U.S. libraries work with teens to safely use, navigate technologies

For Immediate Release
Tue, 02/15/2011

Contact:

Macey Morales

Texting, gaming, social networking sites areas of focus

  

CHICAGO –   As teens access the Internet through mobile phones, computers and laptops and gaming devices, public and school libraries from coast to coast are hosting technological workshops and events to assist teens with becoming safe and ethical users of social networks and technology. The programs are part of national Teen Tech Week, March 6 – 12.

The 2011 theme for Teen Tech Week is Mix and Mash @ your library, which focuses on encouraging teens to use library resources to express their creativity by developing their own unique online content and safely sharing it by using online collaborative tools.

According to a 2010 study conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, more than 4 in 5 (82 percent) of online teens ages 14‐17 use online social networks, while 86 percent of teen social network users post comments to a photo or video, page or wall.

Although teens are adept at visiting social network sites, downloading their favorite songs or instant messaging with their friends, the majority lack critical thinking skills and do not fully understand the privacy risks found on social networks, or have the ability to evaluate whether Web content is accurate.  

“In the age of instant access to the Web it is extremely important that teens develop solid information literacy skills,” said Young Adult Library Services Association President Kim Patton. “Often teens are left guessing what Web content is trustworthy and how much personal information they should share. Education is the key to safe and ethical use of the Web and other technologies, and Teen Tech Week will provide library staff with the opportunity to work with both parents and teens on how to become safe, smart and effective users of technology.”

Thousands of school and public libraries will host special programs and events throughout the week, with teens participating in Web and computer workshops, virtual scavenger hunts, online book clubs and more. For example, the South Manatee Branch Library in Bradenton, Fla. is hosting a Music Mixing party where teens will receive tips from local composers and producers on creating professional sound demos. The Boone County Public Library in Burlington, Ky. is encouraging teens to participate in a Video Book Trailer Contest. And the Fitchburg (Wis.) Public Library will feature a Gaming Night.

During Teen Tech Week teens won’t just take advantage of free technology driven programs, but many will offer basic technology courses to older library patrons. For instance the Monmouth County Library in Manalapan, N.J. will offer a program entitled “Nooks, iPads, Droids, Oh My!” Teens will assist patrons with questions about Nooks and how to retrieve e-books. As basic computer skills are challenging for some older patrons, the Kitsap Regional Library in Bremerton, Wash., offers a teen tech program in which teen volunteers assist older computer users.

Teen Tech Week is a national initiative sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association, the fastest-growing division of the ALA, and is aimed at teens, their parents, educators and other concerned adults. Promotional partners include ALA Graphics, Figment.com, The Margaret Edwards Trust, and Tutor.com. DoSomething.Org and the Federal Trade Commission are nonprofit supporters. Teen Tech Week began in 2007.

For more than 50 years, YALSA has been the world leader in selecting books, videos and audio books for teens. For more information about Teen Tech Week, visit www.ala.org/teentechweek.  For more information about YALSA or for lists of recommended reading, viewing and listening, go to www.ala.org/yalsa/booklists, or contact the YALSA office by phone, (800) 545-2433, ext. 4390, or e-mail, yalsa@ala.org.

 

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Editor’s Note:  For Teen Tech Week™ artwork please visit the Teen Tech Week press kit at http://tinyurl.com/ttw2011pk , or to schedule interviews with YALSA spokespeople, please contact Macey Morales, ALA Media Relations manager, 312-280-4393, mmorales@ala.org