YA Clicks October 2016

Voting and Teen Voices

Jessica Farrow

Most of the teens we serve won’t be eligible to vote in November, but that doesn’t mean they don’t care about the election. The New York Times reported that many states had higher than usual youth voting rates in their primaries and, as the responses to the hashtag #tooyoungtovote show, even those who aren’t eighteen yet are developing their own opinions about current issues and how they would like to see politicians react. Thanks to the Internet, teens are more able than ever to get information about current events and politics, as well as connect with others who share their political opinions. The polarized opinions that are frequently offered whenever politics are discussed can be confusing and may leave young adults unable to separate fact from fiction. As teens learn and engage, librarians are in an ideal position to help them discover the resources they need to make sense of the political world surrounding them and begin participating themselves. From articles discussing the intricacies of current debates to organizations working to make young adults more politically savvy, the Web Surfers highlight sites that help teens explore political issues and make sure their voices are heard!

Through YA Eyes



5I 4R 5U


If you want to know where you stand in the election and which candidate shares similar views with you, isidewith.com is the website you should definitely check out! This site gives you the opportunity to take a poll that will help you find the candidate that your ideas and opinions align the most with. After you complete the poll, you can learn about each specific issue you should consider before voting and where the rest of the public stands on these same issues. While this website is not directed towards teens, it is a good starting point for anyone who wants to learn more about the parties, candidates, and other things that influence the way people vote. If you want to know as much as you can about what the candidates/parties stand for and where you fit into all of it, I would wholeheartedly recommend isidewith.com. This site is definitely a good place to start your political journey and education as it provides links to other places with more information on specific topics if you wish to learn even more!–Katherine Calvert

Rock the Vote

Rock the Vote

5I 4R 5U


Rock the Vote is a great website to learn about upcoming polls and elections. It informs you about the prospective candidates, and you can even register to vote! The setup of Rock the Vote is easy to use for any age range and can be used for research or catching up on current politics. The information provided on this website is reliable and accurate with links to current videos and polls for millennials. New voters can find out where to vote and what ID is required by their state. Rock the Vote provides a form to check registration status and receive election reminders so you’re never late for a poll or any new and exciting news on politics. There is also an application to sign up for volunteering with the community to help register young voters and educate them on the importance of getting involved. The website provides a link to an online shop where you can buy t­shirts, hats, and hoodies to show your support for Rock the Vote! Overall, Rock the Vote was a helpful website that provided me with interesting information to take with me into the next election.–Hannah Spahn


Annenberg Public Policy Center

5I 3R 5U


It’s hard to know how to learn about politics when everything on the news is usually biased. FactCheck.org offers a variety of different topics and tries its best to stay unbiased. Not only does it highlight recent events, it also points out flaws in both Democrat and Republican arguments, maintaining its expertly crafted neutralism. The website itself is methodically organized, in a way that is understandable while eye-catching, and overall visually appealing. When searching through the articles, it is easy to see that they are very current and updated. Like most of the website, the tabs at the top highlight important information such as gun laws and abortion in a series of articles. FactCheck.org recognizes that sometimes things are said on the Internet that aren’t the whole truth, and in an effort to correct this, they also display a page of “Viral Spirals” that address common rumors. Possibly the most helpful part is the fact that they offer a Question and Answer page. Not only do they provide a simple concise answer, but if you’re looking for a little more in depth, that is given, too. Lastly, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, the makers of FactCheck.org added a Google search tab, which can take you to the articles you want to see instantly. While learning about the politics of today can be a daunting task, FactCheck.org is an amazingly easy tool for this endeavor.–Mira Dover

Kudos for Library Teen Sites

Beaverton City Library’s Teen Space

Beaverton City (OR) Library

How much the Beaverton City Library cares about their teens is evident in their Teen Space site. The site is bright, visually appealing, and easy to navigate. The main page features large orange links, which, coupled with related pictures, stand out invitingly against the white background. These links invite visitors to explore a teen-specific event calendar, which is also posted along the side of the main teen page, as well as homework help, and YA booklists. Tabs on the side allow teens to easily access information, with much of it differing from the tabs found on the normal BCL site in order to focus on resources of interest to teens. This includes everything from information about joining a teen council and a “Suggest a Purchase” link to reviews written by some of the teens who frequent the library, allowing the teens to take an active role. These reviews are coupled with links to the GoodReads pages of the teen librarians, Ian and Dawn, who regularly update with books they’re reading and reviews of teen titles, all of which can be accessed without a GoodReads account.

While the layout of the Teen Space pages stays largely consistent as you navigate through subpages, the tabs change to reflect the content on that page. For example, the Booklists page features tabs linking to each list, making it easy for users to explore multiple lists without having to go back several pages. Each subpage is well-organized and balances text with pictures to give users the relevant information without overwhelming them with a wall of text. It’s also easy to tell that you’re still within the teen site, as the top of each page features a prominent “Beaverton City Library’s Teen Space” banner, complete with a partial photo of a skateboarder leaning against a graffitied wall, sending a visual message that BCL is a place teens can feel comfortable. Each page also features links to keep visitors connected to the rest of the BCL site, such as those for the Kids and Adults pages, the library catalog, and a “My Account” button. Overall, the BCL Teen Space site balances general user needs with teen-specific pages in an inviting and engaging manner that will appeal to teens and adults alike.

img_2345Jessica Farrow is a youth services librarian with the Central Rappahannock Regional Library system in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from Florida State University. 
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  1. […] October 2016: Voting and Teen Voices […]

  2. […] most timely issue-based content was related to the upcoming presidential election. On the “YA Clicks” column teachers and librarians can find links to help plug teens into the national frenzy to understand […]

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