Teens and technology are a natural. Today’s teens were born between 1992 and 1998. That means there has never been a day in their lives that did not include personal computers, the Internet, and cell phones. So clearly, for those of us who work with teens, it is way past time to get over thinking about technology as “all that new stuff.” Of course, new types of hardware emerge all the time, and new applications crop up daily. However, we owe it to ourselves and our teens to keep up, to know what’s out there, and to think constantly about how these technology applications can be used in libraries. This year’s Teen Tech Week theme, “Learn, Create, Share @ your library,” applies as much to librarians and library workers as it does to the teens we serve.
I am very excited about this issue of YALS, which offers some very practical suggestions for working with technology and teens in both school and public libraries. Many thanks to YALSA’s Teen Tech Week committee, chaired first by Heidi Dolamore and then by Kelly Czarnecki, for coming up with lots of great ideas to share with YALSA members. Camden Tadhg, one of YALSA’s past Teen Tech Week mini-grant winners, tells us about how she used the grant to learn how to make music by bending circuits and then shared that knowledge with her teens. Mary Fran Daley shares some free online tools, Laura Peowski offers some tips for engaging teens online, Mari Hardacre talks to teens about technology, and Kim Herrington focuses on how school librarians can tap into TTW. Christy Mulligan and Cynthia Matthias describe Hennepin County Library’s Teen Tech Squad, a model for teen leadership, Suellen Adams talks about how to use digital tools to market the homework center, and Aaron Dobbs explores some of the possibilities of ALA Connect.
It is not only about tech. Mina Gallo offers suggestions for a year’s worth of teen volunteer projects and Vivian Howard explores the influence that peers have on teen reading. Add all that to reviews of professional resources and the YALSA update and you have a jam-packed issue.
In all of these pages, you are sure to find something to learn, something you can create, and lots of things you will want to share—@ your library. Meanwhile, do not forget to register for Teen Tech Week. Registration is free and gives you access to the 2010 logo, which you can use to promote Teen Tech Week by adding it to your library’s web site, blog, Facebook page, or other resources. Check out Teen Tech Week products, including decals, posters, bookmarks, digital downloads, and more by going to www.ala.org/teentechweek. YALS