A Library Battle Royale

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Perhaps you’ve of a little thing called Fortnite? If not, well… you officially have homework.

We purchased ~40 Nerf guns from hasbrotoyshop.com, laid down some different colored tape throughout our library, gave whistles to all staff members, put boxes everywhere, and let ’em at it.

Oh, and we had a T-Rex. Because why not?

We played for about ninety minutes, but the teens would have been perfectly happy to play for the entirety of the four-hour After Hours Event™.

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A few more details:

→ It was very easy to set-up a tax exempt account at the Hasbro Toy Shop, and we mostly just purchased the 3.99 single shot guns, along with extra darts. I signed up for emails and got a really great discount, and have not been bombarded by emails since.

→ We used different colored masking tape (available at craft stores) for the boundaries, placing them on the floor in increasingly smaller circles, and used the library PA system for the announcements about arena shrinkage (ie, in two minutes, you must be inside the yellow circle or you will be eliminated, etc).

→ A map of the library was provided, so they could plainly see that they weren’t allowed behind circ, to hide in the bathrooms, etc. If we do this in our meeting room, I won’t give them a map, since the “drop zones” (which they drew from a basket) will be visible throughout the arena.

→ Blowing the whistles was super fun. Really loud, but fun.

→ We had an area designated for those who were eliminated – I recommend placing that somewhere they can see the action, because they were super into watching.

→ We did lots of variations – singles, duos, teams of 3 and 4, start with a weapon but scatter before it begins, etc. They’ll come up with lots of ideas.

→ If they won, they got a “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner” pin, which yes is from PUBG but they thought was awesome.

BATTLE ROYALE RULES (as read to participants):

1. Throughout the library and marked on your map are your drop zones. Everyone/every team will draw their drop zone, and at the sound of the whistle you will proceed there to find weapons & building materials

2. All weapons, ammo, and materials are in plain sight – nothing is hidden behind books, shelves, desks, etc. DO NOT enter any area that is blocked off, and DO NOT go behind any desk. If you are discovered in any out-of-zone area, you will be eliminated.

3. If you are hit, you are down and must be revived by a team member. You must immediately drop to your knees, although you may move away from the action and take cover. In order to be revived, one of your team members must tap you on the back.

4. If, however, you are hit again before a team member revives you, you are eliminated.

5. Staff members in the gray shirts will act as referees. A blow of the whistle means a violation has occurred; do as the referee says, whether that is going down, being eliminated, etc.

6. As time goes on, the arena will begin to shrink. Pay attention to the announcements to learn which circle to report to.

7. Anyone outside of the circle when the clock winds down will be eliminated.

8. There are building materials throughout the arena. You may use these as shields, or build a fort to defend your team.

9. Alliances are permitted, however, there can be only one winning team.

10. We will play this multiple times, invoking variations of single player, squad play, & other fun surprises.

11. The T-Rex is invincible. If you are attacked by the T-Rex, you are eliminated.

Let’s begin!

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This was incredibly fun for all involved, and we will definitely keep doing it until the Battle Royale genre disappears. My biggest piece of advice is this: If you haven’t played or watched Fortnite, PUBG, Blackout, etc, do so before you plan this event.

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Youtube & Beyond! An Introduction to New Media

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This presentation was offered at the 2017 Ohio Library Council Annual Convention & Expo in Dayton, Ohio on Thursday, October 5.

Full slides in PDF // B&W handouts for printing // Resources for further reading

Five Nights at Freddy’s LIVE!

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I adore this game.

Or should I say, I adore watching Markiplier play this game. I love it so much, in fact, that my husband got me the main four animatronic character plushies for Christmas this year.

We hide them around the house in unexpected places and scare each other. I mean, how could we not?

But anyways. If you don’t know about Five Nights at Freddy’s, you should. Go watch that video and then ask your teens about the rest if you don’t care to watch more. Basically, it’s a jump scare game about Chuck E. Cheese-esque characters who have taken to wandering about the place after hours. You, as the night security guard, have to look after the place without letting the characters get to you – or else they’ll kill you.

(It’s a bit more complicated than that, but that’s the gist.)

This year, for our After Hours Event™ (it’s the reward for completing our summer challenge), we’re doing Five Nights at Freddy’s LIVE! The teens and I are very, very excited.

Of course, for those of you who are familiar with the game, we can’t emulate most of the first one, as it mostly involves tracking the characters on security cameras and slamming the door shut before they get you.  Subsequent games, however, use flashlights and a music box mechanic, which we can TOTALLY duplicate!

So here’s how we’re going to do it:

Up to five can play at a time: Freddy, Chica, Bonnie, Foxy, and the security guard. Each of the animatronics will don a headband that denotes which character they are.

Our teen room is a long rectangle, and has two doors on either end. I’ll be blocking the windows if need be, but I think it’ll be dark enough by the time we do this, around 8pm in mid-August. I don’t want it completely dark in the security guard’s ‘office’ – just enough to set the mood.  Outside the room, I’m going to fashion some ‘ventilation shafts’ using large boxes I’ve been hoarding. Bonnie and Chica will have to crawl through the boxes to get from door to door (if this doesn’t work, I’m going just make them run around the stacks to space out the attacks). They’ll knock outside the open door, then wait for a count of ten before entering the room.

IF the security guard gets to the door before the count of ten is over and closes it, the character can stay for another count of ten before heading through the ventilation system to the other door. As in the game, the security guard will have to keep the door shut until the character leaves. Keeping the door shut, however, drains your precious power faster – and causes Freddy to appear (he’ll be hiding behind one of the bookshelves). As soon as one door is shut, Freddy will begin counting. If he gets to thirty with one door shut, or fifteen with both doors closed, the Freddy jump scare is triggered.

IF the character gets into the room, the security guard must shine a flashlight for a count of ten to get them to run away.  Neither the guard nor the character can move while shining the flashlight – which means they can’t wind the music box or open the door, if need be.

A laptop or iPad will be set up with speakers at a table away from the doors, with this video providing the ‘music box.’ It’s a minute long, and once the music is stopped, Freddy will wait for a dwindling amount of time (beginning with 30 seconds and lessening by ten seconds each time) before jumping. Therefore, the security guard must keep the music ‘wound’ by refreshing the video. If enough time passes and the music box has not been wound, the Freddy jump scare is triggered. (I do, in fact, realize that the music box triggers the puppet, but that would require yet another person.)

But what about everyone’s favorite pirate, Foxy? Pirate’s Cove will be in one corner of the room, covered by a curtain. Every fifteen seconds, Foxy become more visible – first the curtain will open, then an arm, etc. As in the game, the security guard will need to occasionally ‘check in’ by shining a flashlight on Pirate’s Cove for a count of ten, thereby resetting Foxy to his original position. Thirty seconds later, the curtain opens again. If you forget to check Pirate’s Cove long enough, the Foxy jumpscare is triggered.

In order to win, the security has to make it through five minutes of this without triggering a jump scare. Then the teens trade places and move on!

Character cards for role clarification.

Do you have any suggestions for improvement? Let me know!

Nerdfighter Gathering 2014

TFIOS has come & gone, and it was just fantastic, was it not? My teens are still raving about it. To celebrate the movie’s premiere, we held a Nerdfighter Gathering, and it was so, so much nerdy fun.

What’d we do?
YouTube playlist of a variety of TFIOS stuff & classic Vlogbrother videos
Hanklerfish hot potato; the kids got SO into this it was hilarious. The prize was just a fun size bag of plain M&Ms! I think we did it six times, to A Song about an Anglerfish.
– Book charms!
– TFIOS/Okay bracelets & keychains
– TFIOS cloud t-shirts
– Nerdfighter pins
– Prizes of print outs of various Nerdfighter art
– Pizza! It’s always the answer.
– NO EDGE four-square, which was especially fun because most of them had never even heard of it!
– Pin the Glasses on John Green (you might have seen it on Tumblr. John Green basically made my life by reblogging it to his own Tumblr; aaaaaah.)

To be honest, a lot of this stuff must sound like nonsense if you’re not pretty familiar with Nerdfighteria, but it was basically the highlight of my teen librarian experience. To get to be so nerdy with something I love so dearly was just so great. Here are some more pictures of the event in action!

#WeNeedDiverseBooks!

With all the conversations going on right now about the importance of diversity, take this as your reminder to add some diversity in ALL of your displays. Add TYRELL by Coe Booth to your John Green display. Put Cindy Pon’s SILVER PHOENIX and Nnedi Okorafor’s AKATA WITCH on your fantasy display. BOY MEETS BOY by David Levithan ought to be on your romance display. Antony John’s brilliant FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB should be on your realistic fiction display.

Take a step back & make sure you have faces of all kinds throughout your teen space, no matter the population you serve.

Because it’s important.

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Update 08.2015: So here’s a display I put together to celebrate the Paper Towns movie. When I put this together, I challenged myself to find as many diverse books as possible that I would, in fact, recommend to someone who has read Paper Towns or other John Green books – books with themes about imagining others complexly and getting to know both yourself and those around you.

Here’s what’s on display: GLBT, African-American, Native American, Hispanic, Asian-American*, size acceptance, economic disparity, mixed race, disability (deafness & blindness), along with plenty of books about white kids.There are all GREAT books that ALL teens should have access to.

*I would have loved to put ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’ on this display, but it’s ALWAYS out (yay!). But why is there so little realistic fiction that show an Asian on the cover? It’s sad and frustrating.

Creating a great, diverse display shouldn’t be hard. And it isn’t. Very few of the books on the wall here are books I wouldn’t consider a part of a core teen fiction collection. What would YOU have added?

How do you figure out what your teens want?

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Image by ILoveDoodle

TALK TO THEM.

It’s not a hard concept. You don’t even need to do this in any kind of “proper” setting – just walk up to the teen you always see taking out stacks of manga & find out what’s new that they wish we stocked. I can guarantee you he’ll give you a long list of stuff, both old & new.

Show them a picture of the Hunger Games cast & see what they think.

Ask the kids always glued to the Wii if there’s something new they’d like to try.

Ask the teens sitting in your teen area, wherever that might be, what books they enjoy. You might be surprised at their answers – Hunger Games isn’t all that popular where I am, but the Fallen, Hush Hush, & Mortal Instruments series are never on the shelves.

Find out how many of them have Kindles or Nooks or iPads, & if they actually want eBooks. Maybe that’s a budget you don’t need!

Ask the kids wearing the One Piece & Naruto shirts what other anime they’d like to watch. Maybe they know something you don’t!

Ask the teens on the computer what they do online. My teens had never even heard of Second Life when it was so popular on ALA a few years ago, & they’ve moved on from Runescape to a game called Vindictus. Some of them love Angry Birds while others are loyal to Facebook Scrabble or Plants vs Zombies. A bunch of them are on a new-ish social network called Plurk, which I’ve never heard of from anywhere else. Some of them are moving on to Twitter, but most are on all three. They all love Tumblr & some still use LiveJournal for pictures & fanfic.

After visiting Hot Topic (which ought to be a regular stop for you, no matter how awkward you might feel going inside), ask them about anything you don’t know or recognize. Fair warning: if it’s in Hot Topic, it might be heading towards old news, but it’s still something you should know about.

Some of this information I glean from our teen advisory board meetings, but honestly, a lot of things, especially all the new stuff, I get just from walking up to them & asking, hey, what’s your opinion on a bookcart drill team? (They all unanimously thought it was as lame as I did.) When I see a teen reading or carrying a stack of books anywhere in the library, I walk up to them & tell them (if I don’t know them) that hey, I’m the nosy teen librarian & I want to know what you’re reading.

I constantly see, across the listservs & workshops, people asking what’s popular, what’s new, begging for updates. Honestly, the only way to know what’s what where you are is to talk to them. The teens here are different from the teens there! Anime might not even be all that popular at your library – or maybe they don’t come to your gaming programs because they all have the systems at home. I’m lucky, now, that my desk is in the teen space so I can just ask any question to any of them whenever I want, but prior to that, I used any time I had off the reference desk to be in the teen space when teens were there. I know teens can be scary & annoying & smelly, but the only way to know if their needs are being served is to ask. Ask them as they check out books what they thought of the first in the series. Talk to them when they venture to the scary ref desk to put a hold on something if they know about the upcoming program, & what they’d like to see in the future. Have a conversation while you weed if that old project is still being done – maybe there’s a whole shelf of books you don’t need anymore! Pay attention while you shelve which books are going out – & coming back looking like they’ve been read a lot. Ask the teens around if they’ve read what you’re shelving & if it was any good. Talk to them, all of them, any time you’re around them.

I promise, you won’t regret it.

Silent Library: Around the World Edition

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Silent Library Around the World

I first did a Silent Library program back in the fall for Teen Read Week, & learned two things:

1.) Teens completely fail at being quiet, let alone silent.
2.) They love doing all sorts of silly challenges.

I knew I wanted to do it again, as the kids had a blast & I thought it’d be really fun to tie it into the multicultural theme. I planned out twelve challenges, & created a Powerpoint both to create a fun atmosphere & to teach them something about what they’d be doing. Initially, I had planned for about half of them to do each challenge, but by about the fifth one, everyone wanted to try everything – & who am I to stop curiosity? It was definitely no longer Silent Library, but we all know that if I’d advertised it simply as “Come try different food & activities from around the world!” few teens would have shown. Calling it Silent Library with the tagline “Challenge yourself MTV style to try different things from around the world!” meant I had 30 rowdy teens ready for anything.

The twelve challenges:
01) Hat Dance: Mexico
Using this YouTube video of a high school project, the teens danced along.

02) Try hummus: Middle East
Plain hummus scooped onto pita chips

03) Eat a fried plantain chip: Puerto Rico
Sliced plantain fried on an electric skillet in olive oil, sprinkled with a bit of sugar & salt.

04) Be a prima ballerina: Italy/France
First, we watched this clip from Center Stage, then the teens learned to do a plie watching this video.

05) Coconut water: Tropics
I rationed out about a 2 oz of water for each teen – some of them loved it, others hated it.

06) Talking drums: Africa
Teens echoed a rhythm of my choice with sticks on the floor.

07) Don’t point the brie: France
I served brie, rind & all, on a chunk of French bread. Most teens were brave enough to try the rind, even after learning that it’s mold!

08) Embrace your inner yogi: India
I led teens through a modified Sun Salutation sequence.

09) Mmm… raw fish: Japan
Using chopsticks, teens ate true sushi made with raw fish

10) Eat your avocados!: Mexico
Teens were challenged to eat 1/4 of an avocado without the use of their hands; I also had some chips & guac on hand so they could try it.

11) Better change your lox!: Scandinavia
I served mini-bagels with a smear of cream cheese topped with lox – everyone tried it!

12) Be Lord of the Dance: Ireland
Teens did their best imitation of Irish dancing using the finale from Feet of Flames.

I portioned out the food beforehand; with the only thing that needed cooked was the fried plantains. Set-up took about an hour, & the program itself lasted about an hour & a half. Beforehand, I asked if anyone had any known allergies & told them if we’d be eating anything that contained those foods (as someone with a wheat allergy, I’m completely understanding). Luckily, I didn’t have anyone allergic to fish, so we were good to go!

I will ABSOLUTELY do this again, possibly using some of the stranger food out there. This was so fun, & such a fabulous way to kick off Summer Reading – thanks to MTV for making this show so popular!

That dystopian novel…

I like what I’ve seen so far. My biggest concern with this adaptation is this: How on earth are they going to keep this from being rated R? It’s about children killing children. Being forced to do so by the government. Movies with lesser violence are rated R – even the Twilight movies are rated PG-13, & they’ve got almost nothing. As someone over the age of 17, I don’t personally care if it gets the R rating – but they’ll lose a large chunk of their teen audience. Yeah, every teen librarian in America is going to flock to it, but we don’t exactly number into the millions.

I worry that the intensity of the novel will be watered down, & that would be very, very sad. Dear screenwriters: please don’t do that!!