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services [IMLS], Award #LG-06-11-0261-11, and the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, Grant No. 2011121873.)

By Michelle Purcell, Rachel Magee, Denise Agosto, and Andrea Forte

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