Book Display: Teen Tech Week Display

???????????????????????????????So I’ll confess: as a newbie library employee, I forgot Teen Tech Week was coming up. So I frantically scrambled to throw together a display, and I think the results aren’t half bad.

I tried to pick both fiction and nonfiction titles that featured technology. I’m also doing a “Technology Survey” as part of my passive programming/data mining initiative (more on that another time).

???????????????????????????????The tweens and teens can take the survey online or in person and, at the end of the week, I’ll draw a name and the winner will receive a flash drive and a set of earbuds.

It might not sound terrifically exciting, but the kids seem really into it. I already several survey submissions and the display just went up! Here’s hoping we get even more.

Relevancy and the Modern Library

11247_pkg1One of the biggest challenges for libraries – public or otherwise – is the issue of relevancy. In an era where you can download an eBook in a minute and use Google to answer your questions, how can the library maintain its value?

I think the answer lies in creating innovative collections and programs that users are unlikely to find anywhere else.

For example, I recently read a fascinating article about a library in Oakland that, in addition to traditional materials like books and DVDS, also has a tool lending library. How amazing is that? They saw a unique need in their community, met the need, and now have a corner on the market. Instead of paying hundreds of dollars for new tools they might not be able to afford, patrons can rely on their local library (which, in turn, proves its relevance).

One library near me, The Palm Harbor Public Library, features a vinyl lending library – complete with a record player available for checkout – and the patrons there love it. Our library is in a community where gardening is hugely popular, so we have a “Seed Library” where people can donate and exhange whatever plants they need for their gardens. These are services that library patrons can’t find anywhere else, which makes us valuable community resources (and helps ensure our survival).

Another way libraries can increase their competitiveness is by offering unique programming. Rather than perpetuating old stereotypes of libraries as places where crotchety old ladies with buns shush you incessantly, we need to rebrand the public library as a community gathering place.

Our children’s department, for example, offers traditional children’s programming like story times. However, we also offer more innovative programs like yoga, Zumba, and Wii Wednesdays. In my teen section, I put out board games  and other activities (instead of expecting my teens to sit there in silence).  Best of all: we provide these services for free, which is something not even the almighty Amazon can boast about. 😉

By finding and focusing on these niches, libraries can provide vital services for our communities, thereby insuring our place within them for generations to come.

Swirly Paperclip Bracelet Craft

Fun fact about yours truly: I am not a crafty person.

In fact, throughout much of my life, I’ve pretty much equated anything “crafty” with Dante’s 9th circle. Friendship bracelets were fiendish. Decoupage was the devil. Sewing was satanic.

Because of my lack of skill, I developed a fear of all things crafty. I was deeply intimidated by anything artistic and avoided any such activities.

Then my great grandmother, the crafting queen, passed away unexpectedly. And, in an effort to honor her memory, I took a deep breath and gave crafting a second chance.

Since then, I’ve come to enjoy crafting – however feeble my attempts. Like yoga, I feel as though it’s more about the process than any perceived perfection. Still, I like to do a good job whenever I work on something – especially when that something involves my teenagers, who are both crafting junkies and gurus.

So imagine my relief when I stumbled upon If you haven’t visited yet, I highly recommend it. From furniture made out of shipping pallets to robots and jewelry making, instructables features step-by-step guides on how to make anything you could imagine.

I recently stumbled upon a craft there I absolutely loved: a bracelet made of paperclips. Yes. Paperclips. I was skeptical at first, but decided to give it a go.  So I grabbed my needle nose pliers, some jump rings, and a clasp.  And I have to say, for an uncrafty person, I think I did a pretty good job.



Better yet: my teens and tweens are super excited about this craft. I’ve been using my bracelet as a marketing tool and a hook to draw them in.

Me: (displaying my bracelet-clad wrist) So how’d you like to learn how to make this? It’s made from paperclips.

Teen: Seriously?!?

Me: Seriously.

Teen: That is so cool!

Moral of the story: crafts aren’t so bad after all – especially when they help you connect with your patrons. 🙂