In earlier days, teenagers hung out at drive-ins and malt shops where they could listen to their favorite music and keep up with their friends. Today teens still listen to their favorite music and keep in touch with their friends—only it is through the Internet and IMs (instant messaging) or chat rooms. The transition from in-person to online communications is natural for Generation Y. These teens have grown up with technology as their “nanny.” Todd Schrader, vice president of Strategic Marketing in Sony’s Personal Mobile Products Division in Park Ridge, New Jersey stated, “This generation is connected. They’re empowered beyond any generation of teenagers before.” For an eye-opening article on teen effect on technology, read Alan Goldstein and Vikas Bajaj’s article, “Teens Point Tech’s Path.”
The meaning of empowerment or “giving power to” goes beyond what technology has to offer. Empowerment incorporates the true vision of what we want to achieve in our profession—to be able to reach teens and assist them in becoming more literate. This vision also extends into our own aspirations. Many of us may not believe we have the qualities of leadership or even traces of leadership abilities in our genes. But we do, and we need to learn how to empower others and ourselves so we can take on those leadership positions in the library world. Stephen R. Covey, in his book Principle-Centered Leadership notes that “An empowered organization is one in which individuals have the knowledge, skill, desire, and opportunity to personally succeed in a way that leads to collective organizational success.” And this success can be the key to empowering all who enter the library’s doors. This issue will empower you to seek out leadership in whatever form it may take; find new ways to empower the teens in your community through technology or music; and find direction through literary means.