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  • August 2014
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Black History Month Spotlights Return to CLP Carrick!

Every Tuesday in February last year, CLP Carrick’s weekly teen program, Teen Thing, focused on a different African American pioneer with a creative activity related to the accomplishments of said pioneer.  We made stop-motion zombie flicks in honor of Duane Jones, flipbook comics for Frank Braxton, 3D glasses for Valerie Thomas, and watched a documentary about the arts scene in Brooklyn in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

It was all pretty awesome.

So… when the topic of continuing the weekly Black History Month events came up this January, Teen Think, Carrick’s Teen Advisory Group, voted unanimously to continue the spotlights with this year’s theme of music.  Throughout February, Teen Thing will be spotlighting innovative and influential African American musicians who have significantly contributed to the sounds of rock, jazz, punk, and hip hop – and it all starts this week!

Tuesday, February 4th
Teen Thing / Black History Month Spotlight: Blues and Early Rock and Roll

The mysterious Robert Johnson

Into artists like Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Jack White, and The Black Keys??? Come find out about the African American blues and rock musicians that influenced them – artists like Willie Dixon, Robert Johnson, Lead Belly, Muddy Waters, and Chuck Berry.

Oh, and make your own harmonica while you’re at it!

Other events include:

Tuesday, February 11th
Teen Thing / Black History Month Spotlight: All That Jazz

Pittsburgh’s Mary Lou Williams

Tuesday, February 18th
Teen Thing / Black History Month Spotlight: Punk 101 – Bad Brains

Washington D.C.’s legendary Bad Brains

Tuesday, February 25th
Teen Thing / Black History Month Spotlight: Hip Hop and Change

Saul Williams

Find out where the music you like comes from at our Black History Month Spotlights!  Teen Thing happens every Tuesday afternoon from 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM and is open to anyone in grades 6-12 or age 12-18.

Jon : Carrick

Welcome To America’s Most Livable City?

The number of stories praising Pittsburgh keep piling up. From Most Livable to Best Places to Retire, from Top City for Geeks to Best Place to Buy a Home, Pittsburgh seems like the new cool place to be. But if everybody all over America saying Pittsburgh is so great, why is Pittsburgh rapper Jasiri X calling Pittsburgh “Clicksburgh, Pistolvania?” Is it true, as Jasiri X says, that Pittsburgh has the highest rate of Black poverty among 40 comparable US cities? Is Pittsburgh the “Most Livable City” in the United States?


These are important questions to ask. Jasiri X is talking about Black poverty, and since almost 30% of Pittsburgh’s residents are African-American according to U.S. Census data, that’s three out of ten people.  That’s a lot of Pittsburghers. U.S. Census data shows that the rate of African-Americans who live in poverty in Pittsburgh is around 35.6%– certainly among the highest rates in the country. People who live in poverty have a harder time paying for housing, food, transportation and even the things that would help to lift them out of poverty, such as getting a college degree.

To make matters worse, in some of Pittsburgh’s poorest neighborhoods, there has been an increase in gun violence recently. In 2013, little Marcus Lamont White, Jr., a baby in East Hills was killed when somebody started to shoot at a community barbeque. Wiz Khalifa’s uncle was shot and killed outside the Steak ‘n Shake at the Waterfront in January, 2014. Late that same month, Hosea Davis, the man who saved a girl at the East Liberty Target from a man with a knife was shot ten times with a high-powered gun in the back. Four of the nine homicides in Allegheny County as of January 29, 2014 were African-American. In 2013, 42 of the 62 lives taken were African-American.

Gun violence and poverty levels in Pittsburgh beg the question: if Pittsburgh is the Most Livable City, who is it most livable for? How would the levels of Black poverty and gun violence in Pittsburgh affect national praise for Pittsburgh if they were taken into closer consideration? Is Pittsburgh still “Most Livable” in spite of its challenges? What do you think? How do we explain the differences between some Pittsburghers’ experiences with poverty and gun violence and national articles about how great Pittsburgh is? And finally, what are Pittsburghers doing about these problems?

There are many groups and individuals who are trying to stop gun violence in our city. One of them is Vanessa German, a spoken word artist who lives in Homewood. She exhibits her visual work and performs internationally. Vanessa created the signs that say, “Stop Shooting-We Love You” that you might have seen all over Pittsburgh. They are one of her responses to shooting in her neighborhood and beyond. Vanessa also runs ArtHouse—an after-school house where kids can come to do art alongside her. You need to hear Vanessa German if you want to better understand the strengths of Pittsburgh. She’s amazing! Here is a link to a recent performance Vanessa did about the beauty and challenges of Homewood: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aktAjeFqtvw

Another is Sharon Flake, the Pittsburgh author of The Skin I’m In, Bang!, You Don’t Even Know Me and Pinned, among others. Sharon writes about kids who are dealing with poverty and violence. Sometimes reading about situations like yours can make you feel less alone. Reading about kids unlike you can help you to understand the world from many perspectives.


Check out some of these great books about gun violence, growing up poor, and how in spite of hard circumstances, people find strength through their connections to other people. And if you want to read more about Pittsburgh’s best-of lists, gun violence in our city and other ideas in this blog article, here’s a list of links:

“30 Years of Hell With The Lid Off to Most Livable: How Pittsburgh Became Cool”


“18 Reasons Why Pittsburgh is the Greatest City on the Planet”


Forbes.Com Rates Pittsburgh No. 1 “Most Livable City”


WYEP Gun Violence in Pittsburgh:


Vanessa German:


Sharon Flake:


Sheila-Hill District

Yes, Virginia, There is Teen Stuff Going Down at the Library This Week

No school and nothing to do???  The Library’s got you covered!  Here’s a brief glimpse of what’s going on this week:

Monday, December 23

Teen Time @ Lawrenceville / 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM

Gaming @ Main, Allegheny, and East Liberty!

Open Lab @ Main and Allegheny!

Tuesday, December 24


Wednesday, December 25

Thursday, December 26

Teen Lounge: Pop-Up Flix @ Brookline / 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Teen Time @ Knoxville / 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Teen Creative Writing Workshop @ Beechview / 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

iPad Playground @ Squirrel Hill / 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Friday, December 27

Bad Movie Fridays @ Main / 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Gaming @ Main, Allegheny, and Sheraden!

Saturday, December 28

Teen Manga Club @ Beechview / 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Movies All Day @ Main / 10:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Aquaman and Aqualad gingerbread cookies from Teen Thing @ Carrick

For more teen happenings at a Library near you, be sure to check out the EVENTS slider on the Teen Page!

ALSO!  Don’t forget about the Teen Winter Reading Raffle, which is going on now till January 15th.  You could win stuff just for reading!

Jon : Carrick

Happy Birthday, Andy!

Today is Andrew Carnegie’s 178th birthday!

Andrew Carnegie …by Pittsburgh’s other Andy.

Carnegie, Carnegie, Carnegie – you see this guy’s name everywhere… what’s up with that???  Well, for starters, his life was like something out of an old Hollywood movie – born into a poor family that moved to Pittsburgh from Scotland after he was born, he worked his way up to eventually become the wealthiest man of his day.  Then he retired and gave his money away – like LOTS of it – so it would benefit everybody.  In short, pretty radical dude.

Teen-Made Carnegie Documentary (*Note: Theodore Roosevelt did not sign the Sherman Antitrust Act, as stated.  Benjamin Harrison signed it into law.  Roosevelt, however, was the first president to seriously enforce the law)

The American Experience (Hosted by Pittsburgh’s David McCullough – who gives a shout-out to CLP!)

The first library Carnegie built was in his hometown of Dunfermline, Scotland in 1883.  He then built his first library in the U.S., the Carnegie Free Library of Braddock, before moving on to establish CLP!  All in all, Carnegie built over 2,000 libraries throughout the U.S. and across the world.

Carnegie Library in Suva, Fiji

FUN FACT:  Did you know that Andrew Carnegie is buried in Sleepy Hollow???  Yes, that Sleepy Hollow!

Jon : Carrick

More creepy halloween fun is happening @ your library this week

To follow up on Marian’s excellent roundup of spooky activities around the city’s libraries from last week, here’s what’s happening this week.

At Allegheny today we have Halloween Minute to Win It:

Do you have what it takes, or are you too scared? Test yourself during our spooky Halloween rendition of “Minute to Win It.”

Monday, October 28, 2013
4:00 PM
1230 Federal Street Pittsburgh, PA 15212
this could be you today. photo via Escondido Public Library's flickr

this could be you today. photo via Escondido Public Library’s flickr

Tuesday you can attend the ZOMB-FEST  at the Hill District:
Zomb-Fest 2013 kicks off with brain corn hole, snacks and learning the Thriller dance. Then we’ll have a professional make-up artist teach you how to Zombie-fy yourself with real theatrical makeup. Then you can hit the Photo Booth and capture the gruesome moment! Eat yummy, freaky Halloween snacks!
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
October 29, 2013

4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

2177 Centre Avenue at Kirkpatrick Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

photo of the author as a zombie

photo of the author as a zombie

or view a scary movie at East Liberty‘s Teen Time!
There will be a selection of movies to choose from – classics and new releases, and some popcorn and apples to snack on.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
130 S. Whitfield Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15206

not the actual selection of movies. photo via nomadic lass on flickr

not the actual selection of movies. photo via nomadic lass on flickr

There’s also face painting at Allegheny on Tuesday:
Join local artist Lauren Toohey as she teaches you the basics of face painting. She will also talk about making a living as an artist. Have your face painted, then put your skills to use at our Halloween Carnival by painting a friend’s face!
Tuesday, October 29, 2013

4:00 PM – 6:00 PM


1230 Federal Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212

And a pre-Halloween party at Brookline:
Halloween is creeping around the corner! Put on a costume and do your part to get in the spooky spirit by partying up with us pre-Halloween.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013

5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

708-710 Brookline Blvd.

Pittsburgh, PA 15226

mutant cyborg costume by don pezzano on flickr

mutant cyborg costume by don pezzano on flickr

Then on Wednesday you can get candy at Brookline.. if you win a game:
Happy Halloween! On your way out the door to mega-candy acquisitioning, stop by the library for Teen Lounge. We’ll be distributing candy in the manner of Deal or No Deal. Will you hit it big, or will you end up with a toothbrush?
Thursday, October 31, 2013

3:00 PM – 6:00 PM


708-710 Brookline Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15226

a toothbrush. by dave lanovaz

a toothbrush. by dave lanovaz

And on Thursday, Knoxville is having a Spooky Teen Time:

Thursday, October 31, 2013

3:30 PM – 5:00 PM

400 Brownsville Road

Pittsburgh, PA 15210

this could be what it's like at Knoxville's Teen Time. You'll never know if you don't show up! photo by minxlj on flickr

this could be what it’s like at Knoxville’s Teen Time. You’ll never know if you don’t show up! photo by minxlj on flickr

Remember, all of this is IN ADDITION to Carrick’s Haunted Library, Labs events, regular Teen Time activities, Art Clubs, AND MORE. Check the local teen evens near you on our teen event feed!

Mustaches are having a moment

Mustaches are really having a moment.  Mustaches now adorn shirts, pillows, shoes, duct tape, puppies- everywhere I turn there are mustaches.  But you see, mustaches were not always looked upon so favorably.  In 1965, the American Mustache Institute formed to combat discrimination against people sporting ‘staches and other fine expressions of facial hair, becoming ” the world’s leading facial hair advocacy organization.”  According to their website, the American Mustache Institute “continues to battle negative stereotyping that has accompanied the mustache since those glory years of the 1970s – the peak of mustache acceptance – fighting to create a climate of acceptance, understanding, flavor saving, and upper lip warmth for all mustached Americans alike.”

Please do not take offense, but unlike most trends, it actually seems like Pittsburgh has been a real leader in the recent mustache renaissance.  In fact, in 2011 Pittsburgh actually placed third on the list of Most Mustache Friendly Cities in America by the American Mustache Institute.  Further cementing our vanguard in the mustache world, the American Mustache Institute actually relocated to our fine city this past July.  And right now, the American Mustache Institute is soliciting votes to determine the winner of this year’s Robert Goulet Memorial Mustached American of the Year!  The winner will be announced on Saturday, October 26 at an event they are hosting here in town.

Purely by coincidence, CLP Main- Teen is also hosting a Teen Halloween Mustache Bash for teens in middle and high school on Saturday, October 26 from 2 pm to 4 pm.  Instead of the usual scary/zombie/ghostly themed Halloween fare, we decided to capitalize on our culture’s current mustache obsession and celebrate ALL THE MUSTACHES!  We “mustache” you to join us for mustache themed games, treats, crafts, and a best mustache contest!

In the meantime, be sure to check out this book in preparation:

mustache growers guide

The Hectic Glow: Alternative Homecoming 2013

hecticglow-slider-03Yes!  It’s that time of year again.

This year Alternative Homecoming celebrates beats and beasts along with John Green’s international bestselling YA sensation The Fault in Our Stars.

As always, Alternative Homecoming is open for teen expression to breathe free. Whether formal wear, cosplay, or jeans and a t-shirt), dress however is going to get you feeling turnt up! Bring the sweetheart you want, go stag, or rock the party with all your friends!

Tickets are only $5 apiece.

For online tickets, additional info, and a form for song requests, visit http://www.carnegielibrary.org/althomecoming/.

Tickets can also be purchased at the reference desk at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Main – Teen (4400 Forbes Avenue, 15213).  Stop by and see us!

Here’s a sneak preview of some of the things we have planned:

* Neon face painting, in celebration of Carnegie International artist He An
* Ultraviolet dance party, with DJ Joey J of CLP – Main, Teen Department
* Green screen photobooth, courtesy of The Labs @ CLP
* Dramatic wildlife scavenger hunt, with Teen Docents from Carnegie Museum of Natural History
* Flashlight tours through Carnegie Museum of Natural History exhibits
* LED light-up corsages from Assemble
* TeenSpeak! social issues forum, from the City of Pittsburgh’s Mayor’s Youth Council
* Memory book to record the legacy you want to leave in the world, in honor of the themes presented in The Fault in Our Stars.
* Guest passes good for a future visit to the Carnegie International, courtesy of the Carnegie Museum of Art
* Decorate your own Smiley cookie, courtesy of Eat’n Park

And here’s a list of books you can check out to get you prepped for all the fun you’ll have!  ;)


Happy reading and we’ll see you on November 2 at 7:30 pm!

-Morgan, Main – Teen

Pittsburgh’s Day of Giving, Gives to Your Library


Tomorrow is Pittsburgh’s fourth annual Day of Giving!  Back in 2009 The Pittsburgh Foundation had the idea to set up a day devoted to giving.  It’s goals were to help increase the public’s knowledge of Nonprofits, help leverage individual funding of organizations, and spotlight the charitable trends of Pittsburghers.   All of this turned out to be a pretty good idea and last year donors gave $8.5 million to groups in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.

Pittsburgh’s Day of Giving is a great chance to make your generous donation to the Carnegie Library go even further.  Of course we think the Library is a great place to donate but we aren’t the only worthy organization.  Hundreds of nonprofits working to better Allegheny and Westmoreland county are included.

If you can’t afford the $25 minimum donation with your allowance don’t worry you can still help.  Remind adults in your life how much the library means to you and let them know that a donation made on October 3 can make a bigger impact.  And, as always, if a monetary donation is out of the question check out volunteer opportunities at your local CLP Branch.  Or use Amy’s helpful round-up of Teen Advisory Council meetings to get you donating your time instead.

Pgh Gives Logo clr


~Brooke, CLP South Side

Why is there a school desk at my library?

photo by flickr user spirobolos

photo by flickr user spirobolos


The unassuming all in one school desk/chair. Symbol of classrooms, the regularity of rows, and minutes of class either rushing or trickling by.

Why would you ever expect to see one sitting in the teen space of your public library?

You will see one soon at CLP – East Liberty and possibly in other spaces that provide services for the 18 & under demographic. It’s part of United Way’s Be There campaign. According to United Way president Bob Nelkin, it’s a campaign aimed at teens who miss a lot of school – a way to positively talk about the benefits of going to school instead of negatively punish kids who don’t want to go to school.

corporal punishment is exactly the opposite of motivation to go to school. photo by flickr user theirhistory

corporal punishment is exactly the opposite of motivation to go to school. photo by flickr user theirhistory

What do you think of the campaign? What motivates you to attend classes? What makes you not want to go to school? How could that be fixed or made better? These are some of the questions we’ll be asking at East Liberty as we decorate our desk. Feel free to add your answers in the comments.

great motivation: baby animals at school. photo by flickr user theirhistory

great motivation: baby animals at school. photo by flickr user theirhistory

Here at East Liberty we’ll get to decorate the chair however we want, and then display it in the Teen Section. Not only will it be a fun chance for sanctioned furniture “vandalism”, we will get more space for sitting and doing homework, or writing a note, or working on a personal creative project. Stop by and see it!



-Tessa, CLP – East Liberty

Authors. Stories. You.


What do you and your friends do during sleepovers?

My friends and I used to bake and eat brownies, play MASH, wander the streets of our rural neighborhood in an attempt to find other friends who were unwilling to sleep or have movie marathons.   Whitney, who’s sitting next to me, would watch Xanadu, make crock pot cheese dip, and eat white cheddar Cheez-Its.

Authors Siobhan Vivian and Jenny Han aren’t so leisurely during their sleepovers.  They end up with great ideas for books like Burn for Burn and its new sequel Fire with Fire.  Hear these two awesome people talk about friendship, collaborative writing, and life as it relates to teens when Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures brings them to Pittsburgh next month!  Then, get a chance to chat with them while they’re signing books!

Siobhan Vivian & Jenny Han
Friday, October 11, 7pm @ Carnegie Library Lecture Hall
Get more info here.

Sequel to Burn for Burn

Don’t miss out on these upcoming author visits:

Daniel Handler
Friday, October 25, 7pm @ Carnegie Library Lecture Hall
Get more info here.

James Dashner
Friday, November 22, 7pm @ Carnegie Library Lecture Hall
Get more info here.

First book in The Mortality Doctrine series


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