Teens @ Wellington

2 12 2011

New ZealandThe photo above was taken by commonwealthlibraries.

The Commonwealth Secretariat (2011) states that New Zealand joined the Commonwealth of Nations in 1931.  Wellington City Libraries, one of New Zealand’s many public library systems, provides users with four blogs in order to address the specific information needs of the libraries’ different user groups.  We will focus on Wellington’s blog for teenage readers.

Wellington City Libraries Home Page

Wellington City Libraries’ home page is very organized and clean.  The home page is premised on a crisp white background, dark gray font, and blue hyperlinks.  This website is minimalistic in design but full of content.

 

Search engine at Wellington(Wellington City Libraries, 2011).

 

The first image users are greeted with upon visiting the website is a search engine for Wellington City Libraries’ catalogue.  As shown in the picture to above, the catalogue allows users to search by keyword, title, or author.  Users are brought to the catalogue’s interface upon entering information into the search catalogue.  Once within the catalogue, users can browse associated subjects, translations, thesaurus terms, and spelling variations through a cloud categorization called ‘Discover’ (click here to see an example).  Thus, locating information through the website’s search engine and catalogue is an easy and enjoyable experience.

 

Drop-down feature at Wellington(Wellington City Libraries, 2011).

 

The home page also features drop down fields which help organize the website’s wealth of materials.  As seen above, Wellington City Libraries permits users to search for information on how to use the libraries’ services and the locations of libraries’ through the drop down displays.

 

Page selection(Wellington City Libraries, 2011).

 

The website’s pages are listed at the top of the home page in a bright purple header.  As you may see in the photograph above, Wellington City Libraries’ blogs are easy to find and one click away from the home page.

 

Teen Blog, Wellington City Libraries

The Teen Blog provides information on library services, materials, and notes of general interest to teenage users of Wellington City Libraries.  The blog is a highly active environment – posts are uploaded by librarians and library staff multiple times a week and users retweet posts and make comments.

The most remarkable feature of Wellington City Libraries’ Teen Blog is its multidimensional attributes.  The blog does not focus on library matters alone – instead, readers are treated to the musing of a ‘Chic Librarian’ on Fashion Friday and posts often contain information on the current events of New Zealand.  For example, many posts are currently discussing Christmas events and Christmas gift ideas such as this Fashion Friday by Le Chic Librarian.

The blog also acts as a means for librarians and library staff to provide teenagers with the latest library news.  Posts often contain information on new additions to the library’s collection which may be of interest to teenagers, such as Julie’s post Best of 2011: Julie’s Picks located on Teen Blog.  Tutorials for how to place book reservations also grace Teen Blog‘s pages — one example is Maxed Out Your Reserves on Your Library Card post by Library Serf.

Teen Blog ensures that teenagers are both entertained and educated on their libraries’ services.   Its use of hyperlinks, embedded videos, and clear navigation make this blog easy to use and a pleasure to surf.  Flash back ten years and I know I would have been one of the teenagers visiting this site… if it had been in my area of the Commonwealth.

I love the fact that this tool enables teenagers to acquire information about their libraries and be engaged with topics which are of interest to their age group.  However, where are the New Zealand teenage males?  This blog screams of fashion, chick lit, romance, and vampires.  I do not see anything that would entice young male readers to the library, and most importantly to reading.

In Committed and Reluctant Male Teenage Readers: Beyond Bedtime Stories, located in the 2004 issue of Journal of Literacy Research, K. Love and J. Hamston argue that reading is often seen as a female activity.  Thus, boys may be reluctant to engage in reading due to fear of jeopardizing their masculinity. It is essential that libraries such as Wellington City Libraries address and incorporate the information needs of teenage boys in their blogs.  Teen Blog would be greatly improved by becoming gender neutral.

 

Wellington City Libraries’ Blogs

Wellington City Libraries has three other blogs for specific reading audiences.  Kids Blog provides information on new children books and events at the library.  This blog, alike to Teens Blog, is frequently updated with the latest library information.  The Business Blog provides information on the library’s new books concerning business and management skills.  There is also a News Blog which provides information on the libraries’ new collections in general.

Thus, Wellington shows evidence of discovering its user groups and providing a service tailored to their information needs.

Bibliographic citation for the article mentioned above:

Love, K., & Hamston, J.  (2004).  Committed and reluctant male teenage readers: Beyond bedtime stories.  Journal of Literacy Research, 36, 335-400.

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