Tag Archives: homework helper

Public Libraries Teen Pages

Previously they were the most neglected age group of patrons, but service for teenagers is now becoming an integral focus for public libraries, and what better way to reach out to and interact with teens than through the web. I’d like to take a brief aside from discussing physical material to talk about outreach and access from the libraries website.

Hennepin County Public Library (HCPL)

As you may have noticed one of my Links of Interest takes people to a page of HCPL’s website where teens can post their own reading lists. The HCPL is know for being ahead of the curve when it comes to utilizing technology, and their teen page is no exception. As you can see from the screen shot they have a very capable web designer working on this site. It is very visually appealing, and I am mildly surprised to find that one of the first descriptive words that comes to me when trying to describe this site is…cool! In addition to which a quick scan of the teen page and it’s links contain some valuable, though out content. Beauty and brains are a winning combination! However, I feel this site is a little too cluttered and with so many visuals I suspect that teens may just click on images that appeal to them rather than taking the time to read all the headings and figure out what exactly is going in in the site.

This clustering of images is contrasted against theMilton Public Library (MPL). As you can see from the screenshot of the MPL their teen page still has similar content as the HCPL page has, however I find the MPL’s page to be MUCH easier to access. There are still visuals, as any good website needs, but they are small and serve more to enhance the written content rather than overpowering it.

These are both pages from libraries that physically exist (which means they have funding of some kind beyond what ads can generate… unlike this next site). When searching for Library sites for teens I stumbled across theAwesome Library (online only) and I have to say it is the site I am using as an example of what NOT to do! While the first two sites have comparable screen shots of their homepage the awesome library homepage for teens is a big turnoff. It’s too bad because the content isn’t terrible. There is clearly an effort here to provide kids with up to date, reliable info, but the site is hampered by google ads and the content isn’t always the most academic, for example I wouldn’t be overly confident in citing MSNB.com as my sole source of information.

So, some quick lesson for your Teen page of you public library:

  1. Use visuals, but don’t make the site as cluttered as a teenagers room (not all teens rooms are cluttered, I’ll admit… just 99.9% 😉 )
  2. Make the page inclusive, HCPL has random polls and the book lists for teen input and MPL has the Reader rants section.
  3. Don’t use web design that looks like it’s from the 1990’s (most teens were barely even born in that century)… I’m pointing the finger at you “Awesome” Library.

The New York Times Upfront

The New York times upfront. (2008). New York, NY: Scholastic, Inc. May 4, 2009.

I was drawn to this edition of the New York Times Upfront magazine because it contained an article by Peter Menzel that was basically a synopsis of the full length coffee table book he coauthored with Faith D’Aluisio called Hungry Plant: What the world eats. The original book was quite intriguing and I was pleased to see it’s exposure to the teen market. In fact I found all the articles in the magazine to be very well written. Another piece called Is it a Show or an Ad? delved into the subversive advertising that saturates modern entertainment shows. It was similar to reading a copy of Adbusters, but without the aggressively pessimistic cynicism.
So, don’t be turned off by the fact that this magazine looks fairly identical to the adult version of the New York Times magazine (methinks this here’s an attempt to make life-long loyalists for the NYTM empire) the magazine will appeal to teens because it talks about issues they care about, without lying or beating around the bush.
The magazine gains further credibility for me because there are twenty high school teachers listed as advisors in the credits of the magazine.
To view this issue and many more in full by accessing the New York Times Upfront archives through Scholastic’s website

The Manga Guide to Electricity

Fujitaki, K., & Trend-pro Co. (2009). The manga guide to electricity. San Francisco: No Starch Press.

This is a really interesting format for learning! The manga style is both nonthreatening, yet detailed and credible. The plot is intriguing, but the technical language can get pretty intense at times. Here is an example of the dialogue on page 177:

“Two types of transistors are NPN and PNP transistor. They have three electrodes referred to as B (BASE), C (COLLECTOR), and E (Emitter).”
“They have one more electrode than a diode!”
“If an NPN transistor is connected like this… [quote is set inside a technical diagram of a transistor]…The electrons in the collector are drawn to the positive pole where they accumulate.”

I suspect that the story is strong enough to carry average to committed reader through the technical bits, probably even educating them along the way. The plot involves a girl, Rereko, from the planet Electropia being sent to Earth for a summer study session. She is teamed up with a young earth student, Hikaru, who tutors her in the “simple” principles of earths electricity. A bond begins to form… but can two young people from distant worlds really get along. Read the manga to find out!

If you like this want to learn about more science & tech stuff you’re in luck because this book is part of a manga series that also has titles on Statistics, Databases, Physics, Calculus, Molecular Biology, and many more!

Understanding Negative Body Image.

Moe, B. (1999). Understanding negative body image. New York: Rosen Publising Group.

I do appreciate the severity of body image issues and eating disorders. I like 99.9% of all teenagers have felt unhappy with my body and I there have been people in my life with mild to severe eating disorders.
That being said, if I couldn’t stand the look of my own skin I wouldn’t feel like looking at this book either. If I wanted to die I don’t feel like book would help. This book is not Hello Cruel World, this book is boooooring! It’s too old, it’s too text heavy, it’s too BORING! Like it was written by an old, wrinkly, rusty robot who may have heard about teenagers, but has never seen, let alone talked, to one.

I found this book in the YA section of my local library… it hadn’t been checked out in years and I suspect that trend to continue until the book is properly recycled.

At the very best this book would be good for a homework assignment because it is factual (hooray, we all love facts) and it is the kind of book that looks really good in a school report 😉