Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

September 26, 2006 > The Teen Scene at your library

The Teen Scene at your library

Providing library service to teens is an important commitment in the Alameda County Library.  For over two decades, Fremont Main Library has had dedicated staff responsible for the maintenance of the teen collection, which includes books, magazines, music, video, and graphic novels.  Staff can also provide reading recommendations and homework resources to the 10,000 high school students in the Fremont Unified School District.  In addition, a variety of programs are available for teens, as well as opportunities for volunteer service.  

The Alameda County Library just concluded its 5th annual Teen Summer Reading Program, "Read Around the World," August 12.  Over 2,000 teens signed up and received their Reading Log at their neighborhood Alameda County Library branch, including the Bookmobile, Centerville, Fremont, Irvington, Newark, Niles, and Union City.  Reading Logs were used to keep track of hours spent reading.  Teens received incentive prizes based on the number of hours spent reading.  Those reading 25 hours could choose a free paperback, and those completing 50 hours received a free day pass to Paramount's Great America!  Gary Morrison, Teen Specialist, felt that teens particularly enjoyed the multicultural theme and related books.  The program was made possible by the generous support of Alameda Library Foundation and Paramount's Great America.

The Fremont Main Library, in conjunction with the library's Teen Advisory Committee, also presented a movie series for teens this summer. Every Wednesday afternoon, teens were treated to free showings of popular movies, along with free popcorn! Movies such as High School Musical, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants were enjoyed by more than 100 teens over the course of the summer.  Recent programming has also included a seminar put on by the American Red Cross on good babysitting skills.

The Teen Advisory Committee (TAC) is composed of teen representatives from the local high schools.  These students give input on the teen collection, present programs, and write book and movie reviews.  The library web site's Teen Scene now features reviews by teens, with an opportunity for other teens to give feedback.

To help teens meet their Service Learning requirement, the library does offer some teen volunteer opportunities, along with a Teen/Senior Web Connection program, in which trained teens are matched one-on-one to teach older adults internet skills. 

For the status of these volunteer positions, or if you are interested in being a member of the TAC, please contact Gary Morrison at

Database of the month: Opposing Viewpoints Research Center

Click on:> Research/Articles & Databases>For Students & Teachers>Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center

At the library, we see a lot of students who have the assignment of presenting pro and con arguments on various social issues.  They are also frequently asked to provide supporting documents, including statistics, to back up the statements they make.  Sometimes the entire class gets the same social issue to research.  Although the library carries many books that contain arguments for and against a number of issues, and has lots of other material, including books, magazine and journal articles, and government publications full of statistical data, it can take a very long time to put all these things together.  Enter Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center.  It contains opinion essays, articles from newspapers, academic journals and the popular press, and statistical information.  These are usually supplemented by pictures, primary documents (such as copies of laws and statements by members of Congress), and a list of free websites that are considered to be reliable.  Everything is full-text, and there are links to how to do a citation so that a bibliography can easily be made.  With your library card, you have access to all of this in one place.

The front page of the database has a long list of the most frequently assigned topics in this area.  If yours is listed, just click on it.  There is also a search box to type in your topic if it isn't one that's listed.  The results page comes up in a tabbed format.  Each tab represents a different type of information source.  For example, clicking on the topic school violence gets you a page of the first 20 of the 88 viewpoint essays on this subject.  The Viewpoints tab is bolded, so you know that's the one that is open.  The essays cover opinions on whether media violence contributes to school violence, whether gun control would help, and many other essays on possible causes and prevention of this phenomenon.

The Reference tab contains 26 articles from books and other publications on violence and crime by youth, gun control and youth at risk.  The Magazines contains 140 articles from the popular press.  A separate Academic Journals tab has the 21 articles from journals such as Social Science Quarterly and Education Next.  Newspapers are under their own tab; sources here include the last 5 years of the New York Times, 10 years of the San Francisco Chronicle and 5 years of the San Jose Mercury News.  The Statistics tab has 42 articles with statistical tables, the Websites tab contains links to 6 websites, including the Center for the Prevention of School Violence and the National Alliance for Safe Schools.

If you'd like to get a library card to use this or any of the 30-plus subscription databases provided by Alameda County Library, go to and click on Get a Library Card.  Print out an application, fill it out and bring it in to any Alameda County Library with something that shows your name and current address.  We'll give you a card right away.  With it, our databases are available 24/7 from home, work or school.

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