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  • April 2009
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Need something to do this summer but aren’t quite ready for a job?

Consider volunteering at the library! Fill out an online application, print one and mail it or apply in person!

Not ready for the fun and excitement of volunteering at the library? Check out the Volunteer & Work section on the teen page of the CLP website to find other cool places to volunteer.

Remember…..To make the most of your volunteer experience, do something you really enjoy!

We Made It!

may-dayIs it a cop-out if, on the last day of April, our blog post is an exclamation that we made it through Blog Every Day April?  If so, well, too bad.  Blogging every weekday was hard work and required scheduling magic, guest bloggers, and even writing blogs in advance. I know!  I can hardly believe it myself.

But, we did it.  Tomorrow’s May Day, and on that auspicious day we will return to our regular two-or-three times a week blogging schedule.  It will be hard to adjust.  I’ve gotten used to seeing a new blog post every day at work, the anticipation while I wait to see what my coworkers will write about, the increased comments from readers.  But adjust I will, I’m sure…unless…unless…you help us blog!!

I’d love to continue posting every day, but we just can’t do it alone.  If you’re a Pittsburgh teen and would like to write a post for CLPTeensburgh, we’d love to see it.  Just email your blog post to teens@carnegielibrary.org.  We do reserve the right to edit for content or length, but we really want to share your thoughts on this blog, too.

So start writing, and keep on reading.  Let’s keep the spirit of BEDA in our hearts all year ’round!

Making it Happen: Collection Services

booksinastackWhere do library books come from?  Who decides what to buy and where to shelve it?

If you are like most library users, these are questions you’ve never pondered.  So you may be surprised to know that there are a bunch of library staff members who work behind the scenes every day to make sure that the latest popular vampire series, the most accurate look at global warming, the shortest possible book report title and lots of other items hit the shelves of your local library and eventually find their way into your hands.

reformed-vampireWhere does it start?  At least partly with you.  When tons of people check out (or even just ask about) a new title or author, the librarians who work with you every day get in touch with Carnegie Library’s Collection Services Department.  Collection Services makes us sound like we bug people for money, but what we do is lots more fun-we shop for new books, DVDs, and CDs (among other things) and figure out who needs them.*


We also read LOTS of reviews to find out what good books are coming out soon.  And sometimes we are lucky enough to get early versions (aka ARCs – Advance Reading Copies) to read and evaluate.  That’s especially nice when it’s an author we love and, like you, we just can’t wait to read their latest story.

Once we decide to buy a title, a lot more folks get involved.  Someone needs to place an order (we can’t just go to Barnes and Noble or order everything from Amazon), then someone else needs to check when the item arrives to make sure it’s the title we want and that we have enough copies to go around.

warandpeaceOnce we’re sure we got the right number of copies of the right book, we need to pay for them (of course) and also get them ready for the library shelves.  That means someone needs to put a label on the book to show what library owns it and other labels that tell staff where to put the book on the shelf.  We also need to make sure that twilighteach book is matched the right computer record.  Otherwise you might request Twilight and wind up with War and Peace by mistake.

Once the book is ready to go, our delivery service takes it to the owning library where staff put it on display for you to find.  With luck, you’ll like it and take it out.  But even if you don’t, we want to know that too.  Tell us when we get it right, when we get it wrong and what else you’d like to see on our shelves.

money*Shopping, of course, takes money.  Unfortunately, we are facing a funding crisis that could drastically impact our ability to provide materials and services.  Governor Rendell’s proposed 2009-2010 budget cuts 5.1% from state support for library services. We need your help to restore funding for public libraries to 2008-2009 levels. Please visit:  http://www.carnegielibrary.org/about/support/advocate.html to learn how you can help.

Lisa Dennis
Coordinator of Children’s Collections

Summer Money!

Over one billion dollars of President Obama’s stimulus money will directly benefit teens!

Thanks to this money the size of Mayor Ravenstahl’s Pittsburgh Summer Youth Employment Program will double this year, putting more than 500 teens to work! Applications will be available on the city’s website the first week of June.

In addition, Mayor Ravenstahl’s program Tomorrow is Today will focus on preparing teens for the workforce, providing chances to job shadow and intern, allowing city employees into the schools to expose teens to different career choices, and weave real life job skills into teens’ classes.

So, get to work! :)

Make it last forever

What would happen if you committed to taking one picture a day for a full year? Would you look at the world carefully? Would you get out and explore your community? Would you meet new people and try new things?

Try Project 365 and see where it takes you! Project 365 is an online initiative run by Photojojo.com that encourages participants to take a picture every day for 365 days. Check out some of the amazing pictures that people are uploading at Flickr.com here.

 If you are looking to improve your photography skills or are in search of new ideas, check out these books from the CLP collection:

Kodak Guide to Digital Photography by Rob Sheppard

The Digital Photography Companion by Derrick Story 

Alternative Digital Photography by John G. Blair

The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Digital Photography: A Step-By-Step Guide
by Stephen Luck

~Eva, CLP – Knoxville

What’s on your life list?

A life list is also known as a bucket list. It is a list of things that you want to do, see or experience during your life.

It is not about getting straight A’s. It is not about getting a good job when you graduate from high school or college.

It is about the fun, exciting and interesting things that make your life-your life.

It is never too early to think about making a life list. Consider these questions:

  • What places do you want to visit?
  • What things do you want to do?
  • What things do you want to learn?
  • Who would you like to meet?

My life list would include the following:

  • Visit all 50 states (I have 33 left to visit).
  • Go to a Super Bowl (it would be great if the Steelers were playing).
  • See and experience the Olympic Games as a spectator.
  • Learn how to ski.

12 teens from Mt. Washington put together a group life list:

  • Sky Diving
  • Water Skiing
  • Learn How to Sing
  • Ride the Phantom Revenge at Kennywood
  • Hang Gliding
  • Ride in a Hot Air Balloon
  • Learn How to Dance
  • Explore a Jungle
  • Learn a Martial Art
  • Scuba Diving
  • Mountain Climbing
  • Learn How to Fence
  • Ride a Horse
  • Learn a Foreign Language
  • Take a Camping Trip

What’s on your life list? I would love to hear your plans.

For more ideas:

Creating a Bucket List-100 Things to do Before You Die by Marelisa Fabrega.


97 Things To Do Before You Finish High School by Steven Jenkins and Erika Stalder.


1,000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz


You can even create your own bucket list (or “reaper list”) online and share it with others at ReaperList.com!


CLP – Mt. Washington

There’s Still Time to Register!

There’s still time to register for this Saturday’s Ralph Munn Creative Writing Workshop, led by Sandra Gould Ford! Ms. Ford will teach you techniques for writing poetry and narrative nonfiction and help you get your entry ready for the Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest.

What’s the Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest, you ask? The contests rules are below, and there’s more information on the website. Don’t forget to submit your entry by May 15th!

Contest Information:
  • Contest Categories: Short Fiction, Narrative Nonfiction, Poetry
  • **Please note: Narrative Nonfiction is defined as using literary styles and techniques to relay facts and information. Informational essays such as those submitted for most school projects may not be appropriate for this contest.
  • Prizes awarded in each category:
    • First Prize:       $250
    • Second Prize:  $100
  • Selected entries of quality will be published in a chapbook to be distributed to libraries, schools and published teens.
Contest Rules:
  • Workshop attendance is not required to enter contest
  • Contest open to all 9th – 12th graders (public, private, home-schooled) in Allegheny County
  • All submissions must be the original work of the teen entering
  • Teen can enter up to three pieces in the contest
  • Each entry must include a contact sheet / cover page listing:
    • Name
    • Address
    • Phone Number
    • Age
    • Grade
    • School
    • Contest category (poetry, fiction or nonfiction)
  • All entries must be typed.  Fiction and nonfiction entries must be double-spaced.
  • Poetry entries must be two pages or less.
  • Short Fiction and Creative Nonfiction entries must mot exceed 5,000 words.
  • Illustrated entries (comics, etc.) will be accepted but must be submitted as a *.pdf file.
  • Please submit entries via email to teens@carnegielibrary.org. All entries must be submitted electronically. Include “Ralph Munn Entry” in subject line.
  • All entries must be received by May 15, 2009!!
Questions? Need more information? Call 412-578-2599 or email teens@carnegielibrary.org

It’s Earth Day

According to the Library of Congress website, “Earth Day was first observed on April 22, 1970, when an estimated 20 million people nationwide attended the inaugural event.  Senator Gaylord Nelson promoted Earth Day, calling upon students to fight for environmental causes and oppose environmental degradation with the same energy that they displayed in opposing the Vietnam War.”


It seems like every day there are more and more stories (and debates) in the news about climate change or the need for environmental regulations.  It was a huge issue in the recent presidential election.  At heart, Earth Day is about celebrating the future of the planet and trying to make sure that you, whoever you are, will have a healthy place to live. 


So it makes sense that there are a bunch of good, recent books for teens about this subject: fiction and non-fiction and even science fiction.  They look at what’s happening now on the Earth, what could happen to the Earth, and what teens are doing, have been doing, or might do to make the Earth a better place.



somethingrottenSomething Rotten by Alan Gratz

Hamilton Prince’s father owns the huge paper mill that dominates the town of Denmark, Tennessee.  Hamilton Prince’s father has also just been murdered, and he has to find out who did it.  He relies on his friend Horatio and an environmental protester named Olivia to help him put the clues together.

theycamefrombelowThey Came from Below by Blake Nelson

Emily and Reese have the whole summer to hang out together on the beach at Cape Cod–and to chase the two new boys in town, Steve and Dave.  Sometimes trying to talk to a boy makes you feel like boys are a whole different species–but what if they actually are?  And what if they’re really angry about how your species is treating the Earth?

lifeinpinkandgreenMy Life in Pink and Green by Lisa Greenwald

Lucy’s interest in her family’s pharmacy and her knowledge of all things makeup come together in eco-friendly ways as she battles a corporate store looking to put the pharmacy out of work–and shows her family that she’s a force to be reckoned with.


exodusExodus by Julie Bertagna

It’s 99 years in the future.  The world has been flooded because of climate change.  Mara’s island is being destroyed by the ever-creeping flood and she has to use antique technology from the beginning of the 21st century to lead her family and friends across the ocean.




legacyoflunaThe Legacy of Luna by Julia Butterfly Hill

In 1997, Julia Butterfly Hill climbed one of California’s giant redwood trees.  She didn’t come down for 2 years.  Her struggle to defend the redwoods from logging is chronicled in this memoir.  (She is still an activist and has a blog.)


weirdweatherWeird Weather: Everything you didn’t want to know about climate change but probably should find out. by Kate Evans

Environmental facts are anything but boring in this book, presented in comic form.


secondtimecoolSecond-Time Cool: The art of chopping up a sweater. by Anna-Stina Lindén Ivarsson, Katarina Brieditis, and Katarina Evans

You know there are clothes in your closet that you kind of never want to wear again.  They don’t fit right, or they had something spilled on them, or whatever.  Luckily, you can use scissors, buttons, thread and more to make them wearable again–all for less of a cost than buying something new.



The Boston Globe’s Big Picture blog has an amazing set of photographs relating to Earth Day:  interactive pictures of cities that celebrated Earth Hour 2009, an hour on March 28th when people in each city signed up to turn off their lights and save energy.  You can click on each picture in the blog to watch the city dim.

Banned Books Announced (with a Pittsburgh connection..)


Every year the American Library Association releases a list of the top 10 most challenged books.  The Office for Intellectual Freedom spent the spring compiling data: 513 challenged books were reported in 2008. 

Without further ado:

Continue reading

African-American Series

Looking for a great book featuring African-American teens? While you may have seen titles like Street Pharm, Tyrell, Hip-Hop High School and Homeboyz, several publishers such as Kimani Tru and Dafina Books are now publishing series of books about African-American High School teens.

Check these titles out:

Lesson Learned by Earl Sewell

Lesson Learned by Earl Sewell


Trouble Follows by Monica McKayhan


Hot Girl, by Dream Jordan

Hustlin' by L. Divine

Hustlin’, by L. Divine


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