Libraries key destination for teens to gain 21st century skills

For Immediate Release
Tue, 03/05/2013

Contact:

Jaclyn Finneke
Communications Manager
Young Adult Library Services Association
1-800-545-2433 ext.2128
jfinneke@ala.org

Check in @ your library

CHICAGO— Multiple studies show that, while young people are adept at downloading music, or texting with their friends, the majority lack the digital literacy skills needed to evaluate the quality and accuracy of information they find online.  

Libraries from coast to coast will throw open their physical and virtual doors to teens and showcase technological resources available @ your library during Teen Tech Week™, March 10 - 16.  Thousands of public and school libraries will host special programs and events that showcase digital media resources, including online homework help, using databases for research and study, test and career preparation materials, e-books and much more.

This year’s Teen Tech Week theme is Check in @ your library, and teens will work with librarians to create their own unique Web and technological content as well as to learn how to become competent and ethical users of technology.

“Technology plays an important role in teen life and our global economy,” said Young Adult Library Services Association President Jack Martin. “That is why libraries across the country are helping teens build critical digital literacy skills, which they can use to obtain scholarships; master online research tools such as databases;  manage their online profiles; and have the analytical tools needed to compete in a 21st century marketplace.”

According to the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project Online Survey of Teachers, although the Internet has opened up a vast world of information for today’s students, their digital literacy skills have yet to catch up. Twenty-four percent of those surveyed stated that students lack the ability to assess the quality and accuracy of information they find online. Another 33 percent reported that students lacked the ability to recognize bias in online content.

During the week libraries will offer teens a variety of ways to build skills and explore their interests through digital resources. For example the Domonkas Branch Library, in Lorain, Ohio will host Search Engine Battles. Teens will investigate ridiculous autofill phrases that search engines provide. The teens that find the most hilarious autofill answers will win a chance to enter a drawing for special prizes.

Teens will learn about the history of technology through such programs as the Fort Bend County (Texas) Libraries’  “Old-School Tech” technology petting-zoo. The library will display a variety of technology gadgets, telephones, gaming systems and computer parts that led to the technologies of today.

Some libraries will offer reverse mentoring programs. For example the Wayne (N.J.) Public Library will offer a Tech-help from Teens program.  Adults can visit the library with their devices and receive tech help from members of the library’s Teen Advisory Group, local Honor Society and other tech-savvy teens.

 The Los Angeles Public Library will host more than 10 Teen Tech Week programs that introduce teens to robotics, gaming and chipthrash artists.

Teen Tech Week is a national initiative sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association and is aimed at teens, their parents, educators and other concerned adults. The purpose of the initiative is to ensure that teens gain the digital literacy skills they need—with the help of libraries—in order to be successful in school and prepared to participate in a 21st century workforce.

For more than 50 years, YALSA has worked to build the capacity of libraries and librarians to engage, serve and empower teens.  For more information about YALSA or to access national guidelines and other resources go to www.ala.org/yalsa, or contact the YALSA office by phone, (800) 545-2433, ext. 4390, or e-mail, yalsa@ala.org.  To learn more about Teen Tech Week, visit www.ala.org/teentechweek.