Local teens will be plugging in at the library as the Destin Library celebrates the annual Teen Tech Week™ March 6th through 10th. They join thousands of other libraries and schools across the country who are celebrating this year’s theme, Be the Source of Change, to raise awareness about how the library creates a space to extend tweens’ and teens’ learning beyond the classroom where they can explore, create and share content.
Teen Tech Week is a national initiative of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) aimed at teens, their parents, educators and other concerned adults. The purpose of the initiative is to ensure that teens are competent and ethical users of technology; that preparation will, in turn, help them to be successful members of the 21st century marketplace. Teen Tech Week encourages teens to take advantage of the technology at libraries for education and recreation, and to recognize that librarians are qualified, trusted professionals who can help them achieve greater digital literacy.
Jurate Burns, Library Director, feels that "Getting teens into libraries is essential. Offering gaming, access to computers, and online homework help is important, and letting them know that we can help educate them on how to use these resources will get them in the door. Once they’re in the door, we can show teens that with technology at the library, anything is possible.”
From maker spaces, to coding classes to online knitting clubs now offered by libraries across the country, the do-it-yourself theme shows how libraries provide meaningful contributions to the educational and social development of the teens in the community.
Destin’s featured tech this year is the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality system the Library recently purchased for patron use. Teens can use the Oculus to explore a wide variety of virtual environments from the comfort of the Digital Media Lab and Design Studio. After they’re done they can power up the Unity 5 coding engine, which is downloaded on the Lab’s design stations, to create their own VR experiences.
“Teen Tech Week is a way for librarians and educators to collaborate with and educate teens about technology,” says Megan Fontaine, the library’s Code Club coordinator. “Over the last several years the library’s role in increasing digital literacy has become more and more important, equal to that of reading literacy.”
Teen Tech Week is held annually the second week of March. For more information, visit www.ala.org/teentechweek.