Spotlight on teens and technology

February 26, 2014 by  
Filed under News, Teens

As we get ready to observe Teen Tech Week (March 9-14), it seems like a good time to showcase all the outstanding technology that BCPL offers – to folks of all ages.

The theme of Teen Tech Week 2014 is “DIY @ your library,” which is appropriate, given that modern technology helps us do all kinds of amazing things someone like me, inching near the half-century mark, never dreamed possible.

Boyd County Public Library is doing a couple of cool things to mark Teen Tech Week. First, our monthly teen programs at Main and Kyova will give teens the opportunity to play around with the awesome items in the library’s Tech Lab. These items are not available for checkout, but are used at library programs, and anyone can stop by the reference desk at the Main Branch and ask to see something. It’s a great idea if you are considering a tech purchase, but want to see it and use it before you buy it.

Items in the BCPL Tech Lab include: iPads 1 and 4, iPad Mini, Kindle Fire, Kindle Paperwhite (the smaller, lighter, no-glare version), Google Nexus 7 tablet, Microsoft Surface RT tablet and the Samsung Chromebook. The collection also includes some other neat items, such as:

  • Pivothead video recording camera hands-free sunglasses
  • Sony high-def flash memory camcorder
  • Sony Bloggie touch camera
  • Bolse NFC-enabled Bluetooth music receiver
  • Google Chromecast HDMI streaming media player
  • Lytro Light field camera
  • 3M streaming projector powered by Roku
  • Sifteo Cubes intelligent game system

Teens can play with any or all of those items at our Teen Tech Tryout programs, on Tuesday, March 11 at the Main Branch, and on Thursday, March 20, at the Kyova Branch. Both start at 6 p.m. We will also be doing a bit of technology recycling – making art out of old CDs.

And, we’re sponsoring a DIY contest, of sorts, for teens. The winner of the Create A Meme Contest gets a $25 gift card to the download store of their choice (iTunes, Google Play, etc.)

What is a meme, you ask?

Officially, a meme is “an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture” and was originated in a 1976 book by a British biologist. In the Internet world, a meme may take the form of an image, hyperlink, video, picture, website or hashtag. It may just be a word or phrase, and may include an intentional misspelling. These small movements tend to spread from person to person via social networks, blogs and email.

We would like teens to come up with their own, unique library or literary-related meme. No foul or offensive language or images, of course, but beyond that, just be creative! Email your entry to [email protected] by March 18.

We’re excited to be spotlighting technology with our teens in March, but it’s something we are proud to offer all year round. Teens know that the library is a trusted resource for accessing information and that librarians are the experts who can help them develop the skills they need to use electronic resources effectively and efficiently.

From e-books, audiobooks, music and movies, to games, databases, homework help and more, BCPL is the hub where teens can plug in and stay connected.

So, what else do we have?

For starters, we have, an online resource offering free homework help from 2 to 9 p.m. each day.  Qualified tutors are at your fingertips for one-on-one help with algebra, trigonometry, calculus, earth science, biology, chemistry, physics, American history, political science, essay writing and more.

You can upload a problem to the interactive whiteboard and solve it together with your tutor. You can share documents and proofread your essays in real time. You can use the shared web browser to find resources. And you can save files to your online “locker.”

Students who use an iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad can download the To Go mobile app, and get help whenever and wherever you need it. features other helpful sources for teens, such as Learning Express Library. It’s a great resource to help you study for an upcoming standardized test, like the ACT, SAT or GRE. You can read the online study guides and take practice exams, all from the comfort of home. The program will score the practice exams, and then offer study tips to help you score better the next time. Just like, Learning Express Library is free – just click here. All you need is your library card.

It’s not all about homework and studying, though.

You can download free tunes with Freegal Music – up to five free MP3s per week. And the songs are yours to keep. There’s also a mobile app for Freegal, just as there is for Freading – a way to check out popular ebook titles quickly and easily.

Speaking of a mobile app, BCPL now has its own. You can download it free (BCPL Mobile) from the iTunes store, Google Play, Amazon, Windows 8 Desktop and Windows 8 Phone, and with it you can instantly tap into library resources from any mobile phone or device connected to the Internet.

BCPL also has video games – lots of them. We carry games for the three major consoles, Xbox, PlayStation and Wii, including the new XBoxOne and PS4 systems. The games range from the classics to current popular releases, from rated “E” for Everyone, to “M” for Mature.

For more information on anything and everything teen related at BCPL, just call Denise, the head of our youth services department, at 606.329.0518, x 1310.

Leigh Scaggs

About Leigh Scaggs

A long time supporter of digital emancipation and proclaimer of obfuscatory testaments, I have been a proud supporter of bits and bytes for nearly 20 years. With that much chronological highway behind me I'm cognizant enough of the fact that advancing age does kill brain cells and observant enough to notice that it's only killing the weak ones.

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