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  • January 2020
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Teen Winter Reading Raffle

Forget Ned Stark- winter is HERE.  And rabid readers should be rejoicing.  The blustery weather provides the perfect excuse to just burrow down, deep into blankets and snuggle up with a good book.  Winter break provides you with the time off from school to spend the entire day and night reading to your heart’s content.  And all of those “best of” lists that get published at the end of every year provides a zillion new titles to add to what is probably already a very long “to read” list.

If you plan on spending your winter break with a huge stack of awesome books, then you need to know about our Teen Winter Reading Raffle!  How it works:

  • Beginning Sunday, December 15, 2013, visit your CLP Teen Specialist and pick up a reading log.
  • Fill out one reading log for every five hours that you read.
  • Return the reading logs to your CLP Teen Specialist by Wednesday, January 15, 2014.
  • For every 5 hours you read, your name will be automatically entered into a raffle for your chance to win prizes including books and gift cards!  The more you read, the more chances you have to win!

To be eligible, you must be between the ages of 12 and 17 or in 6 through 12 grades.  For more information, contact CLP Main- Teens.

Happy reading!

There’s a Battle on the Horizon, A Battle of the Books.

What do you get  when you mix a super fun quiz contest and the best teen books?


Start planning your team of 4 or 5 members now and be ready to register starting today.   The contest is broken into 3 grade levels, and there will be a new champion after each day of battle.

Today is also the hotly anticipated release of the contest booklist.  I have it from a contest organizer that, “The selected books for 2014 were chosen based on their student appeal, diverse subject matter and characters, representation of a wide variety of genres, and their literary merit.”  Sounds promising…

Pick up your grade level book lists after school at a Carnegie Library location near you and start planning  how to divvy up the list with your team.  Don’t forget to choose an adult to act as your manager.  Their job is to help organize your team and then cheer your on once game day arrives.   Finally, be sure to clear your schedule for the actual battle…

6th Grade Battle

Monday March 3rd, 2014

7th & 8th Grade Battle

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

9th -12 Grade Battle 

Monday March 10th, 2014

Check the website for more details, contest rules, team registration information and booklists.

~Brooke, CLP South Side


Shut up and play: Come try Silent Library!

You don’t need to be made of solid muscle to play our version of the MTV show, Silent Library, and we promise not to try to make you vomit. We will try to make you laugh, though!

Silent Library

Tuesday, October 8, 3:30-5:30

When your friends are being humiliated with zany challenges, do you have the strength to just stand and watch? For example…have you ever seen someone make a sandwich using only their feet? Just like the popular MTV show, if you can stay silent while your friends are going berserk, we will give you prizes!

By now, we hope you know that we don’t usually give you the (shh) finger…but come on by for Silent Library, and we’ll make exceptions to that rule.

Want to play, but would rather see someone else humiliated than do it yourself?  Check out one of these books!

Schadenfreude, Baby! : a delicious look at the misfortunes of others (and the pleasures it brings us), by Laura Lee.

Why does it feel so good to see others feel so bad? Take a moment away from your own troubles to dig into the troubles of others. Right or wrong, you just might feel better.

I love you, Beth Cooper, by Larry Doyle.

Dennis was captain of the Debate Team. Beth Cooper was the head cheerleader. And until Dennis gave a totally unique graduation speech that went something like, “I love you, Beth Cooper!” neither she, nor her beefy Army boyfriend knew or cared who Dennis was.

Cringe: teenage diaries, journals, notes, poems, and abandoned rock operas, by Sarah Brown.

If you’ve ever read one of your own diaries from years gone by only to be filled with the sudden urge to light a match, buy a paper shredder, or move far far away, consider reading someone else’s loot, instead. If you’re extra nosy, there’s more like it here and here.

How to Survive Anything, by Rachel Bucholz.

From embarrassing parents to shark attacks – if knowledge is power, advice on these moments could be key to you staying alive.

“What’s that smell?” (oh, it’s me.) : 50 mortifying situations and how to deal, by Tucker Shaw.

Prom! Overflowing toilets! Zits! All of the horrible, very real what-ifs of adolescence and some thoughtful tips to go with them.


See you there!
Whitney, CLP – Main

The Write Idea: The Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest and You

“We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” – T. S. Eliot

Did you ever have a wish to become some famous writer?  You’ve just finished reading a fantastic book that made you just itching to grab a pen and start scribbling — or maybe a keyboard to hammer out some crazy idea that is just bursting to get out?  Sometimes watching a movie or even listening to a particular song can urge me to spit out some sweet story that sounds just as impressive as the ever so popular Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins; To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; or my all-time favorite, The Host by Stephenie Meyer.

Well, you now have that chance.  On May 7th, you, my dear writer, have an opportunity to grab that dream and make it come true.  Perhaps you have heard of it before and maybe not, but Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is once again providing you the opportunity to participate in the Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest.  There will also be workshops that you can attend to get some tips on writing and a chance for others to critique your work.  As William Faulkner says, “Get it down. Take chances.  It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.”

Need some inspiration?  Somewhere to start?  Check out these books:

“Make everybody fall out of the plane first, and then explain who they were and why they were in the plane to begin with.” – Nancy Ann Dibble

Hmmm… kinda reminds me of the screenplay from LOST

Just Try to Remain Silent: Sign Up for The Silent Library Program

Do you think you could remain silent while someone plucked a hair from inside your nose?  Could you prevent yourself from laughing at the sight of a good friend being fed baby food while dressed in a diaper and bib?  Would you be able to refrain from squealing in horror after seeing yourself made up by a person wearing a blindfold?  If you answered yes to all of these questions, then you could win big on Tuesday, February 7th!  Just like the popular MTV game show, we’ll be holding our own version of Silent Library (minus the vomit) in the Main Teen Center.  We dare you to remain silent while you and your teammates humiliate yourselves whilst attempting outrageous and embarrassing stunts for prizes.  Registration for this event is required.  Reserve your spot today!

Want to participate, but you think you’d die of embarrassment?  Check out these books instead:

How to Survive Anything by Rachel Buchholz

Advice on surviving natural disasters, embarrassing moments, and social situations.

Schadenfreude, Baby!: A Delicious Look at the Misfortune of Others (and the Pleasure It Brings Us)

by Laura Lee

Taps into our universal longing to gawk and smirk at the people who stand—or fall—for all of us.

“What’s That Smell?” (Oh, It’s Me.): 50 Mortifying Situations and How to Deal

by Tucker Shaw

Tips for dealing with the embarrassment that is the teenage years.

Mega Traumarama!: Real Girls and Guys Confess More of Their Most Mortifying Moments!

from the Editors of Seventeen Magazine

Delight in the humiliation of your peers!

Senryu: an ancient poetry contest

photo by flickr user ds2nd

I would bet money that most readers of this blog have heard of the Japanese poetry form called haiku, with its 5-7-5 syllable structure, alluding to nature.  Senryu is like haiku, but it is often about day-t0-day occurrences instead of nature, and is part of an interactive poetry game called maekuzuke.

Maekoto Ueda, in the introduction to Light Verse from the Floating World, a collection of senryu, explains it thus:

“The word senryu is derived from the name of a person, Kara Senryu (1718-1790), who lived in the downtown district of Edo, a city now known as Tokyo.  His real name was Karai Hachiemon, and he made a living as the head official of his ward, a position he had inherited from his father at the age of about thirty-six.  Perhaps his work was boring, or perhaps it did not bring him much income.  For whatever reason, in 1757 he decided to make a debut as a master of maekuzuke, a verse-writing game played by a good many people in Japan at the time.  …

[In the game] the master would first announce the maeku (previous verses) usually containing two lines of seven Japanese syllables each. For example:

just in case it should happen   moshi ya moshi ya to

just in case it should happen    moshi ya moshi ya to

Anyone who wanted to enter the contest was to add a tsuskeku (following verse) of 5-7-5 syllables in such a  way that the two verses combined would make a good poetic sequence.  To use the example cited above, one entrant for the contest submitted the tsukeku,

at the teahouse                     mizuchaya e

he puffs rings of smoke     kite wa wa wo fuki

all day long                             hi wo kurashi

which seems to picture a shy young man who is secretly in love with a waitress working at the teahouse.”

The entrants would pay a fee to submit, and would get a chance to win prizes for the best verses.  The judge of the verses was the maekuzuke master, who also wrote the maeku.  Senryu became synonymous with this poetry game because he eventually was the master of over 2.3 million maekuzuke.  Eventually the game part of the poetry form lost popularity, but the following verse (tsukeku), became a form of poetry in its own right, and kept the name senryu. (I paraphrase from pages 1-3 of Light Verse from the Floating World).

photo from flickr user shinyai

The freedom in subject matter that came with writing senryu led to many poems that showed what life was like in Japan back when the poems were written.  Here are some of my favorites from the compilation:

the doctor gets paid

by the victim he’s killed–

great business to be in!


the love letter

from a man she doesn’t care for–

she shows it to mother


sheltering from rain

he’s memorized all the words

on the plaque

Check out some of our books of Senryu and add your own Senryu in the comments!  I’ll even give you one of Senryu’s own starter verses:

it goes on forever / tsuzuki koso sure

it goes on forever / tsuzuki koso sure

– Tessa (CLP – East Liberty), who will give the first teen who comments or tweets us (@CLP_Teens, #senryu) an answer to this verse an awesome national poetry month poster:

Video Contest: Show us why you NEED your library!

photo by flickr user Yorkton Film Festival


Here’s a great way to practice your filmmaking skills and help the library out at the same time: 

1. Make a short (3 minutes or less) film for the American Library Association’s Why I Need My Library contest, showing why you really NEED your library.  You can use digital animation, live action, or something other mind-blowingly creative method.

2. Submit the film through YouTube and get exposure for yourself and your library!

3. Possibly WIN up to $3,000 for your library and maybe a $50 gift card for books.

I know that there are talented teen filmmakers out there who know the value of their libraries:

[YouTube= http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2tJCPu_YZg%5D

The deadline for the contest is APRIL, but now is the perfect time to assemble your crew, start storyboarding, and let your local teen librarian know about your plans so (s)he can offer support and resources.  Each CLP location should have a FlipCam for you to use, and a computer with Windows MovieMaker. 

Here are some guidelines and a list of tips and resources from ALA.  They include a bunch of great websites and books for you to use.

Here are a couple titles available at your local library:

   Movie making course : principles, practice, and techniques : the ultimate guide for the aspiring filmmaker / Chris Patmore

Get animated! : creating professional cartoon animation on your home computer / Tim Maloney.

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