Tuesday, December 20, 2005

An addition to the blog

I added something to the sidebar...do you see what it is?

Give up? Okay, if you scroll down a little bit you'll see a section on the sidebar called "They Write For You!" This is a list of Teen authors...so far, it's only people who we've mentioned here in the blog, but as time and energy allows we'll add new links. So check it out! A lot of authors include summaries of their books, reviews, biographies, discussion questions, places you can purchase books, and more on their websites. Every once in awhile you can even find a sneak preview of a book that hasn't been published yet. Neat, huh?

How's this for exciting?

Our blog is going to be linked to the CLP - Teens website! I don't know about you, but I find this quite exciting. Of course, it does mean that we need to come up with exciting, witty things to say more regularly...

Exciting and witty is not the mood I'm in right now, though, thanks to the book I just finished. Sandpiper, by Ellen Wittlinger, is a truly EXCELLENT book. Uplifting it's not, however.

Sandpiper is a novel about a teenage girl (named Sandpiper Hollow, after the place her parents met) who for several years has convinced herself that the way to get boys to like her is to give them oral sex. As you can imagine, this begins to complicate her life as she realizes that the boys are using her -- one boy in particular can't get over the fact that he was dumped (Sandpiper realized she really didn't like him all that much), and his friend (who Sandpiper had hooked up with) was also dumped, and they decide to get back at her.

It's when Derek and Andrew are harrassing Sandpiper that she first meets the mysterious Walker, who wanders around town in a black leather jacket, even though it's summer. Walker won't tell Sandpiper anything about his life, not even his real name. He does, however, assure Sandpiper that she's better than those boys think she is. She's even better than she thinks he is.

Sandpiper has a lot to learn about who she is, about self-respect, about how far is too far. This is the kind of book that really goes straight to your gut. From the first page, you know that Sandpiper's geared to self-destruct, and you can only keep your fingers crossed that she's able to succeed.

This is not the book to read if you want to laugh...but if you want to think, and you want to feel, it's definitely a great choice.

Ellen Wittlinger's books are all kind of like this -- the plots differ wildly, but they all kind of attack you down at the bottom of your soul and make you want to grab the characters by their shoulders and shake some sense into them. Some other books by Wittlinger are Hard Love, Heart on my Sleeve, and ZigZag. She has her own website at www.ellenwittlinger.com if you'd like to find out more about her or her books. I remember reading somewhere that she has a blog of her own, but I can't find the link. If I do find it, I'll add it.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I know, I know...

It's been a long time. Sorry.

But it's been busy here! I would have thought that the cold, snowy weather would keep everyone at home, but I guess not. Intrepid teens! You brave the winter and come to the library! Rock on.

More and more people have been coming in, which is great. Computers are busy, chairs are occupied, people are reading and chatting and enjoying themselves, which makes us librarians very happy. A lot of people are playing a very cool MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game). If you want to know what it is, come in and I'm sure someone will tell you.

What else are you doing? You're coming in on Mondays to watch movies...some have gotten a better response than others, but you all seem to really like the popcorn. That's good, we like popcorn too. If you have suggestions of movies to watch on upcoming Monday afternoons, just let us know by posting a comment, sending an email, IMing us, or just coming up to the desk!

Yesterday afternoon was the first Safe and Respectful Space in the Teen Meeting Room. For more information about this event, which will occur every Wednesday at 4pm, click here.

All the news that's fit to print...

Thursday, November 03, 2005

What's New?

Well. I've gotten back into my usual fantasy kick lately...I just finished Rebel Angels, by Libba Bray. It's the sequel to A Great and Terrible Beauty, which was very popular a year or two ago. I guess these two could be classified as Victorian Fantasy: They're about a group of teenage girls attending a finishing school in England who become involved with a mysterious Order charged with keeping control of the magic of the Realms. Very good! Ms. Bray's website is very cool, too. You can even tour Spence, the school the girls attend, and the London of the book.

I also read Poison, a novel by Chris Wooding about a young woman named Poison who lives in the swamp. When her little sister is kidnapped by Phaeries, Poison must go on a quest to rescue her -- and in so doing, she discovers a lot of things about the reality of her world that she wishes she didn't know. If you read Poison and like it, Chris Wooding's written a lot of other books, both for teens and for adults. One of them, The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray, was one of YALSA's Best Books for Young Adults in 2005, and was also chosen as one of School Library Journal's Best Books in 2004.

On another note:

Next Monday, November 7th, our Monday Movie Matinee will start up! I know I've mentioned it before, but just to reiterate: Every Monday, starting next week and for the forseeable future, we will pull our big-screen tv into the Teens Meeting Room, pop some popcorn, pull out some soda or other beverage, and watch a flick. Nothing formal, just a chance to hang-out and watch a movie with your friends and other folks. I still don't know for sure what movie I'm going to show, so if you have any thoughts, post a comment or send me an email! No ideas? Check out the Internet Movie Database for ideas.

Okay, I should probably do some work or something. Talk to y'all later.


Thursday, October 20, 2005

Teen Read Week Redux

A few things that have come through my email lately:

"Teen Read Week 2005
Tell Us What You Think About Reading!SmartGirl and Young Adult Library Services Association (a division of the American Library Association) want to know what you think about reading. This survey is part of Teen Read Week (October 16-22), a national campaign to get young adults interested in reading. For this campaign to succeed, we need your views. So give us the scoop by taking this survey. Like all SmartGirl surveys, your identity and address remain anonymous. "



And, don't forget to vote for YALSA's Teens' Top Ten! At this site, you'll also have the opportunity to vote on the theme for next year's Teen Read Week and suggest themes for future years.


Thursday, October 13, 2005

Teen Read Week!

Teen Read Week is coming up! What does that mean? Well, libraries around the country will be pulling out everything they've got to convince teens to read for fun. Teen Read Week is October 16th - 22nd, although here at CLP we're celebrating it for a few weeks. And what are we doing for Teen Read Week?

Well, the primary thing we're doing is going out into the public schools and telling y'all about some great books for teens. This year's theme is "Get Real," so most of the books are realistic fiction. All of us have been reading up a storm, making sure we know about the books we're going to be telling you about. I just finished one called Emako Blue today, about a fifteen year old girl who gets shot in a drive-by. Don't worry, I didn't give anything away -- the book starts at her funeral, and then goes into her friends' stories about how they met her and what she meant to them. It's very intense, and very sad, and very good.

What else is going on? Oh, yeah! On October 29th is our Retro Party. The Teen Advisory Council has worked really hard to put together a great party celebrating various decades...come in costume if you want to. That's right, pull out your parent's old bellbottoms or that grungy flannel your big brother wore in the nineties. There will be food, music and general celebration.

As always, get in touch if you have any questions.

Friday, September 30, 2005


Real quick update -- This Saturday (tomorrow!), October 1st, is Tekkoshocon 1/2. From the flyer:

Come join us for a day of FREE fun at the
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Oakland!
Play video games and participate in tournaments,
watch anime, enter a karaoke contest, and register
for Tekkoshocon, Pittsburgh Japanese animation
and pop culture convention. We can't wait to see you there!

It runs from 10am to 5pm. Amy's promised to take pictures, and if I can figure out how to post them here I will.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Hey, let's get groovin'!

The Teen Advisory Council has started planning the halloween party. It will be a retro affair on October 29th at 3pm...music, food, contests...costumes are welcome, but not required. Sounds like fun to me!

Sorry it's been awhile since I posted. I've been on vacation the last week (very nice, let me tell you). But at least I got a bunch of books read, that I'd been meaning to for quite some time. Among these are: Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher (it's just as good as I'd always been told) and Double Helix by Nancy Werlin (also pretty darn good...book about cloning rock). I highly recommend both of these. I read a few other books that I don't really recommend, so I'm not going to bother mentioning them.

I think we're going to start a movie matinee on Monday afternoons in November. And I think that we're probably going to subject you all to the movies that we watched when we were a bit younger...Pretty in Pink, here we come! If anyone has suggestions of what we should show, let us know.

Hasta la vista, bebe.


Thursday, September 01, 2005

Bang!, Banned Books, and more.

Robyn, the manager of Teens at CLP - Teens, asked me to tell you guys a little about Sharon Flake's new book, Bang! Well, let me tell you this: it's not for the faint of heart, and likely will make even the most jaded teen (or adult, as the case may be) shiver and maybe even cry a little. But, now that you've been given that disclaimer, go ahead and read it. It's really well written, just very, very dark. If you like Sharon Flake's books, why don't you go ahead and check out her website? Here's the link: www.sharongflake.com.

Something else to tell y'all about: September is Banned Books Month. No, that doesn't mean we go around banning books (really, how could you even think that?) -- it means we try to raise awareness of all the absolutely amazing, powerful books that have been challenged and banned over the years. On September 25th, teens will be reading passages from banned books. Here's some more information:

Teen Banned Books Reading
Sunday, September 25th
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (Main)
Teen Area - First Floor
Join us in celebrating freedom of speech with area teens reading from banned or challenged books.

Also featuring guest speakers:
Anthony LaTour
Local teen expelled from school for rap lyrics he wrote at home and posted in the Internet.
Alik Widge
CMU graduate student and ACLU speaker; Alik will talk about teen freedom of speech with an emphasis on new technologies like file sharing.
For more information please visit www.clpgh.org and go to the events section.

Okay, I know the title said "And more." But I don't have more to say. Bye!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Today at CLP - Teens

Just a quick reminder that, since summer reading is officially over, we will no longer be hosting Dance Dance Revolution on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Instead, we're back to the old school-year schedule of Fridays only. Sorry, folks. I know you had a lot of fun, but the time has come to put the nose to the grindstone and do your homework!

But come to the library anyway, even if there is no DDR.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Teen Programming Survey

Did you know that teens who come to the Main Library in Oakland would rather have programs on Mondays or Fridays than any other days? How 'bout the fact that almost all of y'all would like to watch movies in the library? (Of course, that last tidbit leaves me to wonder why, when we had movies showing in the library, so few of you came...) And more teens who've visited the library in the last week or so are in 9th grade than any other grade. Welcome to high school!

How do we know all this, you might ask? Well, it's simple. In an effort to plan programs around what interests you, the teens of Pittsburgh, we're surveying people who visit the space to get their opinions on what they'd like to see. So far, about 35 people have filled out the survey. Unfortunately, we're only able to survey people who actually come into the library or who've given us email addresses, but we really want to get information about what teens who don't already visit the library want. So, if you haven't been here in awhile but would come back if something cool was happening, email us at teens@carnegielibrary.org and we'll email you the survey to fill out.

Hope to hear from you soon!


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Another day, another dollar

Good morning! Just wanted to let y'all know about a really cool program that's going on at the library today: Crafts for Teens. Our intrepid intern Adaena is creating a massive geodesic dome to hang in the teens space, and I'm sure she'd appreciate some assistance! The program runs from 1-3pm and, like almost everything else at the library, it's free. Teens from 12 to 18 are welcome! This is the last crafts program of the summer, so come on down.

On a book note: I finished The Onion Girl last night, and it was really wonderful. Read it. This morning while I was drinking my coffee I read Emma Frost: Higher Learning, a graphic novel from the Marvel Age series. It's about Emma Frost, who some of you may know as The White Queen from the X-Men. This book, however, talks about Emma's life before she joined the ranks of the X-Men, when she was just a privileged schoolgirl from an insensitive family. It's rather fun, and now I have to go and find the next volume!

I hope you all have a great day. More later.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

What I'm Reading

Right now I'm in an urban fantasy kick. I just read Magic Street by Orson Scott Card, about a young man who has the power to make dreams come true (but they always come true with a nasty twist), and now I've gotten hooked on Charles De Lint. Here's his website: http://www.sfsite.com/charlesdelint/

Most of Charles De Lint's books take place in a city called Newford, which somehow has a rift between the "World As It Is" and a magical realm. Right now I'm reading Onion Girl, about an artist who was run over by a car and very badly injured. While in the dreamworld, she's told that she has to heal the hurts inside that remain from a childhood of abuse before she can be healed on the outside. It's a really, really wonderful story. A lot of Charles De Lint's books are written for adults, but he also writes for teens. The most recent of his books written specifically for a young adult audience is The Blue Girl, which YALSA (the Young Adult Library Services Association) voted one of the 2005 Best Books for Young Adults. I loved it, and if you like ghosts, fantasy novels, or punk rock you probably will too.

More later,


If you're reading this, you've found the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh - Teens blog! Here we, the Teens staff, will attempt to keep you, the reader, updated as to what's going on in our space, what we're reading, what you're reading, and so forth. Feel free to post comments and tell us what you think!

My name's Karen and I'm one of the Teen library assistants. The other people on our staff you might hear from are Ellen, Joseph, Erin, Reed and Robyn, as well as our interns, Adaena and Licia (who won't be with us much longer...boo hoo). Together, we are the Teens Staff!

Right now it's Tuesday at 3:22pm, and those of you in the know know what that means -- DDR. That's right. We have Dance Dance Revolution set up in the Teen Meeting Room and there are about eight of our regulars in there dancing their hearts out. Starting next week, though, Summer Reading is over and we'll be going back to just having DDR on Friday afternoons at 3pm.

Speaking of Teen Summer Reading: about 200 teens signed up for TSR at CLP - Main, and a whole lot more signed up across the city! If you want a chance to win the grand prize, a trip to Kennywood or Sandcastle for yourself and five of your friends, there's still time! Just go onto our website, www.carnegielibrary.org/teens/tsr and sign up. Then, fill out the survey for your chance to win!

Anyway...that's all the news that's fit to print for now. I'll be back.