Young Adults

15-yr-old Gay Book Blogger Has Something to Say to Librarians

An avid reader who co-authors a book review blog, The Naughty Book Kitties, 15-yr-old Brent wrote a guest post at Pinched Nerves that has received thousands of views since it was posted on June 15th and linked by The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan the same day.

The post, titled Gay teen blogger/book reviewer takes librarians to task over LGBT lit, describes Brent's disappointing encounters with librarians and libraries (and awareness that not all librarians are like those he's encountered), what he'd like to see in a well-rounded GLBTQ YA book collection (hint: not just coming-out narratives), and how crucial books with gay teen characters have been to his development as a proud gay teen.

Don't miss the good discussion in the comments left on the post--many by librarians and a few by YA authors, including Ellen Hopkins and Michael Grant.

Free Library of Philadelphia Youth Empowerment Summit

Hundreds of eager high school students packed the halls of the Parkway
Central Library on May 19th for the Free Library of Philadelphia’s
11th annual Youth Empowerment Summit (YES). With keynote from
acclaimed poet and educator Sonia Sanchez, the all-day event included
workshops on college and career transition issues, an Information Fair
with participants representing colleges and employers, and of course
plenty of refreshments.

The annual event is planned by the teens it attracts, and previous summits have featured “hip-hop intellectual” Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, authors Veronica Chambers (Mama’s Girl) and Mat Johnson (Incognegro), author Lorene Cary (Black Ice; The Price of a Child), and novelist/playwright/screenwriter Walter Mosley. For more details, access http://libwww.freelibrary.org/PressRel/Pressrel.cfm?id=456.

Queens Teens Love Manga, but Their Passion Is Jeopardized by Funding Cuts

They come from all over the ethnic patchwork of this neighborhood of modest-to-fancy brick houses and square green lawns in the borough of Queens, New York: East Asian, South Asian, Caribbean, African-American, Jewish. (Only one speaks Japanese at home.) But at the library, they identify as otaku — Japanese slang for manga aficionados — and their divisions run purely along manga lines. Fans of shonen action manga challenge partisans of romantic shojo; experts debate the merits of series like Full Metal Alchemist, Death Note and Fruits Basket. Readers pool their knowledge to puzzle out magic spells, ninja moves and warrior codes that dominate the manga universe.

Manga clubs have coalesced in libraries in various Queens neighborhoods — Flushing, Jamaica, Long Island City — and the genre has colonized young-adult rooms in libraries around the country.

Now, librarians write books and journal articles to figure out how to tap into this powerful vein of interest that seizes early adolescents just at the age when they are most likely to drift away from libraries.

The manga mania, like so much else in the city during the recession, is threatened by budget cuts. Beginning in July, proposed cuts would reduce library staff by more than one-third and opening hours by nearly half, library officials say. Thirty-four community libraries would be open only two or three days a week. New York Times reports.

Teaching Children and Young Adults How to Choose Privacy

It's becoming ever more critical day by day; today marks the beginning of Choose Privacy Week (School Library Journal).

“The point of Choose Privacy is to spark a nationwide dialogue of what privacy means to us, and what the privacy laws are today in the digital space,” says Angela Maycock, assistant director for ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.

For children, protecting those rights is even more critical as young students often aren’t sophisticated enough to grasp what is appropriate behavior on the Web. School librarians can play a crucial role in helping to steer children towards tools they can use to protect themselves, say experts.

“Certainly we know young people are intuitively and naturally interested in social networking and other tools online,” says Maycock. “And so school librarians play a really important and critical part in this effort as they’re a starting gate in learning how to access information, and do it responsibly and safely.”

Yet how school librarians approach these lessons can vary, especially depending on a student’s age. A kindergartener may have a different understanding of cookies than a junior in high school and so teaching tools often need to start with very rudimentary examples and behavior models.

Young Potter Fan Raises Money for Hull Library

HULL, MA - Calliope Pina Parker is a sixth-grader who reads as many as 10 books a week and favors Harry Potter. She dresses as Potter characters for Halloween, plays Potter trivia with friends, and regularly revisits the series - all seven books and 4,167 pages.

Calliope is also an avid user of libraries, borrowing from across the region and frequenting branches throughout the South Shore on her way to and from school, ballet, and karate practice. So it came as a particular blow when budget cuts in Hull not only sheared the local library’s funding and hours but also cost the town its state certification last month.

“Now people from Hull can’t go to any other library,’’ said Calliope, whose card is no longer welcome at many other certified libraries.

Wanting to do something about it, the 11-year-old organized an all-day reading of the J.K. Rowling book that started it all, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.’’ Yesterday’s readathon and bake sale, with wizardly cupcakes and “magic wand’’ frosted pretzel rods, raised awareness about the library’s circumstances and collected money for the nonprofit Friends of the Hull Public Library.

Library site a hot new social media hangout for teens

Library site a hot new social media hangout for teens
"Our goal is to draw students in so that they're comfortable hanging out in the library, and then get them to engage with the workshops and technology in the space," Neal said. "We're seeing more and more students who were hanging out, participating in workshops and on the social network. It's been great to see their interests develop."

Students enrolled in workshops may check out digital still cameras or Flip high-definition video cameras for a week at a time to work on special projects.

In Orlando PL, No Over 18s Allowed in YA Department

Blogger Sarah N. Fisk, an author of young adult novels, questions the Orlando Public Library's policy on keeping adults out of the YA section of the library.

She wrote a letter to the library expressing her unhappiness with the policy, and received this response in return.

What are your thoughts and what is your library's policy on this issue?

Stitching for Literacy

I've spent a good part of the last day at the first annual Bookmark Collector's Virtual Convention BMCVC, where one of the presenters was Jen Funk Weber, who has created a program called Needle and ThREAD, Stitching for Literacy.
shown here
-a two-sided bookmark based on the old chicken/frog joke-

From her website: "In an effort to promote both literacy and needlework, Funk & Weber Designs is designing bookmarks. A minimum of 10% of profits from sales of Needle and Thread: Stitching for Literacy bookmark patterns will be donated to libraries, schools, and/or literacy programs." Sounds like a wonderful program to be shared in libraries.

Check out her Bookmark Challenge Kit.

Parent Has a Problem with "Pants" Books for Teens

A citizen of the Fond du Lac School District has added more books to a list she wants banned from the schools.

The school district has scheduled a reconsideration hearing for 6:30 p.m. today at Fond du Lac High School to hear public comment on Ann Wentworth's request to have the book "One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies" by Sonya Sones taken off the shelves of Fond du Lac school libraries.

The popular young adult book is being challenged by Wentworth as inappropriate for students of middle school age. In addition, Wentworth is asking the district to review the following six library books at Theisen Middle School:

# "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" by Ann Brashares.
# "The Second Summer of the Sisterhood" by Ann Brashares.
# "Girls in Pants "The Third Summer of the Sisterhood" by Ann Brashares.
# "Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood" by Ann Brashares.
# "Get Well Soon" by Julie Halpern.
# "What My Mother Doesn't Know" by Sonya Sones.

Several interested persons have signed up to speak at Thursday's hearing. The district reconsideration committee will be asked to begin scheduling dates to review the other six books in question. Each book will be considered individually, according to the Fond du Lac School District.

Fond du Lac Reporter has the story.

The Library, Through Students' Eyes

After a Room for Debate discussion last week, “Do School Libraries Need Books?” the comments from readers included some first-hand views from students. This follow-up column includes excerpts of their observations on how studying has changed, how they use libraries (if at all) and how to use the space differently.

Here's one, from Ari, "Get Me Away From the Screen":

I am an 18 year-old student and I definitely spend large amounts of time on my computer. I don’t watch a ton of TV, but I’ll freely plead guilty to charges of texting, IMing, facebooking and reading the newspaper online (hello, NYTimes.com!). However, at the end of the day, I always pick up my flashlight and book and read for a few minutes before falling asleep. Reading remains one of the few activities that gives me a real break from being in front of a screen, be it computer or TV or iPod or cell phone or camera or … the list goes on. If my best source of novels or textbooks or required reading was routed through an electronic device, my entire life would literally be spent in front of a screen! Is that really what we as a nation want to have happen?

Student commentary from the New York Times.

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