A BOOK REVIEW BLOG AND
PODCASTS BY AND FOR TEENS
July 26, 2009
We want the Yourtown Public Library to be modern
As of May 9, 2009, The Blogging Libraries Wiki listed
approximately 315 U.S. public libraries, including our
own (for the adults’ book club), that now feature blogs.
Nearly a third of those (90) are directed toward teens.
As of July 20, 2009, Library Success: A Best Practices
Wiki, listed more than 20 public libraries producing
podcasts; more than half of those (13) are for teens.
WHY NOW? (CONTINUED)
Online reading and writing hold strong appeal for teens,
and may increase reading, writing and information
All forms of reading are valid (Abram, 2008, 21).
Millenials read more than their parents do, and create more
Web content (Abram, 2008, 21).
A recent Pew Internet Report found that teen bloggers are
more prolific writers and enjoy writing more than their non-
blogging peers (Lenhart, et al., 2008, 51)
Pew Internet Reports also reveal:
Teens are much more likely than adults to both read blogs
and blog themselves (Lenhart & Madden, 2005, i).
Teens are more motivated to write when they can choose
their own topics and be creative (Lenhart, et al., 2008, ii).
Those teens who write for audiences want to make their work
strong and interesting (Lenhart, et al., 2008, ii).
WHY NOW? (CONTINUED)
Teen involvement “drives the other elements of
[Library] 2.0” (Bolan, et al., 2007, 41)
Giving teens some control will attract them to libraries.
How can a teen’s experience with the library become
more interactive and more specifically tailored to the
teen’s needs and wants?
By using popular technologies with which teens are
comfortable, and by allowing them to create and publish
WHAT’S THE PLAN?
Yourtown Public Library will develop:
a book review blog for young adults;
an associated podcast.
Cost should not be a problem: both can be created
using software freely available on the Internet;
hosting sites are also free.
Cheshire Public Library (Cheshire, CT)
Teen Book Blog http://cpltbb.wordpress.com/
Our working example: Teen Titles
EXECUTING THE PLAN
Teen librarian will continue to add content on a
Weekly written reviews at first, plus monthly podcasts
Librarian contributions will taper to less-frequent posting
(perhaps monthly) as teen interest and participation
Teens will be invited to contribute their own written
reviews and create reviews for podcasts.
Initial teen reviews will be generated by members of the
Teen Advisory Board (TAB).
TAB members will recruit additional writers.
EXECUTING THE PLAN (CONTINUED)
Further promotion/recruitment efforts:
Teen librarian will collaborate with media specialists and
English teachers at middle and high schools in the YPL’s
Collaboration will yield:
suggestions for books to review;
names of other students who might want to participate;
possible substitution of blog/podcast work for more traditional
book report assignments
Teen librarian will advertise blog/podcast opportunities in
school announcements and on flyers throughout schools and
the library, as well as on library’s main website.
Teen librarian will promote blog/podcast participation during
Teen librarian will personally invite teens who come to other
activities to also take part in blogging/podcasting.
EXECUTING THE PLAN (CONTINUED)
Participants must hold a YPL library card and must register
with the teen librarian before posting reviews.
Signed or otherwise attributed reviews help make
connections with readers, and also give kids ownership of
their work. However, to help protect privacy, teen reviewers
will be identified by first names only.
Reviews will follow existing library policy re: acceptable
language (i.e., no hate speech, profanity, etc.).
Posts and comments will be approved by the blog
administrator (teen librarian) before publication.
EXPANDING THE PROGRAM
After a three-month trial:
Launch a blog/podcasts for kids ages 7-11. It is
expected that this program will require more
librarian supervision/contribution than the teen
version, so the teen librarian will work with the
children’s librarian as needed to provide support.
Children’s department will hold two workshops at
the library to teach the technology, etiquette, and
reviewing skills to kids, but completion of the
workshops will not be a prerequisite to posting.
(Like teens, children will need only a library card
and registration with the children’s librarian to
EXPANDING THE PROGRAM (CONTINUED)
Make teen podcasts available on iTunes.
Expand teen blog/podcast content to include
reviews of other media (such as music and DVDs),
and possibly to showcase the work of young local
musicians and writers.
Link reviews to OPAC so readers can locate books
or place them on hold.
Teen librarian will:
Track number of posts, readers and comments
(facilitated by blog platform);
Survey to find out whether teens find this program
valuable and whether it improves teen satisfaction with
Report results to library director (qualitative on a
quarterly basis; quantitative at six months and again at
Collect suggestions for improvement from teens and
incorporate as many as possible.
BENEFITS TO LIBRARY
Library will become known as the place for creative,
cool, fun activities, resulting in more frequent use
by existing patrons and attracting new patrons,
particularly of young adult age.
Web 2.0 provides opportunity to “engage with
readers…beyond our walls and beyond physical
book formats” (Abram, 2008, 22), expanding depth
of library’s reach in community.
“Web 2.0 can help books circulate” (Abram, 2008,
23) by connecting readers with new titles and
encouraging more library use, thus decreasing cost
BENEFITS TO TEENS
Traditional literacy and information literacy skills, as well
as online safety, will be practiced and improved.
Appreciation for the library and desire for lifelong
learning will be kindled.
A sense of achievement will be derived from publishing
“When [teens] are given an active voice in developing
programs…, they feel empowered and take ownership
in the library. We need to collaborate with our teens, not
just our professional colleagues. Teens want to make a
difference, and the library is the perfect place for them to
have an impact” – Pam Gardow, Memorial HS (Eau
Claire, WI) media specialist (quoted in Tuccillo, 2007,
Abram, S. (2008). Promoting reading using this 2.0 stuff. MultiMedia & Internet @
Schools (15, no. 5): 21-23.
Bolan, K., Canada, M. & Cullin, R. (2007). Web, library and teen services 2.0. Young
Adult Library Services (Winter): 41-43.
Etches-Johnson, A., et al. (2009). Public libraries. The Blogging Libraries Wiki.
Farkas, M. (2009). Information sharing and education: podcasting. Library Success: A
Best Practices Wiki. Retrieved from
Farkas, M. (2007). An outlet for creativity. American Libraries (38, no. 3): 28.
Fichter, D. (2008). Social media metrics: making the case for making the effort. Online
(32, no. 6): 54-57.
Lenhart, A. & Madden, M. (2005). Teen content creators and consumers. Pew Internet
& American Life Report (Nov. 2).
Lenhart, A., et al. (2008). Writing, technology and teens. Pew Internet & American Life
Report (Apr. 24).
Tuccillo, D. (2007). Standing room only. School Library Journal (53, no. 3): 46-48.
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