Booktalking 2.0 Style: Tips and Tricks for Youth Services Booktalkers
by Deborah B. Ford

From social media to homework, today’s students are rarely unplugged. Educators are also taking advantage of 2.0 resources in their classrooms and libraries. Youth Services staff can do the same by revising their standard booktalks into a digital piece that creates a more dynamic book buzz. Since most of the multimedia software is free, and many schools have presentation equipment, all you need is a computer, and a little imagination.

What is 2.0 Style?
Having the right desktop software isn’t as important as it once was. 2.0 technology means that publication tools for building content is now on the internet. You can create a document online and access it from anywhere. For example, with Google Docs, you can create a presentation on your office desktop computer, then go home and edit the same document from your laptop while you sit on your couch. Web 2.0 allows internet users to create and store content in a matter of minutes. It also allows them to share it as well.

How does 2.0 Style relate to books?
Using 2.0 technology, librarians can create multimedia booktalks, providing patrons with sound and visuals that literally bring a book to life. Using the same tools, these booktalks are now recorded, and can be posted on your library website. Patrons can watch them whenever they like. They can also share them with others in their use of social media. Your use of digital booktalks literally allows your patrons to become part of your marketing team. If they like what they see―they’ll sell it for you.

What can I create?

Book Trailers
One of the most popular types of 2.0 booktalks is book trailers. These 30 to 45 second videos are the same hook that you might use when you talk about books. The difference is that the visual elements grab the patrons in the same way a movie trailer creates a buzz about an upcoming release. Dr. Mark Geary has worked with students to create book trailers using a free online product from Microsoft called Photo Story. (It actually works on most versions of Windows.) He also includes a how to on his site.
This particular product must be downloaded to a Windows computer to create the movie. The beauty of Photo Story is that it uses still pictures, comes with royalty free music, and is so easy even an adult can do it. Each picture can be narrated, so if you later need to change the narration, you merely rerecord that picture and resave the movie. Its’ editable nature also includes built-in panning and zooming. Another benefit of using a tool like this is that you can create an entire program in one file.
Schools are also using Animoto to create free 30 second videos. This online tool does not need to be downloaded. Users can import photos or video, but there is no narration for the picture slides. It does make a pretty slick presentation. Longer videos and the exclusion of the Animoto logo are included in the upgraded Pro format. Here is an example of what you can do with your book covers. You’ll need to create an account so that you can save your work.
Some of your schools use Mac products to create videos. They may use cameras (even your iPhone can make a video). More often than not, they use iMovie. As a Youth Services staff member, you don’t have to be an expert in every movie making software, but having some knowledge can be helpful when you’re working with patrons too.

Another 2.0 tool you might like to try is a Voki. The free version of the software allows you to create 60 second animated avatars. After you choose the appearance of your character, there are four ways to generate the voice―use a microphone, use your phone, use an audio file, or type to voice (Then you can change your accent. Swedish anyone?) Here’s an example of a Voki. These files can also be posted online or put into presentations. Like Animoto, you’ll have to create a free account so that you can save and edit your work.

How do I market my new toolbox of book buzz tricks?

If you have traditionally brought a copy of the books, the schools will expect you to bring what you’ve always brought. You may usually speak in a hallway or in a corner of the library or gym. With your new bag of tricks you will want to advise your school contact that you have embraced technology and would like to use their teaching station. This will typically include an LCD projector and sound, but may also include a document camera. A document camera is an excellent tool for sharing pictures from your books, so that students can easily see the illustrations. You’ll need to bring a device that has your presentation or if you’ve posted it in advance, advise your contact that you’ll use their computer with internet access. The beauty of using the internet is that you can also model how to search or request books on your public library site at the conclusion of your presentation. Schools will be delighted to see that you’ve chosen to become a stronger part of the team as technology is so integrated with student learning.

Other 2.0 Ideas

In addition to the free Junior Library Guild Professional Development workshop that I lead on the topic, you might use the following resources to learn more and create your own.

• Podcast

• Blog post

• Book reviews on a wiki

• Online booktalks in your library catalog

• Comic book software (Comic Life)

• Word Cloud

• Fake Facebook page

• Create a PowerPoint game

Digital Resources
From creating videos to screencasts, there is free multimedia software for all platforms. Check out the following digital resources for your next booktalk.—Looking for a fun way to test your students' knowledge? Play 20Q- an online version of Twenty Questions. You can even play it in many languages.

Animoto—Create free 30 second videos using your photos with this online software.

Comic Life—This online software allows students to create their own comic.

Cool Tools for Schools—One of the best sites I've found for capturing links to great 2.0 tools- from audio to voting. Now includes best educational apps for mobile devices.

Jing—Take a picture of a video you are watching online or snapshots of what you see on the screen to create new presentations or even Twitter what you see.

Making the Best Use of Technology in Your School Library.—Supplement to Deborah B. Ford's BER seminar of the same name. Contains links for teachers and librarians on all sorts of technology- from websites to apps.

Our Story—Create your story! Our Story permits users to develop and save collaborative timelines that can be personalized with annotations, photos, and videos.

Photo Story—Turn your digital photos to videos with royalty free music with this free download from Microsoft.

Power Point Games for Teachers—Looking for game templates for livening up your lessons? Here you can find Smarter Than a Fifth grader and other popular games- all free.

PowerPoint Games—Use templates of Jeopardy, Who Wants to be a Millionaire and Hollywood Squares to prepare your students for testing or to test their knowledge.

School Tube—A free site where students and teachers can post videos.

Screencastomati—One click screencasting software for free. Record up to 15 minutes and upload to You Tube. Internet-based.

Screenr—Create screencasts with this free web-based site.

Storybird—Students can create short stories to share with family or friends.

Teach Hub,com—65 free interactive whiteboard sites: sites for you and your students

Teacher Tube—You Tube for teachers. Post and use your videos at school.

The Rover App—Need to see a site on your iPad that requires Flash? View it from the Rover app and it works!

Voki—Use this free site to create a talking avatar. Add it to your classroom website or leave a talking message for your class when you have a substitute.

Professional Development Workshop

For more information on the Book Buzz Professional Development workshop for your Youth Services team, contact your sales rep or

JLG Booktalk Presentations

Remember that we also have a professional booktalker on our JLG staff. Leslie Bermel will present a JLG Booktalk program of our latest books for your organization. This free service is available for scheduling through your sales rep or by contacting

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