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I was having a serious Cady-with-a-d Mean Girls moment two weeks ago as I walked into my first day in a new Teen Librarian position. Would the teens like me? Would they pity laugh at my jokes like the kids at my old job did? Or would I be just another crusty shushing-machine to them? It’s the time of year when teens across the country make that same terrifying walk into new schools, new grades, and new hormone-fueled social challenges, so let’s give them some extra special love from the library this week.
As for me at my new job, I discovered that a level 50 in Skyrim and knowing the lyrics to “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” can get you a long way. Sometimes all you need is to know a little bit about one thing that interests a teen and you can spark a relationship. Learn a little more, and pretty soon they’ll be saying “hi” to you by name. Keep at it, and they might start liking you enough to actually take your reader’s advisory suggestions.
It’s good to be in the know. Here’s some stuff teens are talking about in August 2014.
The band Five Seconds of Summer, or 5SOS (pronounced “5 sauce”), is currently touring the U.S. with One Direction and gaining popularity. The band, comprised of 4 Australian teenage boys, is often compared to their British your-mates, though they seem to be attempting a more punk rock image. (Attempting is a key word here.) Their self-titled debut studio album was released in the U.S. on July 22, and hit number one on the Billboard 200. Learn more about them here.
The 2014 Teen Choice Awards aired on August 10. Big winners were The Fault in Our Stars, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and Divergent (films); Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort (actors); Ariana Grande, Ed Sheeran, and One Direction (musicians); Pretty Little Liars, The Vampire Diaries, and The Voice (TV). Selena Gomez received the Ultimate Choice Award. The show also introduced a new set of web awards honoring a new breed of YouTube and social media stars. See the full list of nominees and winners here.
By now you’re not going to impress any teens by knowing what the Ice Bucket Challenge is, but you might earn some cool points by pointing out a few of the best examples of the fad. Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch gets naked in his (don’t worry, it’s safe for library viewing). Oprah Winfrey’s will appeal to those who enjoy a little schadenfreude, and Bill Gates works some STEM into his challenge. The Old Spice Guy, Homer Simpson, and Tina Fey are other winners. My personal favorite is Kermit the Frog. According to their website, donations to the ALS Association are at $94.3 million as of August 27. Looking for a research opportunity? Ask kids to find out how the Ice Bucket Challenge started; there’s plenty of info available online from reputable news sources.
The eighth season of the rebooted Doctor Who premiered on August 23, and was the first full episode in the run of the new Twelfth Doctor played by Peter Capaldi. Despite being “really old” (56) and less crushable than Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith, most fans are optimistic about the well-respected actor’s prospects in the role. The jury’s still out on whether good acting will attract as much teen attention as good looks did.
On August 18 Taylor Swift premiered her new single “Shake It Off.” The song abandons her country roots in favor of a power pop piece about how “haters gonna hate.” (That’s an old web adage that means roughly, “People are going to criticize you no matter what, so just ignore them.”) Swift also announced a new album called 1989, set to release on October 27. You can view the video for “Shake It Off” here.
Two of the YA lit-inspired movies of the summer, If I Stay and The Giver, premiered this month, both to lukewarm reviews and box office numbers. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is the top movie of the month and has rocketed leading man Chris Pratt to fame (building on his recent success as Andy Dwyer on Parks & Recreation and as the voice of Emmet in The Lego Movie). Ninja Turtles is also going strong despite mostly bad reviews. Check out www.boxofficemojo.com for box office info.
Fans are gearing up for the release of The Sims 4 for the PC on September 2. The newest installment in the classic life simulation game comes 5 years after the release of the vanilla (that is, the original, expansion-free) version of The Sims 3. The new title will have to work hard to win over players, as there has already been outcry over the exclusion of several of the former titles’ features from the new game (most notably, toddlers and swimming pools). No OSX release date has been announced. Read more about the unhappy fans here.
Translation time: the slang of the month is “shade” or “throw shade” (verb), which means to criticize someone in an underhanded of passive-aggressive manner. This term has existed for a long time in LGBT communities but came into wider use apparently about a year ago (although I didn’t hear it until this month). It was recently added to Oxford Dictionaries (the online database, not the hoity-toity print version). For a list of recently-added words and, through it, a remarkably comprehensive overview of modern culture, check out this article.
How far would you go to promote a book you really loved? Actor Matthew Lillard went to amazing lengths to share one of his favorite teen stories (which also happens to be a Printz Honor Book!):
“OK. So, I first stumbled across FAT KID RULES THE WORLD when I was hired to record the audio version of KL Going‘s award winning novel. The book blew me away. It was funny and true, and it told the story of a lost kid – Troy Billings, alienated and alone – who finds his purpose in life through the magic of punk rock music. The book rocked my world. It was crazy! It spoke to me, in a deep way because I had been my own version of Troy Billings in high school. I was lost and an outcast and didn’t really fit in anywhere… that is until I found acting, which pretty much changed my life forever. After I read the book I knew I had to tell THIS story. I made this movie for everyone who has ever felt like they just didn’t belong… the misfits, the outcasts. the kids that are lost… this movie is for you! “
He raised over $150,000 on Kickstarter to get this movie distributed. Start to finish is is a true labor of love. And thanks to the producers, we have a special screening of the just-released-this-week DVD just for YALSA members attending ALA in Seattle (where the movie was filmed!)
Join us at the wonderful Elliott Bay Book Company Sunday January 27th at 7pm to watch the movie I’ve been dying to see all year! We also have door prizes: Listening Library is providing two CD sets of the audiobook; the movie producers are supplying bumperstickers; and Random House is sending some extra goodies for everyone who attends! Please feel free to bring a snack or beverage to share. But just like the public library, we need to clean up after ourselves, and be out before they close the store at 9pm!
Blog: YALSA - Young Adult Library Services Association
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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.
- Everyone’s new favorite method of publicity is to film a book trailer, highlighting themes or great one-liners from upcoming books. But there’s no reason why you couldn’t get a group of teens to create their own trailer for a book that came out long ago. Pick a favorite, get a storyboard, and get filming!
- There are tons of book bloggers out there doing innovative things to get readers to see them as the foremost hotspots for new releases. One popular feature is “in my mailbox” (cf. The Story Siren), when bloggers round up the week’s worth of purchases, galley receipts, and more to whet readers’ appetites. Other bloggers, like Loretta at Between the Pages, do this on video, showing off covers and taking readers on tours of local bookstores and libraries. Other bloggers use this as an opportunity to show off that week’s reading list or upcoming titles they’re coveting. What a great way that you could highlight new collections or underused materials!
- For your incredibly crafty patrons, you can plan a great stop-motion video to learn about construction and design. Picturebook writer-illustrator David Hyde Costello has created videos of Rube Goldberg-esque contraptions made all out of paper and cardboard.
- Homemade videos are a great vehicle for critique–of media, of culture, of politics, whatever. Teach your teens the art of a good analysis and create a well-edited video on a topic of their choice. Anita Sarkeesian of Freminist Frequency creates videos utilizing clips of commercials and movies to talk about feminist issues and stereotypes in the media. This is a great way to exercise your Creative Commons and fair use muscles and come up with an excellent, innovative teaching and creating experience.
What are you doing with video and media in your programming?
This year, YALSA and ALSC are co-hosting their annual President Programs at the Annual Meeting. Sarah Flowers and Mary Fellows are wondering: what is the life of a tween or young teen like in this digital age? What are the particular challenges and opportunities they face online? And how do libraries help them?
Which is where YOU come in! How are you engaging with the digital lives of tweens and young teens at your library? We are calling for video submissions from librarians on the front line. We want to know: what have you done? What worked? What didn’t — and what did you learn as a result? What will you try next?
Videos should be 2-3 minutes in length and created by librarians, for librarians. Show and tell us about an experience or project dealing with tweens and young teens and technology at your library. Here’s how to enter:
- Post it on YouTube with the tag “youthprezprogram12”
- Email co-chairs Tessa Michaelson Schmidt and Sarah Couri at tweenlibraryvideos at gmail dot com with the YouTube link and your contact information
- Deadline for submissions: Monday, April 30, 2012 at midnight (coming up — but you still have time!!)
All video entrants will be eligible to win a $100 Amazon gift card. Selected videos will be shown at the 2012 ALSC and YALSA Joint Presidents’ Program in Anaheim! Speak up and speak out: how are you working with technologically active tweens and young teens?
And, if you would like more information about the 2012 Presidents’ Program: Michelle Poris (of Smartypants) and Stephen Abrams will be talking about tweens and young teens, exploring their use of technology, and asking the question “What should libraries be doing?” We hope to see you there!
Audience Choice Awards in TechSoup’s Digital Story Telling contest are now open for voting through Sunday, March 11 at 11:59pm PDT! YALSA entered a video in the contest, and we need your help to win! Our thanks to Linda Braun, Wendy Stephens, and the teens at Buckhorn High School in New Market, Alabama!
Here’s how to vote:
- Visit TSDigs.org
- Select “Vote for Video”
- Search for “Eve G.” (That’s our very own Eve Gaus!)
(If you get an error message, simply click OK and you will still get through.)
You can vote Chicago-style in this, by which mean early and often. So vote for Eve G.’s video, featuring teens from Buckhorn High School in New Market, Alabama! We only have 39 votes right now, but with your help, we can get even more.
You can see all the entries in the TechSoup contest on their YouTube playlist. Thanks for voting for YALSA!
Platform: iPhone running iOS 4
Cost: Free or $1.99 Pro Version
When I first bought my iPhone, one of the things I was really looking forward to using was the iMovie app. But, once I got my iPhone I didn’t really use that app that much. It didn’t do what I hoped it would. But now, there’s Splice, an iPhone app that makes it possible to edit and enhance movies, and slideshows, on an iPhone. While the editing and enhancing isn’t always a snap with Splice, it is pretty easy. And, the features included with the software are pretty varied.
The first step in using Splice is to have video and/or photos on your phone that you want to edit together in some way. Or, even if you just have one movie on the phone, you can edit it with Splice, add music, sound effects, narration, titles, transitions, and more. But, let me get back to those first steps.
When you open Splice you add a new project and then set the basic options. Don’t worry, these options can be changed after you set them. Options include the quality of the video – HD or SD – the type of transitions you would like to use, and the border you want to add to the production. You can go without a border and transitions and add them later, or never, it’s up to you.
Once your project is setup you can add photos and/or video. The photos and video come from the camera roll of your phone. Add one image or video at a time or add several all at once. Once the images are added you can edit them. Video can be trimmed and sound effects can be added.
One of the things I liked the best was the possibility of adding music. Music from an iTunes library can be added to a section of the movie or to the entire movie. (Of course you want to make sure you have the rights to include the music.) Or, you can use music that is a part of the basic Splice package. When the music is added you can have it fade in or out or both. It’s also possible to record audio in Splice. If you have photos or video that you want to add narration to, it’s not hard to do.
Transitions and title slides can be added anywhere in the production – not over video or a photo but in between photos and videos.
Splice has a store from which you can add components to the app. You can buy borders, sound effects, transitions, and music. While this is a nice feature, it’s not required.
Reviews of the app note that it can crash periodically, and it does, this isn’t too much of a problem as everything put together is auto-saved. Crashes do happen, but a quick re-opening of the app and it’s easy to start where you last left off.
Splice is really quite a full-featured movie editing app. Teens who use their phones to create movies, or who might simply have a selection of photos which they want to set to music and add titles to, will no doubt find a lot of options for being creative when using Splice. For libraries that do
You’ve already been promoting Teen Tech Week for a few weeks now in order to gain interest in your library’s upcoming programs, and things should be all set and ready to go next week! But marketing shouldn’t stop here. There will be many opportunities during these programs to capture rich details to promote the success online or even to promote TTW next year. So consider recording your TTW programs by whatever means you have at-hand; digital camera, video camera, teen/staff testimonials, collecting program creations, etc.
For those with cameras (video or picture), you can ask a teen volunteer or other staff member to be a cameraperson to catch all activities while you run the program. The cameraperson could take a passive role by simply recording the program, or a more active role by interacting with teens or setting up a “testimonial” booth for attendees to share their thoughts on prepared questions.
Pictures are easily marketable through slideshows and Facebook or Flickr accounts while videos can be compiled and edited using tools like Windows Movie Maker that comes with most PCs, iMovie that comes on most Macs, or a free online editor like YouTube Video Editor. If possible, it would be ideal to find a tech-savvy teen in advance, or at the program, who might be willing to take this project on.
* If you do shoot video or take pictures, check with your administrators for media guidelines prior to your programs to ensure you are following rules and will be able to use your footage for future marketing purposes.
**One possibility to consider in order to cut down on the number of signatures you’d need to attain is to post signs at the entrance and throughout the space declaring “Your are entering a live public event area. By entering this area, you acknowledge that your voice, likeness or image may be recorded in audio, video, or photographic form, and you hereby consent to such recording. Your further grant (your library and its affiliate organizations – Friends, Foundation, etc) the right to publish, broadcast, or otherwise utilize any such recordings of your voice, likeness or image in any manner for any purpose in any media without restriction, including for advertising and trade purposes.” — or something of that nature.
By now you know that the Flip Video is no more. The Flip has been a staple of the teen library program since its introduction in 2006. At its relatively low price point, a library could purchase multiple cameras and put them in teens’ hands. The argument here is that high-quality video is now available on most smart phones, rendering the Flip obsolete, but can we really hand out iPhones to our teens for them to make short films? Here are some options for librarians who still want to make video cameras available to their teens:
1. Buy up Flip cameras. They’re still for sale, and the software you need to upload the files to your computer and the Web are built into the cameras themselves. For a great breakdown of how to keep using Flips now that they’re discontinued, see Marguerite Reardon’s April 15th “Ask Maggie” post on CNET. She actually talked to the people at Flip to see what was going on.
2. Check out other inexpensive video recorders. Here’s a sampling:
- Kodak offers a few “pocket” video cameras under $200, including the Mini Video Recorder (on sale right now for $49), the ZxD ($99), and the PLAYSPORT ($149).
- Sony sells the Bloggie ($149 and up), which is also built for users who want to share their videos online.
- Samsung’s E10 ($79) films in HD and has a swiveling lens.
3. The iPod Touch now offers HD video recording and can be used for a whole host of other things, like gaming, reading, texting, and research purposes. Check them out to teens in the libary when they’re not in use for filming, or have staff use them to work with teens in the stacks or offer text reference services. While I personally can’t imagine filming with the large iPad, they also allow for HD video recording.
Easily-portable and simple-to-use video cameras are pretty much indispensable for teen library programs (as well as school libraries and classrooms – I use mine all the time, to both record student progress and to put them in student hands). No matter what you decide on, it’s a great idea to have as many mini-video cameras around as you can afford.
Check out all of the posts on the YALSA blog about film and video here. If you have more suggestions for Flip alternatives, please post them in the comments!