Celebrate Teen Tech Week

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By Stephanie Kuenn, YALSA Communications Specialist

Teen Tech Week, the Young Adult Library Services Association’s annual celebration of the many tech resources available to teens at the library, takes place March 8-14. More than 1,700 libraries across the country are holding special events and offering resources on tech for teens, including gaming nights, workshops on podcasting or photography, online homework help sessions and more. For 20 participating libraries, Teen Tech Week 2009 will be particularly memorable, as they received the second round of Teen Tech Week Mini Grants.

Thanks to the generosity of the Verizon Foundation, a 2009 Teen Tech Week Promotional Partner, YALSA gave out 20 grants of $450 cash (along with $50 in promotional Teen Tech Week products) to plan and sponsor events that encouraged teens to take advantage of the technological resources at their library.

At Passages Academy Library in Brooklyn, N.Y., a school library that serves incarcerated and detained youth between the ages of 14 and 16, Teen Tech Week funds will be used for a program called Nintendo in the Library. Students at the school earn the opportunity to play educational games on a Nintendo DS by engaging in silent, independent reading, based on a similar program that Passages offers in the Bronx.

At the West Covina Library in the County of Los Angeles Public Library System, librarians plan to purchase Flip Video cameras, plus accessories like tripods, backdrops and microphones. Teens at the library will use these to write, produce and edit their own trailers for their favorite books, movies or other library resource available at West Covina. The library plans to show the trailers on the TVs in the teen area throughout the year.

The Grand Rapids Public Library in Michigan will use part of its funds to purchase a Flip Video camera for teens to use to produce video essays on the topic “It’s Easy Being Green.” They’ll also lead a book discussion group session using Twitter, with teens participating and discussing the book Rash by Pete Hautmann in 140 characters or less.

The school library media specialist at Linn-Marr High School Media Center in Marion, Iowa, will use the funds to add 10 playaways to the library. Playaways are self-contained audiobooks and players, and during Teen Tech Week, students will use other technologies available in their library to promote the new playaways to other students. 

Wisconsin’s Baraboo Public Library will give its teen area a much-needed facelift with its mini grant. Three teen artists designed an interactive mural, using LED lights, LED clocks and a moving marquee, to hang on a dull brick wall and become the teen area’s focal point. Staff expect about 20-25 teens to participate in the renovation and creation of the mural during Teen Tech Week.

These events and new resources are just a sampling of what the mini grant winners plan to do with their funds next week. To learn more YALSA’s Teen Tech Week Wiki.