Meeting Notes

Marketing Teen Services
Notes are HERE.
Resources (websites and articles) can be found HERE.
PLDA – Unattended Children in the Library

For NY  and NJ state guidelines click here.
For Brooklyn Public Library Policy on Unattended Children click here.
For samples of Public Library statements on Unattended Children click here.

Joint Children’s & Teen Services:
Spinning Straw from Gold
Announcements/updates from the group:
  • Dolores Antonetz attended the Meg Cabot Princess celebration at NYPL last month
  • Cathy Webb attended the inauguration I Washington DC
  • Diane McCrink announced new librarian Kathleen Disilvio at Yonkers Will
  • Ken Petrilli and Miriam Budin attended ALA in Denver, highlights included speakers YA author Lauren Myracle and Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Muhammad Yunus. Economy has affected ALA midwinter attendance and freebies/promotions. Miriam advised that the current Notable Books group had great discussions and expects to see interesting results.

Mornings topic- what are our economic challenges and how can we adapt. We started by going around the room to hear from different libraries:

Kate Colquit/Greenburgh- just moved into new space, which includes lots of computers, has started to look into new inexpensive software (Animee Studio and Manga Studio) and will report back on their quality and usefulness, but wonders if there is something that can be system wide. Currently has some tween and teen book groups and she is interested in movie licensing to show films. Greenburg has practically no money for programs. Kate said she also collaborates with Erin Shirtota at Bronxville for ideas (including Candy Sushi, film programs

Judith pointed out that Youth Services coordinates movie licensing for WLS. Anyone whose library is not a member and wants to join, just let us know. We will look into coverage for anime.

Ken Petrilli/New Rochelle- Current budget through June 30 is okay for now- but upcoming budget cuts will affect money for collection development. Manga programs still well attended. Dance program with Joyce Rimerez is very popular- Ken will find out cost and advise (other libraries interested as well). Unfortunately there is no money for the first stage of revamping teen space, so new funding sources will have to be found- meanwhile library will have to be more creative.

Diane McCrink/Yonkers Will has seen major cuts- they have been able to keep staff but have lost Sunday hours, the bookmobile and money for collection development and programming. Programs that were already scheduled were kept. Staff has concentrated more on storytimes and arts and crafts. They are fortunate to have a graphic artist on staff as well as knitter on staff who does programs for no additional cost.

Patty Cohn/Tarrytown- Program money comes from the Friend’s group. Tarrytown budget depends on two different villages one of which will have 5% cuts so they expect budget issues in the new fiscal year. 75% of budget is staff, so they are worried about staff reductions. There are also conversations about closing on Sundays.

Margaret LaRusso/Harrision- cuts in money for books and programs. Pages have been let go so librarian’s workload has increased.

Elise Landesberg and Anne Beier/Montrose-Hen Hud- no current cuts- budget runs to June 30. Teen gaming night has been started, also trying to target middle school grades. 8 signed up for teen book groups. Concentrating on crafts and puzzles for younger children

Debbie Fletcher and Marci Dressler/Ossining- no cuts yet, budget runs to June 30. Ossining has low cost programming- book clubs. Tamara runs gaming tournaments for teens

Roseann Polashek/Yonkers Riverfront- no new books since November- concentrate on low cost or free programs:

  • Yu-Gi-Oh!
  • local man donates time for chess program,
  • Local opera singer will soon volunteer a program for teens.
  • Show lots of movies
  • Hip Hop Dance program was very popular
  • Read away your fines is also very popular at this time. J. Sexton added that this could be a great marketing idea – fines can often people away fro the library- the opportunity to clean your account will keep people coming in- may be resistance from library admin for lost revenue.

Ann Marie Abate and Miriam Budin/Chappaqua- lots of staff changes, Carol Birch retired, Michelle Cappozella moving to Danbury system- however there have been no other staff reductions. Usage is way up. One clerk suggested adding older books to current displays “New and Notable Books”, which has increased the circulation of those older titles significantly and keeps displays full and prominent. Miriam- monitors costs saving where they can- lighting, supplies- wonders what we can do with little or no money? Suggests we all tap into the talented and creative community- approach them, connect with them, see what they can do for the library at little or no cost.

Anne Quick/Dobbs Ferry- known budget ahead, but YA money will probably suffer cuts since right now there isn’t a large number of teens coming into the building- circulation is down. Has started a teen gaming night and has a Teen Advisory Board, but there is pressure from above that says YA budget will be cut if attendance and circulation doesn’t increase. Rosanne suggests that outside groups be invited to come in- invite a Nursery group or PTA group to have meetings and programs in the library- increase exposure in the community.

J. Rovenger- we may need to reframe our story to our community, director and boards to show what we are doing. J. Sexotn added that circulation alone is an old model to show usage, and not accurate or complete- will work with Anne to show work that has been done with teen programs and space. Ken Petrilli added that it took a long time to develop and grow the programs at New Rochelle- groups and commitment does not happen overnight- others concurred.

Betty Jane Surabian/Rye- drastic cuts, lost a lot of part timers, closed on Sundays (and then reopened- which may have damaged trust with the community). Losing momentum with Wii programs (projector currently broken). Betty Jane recently found out that the auxiliary board may be able be willing to pay for some teen programs.

Cathy Webb/Mt Vernon- new budget started in January- drastic cuts in programming funds- went from approx $700 a month to $135 a month, which will not even cover food – attendance at programs has grown tremendously and she is now worried that she will lose the kids- concerned about what will happen with the summer reading program.

  • Chess group- started with 6, now typically 35-40
  • The Spot (Thursday movie, games and trivia) low programming costs- but cannot afford snacks for the amount of kids that turn out.
  • Dance program on Fridays can bring over 70 teens (now limited to 50 for safety).

She has approached local business and supermarkets for donations but there is a lot of competition in Mount Vernon for resources (Boys and Girls Club very active and has the support of a lot of agencies and celebrities such as Denzel Washington).

J. Sexton- tells your stories to your Friends groups- then they can become advocates- they can network and make connections and find benefactors so that all the pressure (and time) doesn’t fall on you.

Dolores Antonetz/South Salem 10% cut for materials but biggest constraint is lack of space. Concentrate on low cost programs, scavenger hunts, scrabble tournament, will have first Guitar Hero event in April. Dolores agree with Miriam- to tap into local talent

Deidre Johnson/Mount Kisco- book budget slashed in half. Salaries may be cut, may not be enough money to finish the second floor in the building project. Deidre would like to bring in programs such as “read away your fines’ but the current culture makes that difficult- feels like it is a hard time to make waves. Teen book budget comes from friends books sales (which have dried up). Hoping for grant to refurbish butterfly garden which has interest and appeal to many ages.

J. Rovenger- our routines and expectations are distorted because of uncertainty (and uncertainty is often harder than harsh realities). How do we get through uncertainty? Use the time as an opportunity- to make choices, develop creativity, force ourselves (encourage ourselves) to bring into focus what we are offering our communities.

J. Sexton- it all comes back to service- in our programs and spaces and services- how do we communicate the value of our service – this is a time to analyze all of our programs- there is no need to do something well if we do not need to do them at all (if they miss the mark). We need to identify our role in the community- traditionally we have been seen as for our educational role- perhaps our role to provide entertainment will become more important as people turn to us for less expensive entertainment alternatives- how will this impact our choices (more dvds, fewer books etc). John used the example of Disney- where customer service from staff is high priority- surveys show that what people remembered most of their time there are not the rides or shows, but the service and cleanliness.

J. Rovenger- we must also engage people more quickly, so use the visual displays to grab attention- pay attention to our spaces and what they are saying- a little or no cost work to keep them fresh, allow people to discover something anew, rediscover older toys alongside the new ones.

J, Sexton urges us to look at our spaces not just as a newcomer, but as a child coming into play- what can we do to pique curiosity. We are proud of our books and collections, but we may need to shift and work more on our spaces so that they welcome a learning and playing child or teen.

This is actually a good time to “blow it up!” How do we meet the new generation who may download more books than take out a paper book- who may view more media than read?

J. Rovenger- we need to get beyond coping and get proactive- have conversations with our directors and communities. Similar to a garden- we weed so that certain vibrant plants can thrive ad be showcased.

Collaboration will each other will become even more important as we break new ground- new technologies can help- such as Children’s and Teen blogs and wikis:


WLS Teen Blog: and

WLS Children’s Blog:

  • Book reviews by your Westchester colleagues
  • Notes and handouts from workshops and meetings
  • Schedule of upcoming events and workshops
  • Current acquisition lists


WLS Children’s Services wiki: and

WLS Teen Services Wiki:

The wikis will allow everyone to view, add, update or edit content in a number of areas. The possibilities for collaboration and sharing are endless and we expect to add more kinds of info and resources soon. Currently the wikis have:

  • Current list of Westchester’s Choice titles (Teen Wiki at
  • Current list of Books to Share titles (Children’s Wiki at
  • Local Author and Illustrators (Children’s Wiki at
  • Summer Reading Program links and idea share (Children’s Wiki at
  • Coming soon- Performers and program resources (Children’s Wiki at

Rosanne added that the Yonkers Riverfront wiki has been a great success- all librarian have access and can content- they have built a huge resource for common requested links, forms, info.

Other ideas:

Eastchester is also working to create a job bank bulletin for teens looking for work- more info to come.

J. Sexton- advocate for access to editing/access to your library’s website. We must be service oriented at this time more than ever.

Rosanne: The 6 word story (based on the book Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure) has become very popular online- she uses the same idea to write blurbs for books in her displays- they are eye catching and the books are circulating.

Similarly, J. Sexton used to have a shoebox of book blurbs that he could attach to the shelves to bring attention)

Upcoming workshops:

Performer’s Showcase on March 3rd at White Plains

Booktalking class- March 20th, April 3 and April 17. More or different dates may be added. Booktalking is a great way to work with the schools, and generate enthusiasm for reading. He demonstrated with two titles:

  • Jellico Road by Melina Marchetta
  • Nation by Terry Pratchett

Closing remarks- share ideas, share creativity and maybe spin a little gold!

What’s Happening & More Westchester’s Choice

Opening discussion and introduction of Terry Kirschner, new Executive Director of WLS.

John believes Terry will be important in areas of patron satisfaction, catalog, holds, ILL, web presence, technology etc.

Larger discussion on the holds, which library gets priority- how ranking is determined (seems random, but apparently larger libraries get priority and there is an attempt for ILL to comes from libraries closer to the request).

Tamara advises she will be doing her own ordering and wants comments on Baker and Taylor. Ken and Kate advise using BWI for series and standing orders- customer service and time factor is much better.

Perhaps we can set up a formal database or at least an informal network so that we can swap extra book copies with each other- how can this easily be done when one library has already paid for a book? Steve has some stuff on eBay. John will investigate what can be done between the libraries.

John advised of the upcoming Winter/Spring schedule. Other items announced:

Feb 6-8 New York Comic Con:

Discussion of PW article on what boys want to read, written by 13 year old Max Leone (many wondered if the author was actually a 13 year old boy) and several present believed that boys will read classics if the story is of interest to them.

What’s going on in your library- schedule, programs cut, budget etc:

Ken/New Rochelle- has not felt the budget pinch- their budget runs to June 09, so no current cuts. No new programs added, but currently hads three regular a week:

Tuesday- performing arts program, that may lead to a Performance/Café program

Wednesday- Manga/Gaming program

Thursday- Salsa dancing program

Kate/Greenburgh- have been opened for two weeks- 600 people came on the first day. Staff did everything themselves for the move. Computers have just been installed. Starting a new chess program and will soon start book groups for Tweens and for teens.

Delores/South Salem- no new news- still dealing with major issues of overcrowding. Library may cut Sunday hours- she is limited to one program a month in addition to book groups.

Anne/Dobbs Ferry- like New Rochelle, still in current budget year. Startign monthly gfame night, hoping to attract a new group of kids. Tonight is the first TAG meeting of the year- will shiuft focus- old TAG groups turnedin social hours- new focus will be for group to be more advisory. Anne will work to present options for thegrou o discuss rather than having the TAG group start projects form scratch.

Mary/North Salem- fairly serious cuts, library closed on Monday night. The Friends support the teen programs. Director suggested getting a gaming system and Mary is looking for a teen volunteer, maybe someone looking for some sort of community service credit, to program of podcoast or set up gaming system

Bettyjane/Rye- new hours, closed Sundays and some evenings. Lost great Part-time workers, and Bettyjane is also loosing some desk time. Guitar Hero which was popular over the summer has been cut- inconsistent, so it has lost momentum. Other popular and established programs are also being cut. On the plus side YA collection will soon be moved upstairs so everything will be together. Director wants Teen librarians to find new ways to advertise/promote programs. Tamara suggests using the local schools as much as possible.

Erin/Bronxville- Director leaving on 01/16. Head of Children’s will be interim director. Currently have regular teen book groups. Overall there is slightly less than full schedule of programs (Percy Jackson book group very popular)

Steve/Irvington- chess master program has started. A Journaling program that was popular over the summer has dwindled during the fall. Friends give money to teen programs, but there may be some serious money issues for the library- problems with local government etc, may turn into budget cuts in the near future.

Susan Murdock-Ardsley. Building addition should be complete in June 09. 3 part timer do the bulk of all children/teen and adult services. TAG group has same issues as Dobbs and will follow Anne’s plan to provide more structure. 7th and 8th grade book groups remain popular. Library is working to be more effective./direct with PR, using e-mail to parents etc.

Tamara/Ossining- budget ruins to June 09, but anticipates beget cuts next year (flat budget means that as electricity and staff/salary costs go up, other things will need to be cut). Raises for staff are set to 2012. For now the program budget is okay other regular programs continue: yoga, chess, gaming, book groups.

Discussion for Westchester’s Choice:

Titles are now up on a wiki ( and look for the link or go directly to ) and people can add or edit, or even make notes or list concerns. Thought was that if two or ore people voiced a concern or objection to a title, then that title would not be included in WC.

Stephen was a second reader for Trouble by Gary Schmidt- thinks it has too much going on, not one of Schmidt’s better books- decided to take off.

Ken is second reader on Tender Morsels– very grim, but could be very good- will report back when he is done.

Three Willows: The Sisterhood Grows has a January 2009 release date, so it will be removed

Living Dead Girl– Susan Mordock was a second reader and would vote to remove the title from WC- well written for what it was, but not really among the best books of the year. Susan suggests we have a list of books that would be intended for specific readers- but not necessarily have it the brochure- group decided it should be removed.

Tamara says WC is good marketing; it builds trust between librarians/teens and parents.

John Sexton- thinking of ideas to make WC more hip, more visible. Maybe we would have shorter lists but that were put out/distributed more often. Maybe we could group lists by type- Manga, fiction, fantasy etc etc.

Overall it was felt that the annotations and the listing of new/current stuff is what made WC useful.

Other additions:

Aguliar, David. Planets, Stars and Galaxies: A Visual Encyclopedia of Our Universe. (2007, NF Mary Johnson)

Bodeen, S.A. The Compound. Fic (Kate Collquit)

Cashore, Kristin. Graceling. Fic (Kate Collquit)

Tamaki, Mariko (Illustrated by Jillian Tamaki). Skim. Graphic Novel (Kate Collquit)

Phillips, Suzanne. Burn. Fic (Anne Quick)

Stolarz, Laurie Faria. Deadly Little Secret. Fic (Erin Shirota)

10/07/2008 Teen Collection Development

John Sexton- opening remarks and welcome to two new librarians: Anne Quick from Dobbs Ferry and Jamie from Somers

Info and reminders for upcoming programs:

10/21 Leonard Marcus speaking at Chappaqua Public Library

11/18 and 11/21 Building Bridges, Cooperation breakfast with BOCES. Purpose is to start conversation with local school librarians, to develop relationship for partnership ideas. Down the road we may have after school meetings- where PL can present our new or favorite books, to help school librarian be current and familiar with newer books. John advised we will send out a template of an invitation our PL librarians and use to reach out to school librarian colleagues- many thought a sample invitation would be useful.

WLS Learns- A 6-8 week program introducing us to Web 2.0 technologies (blogs, rss feed, YouTube etc)- based on a program by Helen Blowers/Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg called “23 Things.” Each week’s project should take about 20-40 minutes to complete. Everyone that completes the program will be eligible for a raffle- prize to be a Wii for their library. Library Directors are on board and would facilitate staff time to complete the program. Other prizes may be available, such as a flip vide camera. 1st lesson is 7-1/2 habits of lifelong learners

Teen blog is back:

The site will include reviews, notes and handout from the meetings as well as a forum for comments, sharing and creativity of our teen librarian community.

Collection Development

J. Sexton- It is a privilege to see all Westchester Libraries and how each collection and space is set up differently, no two are identical. Below are some issues that come up when dealing with teen collections:

  • Placements (Nonfiction, Humor Biography- put in YA or keep in
  • Fiction- hardcopy or paperback- keep together or separate?
  • Series- critical or disposable
  • Reviews of materials
  • Policies and procedures
  • Core collections
  • Balancing collections
  • How to handle purchase requests
  • Teen involvement in decisions
  • Format (movies etc)
  • Comic vs. Graphic novels
  • Humor- separate or in NF
  • Games
  • Classics- how to keep relevant
  • Challenges
  • Weeding schedule- criteria

Some topics were discussed were:

Biography material– approx 2/3 of libraries represented kept the biographies separate.

Budget– libraries of those represented had a separate budget from children’s, a few were a part of the children’s collection budget and one was imply a part o the overall library collection budget (Katonah).

Collecting stats

– J. Sexton has tried to break out YA statistics, but it is hard to do and currently there is no way to obtain good consistent statistic. These means it is hard to present YA circulation stats when discussing budget. Directors are aware of the issue and there seems to be movement in rectifying, however this may involve some re-entry work and new collection codes would have to be promoted and used consistently. John asked if there were individuals who would be willing to help down the line if changes are possible: Kate Collquit (Greenburgh), Ken Petrilli (New Rochelle), Erin Schirato (Bronxville), Betty Jane Surabian (Rey), Michelle Capozella (Chappaqua), Steve Fondiller (Irvington) and Hillary Hertzoff (Mamaroneck).

YA areas:
About ½ have both fiction and nonfiction in their teen area; others have NF in adult section. The movement seems to be towards having Teen Nonfiction housed in teen area. Amy Kaplan is currently facing this decision- she has thought of removing the NF to make room and develop an “awesome” fiction section- that teen Nonfiction does not seem to move

K Petrilli has nonfiction in four different areas: High Interest, FYI, Homework Help and Science (Biographies are still with adult).

J. Sexton says what Ken is doing at New Rochelle is a great marketing approach, it captures the interest of the teens that use the library- but it does depend on the support of directors, staff, and shelf space and it requires more constant attention. For these reasons, Ken P catalogs and shelves all his own books. The advantage is that books and collections are promoted and seen- the disadvantage is that any system that depends on one or a few people to maintain can suffer during off hours or when that person is away and books and items can be hard to find if you are not familiar set up.
J. Sextons says it is common for libraries too be selective on what NF is in teen area- such as 100’s, 300 and 600s. Hillary would add 700’s, especially arts, TV and comics.

J. Sexton- Better serves teens to have books on health and sexuality in the actual teen area, and allow it to have some privacy. Overall, it is critical for the teen area in a library to be useful, so you may need to break out certain books or topics and do some promotion.

Some commented that older boys and young men tend to read a lot of nonfiction so we are missing that population if their NF s in the adult section.

Humor- kids should not have to go searching for their humor in the adult section, have popular comics (Far Side, Calvin & Hobbs, etc) and humor in teen area and well promoted.

Graphic novels and Manga need to be promoted in a different way- as a visual piece they may need to be shelved with covers pointed out.

Pat Humphries wondered thought there are advantages to encouraging teens to use the adult sections. Ken and John noted that this seems to happen on its own and once teens have ventured into those adult library spaces, they are less inclined to come back to teen areas.

Purchasing Request form and Teen involvement

How may libraries have a process and form for teens to request a specific purchase? Nobody at the meeting had an official form- most had a more informal procedure- teens send an e-mail or write a note. John suggested that a more visible and formal procedure and form can empower teens who are unaware that they can make suggestions (John shared that the assistant director at White Plains advised an advisory group of teens that in all her years at the library only one book request had been denied, and that was because of cost- not content. Teens were amazed that their suggestions would be seriously considered).

K. Petrilli has teens vote on new Manga series to be purchased
A. Kaplan- at one time she had teens look trough SLJ reviews, but it did not lead to a balanced collection.
J. Sexton- has met teens to a local Barnes and Noble to look at new selections for ideas
K. Collquit suggests having teens write a sentence or blurb on a book as a way to promote books in the collection.

Series Books– these tend to be the most popular but also the easiest to loose touch with- we must stay current with series and remove/weed them when necessary. You may need to replace copies of older books in a series to keep them fresh. J. Sexton also recommends breaking out all series and shelving separately. Teens interested in one series are likely to be interested in other series.


Do weeding when you are mad!
Do weeding all the time- make a specific and regular time to do it, must be constant
Weeding also allows you to find lost or damaged books that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Books with torn or faded covers must be replaced or weeded
Allow for 6 inches at the end of a bookshelf- otherwise things are too crowded.
Weeding is the easiest to put off, but it will have the biggest impact- having fewer books will actually increase your circulation.
Keep in mind that many graphic novels are read in the library- may not circulate but will still be popular.


About 1/3 at meeting said their library had paperbacks shelved separately, 2/3 had them shelved along with hardcover. Paperbacks do have issues of short shelf life, due to damage. Many at the meeting reinforce a paperback by taping the spine and/or the edges to keep from getting torn or frayed.

Intellectual Freedom

Group asked if they had any challenges recently. Steve/Irvington said they had one but it was not a major issue.

K.Petrilli is on the IF YALSA group- and he advises that most libraries in the south and Midwest have about 12-20 challenges a year.

J. Sexton suggestions if you have a challenge from parents:

  • Start by acknowledging the parent’s concern/involvement with their kids
  • Advise that libraries serve a large and diverse population and in particular, teen areas typically have collections for ages between 12 and 18.
  • Critical to have proper paperwork available for them to file a formal challenge
  • Strong and clear procedure needs to be in place
  • Good to review/remind yourself of ALA Intellection Freedom material

P. Humphries- advised sometimes the informal challenges come form colleagues and not necessarily patrons. Recommended to go back and refer to the mission and purpose of the library.

Recommend having a separate collection development policy for YA/Teens because of unique needs. There should also be appropriate children’s books and adult books in the YA collection- check out the Alex Awards

Book recommendations for YA collection development:

The Ultimate Teen Book Guide by Daniel Hahn (Editor), Leonie Flynn (Editor), Susan Reuben (Editor)

What Do Children and Young Adults Read Next?: A Reader’s Guide to Fiction for Children and Young Adults (What Do Children, Young Adults Read Next?) – by Janis Ansell (Author), Pam Spencer Holley (Author)- latest version is 2004

Jamie/Somers asked what other people did with classics, especially if there were also copies in the adult section. Question by many – what defines a classic? J. Sexton would often break out classic and house separately, and make sure they are in good condition. Definition of classic is constantly updated- a book like The Things that They Carried by Tim O’Brien cloud now be considered classic.

Other book recommendations- some good reads

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Gone by Michael Grant

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd

Found (Missing) by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Marcelo In The Real World by Francisco Stork (not out until March 2009)

100 Girls by Adam Gallardo (Author), Todd Demong (Illustrator)

Kin (Good Neighbors) by Holly Black

The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell

Meeting ended at 12:15PM

09/16 Teen Services Meeting – Collection Development

An overview of YA Collection Development here (from Texas Library Assn).

Print & Electronic Selection resources here (from InfoPeople/Michael Cart).

Magazines for teens here (from School Library Journal).

Picture Books for Teens here (from YALSA).

Intellectual Freedom Bibliography here (from YALSA).

A comprehensive overviewof teen services here (MidHudson Library System).

09/09 Teen Services Meeting- Libraries Got Game!

Meeting opened with everyone sharing the last game that they played- some examples: Scrabble, Cranium, Balderdash, Star Craft, Mario Kart, Meza, Pictionary

JS: We all play games, human to play- its how we learn. Some recent studies show:

70% of libraries support gaming

80% of libraries allowed gaming on library computers

Erin Shirota advised that Bronxville does not allow gaming in the children’s room, and several others agreed.

Book suggestion:

Gamers … in the Library?! : The Why, What, and How of Videogame Tournaments for All Ages by Eli Neiburger (Technology manager of the Ann Arbor District Library)

John advises this book is a great resource, filled with practical advice on planning, setting up and running gaming tournaments in the library and how to prepare for everything from how teens smell to dealing with boasting and competition.

20% of libraries circulate games

Very few WLS libraries circulate games. However, games are the new DVDs and we should think about how we can effectively provide them. Greenwich library for instance, lends out Wii, including the console and games. Some libraries require a $$$ deposit- which may go against the mission of the library.

95% of all males teen boys play some video games

Some questioned this statistic- John will find source and send out to listserv. But obviously, video games and gaming has become prominent in our culture.

Steve from Irvington asked if there were any gaming programs specifically targeted towards adults in libraries- Pat Humphries/Katonah says that Bridge for seniors at Chappaqua is very popular. Attempts to promote Scrabble and chess were not as successful.

Some recent successful program at Westchester Libraries:

JS asked if anyone questioned the justification for supporting gaming in public libraries. No one did, although different libraries had different levels of success of participation. Below were some programs that have been successful:


Linda Levine discussed weekly chess program at Ossining that started in January 2008 and has continued to grow. First week had 8 kids and now 15-20 people show up, all ages from 8 up, across gender and culture lines. Some things that helped me this program a success:

  1. Offer program at a consistent time- kids don’t pay attention to a calendar, but do get into a routine- they need to count on a regular and specific place and time.
  2. Provide food- especially if program is at a time after school
  3. You need different people to run the program and monitor the room.
  4. Augment program with other supporting features or materials. Ossining brought in a volunteer IBM engineer who helped teach kids about chess strategy. A program called “Chess Detective” was added to library computers, there was a field trip to see Deep Blue, and a showing of the movie “Searching for Bobby Fisher.”
  5. How did it grow? Mostly through word of mouth. Kids who participated got better and felt a sense of success.

Francine Vernon/WLS mentioned that Ossining elementary school is marketing a chess club geared towards Kindergarten- check with public schools to see what they are doing and public libraries can build on it.

New Rochelle

Ken Petrilli says his Anime Gaming Club for Teens has become so popular (attendance around 40 teens) that it will split into 2 groups with limit group size to about 25 (Amine Gaming Club and Gamers Garrison). Ken says the kids are happy to have some place to be and to meet new kids, some from other local schools. NRPL had open gaming which including PS3 and Wii, card games, and Chaotic (similar to pokemon). Ken says there will be noise and boasting- but it is a natural part of the experience and it does not disrupt the other players in the room. As suggested earlier, it is good to have a separate space apart from the rest of the library.

Tarrytown– reported by John Sexton:

Guitar Hero. John Sexton said it was facilitated entirely by the kids, while Liz and staff managed food and observed activity.

Mario Super Smash Bros. Brawl- 4 way fighting game, but without blood or death. There is a story, a narrative that goes along with it that the kids are completely in touch with even if we are adults are not. Just because we don’t get it doesn’t mean it does not have value.

Bronxville- Erin Shirota

STAR WARS day for ages 5-13, all day event included Lego Star Wars video game contest, movies, wookie roar contest, and special Star Wars food. Good turn out and participation.

Halo tournament

Originally concerned because the game is rated M for Mature, but the program was cleared by Director and you can adjust settings to have less blood (gore/no gore feature). Parents also came to the tournament. So far there have been no challenges from the board or from patrons.

Tournament brackets are random, but Erin includes wild spots that allow early-eliminated players the possibility of getting back in the game- this keeps them interested and involved. Erin also gives out lollipops, which act as a mouth plug, and keeps noise level more manageable. Program usually ran from 3:30 until 6:00- you have to allow enough time for set up and completion of tournament. Last program had 30 kids, 4 players at a time. Again, program wa in a separate area (the auditorium).


Kate wants to connect fine arts to storytelling, tried to link Randy Pausch’s “Alice” to the libraries website. Alice is an innovative 3D programming environment that makes it easy to create an animation for telling a story, playing an interactive game, or a video to share on the web. Alice is a freely available teaching tool designed to be a student’s first exposure to object-oriented programming. It allows students to learn fundamental programming concepts in the context of creating animated movies and simple video games. Kate wanted to features the teen’s stories on the library web site but could not.

Other questions, issues:

Question- how many of us are provide gaming magazines (only about 1/3 were). JS suggests that more libraries subscribe to gaming magazine and have them out and available during gaming programs- some suggestions include: Nintendo Power, EGM and PC Gamer.

Gaming has its own intrinsic value- it is a form of literacy and not just a gimmick to get kids into the library to read books. With gaming libraries are creating a space for respect and interaction and entertainment. Susan/Ardsley asked if we although gaming brought kids into the library. Ken said yes and that in addition most of his gamers were also readers. Linda Levine said it was mixed- some kids read in addition to games, some do not.

Tamara suggested getting some games through Baker and Taylor- less expensive because of our discount.

JS asked for suggestion of what equipment WLS should be looking into- responses:

  • Wii (many people requested this)
  • X Box 360
  • New guitar hero/Rock Star (4 player capability)
  • Flip video mini- so teens can create videos and upload to YouTube or library website

Scratch is a new programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art — and share your creations on the web.

Scratch is designed to help young people (ages 8 and up) develop 21st century learning skills. As they create Scratch projects, young people learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also gaining a deeper understanding of the process of design. Scratch can be downloaded free of charge.

Chess Detective and brought up technical issues and security problem- can we save exercises or games that kids create? Hopefully laptops will be available for teen spaces in the near future, but technically the library cannot to use the wireless because it violates the cable contract (wireless is for patron use). John advised to bring any technical issues to his attention so we can try to work them out with WLS.

General Observations:

You can use current kids in a program to help recruit for future programs and develop teams, clans, and tribes.

Many have noticed the kid’s willingness to follow the rules so they can play- willing to turn over the controls for the next person’s turn etc. It is good to know the things that CAN’T happen, identify the few things that are not negotiable first and then encourage the kids to help develop the program within those parameters.

Be mindful of the ages allowed to participate in a program. The dynamic changes radically when someone younger than the rest of the group comes to play.

Also be aware of boy versus girl issues- they are some dynamics you cannot control, but we can become better a facilitating the event.

Question was asked what equipment is needed to start? Basically a television and many suggested having two). Two guitars are needed for a Guitar Hero Tournament. If your library doesn’t have any games, contact John Sexton at WLS to talk about what is available from the System and how we can help you put a program together. Children and teens will often bring their own games and consoles.

Upcoming programs:

Self learning online modules for 10 important things to know on web 2.0 network software: blogs, flickr, rss feed etc. Should be available by the end of the month.

Nov program on partnering with your school librarian counterpart- especially with regards to the summer reading lists.


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