YA Clicks October 2012
Elections and Advocacy for Teens
Rebecca Purdy and the Web Surfers from the Central Rappahannock Regional Library
The teens we serve may not be able to vote in this year’s elections, but that doesn’t make them powerless. Teen advocates like us can empower them by featuring sites that provide information on the issues and that encourage advocacy and action. After all, topics like health care, national defense, and the budget affect everyone and, as Jacob says in his review of TeenActivist.org, “teenagers . . . will lead this nation in the future.” When you read the reviews, note how many of the Web Surfers mention the ability to share their opinions as a positive. Young adult librarians know that teens aren’t apathetic, they care and want to have a say–you can help them find their voices.
Through YA Eyes
Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania
4I 5R 4U
This year is an election year! There are so many ads, papers, and websites out there that it doesn’t seem possible to form an idea about the candidates. FactCheck.org is an excellent resource that describes the views of both candidates fairly and justly. It “aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics” by “monitoring the factual accuracy of what is said by major players.” There are questions and answers so that readers can just look at some questions that are popular. This website tells it how it is with the latest news and facts of the day. I would recommend this site to any teen or adult wishing to get to know the candidates. ~ AnnaMae Koon
Channel One, LLC
5I 2R 3U
M J S
Channel One’s OneVote website campaign is an informative stop for anyone interested in this upcoming election. While it’s not the most entertaining website, I would recommend it to teens who consider themselves political junkies, like myself. The first image shares the most recent polling numbers from The New York Times, which makes it easy for someone who is simply interested to see who’s in the lead. The site is tastefully designed, and has biographies of both candidates and their stances on war. A quick fact-check with the candidates’ official sites shows that the OneVote website is relatively accurate. Most of the website consists of links to other Channel One resources (videos, articles, etc.) There are multiple ways to voice one’s opinion through polls and comments, and even an opportunity to report for Channel One in the election by submitting a video. It’s good that OneVote has reached out to the pre-teen/teen population and encouraged them to get involved and informed. ~ Kira Zahedi
Rock the Vote
5I 3R 3U
Rock the Vote offers a good amount of articles, but I wish they had put more about the news and teen stuff on it. It has music related to the election which makes it fun and interesting, and also includes apparel you can buy and a place for registering to vote. The good thing is that you can see how you can help. The design is an awesome outline frame and background with a splash of color. I would recommend it to older teens and adults because it has a lot of articles that teenagers and kids won’t understand. ~ Zoe Moran
5I 5R 5U
Colorfully drawn owls scatter the homepage and exemplify Teen Activist’s slogan—earn your wings. These little owls lead you on the free and easy process to register yourself as a member. Once you join, you may write journal entries that explain your stance on a certain issue and what you’re doing in your community to peacefully express your opinion. For example, one teen writes about her dislike of litter. Because of her opinions, she formed a community-wide event to clean the grounds at her school. Other members may rate a journal entry. The litter pick-up entry received 4.5 out of 5 wings—a stellar score! Friendly and well-designed, Teen Activist is the perfect form of social media. On this site, teens talk, yes, but they also do. As teenagers, we will lead this nation in the future. Why not start our leadership now? If there’s something you feel strongly about, Teen Activist encourages you to act upon it. Reading and interacting with other teens and their endeavors will make you happy. And making a difference yourself (no matter how big or small) will make you proud, successful, and wise—just like those little owls. ~ Jacob Hopkins
National Youth Rights Association
4I 5R 5U
Take action! Be a leader! Make your voice heard! These imperatives serve as constant encouragement for our country’s young adults to get more involved with issues that directly concern them. But in order to get involved, one first has to be well informed! The National Youth Rights Association has designed this site to help make youth more excited about voter participation. With a colorful design, bold letters, and large font, the site avoids the usual daunting and dull layout that is commonly displayed with voting topics. Its simple organization and clearly defined issues make it easy to quickly navigate and learn more about the topics that most interest you. Several articles also provide valuable information on major issues concerning youth today. What’s more, with accompanying photos and Votes for Youth Videos of active teens, it is easy to get sucked into the fascination of what a huge difference staying involved can make! And if the videos weren’t compelling enough, NYRA constantly works to stay up to date with social connections via e-mail and by visiting their Facebook. So whether it’s for a research project in school, or just plain interest, this site is vastly helpful in gaining a jump start in major topics concerning youth in a fun and engaging way. Perhaps, now our young people will be able to think twice about voter apathy in politics! ~ Lyndah Lovell
Kudos for Library Teen Sites
Jackson County Library Services (JCLS)
I clicked through multiple Google results before finding a library teen website that stopped me in my “mouse” tracks. Visually appealing, the dark background is punctuated by pops of color and photos of teens, including one wearing those cool and stylish, retro-looking headphones. A descriptive banner runs across the top promoting the system as “Your Local Libraries,” a powerful and important message that empowers teens with just a few words. The design is horizontal; in one column, a long, subtly hued rectangle and in the other, a contrasting colored box. For example, promotion of the booktalks they present in all of their middle schools is in a white rectangle and, at its end, a blue box promotes “Featured Teen Reviews.” The contrasting colors and the pattern make it easy to understand their variety of offerings and create more visual interest than a list of hyperlinked words. Upcoming programs scroll through a box at the top of the page, the text large enough to easily read the highlights. Book recommendations are included under “Need a good book? Titles to Try,” but above that they shake things up a little. The covers of popular novels are shown under the heading, “Check Out These Popular Authors’ Official Websites.” This well designed site is sure to get the attention of JCLS teens. It certainly got mine!
Rebecca Purdy is the youth services coordinator for the Central Rappahannock Regional Library system in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The Web Surfers are a collection of teens willing to volunteer some of their time to see their names in print and help young adult librarians find good sites for their library blogs and Web pages.