Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Early Word YA Galley Chat

Every month Early Word hosts a Twitter chat for YA librarians and readers to gather together and discuss upcoming titles. You can follow the hashtag #ewyagc to see yesterday’s discussion. Or you can check out the handy Storified version of the conversation.

What is Early Word? It’s an online tool for collection development and reader’s advisory. They have both an adult and a YA galley chat:

Join us each month for GalleyChat, to talk with fellow librarians about your favorite (and not-so-favorite) recent galleys, in two versions:

Adult Titles — held the first Tuesday of each month from 4 to 5 p.m, Eastern, the next one is Feb. 3. You’re welcome to join us at 3:30 for a “pre-Chat” —  virtual cocktails will be served. Hash tag, #ewgc.

Young Adult Titles — the third Tuesday of each month from 5 to 6 p.m., Eastern, (also with a pre-Chat session at 4:30, with virgin cocktails, of course). Hash tag, #ewyagc.

We use Twitter for GalleyChat, so if you’re new to Twitter, now’s the time to set up an account and begin honing your 140-character skills. Source and More Information: http://www.earlyword.com/galleychat/

The Twitter Dictionary

New technology allows us to invent new words.  Here are some of mine for Twitter.

Twitterhunt: verb and noun; when you find yourself at the end of a rant and you have to hunt through someone’s timeline to find the beginning so you understand just what they are ranting about.

Example: When I stumble upon Maureen Johnson in mid rant, I have to go on a Twitterhunt to find out what she is ranting about.   I Twitterhunted all through it before I finally found the beginning.

Twitterjack: verb, when you stumble across and interesting conversation on Twitter and you just have to add your two cents.

Adjective: When I read their discussion about one of my favorite books, I had to Twitterjack so I could tell them what I thought.

Twitterpated; adjective; that feeling you get when someone you admire RTs your Tweet or indicates that you have said or done something cool.

Example: When A. S. King reteweeted me, I got all Twitterpated.

Tweetstalk: verb; following someone you admire in a totally non scary but yeah stalkerish way.

Example: Why yes I do in fact Tweetstalk Sean Beaudoin and Danile Kraus, because they have a lot of cool things to say.

Tweetrant: noun; a serial list of Tweets where a person rants about a topic.

Example: Did you read Maureen Johnson’s Tweetrant about the New York Times article? She made some valid points.

Please add to the Twitter dictionary in the comments.  I know you have some of your own Twittervocab to share!

Sunday Reflections: an Ode* to Twitter (by Robin Willis)

People love to hate what they don’t understand. In the years that it has been a vibrant social media platform, I’ve heard a lot of criticism of Twitter. Who can say anything of import in 140 characters? It dumbs down media to the soundbite. It’s just people posting what they had for lunch. And yes, all of those things are present on Twitter. And easy to avoid. Twitter is, essentially, what you make of it. And, as a well trained information professional, you can make a masterpiece.


Let me tell you what Twitter is to an information professional – it is a lifeline. How many of us do our professional work in isolation? As a school librarian, I am the only information professional in my building. While I have strong, mutually enriching, professional relationships with the other educators in my building, there is no one else there who does what I do. Or understands what I do. I can only hope that they value it. I have colleagues in my school system and a healthy support system of other school librarians. We meet once or twice a month, send emails, call in an emergency, but we are all frantically busy when our students are in the building. It can be a lonely, isolating professional journey in the day to day.

But oh, how the Internet has been a boon to our profession! And Twitter is it’s greatest gift. When I have five minutes to see what is happening with our profession, where can I go? I go to Twitter. There, I can interact with any number of information professionals at a moment’s notice. I can find links to articles I never would have known about otherwise. I can enrich and inform my professional life, share in the joy of a successful program, offer support to someone who is struggling with a tricky reader’s advisory issue, or simply be a listening ear.

Do you want to extend your professional learning community beyond the walls of your building, or the edges of your campus? Are you interested in engaging with other professionals both within and outside of your specialized area of librarianship? Do you enjoy seeking and giving help for unusual information quandaries? Interested in staying abreast of current issues, technologies,and trends? All of these things and more** are available to you on Twitter.

And sometimes, if you’re very, very lucky, it can be a place where you meet some of your best friends and co-bloggers.

 *You didn’t really think this would be a lyric poem, did you?

**More = stalking (and sometimes interacting with!) your favorite authors.

Join Us: Twitter Chat with Jenny Torres Sanchez

Tomorrow, May 28th, Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia by Jenny Torres Sanchez is released (Running Kids Press).  This was one of the best books I have read so far in 2013.  In fact, it was for me a 5 star book.  Jenny has agreed to do a Twitter chat with us on Tuesday, June 21st, to talk about the book, which really captures what it is like to be young, confused, and depressed.

So, get your hands on the book, read it and join us. Please.  I would love to hear what others think about this book.

Here is my original review.  Kirkus gave it a starred review and said, “An exceptionally well-written journey to make sense of the senseless.”

Tell us in the comments: What books do you think really capture the essence of grief and depression?

Sunday Reflections: How Twitter is teaching us not to judge

When Eleanor from Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, with her out of control curly red hair and poor, holey clothes covered in scraps of cloth, first steps on the bust at her new school, the teens immediately judge her and deem her unworthy.  They then go on to torment and bully her.  When Meg shows up at her 6th school in one year in The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston, her hair newly dyed and cut in an unflattering way, she too is judged by many to be unworthy and thus tormented.  It is, in fact, an all too common scenario in our schools.  Those who are deemed different, for whatever reason, are cast out or, worse, bullied.

Twitter, however, is a different universe.  On Twitter, you often get to know a person (in a way) before you know what they look like.  Yes, you have an Avatar, but a lot of the time it is not a self portrait but a book cover, your dog, a fainting goat.  You can talk to someone over and over again before you have any idea what they look like.  It removes outward appearances from the first, second, and even third impressions.  Is Twitter teaching us not to judge a person by the way they look?

I follow very few “famous” people on Twitter (Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion, Felicia Day and Will Wheaton).  I hang out on Twitter because it has a very rich book and library community.  We talk about books, the issues in books, library issues and programming.  A lot of the people I follow either have their library building, their blog logos or their book covers as their bio/avatar pic.  I often have no idea what these people look like, but it doesn’t matter because we have learned that we share a passion for the same things, have similar politics sometimes (or not but we can handle it as adults), and really, we just want to talk about books.

There are many things to laud about Twitter, and some definite things to question, but I can’t help but wonder what it would be like in the lives of our teens if we could remove that knee jerk need to judge other based on their outer appearance.  That element has been removed from Twitter and I think it would be an interesting social experiment to see how kids would respond in the schools.

One of my Twitter pics.  This is not me.

 
To some extent, school uniforms are an attempt to minimize this issue.  My Tween goes to a school with uniforms, has for the past 2 years, and I can see ways in which it has been effective in leveling the playing field.  But the truth is, you can still mark your social status by the shoes you wear, the accessories you choose, or by the backpack you carry, for example.  And of course, people like Eleanor could never hid their hair behind a school uniform.  Nor do they cover disabilities.

But what if before a new student came to a school or class we read a letter of introduction out loud to the class, a version of Twitter if you will, allowing students to hear personality before seeing a teen.  Would that change their perception and welcoming of a new student?  Would that make them more open to give someone a chance?

My current Twitter pic/avatar.  This is me.

And let’s not pretend that Twitter is a level playing field, because it is not.  After a while on Twitter you learn that you must develop a persona, it is a type of branding.  There is a greater propensity for witty and snarky on Twitter. But f you spend enough time on Twitter, you can’t help but let real moments of truth, real glimpses of you, bleed through the social feed.  You will say that you are sick and let yourself be vulnerable, there will be an issue that is just to important to you to not speak your mind, you will complain about your family or your friends, you will talk about what your eating.  And of course, when we talk about the books we love – or hate – we are revealing parts of ourselves.  So while Twitter is not an authentic portrait of self, it is also not a complete misrepresentation of self (in most cases).  This is true when forming any new relationship.  When I was dating my husband, he presented his best persona and I did the same.  It was over time that we began to see each other in a variety of situations and got to authentically know each other.  Twitter is like the early stages of any relationship, you are showing a side of yourself, but not the whole story.  However, it is still creating a social phenomenon where people are forming relationships based on personality and interests first, often without even knowing what the other person truly looks like.

I think it would be an interesting experiment for a class to create Twitter accounts without actual pictures.  Have each student tweet for a specified period of time.  Then, see if the students can determine who each Twitter handle is.  Some of the interesting discussions we could have would be:

Were the students easily able to identify each of their classmates based on their words, tone, interests, etc. without a picture?  Were they surprised by any, why or why not?

Did your time spent with your classmates on Twitter change your perceptions of any of your classmates?

Did you feel more or less like you could be yourself when the concern over physical appearance and representation is removed?

Some of the people I have met have turned into genuine, IRL friends.  In fact, most of the people who work with me on this blog I met via the Internet, have now met and spend time with in real life, and I love them dearly.  I don’t know that some of them would have given me a chance if they would have seen more before they got to know me.  Not because they are shallow and mean spirited people, but because we are enculturated in certain ways.  I believe that perhaps Twitter is changing the culture.  Sometimes for good.

A few of Karen’s favorite things . . .

Christmas is over so I won’t bore you with my witty intro that makes the song get stuck in your brain (mmmm . . . brains!)  No, I’ll just dive right into it.  These are my favorite things.

Collection Development Tools: Netgalley/Edelweiss

I work at a smaller library now, and run a blog, so I really use a lot of Advance Reader’s Copies (ARCs, or galleys if you prefer).  You can find them here (if the publishers approve you, and sometimes they don’t, which sometimes takes me back to the feeling in middle school I had when everyone picked me last to be on their kickball team.  To be fair, I did really stink at kickball.)  Anyhow, you request and ARC, if you get approved it sends it to your e-reader, and viola – books.  To date, I have bought every book I have read and loved via an ARC.  With a smaller budget, I like knowing that my teens are going to read it when I spend that money.  And as a bonus, I am better prepared when the new books come in to make recommendations, put together displays, and market, market, market because I have read the book.

Netgalley
Edelweiss

Emergency Craft Supply Must Have: Duct Tape

It comes in so many glorious colors and patterns. You can do so much fun stuff with it.  They have written whole books about it.  Whether you are doing ductagami or simply decorating notebooks and folders with it, I gotta have some on hand.

Proof That I Can’t Get Rid of Anything: Discarded Magazines

It should come as no surprise to you that I love words. Truly.  And you can do so many fun things with discarded magazines including decoupage, make your own magnetic poetry, marble magnets, guitar pick jewelry.  Sometimes, I will even just be talking to a teen who is a huge Twilight fan and I will go back in my office and get a discarded Seventeen out of my stash and give it to them – I am a hero!! I love being a hero.

Make Your Own Magnetic Poetry Kits

Social Media Addiction: Twitter

Twitter has a seriously rich book community – authors, publishers, librarians, book bloggers.  I am there every day and every day I learn about new books, share book/library love with my peers, and learn about new tech and teen trends.

Don’t Underestimate the Value of Twitter

It’s Absence Makes Me Ragey: ISBN Numbers

It brings me great joy when publisher ads and book reviews include ISBN numbers.  Yes, I am perfectly capable of going and looking them up.  But you know, it’s super nice when I don’t have to and I can just enter the ISBN number into my jobber and a title to my cart.  If I am using an online source, I can simply cut and paste it.  I will love you all hardcore if we can make it a point to add ISBN numbers with our book info.  And I will wholeheartedly admit that we do not always do that here at TLT.  Let’s make it our New Year’s Resolution to embrace the ISBN number.  Pinky swear.

An ode to the ISBN number:
You make my life so easy
When I don’t see you I get queasy
It’s true that I can go hunt you down
But seeing you turns smile from frown

Great books, now let me go look up the ISBN number
 
Yay- great books AND I don’t have to go look up the ISBN number
Best. Ad. Ever.

Most Benefit for Your Buck: Teen Volunteers

They rock! It seems like I shouldn’t have to say more than that.  But I guess I will.  I get to serve teens by helping them serve their community: win-win.  Plus, I get to spend time with them one-on-one and talk about things, if I am lucky that thing=books.

Can’t Live Without: VOYA and SLJ

I am not going to lie, I don’t really use these for the book reviews because the jobber we use has all the journal reviews in one place for me.  Okay, so I am still using their book reviews, just not in the traditional way.  I do, however, love these resources because of the following: Booklists, Programming Articles, Author Interviews, etc.  I also love to read the letters to the editor (I am a huge online comment junkie as well.)  Don’t forget to visit their online sites as well, lots of additional content.

VOYA
SLJ

What Do I Do Next? Post It Notes

Not only can you make art with them, but you can leave yourself little notes and stick them on your computer.  You will not be surprised to know that I find them all over with ISBN numbers written on them.  I leave myself one every day on my computer letting me know what I need to do tomorrow.  Sometimes I leave notes saying, “return Stephanie’s e-mail”, or “remind Christie to write that review,” or “bring back your really overdue library books.”  Librarians make the worst library patrons, just saying.

Post It Note Art

My Brain: My iPhone

Yes, it keeps me connected to Twitter.  But our tech at work is old and slow and I send my e-mail to it, use it to do quick searches on the Reference desk when our Internet decides it is trying to lose a race against a snail, and I take pictures. Tons and tons and tons of pictures.  Pictures at programs, pictures of books, random pictures when living my daily life.  You never know when you can turn one of them into an awesome RA poster, which I do often.  I have almost nothing but photography apps and photos on my cell phone. I have been known to pet my phone and call it “pretty”.  Also, The Mr. has banned it from the dinner table.

Last But Not Least: You – My Fellow Librarians

I steal some of my best ideas from you guys.  I mean borrow, I borrow some of my best ideas from you guys.  Best program I have ever done? Live Angry Birds courtesy of Heather Booth.  Most fun I had this year? I #mustacheyoutoread which was started by Kearsten at Glendale Public Library.  And who else is going to understand when I say, “when will we be done with the instalovetriangle business?”

So here we are, at the end of the year and these things have made my year rock! And I promise, as my New Year’s Resolution, I will never complain about the lack of ISBN numbers on ads again. Pinky swear.  Here’s looking forward to a great 2013.  I hope you all will continue to join us next year.  We’re all in this together :)

#mustacheyoutoread (Join the campaign!)

It all began because Kearsten, the teen services librarian at Glendale Public Library in Arizona,  Tweeted us a picture of a display she put together.  More accurately, she came up with the idea and her teen volunteers helped her put the display together.  It was simple really, but genius.  Her teens held up a fake mustache and a copy of the book they recommended and the slogan was: We #mustacheyoutoread.

So now we are on a campaign and we need your help.  We want to help these teens go viral.  So join us on Twitter please.  Tweet your book recommendations with the tag #mustacheyoutoread.  Bonus points if you include a picture of yourself with a fake mustache and the book you are recommending.  You can cut out paper mustaches or draw mustaches on your finger for the ever popular fingerstache.  Please include an @GlendaleTeenLib so the teens will see it.

Here are some of their pics . . .

Join me in supporting these teens, pretty please.  Tweet them today.  You can find Kearsten on Twitter @Kearsten or here at the beginning of each month with her booktalks.  Also, please leave them a comment.  If you do Tweet them, you can copy and paste the link to your Tweet in the comments.  Christie G. has been going to town with this and has a lot of fun pics.  And this was obviously the inspiration for our TLT holiday card.

Don’t Underestimate the Value of Twitter

I am fairly new to the Twitterverse, and fairly addicted. It’s mostly Maureen Johnson’s fault (that woman is split your sides funny, you should definitely follow her).  An avid Facebook user for years, I had no idea how rich the book culture was on Twitter.  Here are 10 reasons why you should be on Twitter.

10.  Fast and Furious News

A wide variety of news outlets, including Publisher’s Weekly, Yalsa and VOYA, tweet links and various relevant facts that keep you quickly and easily updated.  All you have to do is open the link and read the news source.  As a reader, the most amazing moment in my life occurred when someone tweeted that author Lauren Oliver was going to be coming to a bookstore that it turns out was just 45 minutes from my house.  I learned of it the day before and made the trek to meet Lauren Oliver (read about Lauren Oliver day here) and outside of getting married and having my babies, it was truly one of the more amazing moments in my life.  If it wasn’t for Twitter, it never would have happened.  I learn what is going to be on the bestseller list, what upcoming teen author festivals are in my area, and more.  During conferences like ALA or PLA you can follow the discussion even when you can’t make it there.  By choosing who you follow you create for yourself a news aggregator tailored to your wants and needs.

9.  Book, Books and More Books

Book bloggers, librarians, readers, and more – this is a great way to learn what’s being talked about right now.  And there are so many people who share books on their TBR (to be read) list that your own TBR list will grow long – quickly.  (Seriously, my TBR would scan the globe a million times at this particular moment). In addition, authors, publishers and fans are always tweeting new book trailers, cover reveals, and reviews that are easy for you to share with your teens and help provide content for your Web and social media pages.  I also found The Apocalypsies on Twitter.  The Apocalypsies is a blog devoted to YA authors with books debuting in 2012.  The lovely Jenny Torres Sanchez (@jetchez) is a part of this group.  There is a deep and rich book world teeming under the surface of Twitter.

8.  Authors

There are a lot of amazing YA authors on Twitter and they talk not only about their books, but about themselves.  Sarah Dessen just announced that she will be releasing her 11th book next year, which will be titled Best After Ever.  The other day I had an actual conversation with the lovely Ilsa J. Bick about her book Ashes and the upcoming sequel, Shadows (due out 9/25/2012).  Some authors have left comments on my books reviews or responded via tweet and you know, it is encouraging as a librarian but it also helps you build a good reputation with your library teens and they see you as a legitimate resource in their lives.  Many of the authors will talk about their writing processes, inspiration, and more.  It would be a fun classroom or library project to have teens pick an author and really follow them as they go through the process of writing a book, getting it published and going on the marketing tour.  Speaking of the marketing tour, I have learned a lot about what all goes into marketing a book via Twitter and this is an interesting insight for aspiring writers.

7.  Maureen Johnson

Speaking of authors, there is probably none more entertaining and hilarious then the lovely Maureen Johnson (@maureenjohnson).  Her Twitter description reads as follows:

“There’s a fine line between good eye contact and the piercing stare of a psychopath.  Maureen is on the wrong side of it.” – a fan

That about covers it.  You’ll want to follow her for the sheer entertainment value of it.  Be warned, she is obsessed with monkeys and possibly unstable.  But, you know – wicked fun.

6.  Connecting Teens to Authors

The other day a teen I had never seen before walked into my library with a Vlad Tod t-shirt (Vladimir Tod is the main character in the High School Bites series by the lovely Heather Brewer, if you haven’t read it I highly recommend it).  So, this teen is standing there with a group and I walk up and say, “Awesome, you are a Vlad Tod fan.”  She is immediately impressed that I get what her t-shirt is all about.  We then proceed to talk about the books.  Then I snap a quick pic and send it to Heather Brewer via Twitter and – gasp, shudder – Heather Brewer responded and said Hi to my teen, one of her “minions” (that’s what she calls her fans).  Heather Brewer totally made this fans day and made me look like a rock star with my teen.  The next day this teen emailed me at work and now I have a library/reading advocate in my pocket who will go tell all of her friends how cool the teen librarian is at the local library.  I also sent a picture to Cassandra Clare of a young man who said The Mortal Instruments was hands down the best series ever, and she replied.  Some authors have not replied, and honestly there is a lot of luck and timing involved because they just happened to be online when I tweeted them; but in the moments when you do get lucky, you get to be someone’s hero and help them connect with authors in unique ways.  As a teen, it is always nice to know the adults you admire and look up to actually care, so thank you Heather Brewer and Cassandra Clare.  As I tweeted just last night: “Authors on Twitter and reaching out to fans help librarians do their jobs well. So thanks.”

5.  Publishers

When thinking of who to follow on Twitter, you don’t want to forget your publishers.  They too are a rich source of information, providing news about upcoming titles, letting you know what is selling well, and often having fun contests to share with your teens.  Seeing what titles the authors are really pushing also helps you get an idea of what is likely to be popular.  As with authors, I have had some great conversations with people from Egmont USA, Harper Teen, Sourcebooks Fire, Harlequin Teen and more.  Random House has a fun feed called Random Buzzers for its website which is a fun place for teens.  There is a different feel to the publishers on Twitter then just visiting their web pages and browsing through their catalogs.  Of course their goal is still to market their product, but you can build relationships with them and, again, you get inside news at a quick pace so that you can predict trends, build collections, and better meet your library teens needs.

4. Book Bloggers

I did not know what a deep and rich culture of book bloggers there were online until I joined Twitter.  I follow a ton of amazing book bloggers and it is great to read reviews, talk about books and get a wide variety of opinions about what is hot and what is not.  Many of the bloggers will also do contests which can help you get some free ARCs to give away as prizes to teens.  There are also a variety of teen book bloggers and it is always helpful to hear what teens are really thinking and what they really like.  Some of my favorite teen book bloggers include Julie (@JulieHeartBooks), Aneeqah (@AneeqahNSRL), and Marissa (@MissyRissy_rox).  If you already follow a blog they probably have an easy “Follow Me on Twitter” button that you can use to follow them.  For the record, you can follow TLT on Twitter @tlt16.

3.  Tweet Chats

Every Wednesday night there is a chat called #yalitchat where writers (and bloggers and librarians and fans) hang out and talk about books.  A lot of the times there are specific topics, other times it is a free for all.  On Thursdays Figment hosts a discussion called #figlitchat; again, it is usually guided by topic.  And there is a monthly chat about ya galleys hosted by Early Word.  This is a great opportunity to talk about upcoming titles, what people are reading and what they are saying.

Early Word YA Galley Chat: the third Tuesday of each month from 4 to 5 p.m., ET (also with a 3:30 pre-Chat session). The next one is April 17. Hash tag, #ewyagc

Figlitchat: Thursdays at 9:00 PM ET, they have recaps on the Figment webpage. Follow the hashtag #figlitchat

#yalitchat: Wednesdays at 9:00 pm ET

2.  Other Teen Librarians

Want to hear about the lives of other teen librarians?  Hop on Twitter.  Here librarians tweet about Ref questions they get at the desk, interactions with teens, that awesome program they just had and more.  You may find your next great program idea to steal – erm, I mean, borrow. Struggling to get good attendance at your book club, it’s nice to know that you aren’t alone.

1.  The 2012 Project, of course!

If you are new here (by the way, welcome) you should know that some time last year I got a whim and decided I would do a monumental teen library advocacy project which is The 2012 Project (#the2012project on Twitter).  My goal: to collect 2,012 pictures of teens reading and using their library (attending programs, hanging out, reading, browsing collections, using computers, etc.) to SHOW the world (and our administrators and communities) that libraries are still relevant, that teens do read, and that we need good staffing and funding to meet their needs.  Not only are we trying to meet their needs, but we are trying to cultivate life long learners and library supporters.  Libraries change lives, they help give books their voices by matching them with readers, and they are cornerstones of communities.  So if you want to be a teen library advocate, you can tweet your program and random libraries pics with the hashtag #the2012project to @tlt16.

And a Bonus Reason to Use Twitter: the Library as Incubator Project (@IArtLibraries)

The Library as Incubator Project is focused on highlighting the connection between art and libraries.  By following their Twitter feed you can see what types of programming, art projects and art exhibits other libraries are doing.  You’ll definitely want to check them out.

Speaking of art and libraries, if you haven’t yet you definitely need to check out The Real Fauxtographer.  Here, Margot Wood, a YA reader and photographer, joins her two interests by creating photographs based on the YA books that she reads.  So far she has covered titles such as The Giver and The Forest of Hands and Teeth.  This is a fun project to follow and a great idea to share with your teens.  And I found out about it on Twitter.  Behold the power of Twitter!

So tell me people, how do you use Twitter?  Who do you follow, and why?

Some popular @tlt16 Tweets:

“A book can change a life, but not until someone opens it.  Librarians put those books into the hands that may one day change the world.”

“It takes a while for a person to find the book that moves them, & money will often stop most people from finding it.  So visit your library.”

“A book is still silent if it doesn’t have a reader. Libraries give books their voices by connecting them to readers.”

Using Social Media to Engage Teens, including contests

I always blog wearing a tiara :)

Contests: They are simple and fun ways to keep your teens engaged.  They generate repeat business.  They help you appeal to a wide variety of interests.  In short, they work for teen librarians.  Last week we discussed why I love them and I shared one of my favorite ones, the teen TSRC artwork contest.  And as I mentioned, I spent many years making contest sheets and doing contests once every 2 weeks.  The turn over helped keep a steady flow of interest.  Now a days, you can use social media sites to keep teens engaged daily. 

You can do the simplest of things, and it allows you the opportunity to be spontaneous.  Have an idea?  You can just throw it up on your Facebook page or Twitter and run with it.  Social media affords us all the opportunity to embrace creativity or respond to a suddenly popular trend.  You can throw out book quotes and ask teens to guess the book.  Or, you can throw out some pictures and ask teens to guess what the picture is from or depicting.

When discussing marketing you hear the term branding come up frequently.  You can create some regular features as a part of your social media site and they become a type of brand; something that your teen patrons come to look forward to and immediately associate with your library.  For example, on Fridays, we have “Friday Fill-Ins” on the Teen Librarian’s Toolbox Facebook page.  This is a regular feature where I write a sentence and ask my audience to fill in the blanks.  It is a way of engaging your audience and getting feedback from them.  Other sites have things like Funny Fridays (at the Leaky Boob, a breastfeeding support site) where the audience is invited to share their funny stories.  As another example, the Delaware County District Library has a regular feature on their Facebook page called What Am I Wednesday where they gives some hints and ask their fans to identify what they are describing:

My largest city ranks among the world’s busiest ports.
I am the only U.S. state that calls my counties parishes.
I was influenced by both French and Spanish settlers.
Tourists know me for my jazz and annual Mardi Gras celebration.
What state am I?
The answer: Louisiana
(Delaware County District Library Facebook page, January 4, 2012)

By creating these types of regular features on your library’s social media pages, you develop a relationship with your teen patrons.  They know that you are inviting them to participate and creating opportunities for destination events.  They know that on Thursday nights they can watch The Vampire Diaries on the CW and on Friday mornings they can expect a fun post for their favorite teen services librarian.

Just as you have to spend time with your teens in the library and build a rapport, you need to spend time with your teens online and cultivate that same type of rapport.  Teens spend a lot of time online using social media sites, so we need to meet them where they are and use the tools effectively.  We need to be willing to have fun with it and reveal a little bit of ourselves while still remaining appropriate levels of privacy.  So don’t be afraid to get online and be whimsical, spirited, passionate – be engaging.

For a good example of someone who uses Twitter well, check out Sarah Dessen.  She is funny and personable and really connects with her followers.  Over the weekend she started a Twitter feed for her rooster, Foghorn, and overnight he received over 500 followers.  There are a wide variety of authors using Twitter, and many bloggers as well.  Here are some things you should know about Twitter:

1)  It is addictive (much like Pinterest)
2) If you follow the right feeds, it CAN be a good source of news and information.  Many publishers, authors and news channels have feeds and link you to up to date articles and information.  I found a variety of sources that I did not previously know about that have proven useful.
3) Sarah Dessen is hysterical.  As is her rooster.
4) John Green is just as awesome as you would imagine.
5) You can follow the Teen Librarian’s Toolbox @TLT16
6) Most of the professional journals you use have feeds and they provide supplemental information
7) You can use Twitter to host a chat or discussion, or watch a show with your teens and comment about it that way.
8) Many readers like to post quotes as they are reading.
9) Mtv talks a lot about Jersey Shore in their feed. It is as annoying as you think it would be.
10) If you search #the2012project you will see pictures of teens reading and using their libraries and it is wicked cool.

A couple of words of caution about using social media:
I recommend you set up a library page attached to your library e-mail account or a dummy e-mail account as opposed to your personal e-mail account.  One, this creates appropriate boundaries between your work and personal accounts.  Two, if you leave to take another position they can maintain access to these accounts and keep the fan base.

I also recommend you set up your Facebook account as a page and don’t deal with friend requests.  Your teens can choose to follow your Facebook page by “liking” it and you don’t get access to their FB page and they don’t get access to yours.  I think there are some appropriate boundaries you want to keep when working with teens.

Next blog post, I will share with you a contest that you can use on your social media site already packaged for you.