Getting Geekier by the Minute

I’ve been working with 16 dedicated Idaho public and school librarians in an online class sponsored by YALSA to learn how teens’ use of technology to play, learn, and create improves their text-based literacy skills. This group met in Boise on September 28 and will get together again after the online portion of the course. The Idaho Commission for Libraries is partnering with the Young Adult Library Services Association to offer this training.

So far we have read, discussed and become much more familiar with the tools and techniques teens use. Everyone is now working on a framework for a program or service at each library to support teen technology-based print literacy. One of the first things accomplished at the face to face meeting was to set up Instant Messaging accounts at We’ve also set up MySpace accounts and dug into Flickr, LibraryThing, Wikis, Seocond Life and much more. After setting up a MySpace account (and pimping it a little) and staying up until 2 a.m. loading photos on Flickr last weekend, I could feel myself getting geekier by the minute! And, I was having fun using all of these tools.

I think getting library staff members to feel comfortable and even enjoy doing all of this is a real key to providing better service for digital natives. I hope my classmates will chime in with their thoughts. We’ve been having some great discussions on the class wiki and I’d like keep the discussion going here. We’re also hoping to do a podcast in November about what we’ve learned from the class and to talk about our plans for new programs and services. Stay tuned!

See for a photo of the gang. I can't seem to insert it here (probably getting a little too cocky on this new surge of techno skills). But here's the photo caption anyway:  Gettin' Geeky. Bottom row (Left to right): Robin Murphy, Mountain Home Public; Melody Eisler, Garden City Public; Suzanne Davis, East Bonner County; Marcy Rowe, Boise Basin District; Peggy Rabe, Middleton Middle School; Cora Caldwell, Gooding High School; Tina Cherry, Jerome Public. Top row: Mike Lee, Athol Branch; Jean Hauritz, West Bonner County District; Lucy Barnard, Post Falls Public; Joy Lear, Star Branch; Janna Striebel, Lizard Butte District; Jeanne Farnworth, Portneuf District; and Kris Grice, Idaho State University get ready to learn how teens utilize technology and how it affects their literacy skills.