YA Clicks June 2017

Summer School

Jessica Farrow and the Web Surfers from the Central Rappahannock Regional Library

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Just because school’s out for the summer doesn’t mean teens don’t love learning new things! Those who work with teens know that young adults are willing to put time and energy into all sorts of things, as long as it captures their interest. During the summer is the perfect time to let your teens take a break from tests and flashcards and learn something that appeals to them instead. From cooking projects to language learning, the Web Surfers share their favorite websites for subjects teens actually want to study.

Through YA Eyes


Memrise Limited

5I 4R 5U


Do you like space ships? How about learning a new language? Then Memrise might be the thing for you. Memrise is an app that offers you the opportunity to learn a new language with vocal examples, writing challenges, and frequent reviews to help you understand it better. Memrise’s lessons are very thorough, and it could also be an amazing reference if you are already learning and would like an extra practice tool.  The app is attractive in the way the entering screen’s colors draw you in and place you in as a language master spy. I enjoy how interactive it is and how it doesn’t make learning a language stressful or boring. The navigation of the app is simple to maneuver with its main bar at the bottom of the screen to find your next lessons, profile, and other languages you can learn. Overall, this app is a perfect tool that catches your attention from the get-go and keeps it as it teaches. –Nathalie Luciano

Cooking Smarts

Cooking Smarts

5I 3R 5U


Do you want to eat healthily but don’t know where to start? Start with Cooksmarts.com. It is a subscription option website that provides weekly meal plans, cooking guides, and cooking lessons– all at the click of a button. The website is a very user-friendly and pop-up ad free. Its design color is a welcoming mid-tone orange that brightens up the whole domain. I have found no problem with lagging or glitching. As seen by the title of the website, this isn’t the “recreational” site for those of us (younger kids) who want to play online games. I recommend this site to teenagers and especially young adults and adults. As a young adult myself, I am often overwhelmed with other aspects of my life and relegate cooking to last. Eating healthy and taking care of your body should always be number one. That’s where this site comes in handy. It is very informational; it offers step-by-step cooking instructions  (“Lessons” tab) for those of us who like to read but it also offers videos (“Videos” tab) for those who don’t. I will personally be checking out how to cook on a budget (“Guides” tab). This website offers so much helpful information and if you are a newcomer to cooking or even a seasoned chef, this site is one to check out. –Hannah Spahn



4I 3R 5U


Calm.com is different meditation/mindfulness option for the stressed out soul. It is a meditation subscription service that operates on the desktop website, as well as its own app, Calm. The website homepage features an animated background with picturesque rippling water framed by mountains. Relaxing nature music begins to play: the user hears flowing water, wind, and birds twittering. The usability of this website is wonderful–very sleek, no glitches or slow loading times plus no annoying pop-up ads. This website is mainly for teenagers, young adults, and adults simply because it is not a “recreational” fun and games website; it is for those who are willing to improve their life physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Calm offers two main features: voice guided meditation and sleep stories. The website itself is somewhat informational, as it offers a page featuring mindfulness tips for the interested reader. Sadly, the website only offers a few free meditation/ sleep listening features before one has to pay for a subscription service. My problem with Calm.com’s service is that it is not free. There are many other options on the internet that deal with mindfulness, meditation, and sleep that are free. My first recommendation would be Youtube. There are a plethora of free videos that feature guided meditation, guided sleep, and relaxing music (start with Jason Stephenson). To conclude, Calm.com is not a bad service, it is just limited unless one is willing to pay. Personally, I think one would be better off saving their money and look for free options. –Amelia Spahn


Chesscademy Inc.

5I  5R  4U


When I first logged on to Chesscademy, I was surprised to find the site set up to accommodate the separate needs of inexperienced learners and those with prior knowledge. Those just getting started were given the whole scope of how the program was set up, while more seasoned players were tested for their performance in a game and then placed within the program accordingly. After taking the seasoned player path and creating an account, I moved on to a video and some activities for the stage in which I was placed. Despite the somewhat dry tone of the narrator, the video was very informative and the interactive activities are great for more hands-on learners to apply that information to simulated matches. Each section takes you step by step through the content and allows you to revisit material when needed. When you want to test what you’ve learned, you can play in real-time games at varying difficulties to suit your skill level. Overall, Chesscademy is a good place for chess fanatics of all skill levels to learn, improve, and grow their interest in an engaging, well-rounded environment. –AJ Morrison.

Kudos for Library Teen Sites


County of Los Angeles Public Library

The County of Los Angeles Public Library has clearly put effort into making sure their Teens page is welcoming, informative, and easy to use. The background of the page, which looks like notebook paper with doodles along the edges, is bright and fun, while still being age-appropriate so that teens feel that this is a place for them, instead of simply being lumped in with children or adults. Even the links that carry through the library’s site as a whole are generally useful things such as a FAQ drop down menu, resources for earning a high school diploma, and catalog and account access. The teen-specific nature of the site is reinforced by the featured topics, including teen book reviews and teen-specific calendar of events being held that day, of which there are many. The tabs featured on the main page and on the left-hand side are relevant and useful to teens. These range from the typical links to homework help, booklists, and volunteering, to links for teens transitioning to adulthood, including “Life After High School” and “Adult 101 for Teens.” The “Life After High School page provides information about college, such as filling out the FAFSA, and those looking to enter the workforce after high school. The “Adult 101 for Teens” page provides information about teen events, supported in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, that focus on skills such as fitness and health, finances, and etiquette, that are not necessarily taught in schools but will benefit teens as they leave home and transition to adulthood.

One of the unique links the library provides appears in the tabs on the left of their page and carries through to all of their teen pages. This tab directs users to the “Directory of Services for Homeless Youth in Los Angeles.” While we, as those who work with teens, would much rather live in a world where such resources are unnecessary, the City of Los Angeles Public Library should be commended for both recognizing that this isn’t always the case and making it accessible to teens in a confidential manner. Having this link clearly evident on their website makes it easily found by teens in need who may visit the library for internet access, but feel uncomfortable sharing such personal circumstances with a librarian.

My favorite teen link is their “More Goodness” page, which highlights videos made by their teens, including their winning documentary entry from the 2014 International Family Film Festival. Overall, their teen page is inviting and makes it obvious that the County of Los Angeles Public Library cares about and supports their teens and wants to provide them with useful, fun, and easily accessible information that they can take with them throughout their lives.

Jessica 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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