YA Clicks February 2013

Creating in the Library

Rebecca Purdy and the Web Surfers from the Central Rappahannock Regional Library

February 2013

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Maker Labs are the hot new concept when it comes to library services, but not everyone has the funds or the space.  However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get started in some small way and, maybe you already have and didn’t even realize it!  If your library has ever offered a craft program or invited a local photographer to offer tips to teens, then you are already encouraging “making” in the library.

Like many others, our library is excited about the possibilities, but starting small is the only option.  Using funds from our print cartridge recycling program, we were able to buy a small 3-D printer.  At this point, we are unable to dedicate an entire room at any location as a maker space, but there is always a corner for a small table so we’re taking our printer on the road!  Hosted by a staff member, each “Mobile MakerSpace” visit will demonstrate this amazing technology while sharing the possibilities and enthusiasm.  A small step in a positive direction–customer education!

No matter where you are in the process, you can encourage your teens to begin or continue to explore the world of DIY, creating and making.  The Web Surfers have helpful website recommendations so you and your customers can get started.

Through YA Eyes

CraftFoxes

5I 4R 5U

A/YA

If you love cake decorating, knitting, scrapbooking, or even jewelry, then craftfoxes.com is the website for you! It is easy to navigate and is interactive. You can create your own profile and share your wonderful projects with other members. You can see other people’s projects, read their posts, and even learn how to make something by clicking the different tabs on the top of the page. If you need help, there is a discussions tab where you can ask questions and people can respond to your problem or questions. I recommend this site to anyone who has interest in crafts and culinary pursuits.–Aribah Hussain

Hack a Day

5I 5R 5U

J M S

It’s pretty hard to be different in a time where everyone wants the exact same thing. Wherever you go, many people have the same types of clothes, cars, and electronics as you and that may leave you thinking, “How can I be different?”  Well, here’s your chance!  Thanks to the website Hackaday.com, you can discover different ways to use your electronics and make them really stand out.  When you first log on, the informative titles and bright letters instantly catch your eye. This website is very interactive and even allows you to search for a certain category you are looking for.  Whether you are looking for iPhone, Android, Kindle, or any type of hacks, Hack a Day has the right information for you. You can fix any problem you have with your device, or even just improve it if you want to. You can even learn new techniques, such as charging your iPhone without a dock or charger.  This website is recommended for all ages because of the sometimes difficult configuring of the technology. It is also very easy to use and will help you find exactly what you’re looking for. If you are truly an electronics lover, I highly recommend this site.–TyShiana Powell

ieee Spectrum: Robotics

5 I 4R 5U

M J S

When I first visited ieee Spectrum, I was immediately convinced that this website held endless amounts of information that could easily answer many of the questions that I have about anything related to technology, space, the military, and much more!  The types of people that I feel would be the most interested in this website are those who have a pure desire to understand everything that there is to know about technology. I myself am an individual who at a young age found myself fascinated and interested in videogames and computers. This website will interest anyone who have the same types of interests. With the news and television it is easy to figure out what the newest thing is, but what I found very helpful was that there was information dated back to the years when the information was first in the news! So its almost as if you never miss a beat on anything. Overall, I think this website was very well put together and organized, and it can helpful to a vast variety of people who are eager to learn more about technology and beyond!–Christina Carter

Instructables

5I 5R 5U

M J S

Ever wonder how something is made? We buy so many products at stores when we may have the capability of making them ourselves. All we need is the right set of instructions. And that’s exactly what Instructables provides—instructions to make countless valuable things in one’s own home. The site lists several easily navigable categories of instructions on its homepage. If you are interested in crafting a model car, check out the workshop category. If you want to create a handmade present for Mother’s Day, visit the living category. Or if you’re feeling hungry, the food category has a wide array of recipes to satisfy any appetite. Under each category, Instructables lists several different products and their instructions. Unlike other instruction-based websites, Instructables offers the reader comprehensive steps. High quality photographs with captions and videos also accompany almost every step for clarity. Users can create a free account and submit comments remarking on the quality of the product or offer additional suggestions.  They can add their own images, too, to create an album of finished products. By allowing this sharing of words and pictures and ideas, Instructables illustrates the significance of handmade things: to make something of worth, with one’s own two hands, and share it with the world. Users will take pride in knowing that they can make something for themselves with the available instructions and the products of their earth.–Jacob Hopkins

Make Magazine

2I  5R  4U

M J

You will be hooked from the start when you visit Make Magazine’s attention grabbing website. From the eye catching design to the fun how-to projects, you will be sold.  The layout is great; it makes the website very user-friendly and more enjoyable.  All the information is organized very neatly within the subsections, making everything very simple to find.  This website is entertaining for all ages, but I believe that teens in middle and early high school would appreciate it more.  There are so many different things to make and read that you would be entertained for days.  This website would not be the best to use for a school project because anyone can upload their projects; however, it could be a good starting place to get ideas.  Overall, this website is beyond excellent and I strongly encourage everyone to give it a try.–Nalani Story

Makerbot.com

51 3R 5U

J S

Love technology? Love robotics? Tired of printing in 2-D? Makerbot.com is the site for you! MakerBot is a great way to research an up and coming technology for a science project. The MakerBot Replicator 2x is the 21st century printer—it prints in 3-D! To create a model of something, simply upload the building plans on the MakerWare software and print. Within minutes a beautiful professional model out of plastic will be created before your very eyes by the MakerBot. The site is easy to navigate and there’s an easy list of options on the menu bar on the top of the screen. This is a great website for science lovers; however, there is only one downfall to the site: If you do not own a 3-D printer, you cannot take advantage of the tools and design plans. The site is mainly designed for consumers to learn about the company’s project and then buy it. The website is a great way, though, for readers to learn of this new technology and possibly use it in the future.–Mimi Clemens

Mozilla Webmaker

4I 5R 5U

A/YA

For those of you who want to combine your creative talents and the Internet, Mozilla’s Webmaker might be perfect for you. You can create your own web pages, change up videos, and take part in tons of online projects.  The site’s appearance is clean, crisp, and begs for creative interaction. I would recommend this to anyone interested in online creativity, no matter their age, because of the wide scope of activities and the range in levels of difficulty provided. The site is organized quite simply and is user friendly; you can search for projects by difficulty, topic, skill, and tools. There are so many links to different projects that I haven’t been able to check them all yet! There are three tools to use on your way to online creativity: Thimble, Popcorn Maker, and X-Ray Goggles. Use Thimble to create your own website from scratch with HTML5 (they provide great walk-throughs on the basics, but it takes a lot of reading and patience), or edit a pre-existing page. Popcorn Maker is my personal favorite–it allows you to do basic editing on online videos. X-Ray Goggles allow you to see how other web pages are organized, a great way to learn how the most popular sites are designed. The directions for using all of these tools are easy enough to follow; any creative mind, beginner or not, can spend hours on this site!–Yousra Neberai

RunwayDIY

5I 4R 3U

J S

Are you always looking for fun DIY projects to do at home? Well then you might like Runway DIY, it has a bunch of cool fashion DIY projects. By using this site you can always get up-to- date on the latest fashion news. This site has step-by-step slideshows on how to create the coolest fashion pieces from crystal necklaces to scarf kilts. It even has nail art ideas, so if you are always on the lookout for crazy, cool manicures then you hit the mark. Although the site has great fashion ideas and tips, it tends to lag and not show some of the pictures. The home page is very attractive and pops out by showing the latest ideas, but it is hard to navigate at first and some of the slideshows are a bit vague. The site has its ups and downs, but if you don’t mind waiting for it to load every so often, then you should have a lot of fun with it.–Danielle Cornwell

Kudos for Library Teen Sites

Teen Space

Salt Lake County Library Services

Teen Space visitors are met with a soothing blue background, lots of whitespace and text that looks like someone’s handwriting, and yet, is readable.   A scrolling slideshow highlights “What’s New,” the artwork design for each, nicely coordinating with the rest of the site.  The “At the Library” section, also on the homepage, has four small photos that don’t overwhelm the rest of the site.  Navigation at both the top and bottom of the page makes exploring the possibilities simple.  The top lists only the headings, while the bottom lists the sub-menus as well. The choices are what you would expect, but have creative names that clearly indicate what you will find when you click.  For example, “READ. LISTEN. WATCH” for recommendations and “SAY WHAT?” for teens to have their voice heard either through writing, recommending, or interacting with the library and it’s staff.  Salt Lake County Library Services has created a successful site with teen appeal, interest and advocacy in mind.

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 webpages.

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