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Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Video Games Weekly: Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley is a popular indie game that had been released on consoles earlier this year, although it has been available on PC platform since 2016.  It’s a role-playing farming/country life game, and while that sounds pretty boring, it’s actually pretty fun!

YouTube Trailer:


Platform:
PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC

Rated: E10+

Single or Multiplayer: Single

Storyline: You have inherited your now deceased grandfather’s shabby farmland in a small town called Stardew Valley. Not only is your farm decaying, the village’s Community Center is in ruins and a large company called Joja is trying to take over the town!

Gameplay:  There isn’t a good or bad way to play Stardew Valley. Players generally try to fix up the Community Center because they can get special items and unlock special areas around town.  The second thing players try to do is get married.  There are certain villagers whom you can marry if you have enough friendship hearts, and it doesn’t matter what gender the player is.  I chose to marry Elliot, a sensitive soul who lives on the beach who is trying to finish writing a novel.

https://i.redd.it/4xwhqxpg228x.png

Players have to strategize how to spend each “day” because they have a certain amount of energy.  There is plenty to do in one day like raise animals, plant crops, go fishing, mine the caves, collect items to fix up your farm and town, or talk to villagers. Some villagers have their own mini story arc, but there isn’t an overall way to “beat” Stardew Valley because the game is open-ended.  Most players try to make money as fast as possible so they can expand their farm and purchase expensive items.

Players also have to consider what items are available during the day because some items are available during one season like Fall.  There are 28 days in every season, and four seasons are in a year.  Every month has two celebrations where players can get special items.

Now, if this game sounds vaguely familiar, that’s because it’s like an indie version of the popular Nintendo game known as Harvest Moon.  In my opinion, it’s better than Harvest Moon because it improved the game mechanics and leveling system that made Harvest Moon so frustrating to play.

Like I said, there isn’t a way to beat Stardew Valley.  I got as far as about the end of my third year before I got bored of it, which translates to about 60 hours of gameplay.  What I liked most about this game is the casual pace (although the start of the game is very slow and you just have to trudge through), and that I could listen to the radio or an audiobook while playing the game.  I listened to both books in the An Ember in the Ashes series while playing Stardew Valley, and I will probably pick up the game again once the third book in the series comes out!

Audience:  Like any role-playing game, Stardew Valley will have a niche audience because it is a slow paced, relaxing game.  If you are a gamer who liked Harvest Moon, I highly recommend Stardew Valley. However, if you are a player that likes video games with a lot of action, I do not recommend playing this game. 

Verdict: I recommend getting a copy or two for circulating collections. This is not a game for programs because of its slow pace and the fact that it is single player.

Pricing: $30 on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Stardew-Valley-Collectors-PlayStation-4/dp/B01N199PG7

Questions? Comments? Tweet them at me!

By: Alanna Graves
Twitter: @LannaLibrarian

MakerSpace: How to Design a Button

Button, button, who makes the button? I do! Teens do! But how? Yesterday I shared some basics on button making, today let’s talk about designing your buttons.

For the purpose of this discussion a button insert will refer to your final circle image cut to size that is placed in between the two button parts – the shell and the pin back – which will ultimately become your button. It’s the graphic piece that you create to make a button.

Start Here: MakerSpace: Button Making is All the Rage (The Complete Button Making Index)

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What Programs Do You Use to Design a Button?

We’re going to start here with the final step. I know that sounds weird, but your ultimate goal is to create and print a properly sized button insert – the graphic piece – that will make your image pop. The final step is sizing and printing that button insert. We’ll start there.

In the final steps, I recommend using a program like Microsoft Publisher to finish your button design. This allows you to create your button true to size and then print it out. For example, if you are making a 2.25 button you can use the Insert Shape feature, choose a circle, and size it to 2.25. You can use the fill feature to fill the button with your circle OR you can use it as an outline and overlay it on your image to make sure what you want to appear does in fact appear in the middle of the button.

insershapeResizing Photos for Button Makers

After you have made a design that you are happy with and appropriately sized them, you can then “group” all the parts and copy and paste them to make rows of button inserts. For example, here are some SRC buttons I designed to give to kids who participated in our 2015 summer reading program. This is what the printed out sheet of paper will look like. You then just cut your button inserts out and go through the button making steps.

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Buttons for our 2015 Super Readers!

Buttons for our 2015 Super Readers!

Why Publisher? You need a publishing program that handles graphics well and prints true to size. For example, if you create a circle image in PowerPoint, even though on screen it is sized the correct size, it doesn’t print out true to size because a PowerPoint slide is not the same size as a sheet of paper. It’s a computer focused program as opposed to a print focused program. Publisher is designed to create and print materials so it works really well for printing button inserts.

In a pinch, you can create your image in another program and copy and paste it into Word at the correct size, but it’s a few more steps. I only recently got Microsoft Publisher on my personal laptop and used Word for quite some time. It’s perfectly functional, though more complicated then I liked.

You Don’t, However, Have to Begin with Publisher to Design Your Button

So let’s go back to the beginning – designing your button insert.

Let’s be honest, if you are using Publisher to size and print your buttons, you can in fact use them to design your entire button if you so choose. But it is not the only tool I use and there are many other tools that offer other features that you may wish to explore.

Although I recommend ending and printing with Publisher, you don’t have to begin there. I most often don’t. For example, I might fall in love with a picture I have taken on Instagram so that becomes my starting point. I might design something online in Canva and then transfer it into publisher for sizing and printing. I also use a lot of photo apps that have different filters, texts, and features to enhance a photo. I just create my image and then download it to my computer and insert it into Publisher for sizing and printing. Yes, some buttons take a lot of steps. But the design process is part of what I enjoy.

More photos manipulated with photo apps and turned into buttons. Washi tape makes up the borders on some of these buttons.

More photos manipulated with photo apps and turned into buttons. Washi tape makes up the borders on some of these buttons.

Some of my favorite design programs/apps include:

See also: How Did You Do That? Photo Apps Version and Generate Marketing Creativity with iPhone Apps

Some Design Tips to Keep in Mind

All the basic rules of graphic design basically apply:

In addition, remember that here you are designing in a circle. This can present some unique challenges, especially since a lot of traditional design we do is in the square format. Try to focus your image in the center of the circle. Make sure that any important parts – including text – aren’t being cut off.

Made from an Instagram pic. Had to layer images to prevent text from being cut off.

Made from an Instagram pic. Had to layer images to prevent text from being cut off.

The most important tip: Make sure and leave a little edge around all of your design so it doesn’t accidentally get cut off when you make the actual button. Words and important image pieces should not go all the way to the edge of your circle. You can have a background color that fills the complete image, but leave a little bit of space around the edges especially when you include any text.

There are Some Online Tools and Tutorials

How To Design a Button in Photoshop [4/13/2009] – YouTube

Button Designer Make Button Artwork Online

Create Buttons | Button Design | Custom Buttons | Pin Buttons

Button Designer Make Button Artwork Online

Free Button Maker Software – American Button Machines

MakePins.com: Make Custom Pins and Buttons That You Design

I have used exactly none of these. You really can design them yourselves quickly and easily as you become more proficient at using whatever software/apps you choose and just learn what does and doesn’t work.

At the End of the Day, Not all Buttons Needs to Be Computer Generated at All!

A table full of scrap button materials

A table full of scrap button materials

Put out a tub of scrapbook paper, discarded magazines and gns/manga, stickers, Sharpies, gel pens and more! Buttons can be mixed media collages or hand drawn. Fingerprint art buttons are some of our favorite buttons to be honest.

Hand drawn Sharpie art turned into buttons

Hand drawn Sharpie art turned into buttons

Coloring pages buttons

Coloring pages buttons

You can pre-cut a bunch of plain circles and put them out with a box of markers and let teens design.

Fingerprint Art Buttons for Shark Week

Fingerprint Art Buttons for Shark Week

You can pre-cut a bunch of pre-sized circles out of blank paper and put them out with a box of markers or gel pens and teens will still design pretty cool buttons.

Sharpies + Stick Figure Art

Sharpies + Stick Figure Art

Stick Figure Art Buttons!

Stick Figure Art Buttons!

To Recap: How to Design a Button Ranked from Easiest to Hardest Method

1. Cut out a plain circle and hand draw a design

2. Use paper scraps to create a design

3. Download an image and size it in Publisher (be aware of copyright)

4. Create a design from scratch in Publisher

5. Create a design in another resource, download it, and resize it in Publisher

Have fun designing!

MakerSpace: The #ButtonFun Gallery

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Earlier today I shared with you a summary post about button making in makerspaces. Using the hashtag #ButtonFun, I and some Twitter followers have been sharing our favorite button making tips and a gallery of our creations. Here’s a roundup.

 

The #ButtonFun Gallery//

  1. Words typed in paper. Edges inked by brushing on an ink pad. Beautiful #buttonfun https://t.co/EXZJdTcxmE

    Words typed in paper. Edges inked by brushing on an ink pad. Beautiful #buttonfun pic.twitter.com/EXZJdTcxmE
  2. This teen turned a 21 Pilots lyric into a button using a typewriter #Buttonfun https://t.co/6oBZBaLxyw

    This teen turned a 21 Pilots lyric into a button using a typewriter #Buttonfun pic.twitter.com/6oBZBaLxyw
  3. Hands down my fave button. Pic of my scrabble board taken with smart phone #Buttonfun https://t.co/ZfQaoq6qcu

    Hands down my fave button. Pic of my scrabble board taken with smart phone #Buttonfun pic.twitter.com/ZfQaoq6qcu
  4. Very Meta: We made a button of this button loving teen wearing all of his buttons #Buttonfun https://t.co/Vop8VzXWNI

    Very Meta: We made a button of this button loving teen wearing all of his buttons #Buttonfun pic.twitter.com/Vop8VzXWNI

 

MakerSpace: Button Making is All the Rage (The Complete Button Making Index)

One of our most popular stations in our Teen MakerSpace at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County (OH) has been button making. We enjoy making buttons so much that a couple of staff members have purchased their own button making machines for personal use at home (hello, yes I’m one of the guilty ones). So we decided to end our Summer Reading Challenge with a week of button making challenges. I get asked a lot of questions about buttons here at TLT, so let me try and answer them all for you here in one convenient post. Consider this the ultimate button making resource! If you have questions that you don’t see answered here, please leave a comment and I will respond.

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What kind of machine do you use?

At home and in our Teen MakerSpace, we use button making machines from American Button Machines. We have both the 2.25 and the 1.25 sizes. We’ve also made mirrors and keychains with packages we have purchased with them. Our machines in the Teen MakerSpace have held up to daily use for over a year and a half and they are still going strong. They are easy to use, durable, and quick. I can not emphasize how popular and fun this simple making tool can be.

Our button making challenge station

Our button making challenge station

What about training and instructions?

In order to help make sure our button makers stay in good working condition, we made our own button machine instructions. We also made instructions on how to resize images in order to make button: General Resizing Photos for Button Maker Instructions

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Once a teen is trained to use the laptop to make their images and use the machine to make their buttons, they are very successful in creating a variety of buttons on their own. After some initial training, 100% of teens will be capable of coming in and using the machines without any assistance.

Do you charge for your buttons?

We do not currently charge our teens to make a button. We do, however, limit our teens to 2 buttons a day. Each year for our Summer Reading Challenge we also give 100 button pieces as one of our prize options and this has proven to be popular. If we were to charge, we would probably charge around a quarter per button as this is roughly what the costs of supplies averages out to per button.

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What size button is the most popular?

Right now, it seems like the 1.25 size is the most popular. For example, if you go into Hot Topic, they always have bins full of buttons that you can buy in this size. The small buttons can pack a powerful visual impact.

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So what size button do you recommend?

This is not a straightforward question. The true answer is, it depends on what you want to accomplish.

For more artistic buttons or buttons with quotes and slogans, the 2.25 size is better.

For buttons with icons or small but powerful visual images, the 1.25 size is better.

I spy a teen guy with a ton of buttons

I spy a teen guy with a ton of buttons

What do you use to design your buttons?

To be honest, I am all over the place on this one. The simplest and most direct tool to use is a publishing program like Microsoft Publisher. It allows you to design, save and print your buttons true to size in one easy place. I have also, however, designed buttons on my phone using apps or used something like Canva and then imported the image into Publisher. Designing images on my phone allows me to engage when I am away from my computer but have access to my phone and get bored or simply am multitasking.

And now a word about Instagram and social media sized graphics. An Instagram picture seems like a great place to start when designing a button image – and it truly can be – but I recommend caution when beginning with a square image to translate into a round image. You’ll want to make sure the focus of your image is in the center or else it won’t translate well. The exception is if you overlay the square image over a background as this prevents the corners from being cut off. Let’s discuss.

For example, this is an image I created using a variety of apps while sitting on an airplane. I thought it would make an excellent button but the words get cut off because it goes to close to the edges if you try and convert it into a circle.

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So I overlaid the image over a plain image of clouds and it does, in fact, make an excellent button. So Instagram pics can translate well into button images with a little creative design and problem solving.

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You can print and make these buttons here: She Persisited 125 Buttons

How do you inspire teens to create buttons?

To help get our teens thinking creatively and past the idea that they can just print off an image from the Internet and make it into a button (and this is always a great time to talk copyright with your teens), we have put together a variety of button making challenges. You can find those challenge cards here: Button Challenge Card Examples  Button Making Challenge Cards

We always try to have a gallery of examples around to inspire our teen makers.

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Additional Button Making Posts at TLT

TPiB: The Books of Our Heart Button

MakerSpace: Thumbprint Art Buttons

MakerSpace Madness: Out of the 1, Many – Transforming Art in Multiple Ways

MakerSpace: Button Maker Challenges

Things I Learned Visiting the Cincinnati MakerSpace: Fun with Buttons (the beginning of my obsession)

Want to share some of your favorite buttons with me? I would love to see them. Tweet them at me at @tlt16 with the tag #buttonfun. Also, I would love to hear what some of your favorite button challenges might be or answer any questions you might have. Just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.

Sunday Reflections: Today, as the Mother of Daughters, is a Good Day for Geekdom

My Sunday Reflections are usually somber reflections on the world that I see around me, in part because there is a lot to be concerned about. But today, I rejoice.

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THE NEW DOCTOR IS A WOMAN!!

We are huge fans of Doctor Who in the Jensen household. The first thing we recently did upon returning to our Texas home after several weeks in Ohio is binge watch our DVRed episodes of Doctor Who to get caught up. We cuddled up in bed, the girls and I, and watched four episodes worth of our favorite show. We laughed. We cried. We bonded and rejoiced and lamented that we would have to wait until the annual Christmas episode until we saw the Doctor again.

And then today the announcement.

The new doctor is a woman! We called everyone we know screaming the news! To say that we are excited is an understatement.

But, it gets better. They also released the teaser trailer for the new movie adaptation of arguably one of my favorite childhood books. And it is glorious!!

This summer I also got to take my girls to see Wonder Woman and help it become one of the highest grossing super hero movies of all time.

With all the news about the assault women’s reproductive rights and healthcare and the walking back of protections against campus sexual violence, it was a good day in geekdom to get to be the mom of two amazing girls. There is a lot to be worried about, but today felt like a triumph. In what seems like dark times to be a woman, I’ll take any moment of triumph I can get.

Join the TLT Teen Advisory Board!

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Did you know we have a Teen Advisory Board here at TLT? We do! We currently have 6 active TAB members and they do a variety of things like review books, share teen culture, and talk about teen issues with us. Several of our TAB members graduated or dropped out last year, so as we head into fall we are looking for a few more teen voices to help us help libraries serve teens. All voices are welcome, but we are especially interested in more diverse voices as our TAB is very white teen girl at the moment and there are a lot of viewpoints that aren’t represented. We would also like to have representation from all over the U.S., as many of our members are currently located near a TLT member. But since things can be done remotely, we’d love to have more geographic diversity as well.

Read More About TLT and Our TAB Here

At the end of the day, what we want is to hear from teens. As teen services librarians, we do our best work when we talk with and listen to our service base – teens.

We ask that TLT TAB members submit one post per month. It can be whatever type of article you like. For example, The Teen reviews for TLT, and she developed her Post It Note reviews.

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The Bestie and The Teen do ARC Parties, giving us snap teen judgments of books based on their covers, titles and synopsis.

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Lexi reviewed pretty regularly – oh how I miss her – and loved getting all the books and swag. She wrote pretty long and thoughtful reviews with her own point of view.

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Others have posted about YouTubers, talked about issues, and more. Libraries aren’t just about books and your posts don’t have to be just book reviews, although we obviously do like book reviews because – hello – librarians!

Here are the requirements:

You need to be a teen

You need parental permission

You need a nickname, a short bio and a headshot (which will appear on the About TLT page under TLT TAB)

You need a monthly post

You need access to the Internet and the ability to share a post via email (your public library can help you with this)

You need to be willing to attend a quarterly virtual meeting or group chat

Here’s what you get:

You get to be as creative as you want to be. It doesn’t have to be a written post. You can submit a video, do bullet lists and more. Think outside the box and express yourself in ways that mean something to you while you talk about things that mean something to you.

If you want to review books, we help hook you up with books, often before they are even published.

You’ll also get to express yourself, be creative, and speak for teens.

You’ll brush up on writing and tech skills, maybe even use it as an opportunity to learn some new ones.

And when it comes time, I will sign your forms for school asking for service hours and write those recommendation letters for jobs or college. TLT is a part of the School Library Journal blog network so we have a little bit of street cred. We also have millions of page views. It looks good on a college application.

Most importantly, you’ll get to be heard!

So what next:

So if you are interested, contact me at kjensenmls at yahoo dot com and look over the following application/contract/submission guidelines.

TLT TAB Application

 

YA is Ultimately for Teens, and That’s Okay

The Teen spending time in the Teen MakerSpace

The Teen spending time in the Teen MakerSpace

The other day a parent came up to me and we engaged in some good old fashioned Reader’s Advisory. Her daughter was 11, a young 11. And she wanted some recommendations for some YA titles, but she was very worried about content. In the end I told her that after talking with her, I thought she would be comfortable with her daughter reading a variety of really excellent middle grade titles. What I heard her saying was that she wasn’t really comfortable with her daughter reading YA, and that’s okay.

At the same time, there has been a variety of conversations online about adults reading – and reviewing – YA. It’s especially an issue when adults continue to criticize main characters in YA literature for acting like, well, teenagers. The truth is, the best YA are those titles that feature authentic teen main characters. That means they have to feature teens that are reckless, impulsive, inconsistent, and changing. Because that’s who teens are.

Don’t get me wrong. I read YA literature. I don’t just read it because I’m a Teen Librarian or for TLT, I read it because I enjoy reading it. I have favorite authors. I have favorite titles, series, and genres. I am an avid YA reader. But I also recongize that ultimately, YA is not written FOR me. I enjoy it, but part of what I enjoy about it is that it is written for and about teens – and that’s very important.

We live in a culture that has strong negative feelings about teens. Local malls put up signs dis-inviting groups of teens from their properties. We enact curfews. We scoff, side eye and demean normal teenage behavior. We joke about how we would never want to go back to middle or high school (and to be honest, I wouldn’t). Every day in so many ways we communicate to teenagers that we loathe and judge them for who they are. Which is part of the reason why authentic, well written YA literature is so important. It communicates a very different and positive message to teens: we see you, we value you, we respect you, we hear you. That’s an important message that teens need to hear.

So what makes YA literature good? rireading2

A YA book has to respect the teen reader

Trust that teens can and do have the ability to read and understand a book. They don’t need to be talked down to. They don’t need your message telegraphed to them. If you assume your readers are unintelligent and write in ways that make that clear, you’ve already lost your audience. Teens know when we are talking down to them, and they resent it. If you don’t respect teens, don’t write or work for/with them.

A YA book has to reference things teens know

I grew up watching Doogie Howser, MD. I’m 44 years old. Your book should probably not have a teen character that references Doogie Howser without some really good reason for doing so. For example, in The Downside of Being Charlie by Jenny Torres Sanchez one of the supporting characters is obsessed with the Rat Pack. This character explains to you why they are invested in the Rat Pack, who the Rat Pack are, and what they know about them. It’s an obscure reference that teens won’t know, but it is given in a context. Without that context, teens don’t understand what is being said or why. If you name drop obscure references from your own teenage life, you are no longer writing for teens but are writing for yourself or author adults your same age.

See also: Slang. Pay attention to the terms you use and slang you reference.

A YA book has to have teens that act in authentically teen ways

Teens are not mini-adults. Brain science tells us that the teen brain is functionally different than that of an adult. They are often bad at decision making, impulsive, and emotional. Yes, they absolutely are submerged into a world of incredible hormonal influx and wrestling with what those hormones mean. Like adults, many teens are unlikable. That’s just human nature. They should be complex, richly developed, and well-rounded. If you are an adult who complained because Harry Potter acted like a moody, entitled, emotional teen in the later HP books, then you probably don’t remember or don’t respect teenagers. I was a moody, entitled teenager who slammed down the phone, slammed doors, rolled my eyes and both raged and bawled my eyes out. It’s all normal teenage behavior. PS, many adults still do all of these same things. I mean, even I am prone to rolling my eyes.

There are always outliers, and they deserve to be reflected in YA literature too. But old soul teens who speak like college professors or act like mini-adults should also be outliers in YA literature, not the norm.

A YA book has to reflect the diverse world of teens

My teenage daughter is a cis-white female who has just finished the 8th grade. She knows and is friends with 4 trans people, many other GLBTQ people, people with disabilities, and a wide variety of people of color. Her white best friend is dating a black boy. She goes to church every Sunday and then goes to school on Monday and talks about her weekend with her Muslim friends. She does not live in an all white, all straight, all Christian world. Even in the community that I work, which is 96% white, my teens live with and want diversity. They are aware that they are a small part of the world. In fact, I find daily that teens are much more open and kind and craving of authentic diversity then previous generations have been.

A YA book has to reflect the diverse interests of teens

The Bestie is a cheerleader who plays volleyball and goes to book festivals. The Teen is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do who also loves musical theater and science; she is also an avid reader. The teens I know are interested in comics and anime and sports and art and movies and . . . . well, a little bit of everything. And not a single teen I know is defined by any one thing, just as adults are not. I am a wife and a mother and a librarian and a friend that loves science fiction and sharks and dinosaurs and robots and the water and cake. We are all multitudes, as are teens. Stop writing about jocks and cheerleaders and nerds and band geeks and loners and stoners in stereotypical ways. And stop writing one-dimensional characters. Again, respect the teen reader and respect their complexity.

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YA is not for everyone, and that’s okay. Younger readers can read YA, but there is also lots of glorious middle grade out there for them to read. I love and read MG, too. Adults can read YA, but there are also lots of glorious adult fiction out there for adults to read. And in the middle there is YA, which can and should be ultimately for teens. Teens need good, quality YA written for and about them by authors who understand, respect and value them.

If you are an adult who reads YA and finds yourself complaining about the teens in YA literature, YA literature may not be for you. And that’s okay.

YA is Ultimately for Teens, and That's Okay//


YA is Ultimately for Teens, and That's Okay



  1. Walk into any bk store or library. See all the adult fiction? Read YA if you like, but it should be for & about teens. Adults don't lack rep


  2. And yes, teens often read adult fic. But man, when teens connect with a YA book that represents them in some way or they connect with it.


  3. That's priceless.
    And important and profound.
    And life changing.


  4. We tell teens in so many ways that we loathe them or find them a burden or a nuisance. To have sections of YA in bk stores & libraries


  5. sends a much needed affirming message. It lets them know that we do value them. That we do respect them. That was do want them here.


  6. I am an adult who reads YA. But I do so as someone who works with teens so I get how good YA has characters who act like teens.


  7. If the MC in YA annoy you because they act like teenagers, please remember what being a teen is really like. Spend time with teens.


  8. Or, you could always read adult fiction. That's okay too. There is a lot of great adult fiction out there.


  9. And if you can't handle teen characters in Ya lit acting like teens, please don't be a teen librarian. They need us on their side.


  10. And for the love of pete, please let YA continue to be authentically about and for teens. They deserve that respect.

 

MakerSpace: Summer of Shirts Index and Gallery

Here are all the modify your t-shirt posts in one place with a gallery of some of our finished products. Click on the link for the instructions.

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TPIB: Meme ALL the Shirts! (Heather Booth)

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Mod-A-Tee @ Your Library – Fun with T-Shirts: Sharpie Tie-Dye, Puffy Paint, Spray Painting

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Sharpie lettering and spray painting

MakerSpace: Mod-A-Tee Making Hot Glue Stencils and Spraypainting T-Shirts

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Putting on your first coats of paint

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Low Tech, Low Cost “Screenprinting”

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MakerSpace: 5 Ways We Transformed T-Shirts into Something New

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So the Summer of Shirts is over. Last Monday was our last day and we took all the ways we transformed shirts in the previous weeks – Sharpie tie-dye, Low Tech Screen Printing, Transfers, and more (links at end of post) – and taught our teens ways that they could then transform those shirts into something new and different. Here are the five ways that we transformed our t-shirts.

Transformation 1: Infinity Scarf

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To make an infinity scarf, you simply cut your shirt into large circular strips. This scarf is Sharpie tie-dyed and modeled by Thing 2. Instructions: No Sew T-shirt Infinity Scarf Tutorial: 5 Steps

Transformation 2: Headbandtransform4

This is part of a t-shirt cut off and just sewn together to make a headband. It is also Sharpie tie-dyed. Instructions: 3 DIY headbands you can make from old T-shirts – SheKnows

Transformation 3: Tote Bagtransform2

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There are several ways you can make a T-shirt tote bag. They all begin with cutting out the neck and cutting of the sleeves. An easy sew method just has you sewing the bottom of the bag shut. No sew directions: How to Make a Tote Bag From a T-shirt (no sew tote bag). Sew tote bag instructions:  FASTEST RECYCLED T-SHIRT TOTE BAG: 6 Steps (with Pictures)

Transformation 4: Baby Bibtransform3

When you cut the next portion of a t-shirt out to make a bag, depending on how deep you cut your neck, it makes an awesome bib. The trick is to make sure and include the neck band in whatever amount of shirt you cut out. Instructions: https://folkhaven.wordpress.com/2012/05/27/easiest-no-sew-bibs/

Transformation 5: Jewelrytransform6

There are a wide variety of ways that you can turn t-shirts into jewelry. Here we tied pony beads onto strips of t-shirt and braided them together. A great starting place can be found here: 15 Easy Ways to Turn T-Shirts into Jewelry | Brit + Co

The benefit to using t-shirts is that they are actually a pretty cheap starting point. A plain white t-shirt is $2.00 to $3.00 at most major craft stores. And you can also find a wide variety of old, used t-shirts at thrift shops for a t-shirt modification program. In fact, I put up a box in our staff lounge and asked for donations and got a lot because everyone has old t-shirts they are looking for a way to get rid of.

The teens enjoyed the ideas because they are into self-expression and creativity and this was fun, easy, and well within their price range.

MakerSpace: Teaching Teens to Use Canva to Design their Own T-shirts (Laser T-shirt Transfers)

Sunday Reflections: When the Opioid Crisis Hits the Library

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Like many libraries across the country, we talk frequently at mine about the opioid crisis happening across the U.S. and in our local communities. We have had a couple of people OD in our library and we have had to call the squad, but not nearly as much as other libraries have. We have also had to call the police for suspected dealing.

YA titles dealing with the topic of addiction

YA titles dealing with the topic of addiction

As a librarian, I have been trying to use my research ninja skills to find some concrete statistics about how bad, exactly, the epidemic is, but good stats are surprisingly hard to find. A law enforcement officer in another Ohio community I used to live said that community has about 10 overdoses (without death) a day. I hear the one I work in has one a day. Several counties in Ohio have high national ranking for how bad the crisis is in that area.

Opioid Epidemic: A State by State Look at a National Crisis

Opioid Addiction 2016 Facts & Figures – American Society of Addiction

About the Epidemic | HHS.gov

Understanding the Epidemic | Drug Overdose | CDC Injury Center

Responding to the Opioid Morbidity and Mortality Crisis – FDA

Ohio has also been in the news as many communities wrestle with how to respond to the crisis. A local sheriff refuses to allow his men to carry and administer a life saving drug while in Philadelphia these librarians carry and administer that very same drug. Part of the debate surrounding who, if anyone, should be saved, is this idea that drug addiction is a moral personal failing as opposed to a disease. Whether or not you think we should work to save the lives of and treat or incarcerate the victims of overdoses depends on your view of what, exactly, addiction is and how it happens.

The Neurobiology of Opioid Dependence: Implications for Treatment

Big mystery: What causes addiction? | NBC News

Addiction vs Physical Dependence – Important distinction – NAABT

My community has put together a task force who recently did a series of community training sessions about the topic of the opioid crisis and its impact on our local community. While at this training I met the parents of a young man in his twenties who had died from an overdose. He was a college educated man who wore a suit every day to his very successful job. He looked nothing like the pictures of what an addict looks like that the officers were sharing and they were there in part to dispel that myth. As the opioid crisis worsens, our understanding of seems to shift.

real talk addiction brochure 2

real talk addiction brochure 1

At the training I learned a variety of equally horrifying and interesting facts. Much of the drug trafficking in our community occurs via bicycle because it is easier to evade the police. Some drugs are made in Gatorade and water bottles which can explode if touched so we should teach our children not to be good environmental citizens and pick up said bottles to place them in the trash but to avoid them and call the police, just in case. Something like 95% of all local crime can be linked back to the opioid epidemic as people become violent, or engage in various petty crimes to steal money to fuel their addiction. This epidemic is severely impacting and taxing local communities at all levels, whether it be emergency responders or its impact on our children.

The opioid crisis is straining the nation’s foster-care systems

It’s important for us to remember that there are real people being impacted by the opioid crisis. One of my regular teens recently shared that she watched her mother overdose on the front lawn. She called for help and her mother was then in a treatment center. This was my teen, a girl I have watched grow up, sharing this heartbreaking story of watching her mother overdose on the lawn.

This is a great YA title on addiction (alcohol addiction)

This is a great YA title on addiction (alcohol addiction)

We talk frequently about the best policies and procedures going forward for our library in the midst of this epidemic. A library I worked at previously recently put in a sharps disposal box in the restrooms as an employee had been stabbed by a needle and they wanted to prevent it from happening in the future. We have discussed things likes narcan (we do not have this on hand primarily due to cost and concerns about life saving responsibilities), when to call the police, how to respond if we see someone using or dealing, how to dispose of drugs we find left in the bathroom and more. It’s an ongoing discussion, and one I have never had in my twenty-three plus years of working in libraries. And yet here we are.

Like many libraries and many people, I find myself wrestling with this information on a daily basis. I certainly don’t have any answers, but I think we should be talking about it more. I can’t help but think of what happens to this generation of children moving forward. When we start using words like crisis and epidemic, it’s past time to start acting.