A guide to turning up the volume in your library.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Some of you may be familiar with the “What Teens Want” conference that I had mentioned in a previous entry. It’s a gathering for marketers that focuses on emerging teen preferences and tendencies, with pricey videos and recordings of the panel sessions available for purchase.

Well, this month a free panel recording about teen preferences has been making the rounds. Guy Kawasaki (“Apple evangelist”) interviewed 15-24 year olds for a panel called Next Generation Insights. The questions were specifically about media consumption habits, so I think the video is particularly insightful for librarians.

Now, I have had trouble downloading the latest Flash player, so I haven’t been able to watch this footage at all. I decided to use this obstacle as a learning opportunity, however. I wanted to see what other bloggers had posted about the video, presuming that any website linking to it would be about teens and/or media trends.

Here are what some of the other bloggers had to say, courtesy of the new blog search engine, IceRocket:

(IceRocket worked great, except it did put the most important entry last on the results page – Guy Kawasaki’s blog entry with the original link!)

The only thing that bothered me is he seemed to be steering people away from any admissions about underground, grey market or piracy-type media habits (although this may have been for their own protection… the RIAA & MPAA has ears everywhere).

Lately, I have been noticing that many teens do not use email. See, e.g., here and here. I have learned that emails (not just mine, but emails generally) are a burden to my 18-year-old daughter. She doesn't like to respond to emails. She prefers texting. Or talking on the phone.

University age and younger, it seems, send SMS messages as a conversation, and only use email to communicate with, err, old people.

It confirms research reported last month from Forrester that reveals the key to reaching this important demographic group is through online communication.

On this list of podcasts from NMK’s excellent Content 2.0 conference in June, scroll down to find the panel “YOUNG PEOPLE & MEDIA: Invisible Culture” (click here to download the mp3). Finally, in the excellent Ibiblio speaker series, here’s a discussion with Danah Boyd on how young people negotiate the presentation of self in online contexts. The mp4 file is a bit huge, but it’s definitely worth the massive download.

Shouldn’t we know how kids are using technology if we want to reach them? If we can understand how they interact with and learn from technology, couldn’t we design better ways to teach them? We’re not training kids to work in a factory, we’re educating them to be citizens of the 21st century. For a 2 ½ minute, entertaining illustration, see Education Today and Tomorrow. That's also to show that Youtube does have educational value. In fact there is a group just for educators: http://www.youtube.com/group/K12.
(That one had the best synopsis I found of the video content itself.)

The Mobile Life 2006 survey Youth Report paints a good picture of how mobile technology is changing the lives of young people in the UK (IT claims to be the biggest survey of its kind, with over 1250 11 to 17 year-olds included.) http://www.mobilelife2006.co.uk/PDF/Mobile%20Life%20Youth%20Report%202006%20Colour.pdf

The other thing that was interesting to me was how much influence and control the college students’ parents still appeared to exert in their lives. One student had to close her MySpace account because her parents didn’t like it. Several others apparently have their cell phone bills paid by their parents. That’s a different experience than I had at university, certainly.

I encourage everyone to watch this, especially those of you who consider yourself tech-savvy, as it will bring into strong relief the fact that most [young] people are clueless. Case in point, Q: “What browser do you use?” A: “Google.”

A few of these were from two excellent articles referencing the piece:

Marketers Beware: Gen Y Is Coming

Marketing To College Students 101

I don’t necessarily agree with any/all of these commentaries, but I did appreciate the range . . . did you watch the video? What do you think about teen media habits and marketing?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I still haven't started receiving my magazine subscriptions for the library, yet. We have a lot of serials that are 'off the beaten path.' Apparently, the service provider has to individually track down the magazines and establish a new relationship with the publishers. Also, coax the printers to oil their Gutenberg press. Honestly, I'm not sure what's taking so long.

The last issue of PASTE came yesterday. Hollywood Reporter is going strong, but shall expire in time. Pretty soon, we'll be down to Tape Op. I was able to sneak over to Borders on my lunch break and check out Source, though.

Here's my observation: Source has a lot more substantial content lately! I was surprised and pleased. There wasn't a single crib tour. Instead, one article asked whether immigration controversy would divide the Hip Hop Generation. Another focused on another musician's side-projects -- fundraising to fight homelessness. The Jurassic Five profile took a serious look at why hip hop artists aren't touring as often these days. Finally, they featured Spike Lee's Katrina documentary. I didn't have time to read the Ludacris article, which is too bad, since he cracks me up.

Give the issue a glance -- it has some great articles to discuss with your teen group.


Here's a fun Halloween themed mashup contest. Your TAG could sponsor an entry! I didn't notice any age limits.
Free Culture USC is hosting a remix competition where you get your hands
dirty remixing George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead into a 5 minute short in
any style of your liking. The winner (or winning team) will receive a Neuros OSD open-source media player.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Teen Read Week

As you know, Teen Read Week starts Monday. Now that I'm an actual teen librarian, I am reading as much YA literature as I can get my hands on. My favorite book I've read so far was the recipient of 2006's Alex Award: As Simple as Snow by Greg Galloway.

When I give little presentations about the importance of popular music in libraries, I point out that popular music relates to everything. There is music in video games, TV shows, movies, and yes, books. This is the best example I've seen in a long time. Anna, the love interest of the story's protagonist, makes amazing mix CDs. The track listings can be found here, on the book's website. How many YA novels mention artists like Joy Division, Belle & Sebastian, Brian Wilson and Gram Parsons? It's enough to give you hope that at least one teen will discover that there is life outside of Fallout Boy. Oh, and music snobbery aside, this is an amazing book to read. Not only is it an intelligent mystery, but it also inspires Williams' theory of "incidental information seeking:" although the book is fiction, it will inspire you to actually learn things and maybe even seek information on your own. If I were to put this as the focus of a display, I would surround it by CDs of the bands mentioned, but also with books about Harry Houdini, H.P. Lovecraft, and Arshile Gorky.

Again from BoingBoing:

"A fun and ridiculous list of rock band name origins, both real and rumored . . ."

With some: truly enlightening.
With others: sorry you asked.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I'm in the middle of listening to BoingBoing's interview with Chris Anderson, editor of Wired, and author of the Long Tail.

(Libraries and the Long Tail -- now there's a publish-worthy topic.)

Just after 10 minutes on the MP3, he gives an incredibly concise and thorough assessment of the direction of the music industry and distribution models.

Then they start talking about the Google/YouTube acquisition and Banned Books week, so if you do listen to the first part you may want to just keep on keeping on . . .

And this from Billboard biz:

In another major week for new releases, Evanescence's "The Open Door" bows at No. 1 on The Billboard 200.

Why have I heard of all the No. 1 artists this year? They are supposed to be new and obscure teeny-boppers (in my mind) or pop-primped Idol-groomed one hit wonders. The artists that rose to popularity when I was in college have staying power, it seems.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Oh, and in case you haven't heard the sad news:

CBGB is closing for good.

Tower Records is being liquidated.

Right. Google bought YouTube. Big news. You can listen to the press release by both company's bigwigs here.

Speaking of which -- Diddy Launches DiddyTV on YouTube

Resource Suggestions:

I can't remember if we ever mentioned Rock's Back Pages, but if your library wants to purchase a database that tailors to teen interest, this is the one to get.

One of my favorite features is the weekly updates on the articles added. Skimming one email, I can get 30+ music headlines from among others: NME, Melody Maker, Rolling Stone, MOJO and various general publications with music sections like newspapers.

- Move over 1976: Mark Pringle tells us why 2006 is the year of a music revolution (Rock's Backpages, 2006)
- Nick Hasted approves of the Postpunk nouveau of The Futureheads (The Independent, 2004)
Extra-curricular Dead: Richard Gehr chats to Mickey Hart and Robert Hunter (Rolling Stone, 1996)
- AUDIO: On recording, production and singing: Barney Hoskyns with Luther Vandross, part 2 (Rock's Backpages Audio, 1989)

Also, if you have teens interested in music production, but don't have the budget for MIX or RECORDING, you may want to take a look at TAPE OP "the creative music recording magazine". It has a lot of content for the serious audio tech enthusiast. Also . . . it's free!

I almost have my subscriptions sorted out. (We are still in the process of switching subscription services.) Hence, we haven't been getting a whole lot of issues. Here's the list of what the instructors want, though:

Alternative Press Big Takeover Billboard Blender CMJ New Music Report Computer Arts Downbeat Electronic Musician EQ Future Music Game Developer Layers Magazine Mac Addict Magnet MIX Modern Drummer MOJO Musicians Guide to Touring and Promoting New Musical Express (weekly) No Depression Paste Performing Songwriter Pro Sound News Re:Up Recording REMIX RES Magazine Revolver Rolling Stone SCRATCH Sound & Vision Sound On Sound SOURCE Under the radar Variety weekly VIBE Wax Poetics WIRE WIRED

Just in case you are interested . . . are we missing anything major? Some of the more expensive options were dropped for the time being.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Guitars & Cars

I stumbled upon this article on Billboard.com yesterday. With the purchase or lease of new Volkswagens, customers will receive a First Act guitar that they can play through the car's stereo. Huh? Because it isn't annoying enough to have your friends air-guitaring in the seat next to you... And to think that some people still think that popular music and libraries are a strange match!

I found this on an old listserv, but the story is still very encouraging. I especially like the part where they let the teens determine the bands:

Rockin' the stacks: 'Loud at the Library' concert targets teens
By J.T. Harris staff writer
January 8, 2004

Nary a whisper will be heard at the Blake Library in Stuart on Friday night -- but it won't be due to librarians strictly enforcing noise codes.

Friday night's emphasis will be on volume, not volumes, as high-decibel music reverberates through the normally serene bookshelves, research stations and magazine racks. Three live bands -- Hollow Point, Neverhood and Last Laugh -- are scheduled to perform during a special teenagers' event billed as "Loud at the Library." "

We're excited about this," said Lora Fegley, Blake's Youth Services coordinator. "It's going to be an adventure."

Teens, Fegley said, helped bring the idea to fruition during an open-mic event in November. Some of the teen participants noted that the library had a nice stage and suggested it could be used by bands.

"I told them if they would help with the bands, we could do it," Fegley said. The teens selected the bands, all local rock groups, and a new Blake Library tradition could be under way.

"I've been wanting to have something like this, and the kids' help made it possible," Fegley said. Each of the bands will have a one-hour set, including set-up and take-down time. An order of appearance has yet to be determined.

The free event targets teenagers, Fegley said, but there will be adult supervision. The Martin County Parks and Recreation Department and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Martin County are also participating.

Sodas will be available at a nominal price.

In addition to providing entertainment for teens, Fegley said one of the purposes of the event is to expose them to the library and its services.

"This is a fine way to get teens into the library," said Judi Snyder, Blake's branch manager. "We want to show them that the library might begin with books, but it doesn't end there. The library is a great place for kids to come together."

Friday also marks the fifth anniversary of the Blake Library, and another -- quieter -- celebration is planned at 10 a.m.

Snyder will preside over a cake-cutting ceremony, and the Friends of the Blake Library will serve coffee and cake to the first patrons through the doors.

The "Loud at the Library" scheduling on the library's fifth birthday was a coincidence, but Snyder said, "I think it's great. It adds to the celebration."

If you go What: "Loud at the Library" concert When: 7 to 10 p.m. Friday Where: Blake Library[contact info]


Monday, October 02, 2006

Flavor of Blogs

I apologize for being lame bad and not posting lately. I also apologize for being super-lame bad and having my first post in a long time be a link to another post.

Anyway, Pop Goes the Library did a great Flavor of Love-inspired post today. I am so glad to know that I'm not the only person addicted to this show.