(CHICAGO) When local teens log on to MySpace, they find classmates… favorite bands… videos… and the King County Library System. They’re not alone. Hundreds of libraries nationwide are open 24/7 at MySpace.com, YouTube, Wikipedia and more online community spaces.
The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the fastest-growing division of the American Library Association (ALA), will lead a full-day session on "Building Teen Communities Online" January 19 as part of the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Seattle January 19-24. A national panel will explore how and why teens interact online and discover ways libraries can take advantage of free online tools to enhance teen services. Technologies like social networking sites, chat, IM, blogs, wikis, podcasts & more will be featured.
"In today’s information age, people are going online to do more - especially teens," said YALSA President Judy Nelson. "Young adult librarians are leading the way in extending our reach beyond library walls and providing a safe and informative Web space for our library users."
A night of gaming will cap the day’s program. From 7 to 9 p.m. librarians will take part in the world of online and video games via demonstrations and hands-on play with all types of devices including gaming consoles and handhelds.
The first-ever Teen Tech Week, scheduled March 4-10, will officially launch during the ALA conference, as well. Librarians will meet January 21 to discuss the national effort and plans to celebrate nationwide. Aimed at teens, their parents, educators and other concerned adults, Teen Tech Week encourages teens to use libraries’ electronic resources for education and recreation and to turn to librarians for help developing the skills needed to use electronic resources effectively and efficiently.
YALSA hasn’t forgotten the analog environment even as it builds its own blog, wiki and MySpace page. YALSA will host local teens at the Washington State Trade & Convention Center Saturday 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in an annual event to select the Best Books for Young Adults. Nominated books are online at: www.ala.org/yalsa/booklists/bbya .
On Monday, January 22, at 7:45 a.m., YALSA also will announce the only national young adult book awards - the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in young adult literature, the Margaret Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults and the Alex Awards for the best books written for adults but with special appeal for teens. These awards are recognized by educators and families nationwide and signify the best of the best young adult books.
"Online and in person, librarians are leaders in connecting youth with literature," Nelson said. "Students who read for fun almost every day had higher reading scores in 2004 than those who never or hardly ever read for fun."
For 50 years YALSA has been the world leader in selecting, evaluating and recommending books, videos and audiobooks for teens. For more information about YALSA and recommended reading, viewing and listening for teens go to www.ala.org/yalsa.