For immediate release | February 27, 2012

Teens look to libraries for tech support

Geek Out @ your library

CHICAGO– As Web-enabled tools such as Facebook, texting and smartphone apps become a staple of teen culture, school and public 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 4 – 10, 2012. Teens by the thousands will improve their digital literacy skills as they take advantage of free library social networking and digital media workshops, e-books, databases, online homework help, gaming tournaments and much more.
This year’s Teen Tech Week theme is Geek Out @ your library, and teens will work with librarians to create their own unique Web and technological content, as well as learn how to become competent and ethical users of technology.
Multiple studies have shown that, while young people are adept at downloading their favorite songs from the Internet or instant messaging with their friends, the majority lack critical thinking and information literacy skills.
So what is a teen to do? Teens are turning to educators and librarians for tech support. According to a Pew Internet study, 70 percent of online and cell-using teens say they have gotten advice about Internet safety from teachers or another adult at school.
“Libraries and librarians recognize that technology plays an important part in a teen's life,” said Young Adult Library Services Association President Sarah Flowers. “Education is the key to safe and ethical use of the Web and other technologies, and librarians are uniquely suited to provide teens and their families with the knowledge they need.
From teaching teens how to protect themselves online to accessing Web homework help databases, today’s teens value libraries as technology hubs that provide access to experts: librarians.”
According to the U.S. National Crime Prevention Council, 43 percent of teens have been the victims of cyberbullying in the past year. Librarians are information technology professionals and on a regular basis, and during Teen Tech Week, teach teens how to use online resources safely and effectively. The Briggs Lawrence County (Ohio) Public Library will offer teens informational sessions on cyberbullying and the St. Johns (Fla.) County Public Library, will offer Internet safety workshops to help teens protect themselves online.
Teen Tech week isn’t just about teaching teens safety tips, but also providing programs that reflect tech usage trends. Three-quarters of American teens send text messages every day. Nearly 40 percent of teens share something online that they created themselves, like artwork or a video, so libraries like the Niles (Ill) Public Library will host a Geek Olympics competition. Teens will compete for prizes in multiple challenges, including a search engine battle, making meme, building a website, creating a digital bulletin board and inventing an unbreakable password.
Teen Tech Week is a national initiative sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association one of the fastest-growing division of the ALA, and is aimed at teens, their parents, educators and other concerned adults. Teen Tech Week 2012 partners are ALA Graphics, Audio Publishers Association, AudioGO,, Hackasaurus, Peachtree Publishers, and Tech Week began in 2007.
For more than 50 years, YALSA has been the world leader in selecting books, videos and audiobooks for teens. For more information about Teen Tech Week, visit . For more information about YALSA or for lists of recommended reading, viewing and listening, go to, or contact the YALSA office by phone, (800) 545-2433, ext. 4390, or e-mail,


Stephanie Kuenn