Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Monday, October 25, 2010

Hagar, B. (2007). And knowing is half the battle, when entering the zone: Nonfiction rescouces for 'Tweens and Young Teens (S. B. Anderson, Ed.). In Serving young teens and 'tweens (pp. 31-64). Westport, CA: Libraries Unlimited

According to Brenda Hagar (2007), "[The Sense Making Model] of new information truly fits into a young teenager's situation. Their information gap, or barrier (information need) is then bridged by the uses or helps (the information they receive, no matter what format)"(Anderson, p.33). When I read this passage, in Serving Young Teens and Tweens, I started to think about this process and it's daily application in serving 'tweens.

A great example of this process is the Reference Interview. When a 'tween gathers all their courage to approach the reference desk, they either know exactly what they want or they are not sure.  Whatever the case, clearly the 'tween needs help, but doesn't know exactly how to pose their question(s). With the Reference Interview, we can easily deduce what exactly what he or she is looking for by posing the right questions.

Let's imagine that a 'tween is looking for information about the Trojan War, particularly the reason behind the war. When he comes to the reference desk, he immediately asks for a book on the Trojan War. This is where our work begins: digging for the real question and showing 'tweens how to access that information. By clarifying what they are looking for by asking  questions (i.e, what aspect of the war or do they need information about a specific character) they will learn how to  not only formulate specific questions, but, by demonstrating to them how to get that information (i.e., using a database, website, or the catalog) they will store that information for later use. 'Tween are like sponges that are ready and willing to access all kinds of information from all kinds of sources. However, what I have personally noticed, is that 'tweens need to taught how to properly evaluate information and apply it appropriately.

Clearly, 'tweens now how to "Google," but do they know how to tell the difference between a commercial site and a respectable site? Depends. If the 'tween has been properly taught how to access these sites with criteria, and caution, they should have very few problems with evaluating these sources. Despite their innate ability to use the world wide web, they still need the skills to not only get the information for their reports, but build learning skills that help them succeed in the future: "Our job as librarians is to to make sure they know what their options are and encourage them to be selective about where the information is coming from"(2007, p.51).

Lastly, Anderson (2007) also states that "[...] younger teens are at the this stage of being able to branch out from their younger reading to the more developmentally appropriate and challenging texts that will prepare them for the future, emotionally and cognitively"(p.33).  By demonstrating, rather then doing the work for teens, our job, as librarians, is to be proactive by demonstrating research skills and helping them to formulate the right questions.

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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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