Saturday, March 18, 2006

Teens, Technology, and Libraries

Does there seem to be a partnership more natural than that? I thought I would look around and see what kind of exciting stuff I could find on libraries' teen pages.

My benchmark site is already selected: Hennepin County Library( Surprise, surprise. It's interactive with multiple choice questions and select-a-color features. Every time you click, you get new pics of teens and a new teen title with a summary. Visually, once your color has been properly selected, it's a real bonanza. It has useful links to the usual: programming, resources, booklists, general library info.

Pittsburgh's Carnegie Library ( has a pretty cool site as well in terms of content. There are links to the usual events, booklists, resources, and the like, but some other links make it seem like this library is pretty in touch with its population. Zine resources abound, including tons of links to e-zines, lots of sports and technology resources, links to stuff to do around town, and gaming sites. A feature lets teens write reviews, which nearly 1200 had, and read those of peers. Sections on "Just for Fun" and "Homework" are separated from a big list of "Real Issues" resources. There seems to be a truly balanced representation on serious topics like suicide and drugs, among other topics. I appreciated the language of the site, which seemed teen centered, and way it appeared to be structured to account for the needs of teen patrons and the seriousness of those needs.

I thought the Phoenix Public Library ( had a really pleasing design and style. It has bright colors, clean lines, and great pictures of teens. There seems to be an active teen council at most branches, with each having their own website (the quality and design of these vary greatly - the true sign of self-managed products). A 'zine designed by teen council members is posted as a pdf. Unfortunately, it was a little hard to navigate. Here, the links of lists seemed a bit more general and less tailored to the population, with limited lists for "teen issues." The physical teen central space was amazing and looked sort of like a night club. The site claimed to have a Spanish version, but the link was dead, as were the reader's corner links. Overall: wow!

This is part 1 only. More will follow.


Blogger Emily said...

Yes...the Hennepin County Library's teen site is great...very well suited to the teen audience. I think marketing the library and its services to teens through technology is very important..."go where they are" they say. Here is the link to my local public library's teen site:

This is for the Fremont Public Library. They have some neat nights, etc. They also do a reading program where teens can read a YA book, fill out a book review form, and get a candy if that wasn't enough! They can also win prizes like bookmarks and posters if their candy wrapper has a winning message inside! That's cute...I like Fremont.

9:29 PM  
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