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  • June 2011
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Time Capsule Books (inspired by Parks and Recreation)

"Sometimes I think she's in the Volturi."

In a recent episode of the hilarious Amy Poehler vehicle Parks and Recreation, which chronicles the bumbling Parks Department of and the odd assortment of townfolk who inhabit the small Indiana town of Pawnee, Amy Poehler’s dream of building a time capsule that can perfectly… encapsulate the town is dashed when a crazed man demands that she include the one book that means more to the world and has done a better job of portraying the sparkling, undying experience of love and the human condition more than anything.

You guessed it. He wanted Twilight.

But what if you were the one who got to choose which book would go in your time capsule? I asked a few of the teens hanging out in the Teen Department, as well as our local librarians to see what they had to say.

13 Reasons Why, by Jay Asher

It’s just really good. This girl kills herself and makes tapes about why. Depressing, but good.

~Lizz, 17

The Thief Lord, by Cornelia Funke

A bunch of kids living in a movie theater. It’s awesome.

~Saul, 13

Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld

It’s a good book, and it’s like a utopia–a lesson to the world.

~Carlisle, 13

Fade, by Robert Cormiere

It’s very thrilling.

~Merce, 14

Looking for Alaska, by John Green

‘Cause I like it.

~Sophia, 13

Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling

It’s very popular and is a new idea.

~Anishaa, 12

I asked some of the staff, too, and here’s what they had to say:

The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusak

Because it has a little bit of everything: history, guilt, morality, growing up, ethics and the power/gift of words. It is also funny and moving at the same time (hard to pull off) and it even has illustrations!

~Suzie Waldo, Manager, CLP-Knoxville

Uglies, by Scott Westerfield

Because it’s explores what could happen, if future scientific endeavors were fueled mainly by current American conventions of beauty.

~LeeAnn Anna, Teen Services Coordinator

Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel

It captures this golden age of graphic novels with fantastic storytelling and a modern coming-of-age story.

~Corey Wittig, Digital Learning Librarian

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

To teach people of the future not to let society progress to that point…

~Julianne Moore, Librarian, CLP-Beechview

Brutally awesome. I think it changed what the public thinks about young adult novels.

~Annica Stivers, Librarian, CLP-Beechview

The Freak Observer, by Blythe Woodson

Because it was the Morris Award Winner the year I served on the committee.

~Karen Brooks-Reese, Manager, CLP-Lawrenceville

Of course, I would choose

Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky


Charlie’s voice was rife with vulnerability, and his nearly breathless observations as he wrote to his anonymous friend were so poignant. Anyone who wants to remember what it’s like to be a thoughtful, feeling human being should read this book again and again.

Those are our “time capsule books.” What would you choose?

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Main

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