Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Take 5: DIY on Tumblr

Tumblr is an awesome place to hang out.  It’s visual, fun, and easy to use. And believe it or not, it is a great place to find DIY outlines.  Just last week author Tahereh Mafi shared a tutorial on how to make these glorious Shatter Me inspired shoes.  I myself have shared several DIY tutorial on the TLT Tumblr.  So today we’re going to talk DIY and Tumblr.

DIY on Tumblr usually takes 2 distinct forms. Sometimes, like Tahereh has done on her blog, that entire tutorial is right there in the Tumbl post.  Other times, the Tumblr is simply used to reblog and curate DIY activities, similar to what many people do with Pinterest. Libraries, particularly libraries that have Makerspace themes, should consider starting a DIY specific Tumblr blog as an information resource for teens in their local communities.  In fact, you could even get teens to help you put together tutorials of library craft programs for the Tumblblog.

Five DIY Themed Tumblrs:

Buzzfeed DIY

Buzzfeed is pretty epic all on its own, but they do have a DIY Tumbl blog.  It can cover anything and everything.  My favorite is when they have lists of DIY around a particular theme – say a holiday or just the theme of books – and they link to something like 25 DIY posts on that topic.  Great for program inspiration or planning.

Daisy Pickers

Daisy Pickers shares original and shared tutorials for a variety of craft ideas, many of which have a country chic feel to them.  There are tutorials for making things like craft floss tassels, half log bookends, and tin can stilts.

DIY Hoard

Like Buzzfeed DIY, DIY Hoard is an awesome and eclectic look at DIY around the Internet.  There are a lot of full tutorials right there on the Tumblr (easy to reblog and share).   

True Blue Me & You

True Blue Me & You has a variety of craft/DIY tutorials on their Tumblblog.   For example, they show you how to make these stacked rings, which are epically cool. On the right side bar you’ll see that this person also has a Tumbl blog on Kids Crafts, Halloween Crafts, and Christmas and Holiday Crafts.

Why Not Just DIY

So, interesting note here.  Cussing is pretty rampant on Tumblr.  In fact, there are a lot of Tumblr that are named “Fuckyeah whatever the topic is”.  You can have a Tumblr address and still have a different Tumblr heading.  So this Tumbl blog’s address is Why Not Just DIY (probably what the originally named it), and when you go to the Tumbl blog the title is Make Your Own Shit.  So, there are cool craft resources here, but you probably want to be aware of the title when sharing with teens – especially younger teens – on your library’s professional page.  Having said all that, I really like their tutorial on how to turn paper lanterns into glitter lamps.  Very cool.

How to Do DIY on Tumblr

So in addition to sharing these cool DIY resources from Tumblr, I wanted to point out that Tumblr is a great way to be incorporating more tech and social media into your teen services.  I highly recommend having a DIY themed specific Tumblr blog for your teen services.  As I mentioned in the open, when you do a craft program, you can even get the teens present at your program to help you make a DIY tutorial for your Tumblr blog.  Take lots of step by step pictures (and you can take them over the shoulder if you are worried about privacy issues), outline the steps, and put up your post as you would make a craft instruction sheet.  I would also include a bibliography of some craft books on the topic that can be found in your library.

If your library has a Makerspace or a craft heavy emphasis on programming, this is a great way to highlight what you are doing to the community and be a resource.  Making – arts, crafts – are important I believe because they inspire creative thinking and problem solving, and innovation can not happen without these.  Creativity also is a great way to get teens involved in self-expression and to boost their sense of accomplishment and self worth.  Craft programs also are a great way to have some active programming – as opposed to passive programming, where teens sit and listen to someone speak – while still meeting their social needs because craft programs are ripe for sitting and gabbing while crafting.  In short, maker programs create a library environment that is very 40 developmental assets friendly.

12 Blogs of Christmas: YA Lit Quotes (We Heart Young Adult)

To say that I love a good quote is an understatement.  I have journals – yes, plural – where I have written down some of my favorite quotes from the books I have read over the years.  And one of the things that I love most about the 21st century technology is seeing how others can take their favorite book quotes and turn them into beautiful art.  I love this so much that I have done it myself and I have done teen programming around the concept.  If you follow some of your favorite YA authors on Tumblr or Twitter you will often see them sharing amazing artwork inspired by their titles; many teens are inspired by books to create art of their own, whether it be visual art or fan fiction.

So with this in mind, I present to you blog #3 in the 12 Blogs of Christmas: YA Lit Quotes

Yes, yes, yes – it is, once again, technically a Tumblr.  But I propose Tumblr is just a different version of a blog and since this is my 12 Blogs of Christmas I am totally running with that.  Follow this Tumblr and you will have some great content that is easy to share with your teens.  And it will probably inspire some of them to try a new book they hadn’t thought about reading.  One quote can do that.

Here are 5 of my favorites from the We Heart Your Adult YA Lit Quotes Tumblr:

12 Blogs of Christmas: Go Book Yourself

“I read and loved The Hunger Games, what else do you have like that?” Reader’s Advisory! It’s the heart of what we do.  If a teen comes in and asks me this question, I will jump over the desk in an attempt to get 10 more books in their hands.  But the truth is, sometimes I just don’t know.  I haven’t read the book.  Hey, it happens.  I can’t read everything!  But there is a blog for that!

Blog #2: Go Book Yourself!

Go Book Yourself is, once again, technically a Tumblr that is devoted to RA.  It gives you one title and recommends 4 more that you may like.  And it is very visual, which gets bonus points in my book.  It covers more than just YA, but it does have an easy access YA button you can choose to get only the YA posts.  But let’s not kid ourselves, teens read adult fiction too.  Go Book Yourself has appeared on several posts about Tumblrs for book lovers recently, including over at Buzzfeed.

The posts end up looking something like this; this is a screen shot of their Top 5 YA Novels of 2013 (out of 34 that they read).  Then there is a brief description of each book in the text below the graphic.

The posts are easy to share, making this is a great tool.  And sometimes they put together books that I wouldn’t think to recommend (and sometimes I don’t agree with, but that’s just me).  It’s also a good reminder that we can be using the digital tools available to us to be doing fast, easy and VISUAL reader’s advisory with our teens.

Take 5: Tumblrs that Rock

I am obsessed with Tumblr.  Blame Robin.  Anyhow, as I see it, Tumblr (outside of Twitter, of course) is so easy to use and I love, love, love the way it handles graphics (which is where its bread and butter is).  So now I am all Tumblr obsessed.  Here are 5 Tumblrs to follow if you are new to the tumble.  If you are not new, share your favorites with me in the comments.  Feed my obsession.

And yes, for the record, every time I am on Tumblr I do in fact sing this song in my head . . .

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwb9-OlQimc]

Diversity in YA

Diversity in YA was originally founded as a blog in 2011 by Cindy Pon and Malinda Lo.  They moved to Tumblr in 2013.  Here, they talk about Diversity in YA, hence the title.  It is a great resource not only highlighting titles, but giving real strong evidence that shows how little diversity there currently is.

Teenager Posts

Teenager Posts takes a standard format – a color block with a simple text statement, similar to Bookfessions – and allows teens to express themselves.  Often sad, sometimes witty, sometimes full of cusswords, this is a way for teens 

YA Book Quotes

Exactly what it sounds like – quotes from YA books. Great for reblogging and sharing.

Fishing Boat Proceeds, aka John Green’s Tumblr

John Green is kind of king of the Internet in Geek World, and Tumblr is no different.  It’s obviously heavy on self-promotion, especially with TFIOS movie being filmed, but he is usually the first to take to the Internet and speak up about things with heartfelt intelligence.

Looking for things to make and do?  DIY Fashion has you covered.

Maureen Johnson Books

If John Green is the King of the Internet, one could argue that Maureen Johnson is the Queen.  She speaks passionately about things.  She rants.  She answers questions.  In a word, she is kind of awesome.

Go Book Yourself

This site is your basic “If You Like . . . Try This . . .” site with some visual finesse.  Take a book – say The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – and it will recommend 4 readlikes.  In this case it recommends Ask the Passengers by A. S. King, Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz.  These are great for sharing, though not always YA.

An Oldie but a Goodie: Bookfessions

More Info: 8 Inspirational Blogs from Huffington Post Teen ; 10 Top Tech related Tumblrs

How to Tumblr, part 2

So how are we all feeling about Tumblr so far? Let me know in the comments. Also, let me know what your Tumblr name is, so I can check you out!

Now that you’ve all established your own Tumblr and found interesting people to follow, we are going to cover reblogging, creating your own original entries, and customizing your Tumblr. Let’s start by having a look at the Tumblr dashboard:

I hope that by now many of you have realized how simple it is to reblog a Tumblr entry you’ve enjoyed and wanted to share or comment upon. If I wanted to reblog the top entry on my dashboard, I would simply scroll down until the bottom of the entry is visible, and click on the reblog tool in the bottom right hand corner – it looks like two arrows curved into a box shape and is right next to the heart (which lets you mark an entry as a favorite).

When you click on the reblogging tool, it will bring up a page which will let you make several adjustments to how this will look on your page. At first, I’d just suggest that you add something in the box where the cursor appears. This box is labeled differently according to what kind of post you are reblogging. Sometimes it is a ‘caption’ box, sometimes ‘description’, etc. However, this is where people will expect you to add your comments. You can even respond with a picture of your own. Once you’ve reblogged an entry, it will show up both in your dashboard, and on your own Tumblr page.


While I’d venture to guess that the vast majority of people interact with Tumblr almost exclusively through the dashboard, you also have a page that contains just the contents of your posts to Tumblr. This is your blog, and you can direct people here to view any or all of your entries. You can also customize it in many ways to better represent your personality, etc.
To do this, you will want to start by going to your Tumblr blog. The easiest way to do this is to scroll to the top of your dashboard and click on your icon/avatar. This will take you directly to your blog. You can also type in the web address for your blog – ie. ‘myblog.tumblr.com’.
Move your cursor to the upper right corner of the screen and you will see two options – ‘Customize’ and ‘Dashboard’. Click on customize to take you to the customization screen. There, you should be able to choose from free or paid Themes, change the name of your Tumblr, add a brief description, and make a few more advanced changes. Remember to save!
Finally, let’s talk about adding your own original posts. I’d strongly suggest starting with pictures, but your mileage may vary. From your dashboard, choose one of the icons on the top row beside your blog icon:
Different tools may be more useful for one type of post or another. Try some of them out and see how they work!
For those of you with a high tolerance for whimsy, i’d like to point you in the direction of this video, which may explain more about the culture behind Tumblr that anything I can say:
Above all else, I hope you enjoy yourself!

How to Tumblr, part 1

Get ready to jump in with my go-to method for learning something new – start doing it. Okay, yes, usually I read a few articles and ask some of my younger friends about their experience with whatever the new thing is. After that, though, when a new social media platform comes on the horizon, it’s best to just jump in with both feet.  (I promise this won’t hurt.)

So, first things first, go to https://www.tumblr.com/ , fill out your email, choose a password, enter a username, and click on the BIG button at the bottom that reads ‘Sign up and start posting.’ Before you go, you may want to brainstorm a few possible user names, the one you usually use is probably already taken. Yes, seriously. Go ahead, I’ll wait here for you.

Okay, so you’re back. Did it ask you your age? Good. You have to be 13 years old to use Tumblr. In fact, here is a screenshot from their terms of service that I absolutely love (because, be honest, it’s not like you really read them before you agreed to them.)

Unless you’ve skipped ahead (in which case, go for it – you don’t need me!) you are on a page asking you to ‘Find Blogs. Follow five.’  Oh, yes, in case you didn’t know, Tumblr is a blogging platform. You don’t actually have to do this, but now would be a good time to search for people or organizations you’d like to follow. You can follow us! Just type in teenlibrariantoolbox – it should be the only search result. ATTENTION KAREN: now is when you can search for Doctor Who!

Here are some other library or YA related Tumblrs you may want to follow:

  • thelifeguardlibrarian – who compiles a list of Tumblarians (more on that later)
  • Libraryjournal
  • Schoollibraryjournal
  • Himissjulie
  • Fancylibrarian
  • Yaflash
  • Bookshelfporn
  • Bookavore

Now you may want to look for some of your favorite authors. Just go ahead and search. A random sampling of some of the Tumblr authors I follow includes Maureen Johnson, Sarah Reese Brennan, Ally Carter (theallycarter), Laurie Halse Anderson, Rachel Hawkins (therealladyhawkins), and John Green (fishingboatproceeds). As you can see, some of them have had to pick rather odd names. Just search for your favorites. You may also want to search for other people you follow on other platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.) Also, sometimes the web site freezes at this point. No worries, just close it and open again.
At this point you will want to log in to your email and verify your Tumblr account. They have sent you an email, just follow the directions. It should take you back to Tumblr. You’ll be at your dashboard. Let me stop here and explain a little more of what Tumblr is about.

Yes, Tumblr is a blogging platform, but it is also an interactive social media web site. When you log in, you aren’t shown your blog you are shown your dashboard, which is an aggregate of all the Tumblrs you follow, with entries in reverse chronological order. That is, the most recent Tumblr entry by one of the Tumblrs you follow will show up at the top of your dashboard. You can scroll down to the last one you recognize and start from there – although I wouldn’t advise it. You see, once you really get going on Tumblr you’ll realize that a lot of what is going on is people reblogging other people’s content and either adding to it or commenting on it. So something you visually recognize might be a reblog of something else. This is especially true if you follow users who follow each other. This is where the interaction happens. In my experience, it’s best to just read from the top down. (Your mileage may vary.)

So, for the next couple of days, explore on your own. See if you can find Tumblrs you’d like to follow. Go to The Lifeguard Librarian’s Tumblr page here http://thelifeguardlibrarian.tumblr.com/tumblariansand follow some interesting looking libraries or librarians. Maybe even click the heart symbol on the bottom of an entry you particularly like. I’ll be back in a couple of days with part 2 of How to Tumblr, and we will discuss reblogging, creating your own blog entries, and customizing your Tumblr. Until then, best of luck!