Pop Goes the Library

Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better.

by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, Melissa Rabey, Susan Quinn, John Klima, Carlie Webber, Karen Corday, and Eli Neiburger. We're librarians. We're pop culture mavens. We're Pop Culture Librarians.


Developing Technology Based Youth Participation Activities with Teens by Linda Braun

Linda Braun, of Librarians and Educators Online (at http://www.leonline.com ), presented a three and a half hour pre-conference program on teens and technology based projects in the library. She created a website to go along with the presentation, available at http://www.leonline.com/tech_involved/

As was mentioned in the post about Linda's other presentation (Electronic Communication and Teens), Linda is a wonderful speaker. She began with a discussion on youth development and youth participation, including Hart's Ladder of Youth Participation. The 40 Developmental Assets of healthy adults was also included and discussed; they are available at http://www.search-institute.org/assets/forty.htm (more about these 40 below).

Anyone working with teens should be familiar with this ladder, which sets forth the different degrees of youth participation. It's available at http://www.mcs.bc.ca/yps/hart.htm It ranges from the lowest rung (manipulation) to the highest degree of youth participation (youth-initiated, shared decisions with adults).

Audience participation was actively encouraged; we broke into different groups to try to determine different library examples along the ladder. Examples can vary; be on multiple rungs; or even change as time changes. For example, Reader's Advisory from a librarian may be "manipulation" because you are telling the teen what to read next; but if you have teen volunteers who are creating your book displays (including selecting the topic for the display), then the participation is further up the ladder.

The goal of teen participation is to be at the top: youth initiated, shared decisions with adults. But Linda stressed that first, this wasn't always possible; and second, sometimes a project or a group works its way up the ladder. For example, your TAB group may have begun doing things you suggested (ladder rung "consulted and informed" or "adult initiatives shared decisions with teens") but as time passes and the ideas and leadership comes from the teens, the group evolves to the top of the ladder.

One of Linda's current projects is with the teens of New York City Public Library and their library at Teen Central. http://teenlink.nypl.org/teencentral/ Linda shared with us the evolution of Teen Central and the teen participation. The content, the colors, the design -- all teen initiated.

Next we looked at the addition of technology to teen participation (including the various online examples at Linda's website). In looking at technology, examine where the options are for teen input: maybe the librarian may come up with the idea for a TAB blog, but the rest can come from teens: what is the content of the blog? the appearance? who can post and when? Etc. Also, a big plus to using technology you will reach different teens -- teens who may not normally be "library kids."

As you think of technology based teen participation, you may be wondering about getting approval or funding. This is where those 40 Developmental Assets are important; as you review these, you can see which of these Assets fit into your project. By including specific developmental ssets in your request / grant application / etc., you are providing a solid base to get approval.

Linda provided helpful worksheets for getting started and staying focused: What are the youth participation components? Why would teens want to do it? What is the technology involved? And what developmental assets does it meet? What tasks are involved? Who is responsible: teen/librarian/other? And where will the task take place -- on site? remote location? Will training be necessary?

Linda also provided some good technology tools for working with teens (again, these are all at her website.) Picasa, a free download, lets you (and more importantly, the teens!) do all sorts of cool things with photos. Great for teen participation in websites, posters, newslettters, etc. Camtasia, which costs money, is for making movies; and Alxnet (free) provides tools for creating polls.

This was a great presentation, with a good mix of practical tools and ideas.


  • At 6:14 PM, Blogger adrienne98 said…

    My name is Adrienne, I am a senior at Clark Montessori School. One of our graduation requirements is to complete a twenty-page paper on a topic of our own choosing. The topic I have selected for my senior project is promoting leadership among adolescent girls; I am specifically interested in the experience and relationship that adolescent girls need to have in order to become leaders. The three specific assumptions that I am making are: 1) in order to become leaders, adolescent girls need to be placed in a new environment, 2) in order to become leaders, adolescent girls need to practice observational learning, 3) in order to become leaders, adolescent girls need a supportive and encouraging mentor. I would appreciate and recommendations on individuals, programs, organizations, web sites, periodicals, or other print material that you think would be useful for me in completing my senior project.


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