Monday, March 30, 2009

Sample Post

Staff Name:


Library System:


Aha! to share: For example: Greet patrons when they enter the Library, everyone wants to feel important.

Questions to ask yourself:

Quotes that made an impression:
For example: No means no, say it in 3 words. "Cellphones not allowed".

Websites to share:

Rating: One Star (the worst) to Five Star (the best)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Session 2: Fandom

With the advent of Harry Potter and Twilight, and even before that with Star Trek and Star Wars, we are starting to see more and more audience participation with and for the books we are reading.

The YALSA conference sponsored a session on Fan Fic, and here are some notes I jotted down to share:

What? Fandom is a group of fans who live out part of a book/movie

Who? Teenagers and Adults

When? As long as people have been enjoying books and stories

Where? Anywhere

Why? Fun/Communication/Ability to Identify with Others

Some Vocabulary:
Fandom- Fans coming together
Fanfiction- Takes place anywhere in the story world
Livejournal- LJ community (a blogger community)
Cannon-source material
Con- Convention where fans interact

Steps to Becoming a "Fan"
1. Read everything...
2. Buy the "Official Guide"
3. Buy the 'Unofficial Guide"
4. Read essays about the book
5. Buy the jewelry or make your own
6. Have events and dress up like your favorite character for example: Dress up as Bella or Alice and have a prom

Fandoms must have:
1. Participation
2. Community
3. Dedication
Nobody owns a fandom!

Different forms of Participation
  • Fanfiction
  • Information Getting
  • Talking about your Fandom with others
  • Analyzing your Fandom
  • Making it Real
  • Twittering about your Fandom
  • Roleplaying
  • Buttons
  • Crafts
  • Knitting
  • Fan Art
  • Cosplay -costume play
  • Fan videos

Fanfiction is where your introduce a new character into an already existing story by writing a new episode/chapter/story.

Many who write fanfiction archive it in a site. Here are some recommended online sites for fanfic:

Those writing fanfiction cannot do it for profit. If so, they risk risk copyright infringement.

Possibly Program Ideas:

  • Writing workshops
  • Reviewing Workshops
  • A Fandom, in general, gathering
  • Finding Fanfiction
  • Do-It-Yourself Book covers
  • LOL Book covers
  • Parties
  • Recipes and Cooking
  • Readers Theatre

For example:

Con at the library (Washington County is already doing this, so they would be a great resource for such a project)

Games and Puzzles

Dramarama- Have a sing a long musical

Princess Diaries- Have princess lessons

Alex Rider- Gadgets and technology demos

Library jeopardy

Many authors also have their own fanfic contests sponsored on their websites such as:

Meg Cabot and Holly Black

Also Check out these websites:

The 39 Clues

The Hunger Ganes

Harper Teen Fan Lit

Nerd Fighters (John Green's site)


When I attended Mid-winter I received a really nice handout about how beginners can get started with podcasting. It is pretty informative and lengthy, but I'm going to try and set up some of the main points here. You could probably get more information by going to and looking at the resources for Teen Tech Week.

What is a podcast?: It's a digital recording that you can put on your computer or personal communication device.

Why do podcasts with teens?
  • Record major events such as talent seaches, author visits, open mic nights
  • Booktalking-this is a great way to get teens to review books and to share the reviews
  • Showcase creative projects
  • Discussions or information that you may want to share
  • Archive important stories or information

Equipment Needed:

PC microphone or digital voice recorder

Recording/editing software


For more information on he recording and uploading of the podcast, check out the YALSA site listed above!

Podcasting Resources:

Teen Podcasters Network

Podcasts & Teens-Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki-

Podcasting 101

Podcasting Toolkit

I am really interested in getting some of this going with my county. I know that Allegany is also working on this. If you are working on podcasting in your county/branch, please share your ideas!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

BER Workshop: What's New in Young Adult Literature

This was an amazing workshop presented by Patti Tjomsland. She does it every year, so if you have an opportunity to go see her, definitely do so! She reads over 400 YA novels a year, and then writes plot summaries, separates them into categories, and gives her top picks for the year. Here is her website that has some additional online resources that everyone could use:
It also talks about how you could get her book if you are interested in obtaining a copy for yourself. Here is a preview of the what the sections are in the book in case you are interested in getting a copy or are planning on looking at a copy that is circulating:
Section I: Bibliographies-this section is comprised of lists of book summaries separated out by book categories such as: Death and Dying, Historical Fiction, and Series and Sequels, and includes reading level ranking, award nominations and winners, and publishing info.

Section II: What the Award Books were for the Year and Activities in Using Them

Section III: Great information on how to promote books, reading, and discussions inclusive of information on using audiobooks

Section IV: Activities for Any Novel-This section is jam-packed full of activities to use when discussing/teaching a novel to/with a group.

Section V: Activities and lesson plan links for specific titles

Section VI:Interent Resources such as reviews, blogs, and author myspace pages

Her Top 14 Picks of 2009 were:
1. Airman by Eoin Colfer
2. Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
3. Nation by Terry Prachett
4. Impossible by Nancy Werlin
5. The Compound by S.A. Bodeen
6. The Trouble Begins at 8 by Sid Fleischman
7. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
8. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
9. The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
10. The London Eye Mysteries by Siobhan Dowd
11. How Not to Be Popular by Jennifer Ziegler
12. Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
13. Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor
14. My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger

Definitely take a moment to check out the book. There is so much useful information in it!

Monday, March 23, 2009

State Teen Interest Group Meeting

On Thursday, March 12, 2009, the State Teen Interest Group Meeting was held.

One of the first topics for discussion was "Blogs and Wikis." Several were recommended for teen librarians.

The YALSA Blog:
It is chock full of information about teen services, books, programs, and advocacy. If you have not checked it out, definitely do so. It is a blog must read!

Howard County does a partnership with the schools linking their blogs and wikis.

Reading Rants is a website that does Reader's Advisory

The Ch-Ch-Changing Librarian Blog was also recommended


SLJ's Joyce Valenza "NeverendingSearch" blog

Also, Liz Rafferty lead a discussion on Twitter and "tweeting." Feel free to check out her Twitter account and become a follower on the BCPL webpage

The group also had a lengthy discussion on what libraries are doing differently in the face of budget cuts. Is there something unique that your libraries are doing? Please share!

Lastly, we ended the meeting talking about the millenial generation and their research and research engine habits. We got talking about this after reviewing the article: "Dude-I'm Phaaaaaatttt!" Here's a link to the article What do you think about this and the direction we're heading?

If anyone is able, these sessions are definitely worth checking out!


Right now, Simon & Schuster is hosting its second annual Blogfest.

On the site, authors of teen literature will come together to answer pre-given questions from teens abou their writing and books. Each day there will be new content and questions answered. Every author that agrees to participate will answer at least one question, maybe more depending on his/her schedule. Teens and readers can comment on any of the posts. If the authors have time, they will respond to the comments.

Some of the authors participating include : Holly Black, Kate Brian, Deb Caletti, Cassandra Clare, Ellen Hopkins, Cynthia Kadohata, and Scott Westerfeld...along with plenty of others! It is still going on until the end of this week. Have you or your teens check it out at :

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Twitter @your Library

I admit, I have been having a hard time trying to figure out how to use twitter in a useful way at the library.

So far the best public use idea is to post "tweets" of titles around a genre, say British Mysteries. Then ask the public (followers in twitter lingo) to reply back with their favorite titles in that genre. We would end up with a list of titles, that may serve as recommended titles to other followers as we follow each other or retrospectively search the twitter-verse for the genre of the week.

The best idea so far for use by library staff is as a replacement for our IM clients on the staff machines. If all the branches followed all the other branches on twitter, they would all see the same question or request at the same time. With IM, its a one to one communication, twitter would allow one to many communication. The assumption would be that the branch that coudl answer the request first would do so, thereby fulfilling the customer's request faster.

What do you think of twitter in the library? Is it just one of those technologies that just don't jive enough with the work of the library?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Going first.....

So here I am, one of the first to post on our relatively new Western Maryland Regional Library Blog. I must say that this is pretty exciting! This is such an amazing resource that if we all give a little input, could be super helpful :)

So here goes nothing:

In the fall I attended the first ever YALSA Conference in Nashville, TN. Most anyone who had the opportunity to attend found the sessions to be incredibly informative. I took some good notes on many of the sessions I went to. What I am going to try to do is type up some notes from each session and put them in each blog. Anyone with experience with these programs or went and got more information on the subject, feel free to jump in and add your input :)

Session 1: Thrilling Teens and Engaging Reluctant Readers

The panel for this particular YALSA session had Margaret Peterson Haddix, Patrick Jones, and a teen librarian.

The following books were recommended by the panel:
Vampire Kiss
Double Identity
The Hunger Games
Dairy Queen
Comeback Season
Anything by R.L. Stine and Neil Gaiman

Margaret noted that there are two ends of the spectrum of books that seem to grab readers. They are either extremely dangerous (for example, The Hunger Games) or they consist of stories about the "Absolutely Fabulous" (no pun on Patsy or Eddy intended) with characters wrapped in the life of the rich and famous.

Patrick went on to say that there are three keys to good books for reluctant readers:

  1. The book is a really good mirror and allows the teen to see him/herself in it.

  2. Relevance-Does it seem applicable to current teen realities?

  3. Does it have a good beginning?

He said that the first line of a book is the most important that the "first line is like a first kiss."

How true is this, though? How many kids do we know pick up a book, look at the cover, and then read the first line or sentence, and then immediately decide whether or not we are going to read it. Heck, we even do that as adults for the most part!

He went on to say that the narrative voice in each book is of tantamount importance; the reader has to be able to identify with the characters immediately, and that it doesn't have to be a novel told by first person, just that it adds a sense of immediacy to it.

To this, Margaret added that many times kids turn to books to fulfill emotional needs. When she said this, I immediately thought of all the kids who read A Child Called It. They read it for reassurance - to know that they are not the only ones out there, but that also their lives aren't quite as bad. I also think of Twilight, because most every teen girl wants a thrilling taboo romance at least once in her life!

Another point that I think is worth mentioning is that they indentified several types of teen books that seem to be gaining momentum. They listed them as:

  • Designer Chick Lit. (Perhaps The Luxe would fall into this category)

  • Cozy Mysteries (Death by Bikini)

  • Cross-genre books

  • Supernatural/Fantasy-Vampires seem to be going by the wayside, but werewolves are picking up steam.

One of the last points they made is that Award stickers seem to turn teens off of reading books. What do you think? I have had that problem in my teen section because teens see those books as "School Reads." What are your experiences? How do you handle this?