Recently, I’ve done a couple presentations on what sort of services our library offers for teens. If you’d asked me this question a year and a half ago, the immediate answer would have been, “Well, we have some books,” and anything beyond that would have required a bit of a reach.
A year ago, we finished some renovations, and now we’ve got a dedicated teen area. There are more books now. Newer books–especially the paperbacks. We’ve got a fledgling Teen Advisory Group (TAG), who continue to thrill me with their enthusiasm and dedication.
TAG’s been helping plan some teen library programs. As of this weekend, we’ve got most of the rest of the year sketched out. (Improv games in December, board games in January, a DDR or Wii Sports tournament in February, March is TBA, April is an open-mike poetry and music night, possibly combined with a poetry and creative writing workshop, May might be a summer job hunting workshop, and June is probably going to be another gaming program–Wii Big Brain Academy or Guitar Hero are our two strongest possibilities right now.)
I’m working on getting us a teen section to our website, something vaguely blog-based with some degree of interaction involved. Also, we are getting a YA audiobook collection. (No, we didn’t have one at all before!) At the moment, it looks like it’s going to be a combination of MP3 CDs and PlayAways.
PlayAways are pretty cool. They’re a dedicated digital audio player–essentially, an MP3 player that holds one book. You can’t upload it or download it or delete it–the book cover is part of the actual player. You just plug in your headphones, press play, and you’re off! And they’re actually cheaper than most unabridged audio CD sets, which can easily run $80-$120 for a long-ish book. It remembers where you left off, lets you speed up and slow down the sound, and skip forward and back chapter by chapter.
We got the PlayAway we ordered to display at a library event a few weeks back, and it comes in a video case with a foam insert, holding the player, headphones, and an extra battery. The overwhelming reaction from pretty much everyone on staff was, “It’s so little and cute!” The only real down side is going to be the batteries. (Why oh why can’t it charge through an AC or USB adaptor? However, I understand that when they first came out, they were marketed as one-use type players for airports and such, and the battery and headphones didn’t come out at all.)
(Any library folk out there who’ve got PlayAways in their library? If so, and you’re willing to either answer a couple questions about cataloging and processing or put me in touch with someone else who be able to help, drop me a comment or an email at ehegerat at telus dot net.)
Now, to get the library its own Wii for those video game programs…