Saturday, January 12, 2013

Engaging Young Minds at Red Deer Public Library

This is a guest post by Candice Putnam representing the Red Deer Pulbic Library- G.H. Dawe Branch... one of our exceptional Grow Boys Red Deer collaborative partners!

After such an exhilarating experience last year, Red Deer Public Library is very excited to be a part of Grow Boys again this year! 

At RDPL, we are always trying to come up with new ways to engage young minds and provide programs and services that are truly valuable to today’s youth. Yet in those precarious years in which ‘children’ become ‘teens,’ it becomes increasingly challenging to develop programs that suit their unique interests. Teenage boys, in particular, are very difficult to reach, but we are hoping that a new technology-centered program may be the key to engaging this demographic. 

RDPL’s mission is to “enrich lives by promoting literacy and providing access to knowledge and culture.” As we know, the definition of literacy has evolved immensely in recent years, with the new realm of digital literacy becoming an essential facet of everyday life. With that in mind, we have initiated a brand new program at the Dawe Branch called “Techno Teens,” which is a technology club for teens ages 12 and up involving a combination of in-person programs and online activities that are related to all sorts of different technologies. The program is set to launch on January 14, 2013, and will run on the second Monday of each month at 4:00 p.m.

Some of the programs that are in the works include a QR code scavenger hunt, digital photography contests, meme-making, book trailer creation, gaming, eBook downloading demonstrations, social networking activities, and digital comic book creation. We will also be participating in the Young Adult Library Services Association’s (YALSA) Teen Tech Week initiative during the month of March. As described on the Teen Tech Week website at, the theme for this year is “Check in @ Your Library!”:

This Teen Tech Week™ (March 10 - 16, 2013), YALSA invites you to Check In @ your library! This year’s theme encourages libraries to throw open their physical and virtual doors to teens and showcase the outstanding technology they offer, from services such as online homework help and digital literacy-focused programs to resources like e-books, movies, music, audiobooks, databases and more.

With so many teens and pre-teens glued to their smartphones, tablets, and computers, the Techno Teens club aims to provide these tech-savvy teens with opportunities to learn and grow at the library.

For information about the program, visit us online at or “Like” our Teen Facebook page at

Candice Putnam
Program Coordinator
Dawe Branch, Red Deer Public Library

Sunday, January 6, 2013

We are raising boys...

flickr image via Ryan Qiu
My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard.
Mother would come out and say,
"You're tearing up the grass!"
"We're not raising grass," Dad would reply.
"We're raising boys." -author unknown

We are raising boys. All of us. No matter who we are in the community, whether we are a parent or not; we all have a responsibility to support the happy, healthy growth and development of boys. Of course, we need to do this for girls as well, but Grow Boys is a collective that focuses specifically on what can be done to nurture the particular needs of boys, and there are many. As the dad in the poem suggests, we need to take a critical and reflective perspective toward what our boys need from us, and how we're going to provide for them.

flickr CC image via Dave_B

Herbert Vilakazi's opening address to the National Association of Child Care Workers 1991 Biennial Conference ( in South Africa provides one such perspective with his brilliant insight to how we need to think and act if we are to support today's children as our gifts to the future.
"The problems of children and of youth, giving rise to child and youth care programs, can only begin to be solved in that society of humankind’s dream; a more collective-oriented society than at present, when the father of the child shall be every man as old as the child’s father; when the mother of the child shall be every woman as old as the child’s mother; a society of responsibility of the entire community; a society without poverty; without the inequalities of society members, based upon race, class, or sex; a society without the use of violence against other members of society; a society without any exploitation and oppression of any group by any other group; a society of equals; a thoroughly democratic society; last, but not least a society that shall have, once more, incorporated productive labour into the educational process."