Teenagers Reading

research for my PhD thesis

Teenagers’ Reality

with 3 comments

In two and a half weeks ALIA and SLA are holding a Seminar Series for Information Professionals, Reality 2.0, with sessions in Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne. Stephen Abram, the current President of SLA, is the keynote speaker at all three sessions, with various local speakers at each session.

What are some of the strategies information professionals need in the changing information world? Stephen will talk about the real needs of real people living the Web 2.0 experience and information and knowledge economy. How can we use Web 2.0 tools to terra-form the living, breathing worlds we inhabit? What are some practical tools we can use? How can professional associations such as SLA and ALIA help?

I wanted to hear Stephen Abram speak, but my research funds will only cover conference expenses if I present a paper. After reading the above and wondering exactly how one “terra-forms the living,” I submitted an abstract, on the off chance an event sponsored by SLA would want to hear about teenagers. Despite living in Perth, thus not being a Brisbane local* my abstract was accepted. I’ll be giving a paper at the Brisbane session on Thursday 11 September 2008. I’ll talk about what the teenagers in my focus groups had to say about Web 2.0, although it’s not a term teenagers mention much, if ever!? It’s all just:

Go on MySpace
Chat to friends on MSN
Or just plain: Google it

The session booked out pretty quickly. If you’re not already registered, you won’t be able to hear my talk (and be kind to me, what with my nerves at following Stephen Abram). I will publish my paper afterwards and put a copy online. I’ve already written too much in my paper, so I’m currently chopping bits out. I’ll also blog about what Stephen Abram has to say.


Teenagers live and breathe Web 2.0. In talking to teenagers about their information habits and views on reading and libraries for a PhD research project, the Internet, not surprisingly, came up as a universal source of information, both for study and recreational needs. Many aspects of the Internet mentioned were Web 2.0 tools, from MySpace and blogs, to Wikipedia and YouTube.

Libraries, authors and school classes are using Web 2.0 to create links between teenagers’ online experiences and the real world. Libraries and YA authors use Web 2.0 to assist in promotion to teenagers who might otherwise be oblivious to the existence of books and libraries. These uses of Web 2.0 are meeting with success, but problems still arise as the differences between the virtual world and reality clash. This has been particularly problematic when innovative teachers use aspects of Web 2.0 in the classroom, which conflict with administrative risk and compliance issues, and parents’ fears of unfamiliar technology.

sleepy koala by Timmy Toucan on Flickr These teething problems are not insurmountable. As more schools, including whole of State Education departments, and others involved with teenagers realise the potential gains to be made in utilizing Web 2.0, successes are multiplying and society as a whole is benefiting. Those growing up with Web 2.0 are beginning to experience it in all parts of their lives, not just when chatting to their friends online and passing on the latest Fergie ringtone.

Photo credit: sleepy koala by Timmy Toucan on Flickr.

*Btw The reason I chose Brisbane is my boyfriend is a local, well local to Warwick, and he’s going to be my tour-guide on this exciting adventure. We’re also adventuring into the deep, dark wilds around Warwick, so I can see what strange creatures there are in the far eastern lands. I’ve never seen one of those strange koalas (except at the zoo) that drop out of the sky onto your head :)


Written by ClareSnow

25 August 2008 at 11:16 am

3 Responses

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  1. Oh Claire, am so disappointed the session was all booked out when I tried to register, I would have loved to hear your talk!!! I can’t wait to read your paper. My best 2.0 story was whilst I was on prac at Brisbane Square lib a student used the live chat session to ask for help on understanding algebra. He used his free time during class to hop on line and chat to a librarian! Very cool and info savvy I thought.

    I live in Toowoomba, not so far from Warwick, maybe a drive via our library could be in the cards. Our young people’s staff would love to meet you, some of them also read your blog!

    Have a good day


    25 August 2008 at 2:17 pm

  2. I would love to visit your library – you’re just down the road :) I’m in Qld for a week, so I’ll email you when I know when we’re doing what.


    25 August 2008 at 3:31 pm

  3. […] reading? Enticing teenagers into the library « Teenagers’ Reality We believe this benefits you 19 September 2008 I discussed the commercial basis of Web […]

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