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Teen Tech in Local Libraries

Cindy Ramunno
cramunno@eaglevalleyenterprise.com

Judging by how their finger fly while texting and their seemingly innate ability to navigate around cyberspace, you might think that teens don’t need technology instruction. But in reality, they do.

Teens may know how to tweet, post and take selfies, but have they learned how to use technology to benefit their futures? That’s something new for most teens, and local libraries are out to change that scenario.

Teen Tech Week is when local libraries take the time to showcase all of the great digital resources and services that are available to help teens succeed in school and help prepare them for college and 21st century careers.

Teen Tech Week is a national initiative sponsored by Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) and is aimed at teens, their parents, educators and other concerned adults. The purpose of Teen Tech Week is to ensure that teens are competent and ethical users of digital media, especially the nonprint resources offered through libraries, such as e-books, e-readers, databases, audiobooks, and social media. This year’s theme is “Libraries are for Making…” and takes place the week of March 8 -14.

Maker Space

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Next week each branch of the Eagle Valley Library District will offer a Maker Space event featuring Sparkfun Lilypad Design Kits. Makey Makey is an invention kit for the 21st Century. Participants can turn every day objects into touchpads and combine them with the Internet: art, engineering and everything in between. They will also have the opportunity to use magnets to make a pencil levitate or launch a matchbox car. Rasberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into a TV and keyboard and participants can use it to design electronics and play high-definition video.

The schedule for the local libraries Maker Space events is:

Gypsum Public Library —Tuesday, March 10 at 5 p.m.

Avon Public Library — Thursday, March 12 at 3 p.m.

Eagle Public Library — Thursday, March 12 a 5 p.m.

Jumping in

Nick Dawson is the teen librarian at the Gypsum Public Library, while Dale Green serves in that position at the Eagle Public Library. They both promised that local teens can jump right into Teen Tech Week.

“At each location we will be looking at magnetism, computer programming, and forming human and other unorthodox circuits,” said Dawson. “This is an opportunity for the library to share a love of science, not so much for the sake of learning as much as for the sake of cool stuff.”

Teen Tech Week began in 2007 with the general theme of “Get Connected at your library.” Libraries all over the nation now participate in the event by offering teens a space to extend learning beyond the classroom where they can explore, create and share content. Some are tailoring their themes to connect in meaningful ways with teens in order to help them gain the digital literacy skills they need to be successful. Teen Tech Week encourages teens to use libraries’ nonprint resources for education and recreation, and to recognize that librarians are qualified, trusted professionals in the field of information technology.

Millions of teens do not have access to a home computer and, were it not for libraries, would miss opportunities to gain important digital literacy skills. Libraries offer a bridge across the digital divide.

Libraries also recognize that digital media plays an important part in a teen’s life. That is why more libraries than ever are helping teens build critical digital literacy skills, which they will use to obtain scholarships, secure jobs, effectively manage their online identity and more.

But Teen Tech Week is about having fun first, and learning second. Local library staff members will be introducing teens to Raspberry Pi mini-computers, Makey Makey circuits that allow participant to turn anything conductive into a computer interface, and levitating and manipulating objects with magnets.

“It is all about fun and hands on science,” said Dawson. “People can feel free to come to more than one of the events if they want more time to play with science.”

It’s free for kids to participate – and it’s the perfect time of year to spend time indoors at the local library. Many kids (and adults) have no idea all that their local library offers.

For more information about local activities, call Dawson at the Gypsum library at 970-524-5080 or email him at nick@evld.org and Green in Eagle at 970-328-8800 or email her at dgreen@evld.org. Or visit the Eagle Valley Library District at http://www.library@evld.org/


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