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  • June 2018
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“You’ve Got Homework. We’ve Got Help.” @ CLP

Winter break is quickly approaching, at least that’s how it feels to me.  Maybe you feel like it can’t arrive fast enough.  Either way, the weeks before winter break usually mean assignment due dates, tests, and/or finals.

We know it can be hard to study and work on assignments at home.  There are so many distractions–the television, things on your bedroom floor, the refrigerator, your phone!

That’s why Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh offers Quiet Study and Homework Help sessions at some of its neighborhood locations.  Check out the session closest to you!

Teen Quiet Study @ Downtown & Business
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 | Other Dates
3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Are you a teen and looking for a quiet place to read and study? Join us at the Library for Teen Quiet Study time. Staff will be on hand to show you databases and books that will help with your homework needs.
Downtown & Business
612 Smithfield Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

CLP – Knoxville Teen Homework & Study Hours
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 | Other Dates
5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Hey Teens! Did you know that where (place) you study or do homework at matters? Having the right resources and materials can be the difference between a good or bad grade. SO WHAT OTHER PLACE IS BETTER TO UTLIZE THAN YOUR LOCAL AND FREE LIBRARY?  Snacks provided every Tuesday!
400 Brownsville Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15210

Teen Homework Help @ Allegheny
Wednesday, December 11, 2013 | Other Dates
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Teens, stop in and get help on your everyday homework. Join us in the Teen Space every Wednesday from 4-5 PM.
1230 Federal Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212

Are you one of those people who studies late at night?  CLP has you covered too!  Check out Live Homework Help from Tutor.com.


It provides live one-to-one help every day from 3pm – 10pm.  After 10pm you can access the SkillsCenter Resource Library:24/7 which features worksheets, study guides and videos!  You’ll need your Library Card in order to access this service from home.  Don’t have a Library Card yet?  Here’s how you can get one.

–Kelly, CLP – Main, Teen

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

This Way to Awesomeville

WOW.  So this thing called ‘school’ is back.  Perhaps you’ve heard of it.  Maybe you’re in search of a few kindred souls who, like yourself, are totally perplexed by its sudden reemergence and the equally sudden disappearance of summer vacation.  Maybe you also have an uncontrollable urge to utter something like:  “Gee golly, that sure was a swell time!”  Maybe not.  Either way, the Library’s got you covered this week with mind-boggling amounts of awesomeness that’s sure to lighten the tone of any back-to-school blues you may catch floating about the hallways.

Here’s a brief glimpse of some of the stuff going down this week:

Monday, August 26

Teen Time: Teen Advisory Council @ CLP Lawrenceville / 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Tuesday, August 27

Teen Lounge: “Book” Bags and Secret Boxes @ CLP Brookline / 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Ukulele Mayhem @ CLP Main Teen / 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Teen Thing:  Balloon Bracelets @ CLP Carrick / 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Teen Time: Graffiti Movie Night @ CLP East Liberty / 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Wednesday, August 28

Teen Textile Workshop @ CLP West End / 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Thursday, August 29

Pop-Up Flix: Teen Movie Night @ CLP Brookline / 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Friday, August 30

On Demand Gaming @ CLP Allegheny / 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Saturday, August 31

Recycled T-Shirt Workshop @ CLP pop-up Allentown / 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

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


Jon : Carrick


(Follow us on Instagram: clpteens.)

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Main

Alternative Education

It’s just a fact that the traditional format of high school doesn’t work for some people. Or college, worthy as it is, doesn’t feel like a great fit (plus, the cost of college is rising rapidly, in case you hadn’t heard).

That doesn’t mean you should quit your education every time it feels challenging, but there are alternatives.  As the National Alternative Education Association’s website says:

“alternative schools, programs and classrooms are serving students who are not succeeding in the traditional educational setting.  Often this population of learners exhibits one or more of the following traits: under-performing academically, possessing learning disabilities, displaying emotional or behavioral issues, being deliberate or inadvertent victims of the behavioral problems of others, displaying a high risk of potential expulsion, suspension, or dropping out of school, and/or displaying the need for individualized instruction.  Alternative education offers innovative, non-traditional approaches to teaching this population of learners, which aides in preventing these students from becoming dropouts. “

High School:

The Allegheny Intermediate Unit runs Community Schools for students who need a smaller learning environment and more intensive counseling. Learn more here.

To read an overview of the need for forms of alternative education, go to this report done by The Urban Institute.

Education Revolution offers lists of Democratic, Montessori, Waldorf, and Public Alternative education, as well as homeschooling.

Speaking of democratic schools, the most riveting 16 minutes of radio time I’ve experienced was hearing the students of Brooklyn Free School make their own school rules in an episode of This American Life. The episode is called “Kid Politics” and you can download it for free.  Here’s their introduction to the story:

“What if you ran a school and you had the kids vote and decide on all the rules? They decide on all the discipline, decide which classes should be taught, what would happen if you don’t show up for class, can you nap in school. Not to be harsh, but what if the inmates ran the asylum?

Well, there’s a movement in alternative education called the free school movement. Typically there are no courses. Each kid studies what he or she wants independently. At The Brooklyn Free School, for instance, a teacher can offer a class, or the kids can vote for some class they want created. There are no tests, no homework, there aren’t even grade levels– you know, first grade, second grade, all that. And the kids decide everything about how the school is run.

If this sounds nuts, you should know that since The Brooklyn Free School was started seven years ago, nearly all its graduates have gone on to normal accredited colleges. We wanted to see what happens when the kids make all the decisions, so we headed over to The Brooklyn Free School.” (transcript)

lounge at the Inglenook Community High School in Canada. photo by flickr user cayoup

And finally, there’s a movement out there called Unschooling. Like at Brooklyn Free School, you can study whatever you want in Unschooling, but you do it at home, on your own time, through your own preferred structure.  It’s less structured than homeschooling, but still requires a portfolio to be turned in to state education authorities each year.  Families that choose unschooling say that they do it because they want their kids to have wider options in their learning and more opportunities to be responsible for themselves.

It also sounds like a path to education that requires a lot of open communication with your family and a lot of self-knowledge.

There are a bunch of websites out there to explain unschooling, including Unschoolers.com, a site to promote the movie called Unschooling, Radical Unschooling, and a Pennsylvania-based group-maintained site called Keystone State Radicals (membership must be vetted), as well as a Yahoo Group for PA Unschoolers.

If there are any homeschoolers and/or unschoolers reading this, I’d also like to say that we love to have you at the library!  Say hi to your Teen Services Librarian the next time you’re in the building.

Want to read more? Here is a list of books on unschooling compiled on Amazon.

At the library you can check out:

Real Lives: eleven teenagers who don’t go to school tell their own stories

The Teenage Liberation Handbook

The Teenagers’ Guide to School Outside the Box

Alternative Schools: A Reference Handbook


A college degree can give you a better chance in making more money and getting a better job in life. But it will also probably give you a lot of student debt, unless you can pay out of pocket or work the scholarship and grant route.  Some organizations are looking for an alternative to that debt.

Right here in Pittsburgh there’s a homegrown alternative to a private or public four-year college. It’s called Saxifrage School.  They’re just starting out, but part of their philosophy  is to

host a tight academic community that weaves into local organizations, creating a dynamic resource network that will serve students and neighbors alike.  Graduates of the Saxifrage School will leave as seasoned thinkers, skilled producers, engaged citizens, and social entrepreneurs.

They’re currently offering courses in Web Development, Carpentry, and Agriculture, and hosting talks every Tuesday.

Want to learn more about educating yourself and getting the most from your money in regards to college?

DIY U : edupunks, edupreneurs, and the coming transformation of higher education

But what if I don’t want to go to college? : a guide to success through alternative education

Whatever your educational path in life, it’s never too late to start learning.

-Tessa, CLP – East Liberty


Brought to you by cuteoverload.com

Aw! I feel like this bunny whenever Spring rolls around. Days get longer, and my attention span does the opposite–just in time for final projects, finals, and if you’re like me–summer classes. Sound familiar?

I’ve resorted to chugging coffee in order to stay on-task, so I can’t help but notice that the lack of mug on that bunny’s desk.

Fortunately, the last day of school is coming up, along with summer reading, because my reading habits change in the Spring, too. Sure, I’ve still got a big pile of books that I think look cool, but unless they have pictures (as many of my favorites do), read to me as the awesome audiobooks on this list would, or are pretty short, I can’t get all the way through.

Summer will be here in a flash, and I know that with it will come more time to read. In the meantime, I’m relying on shorts to get me through the last days of school! Get it? “Cause you wear shorts when it’s hot outsi–yeah, okay. I should never have gone there.

Short stories are a great go-to when you don’t have time or aren’t excited about something longer. Plus, they’re like checking out one book but getting a bunch. Check out the short stories tag in our LibraryThing catalog or one of these. Another idea? Check out the magazine collections at your local branch or–for something with a more personal touch–the zines collection at Main.




The Last Day of School…the Movie!

The end of the school year….  Ahhhhh….  It’s so close, you can taste it, right?  Soon the public pools will open, Extravaganza and Teen Summer Reading will be in full effect, the Pirates will be crushing the competition (well…. hopefully….), and you’ll be homework free for a solid two or three months.  When I think back to my school days, I remember those last ones the fondest.  The summer held so much anticipation and so much promise!  I almost didn’t even mind attending school, because I knew my days there were numbered.  The school days were short, the tired teachers showed films instead of- well- teaching, and the only writing we students did was in yearbooks.  Turns out many others have found inspiration in those last days of school, so much so that there are entire movies dedicated to those last days of school.  Teens of Pittsburgh- you are almost there!  Join us at CLP Main- Teen on your last day of school- Wednesday, June 13 at 3 pm- for a screening of a classic of the genre.  Until then, you’ll just have to experience the excitement the last days through film.  Below are some of the best and they are all available to check out from the library.

Can’t Hardly Wait

Dazed and Confused

I Love You Beth Cooper

Rock ‘N’ Roll High School

Say Anything

Summer School

The Wackness

Feel inspired to make your own last day of school film?  Check out CLP’s QuickFlix 2012 contest and free digital filmmaking workshops!

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