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  • April 2018
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From Blogs to Books

Around  the library, all my colleagues seem to want to talk about are eBooks.  “Will eBooks replace printed materials?  If so, what will the future of libraries look like?  Are we librarians doomed?!?”  Not so, says I.  The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is currently expanding our collection of popular teen eBooks and making them available to download and check out on a variety of eReaders.  But this is not a blog post about eBooks, this a blog post about blog posts.  Despite all of the hand wringing and doom and gloom, I want to shed light on a curious phenomena in our digital world which is that many of the web’s most popular blogs are transforming themselves from digital to analog.  PUBLISHERS ARE PRINTING WORDS AND PICTURES THAT ORIGINATED ONLINE ONTO PAGES MADE FROM PAPER AND BINDING THEM TOGETHER INTO SOMETHING WE CALL BOOKS!  Librarians of the world rejoice!  Here are a few of my favorites:

5 Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (And Other Useful Guides)

Awkward Family Photos

Crap at my Parents’ House

Damn You Autocorrect!: Awesomely Embarrassing Text Messages You Didn’t Mean to Send

Fail Nation: A Visual Romp Through the World of Epic Fails

Hipster Puppies

Hungover Owls

I am Maru

I Can Has Cheezburger: A LOLcat Collekshun

People of Wal-Mart: Shop and Awe

Stuff on my Cat: the Book

Texts from Last Night: All the Texts No One Remembers Sending

When Parents Text: So Much Said… So Little Understood

And maybe- just maybe- one day you’ll pick up a copy of CLPTeensburgh: the Book!

Have an animated Thanksgiving!

If you’re anything like me, you might crave some alone time away from the family this Thanksgiving holiday (or you may just want to skip out on helping with the dishes).  Here are some fun ways to occupy your time, allowing you to create your own animations, on your computer or smart phone.


Scratch is a programming language developed by MIT “that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art — and share your creations on the web.”  It’s free to join and share things.  Once you create a Scratch project, people can interact with it or download and remix it.  For example, someone has made a calculator using Scratch!  You can also make games to play – there’s a gallery here.  And if you get stuck, there’s a Support page and Forums.


Unfortunately, this is only available as a Nintendo DSi program, but you can also browse and watch the Flipnotes that others have created using their DSi.  Since the program is available worldwide, there are many international Flipnotes, and it could be a fun way to practice your Japanese!

Still from a stopmotion animation creation by flickr user Regev Tovim

For those of you who took our Quick Flix workshops, taught by awesome people from Pittsburgh Filmmakers, I have some free Stopmotion and other animation programs!  These require some downloads and tutorials, but could take your filmmaking to the next level.

Animate Clay

This has how-to videos, a newsletter, video interviews with animators and free motion capture software for download. It was created by animator Mark Spess, who taught himself to do stop-motion and thought there should be a place online for fellow animators to learn and share their craft.

Clay Animator

This software is based on the Anasazi software from the Animate Clay website, and can work with a built in PC camera or digital camera connected to your PC.


This is free 2-D animation software, “designed as powerful industrial-strength solution for creating film-quality animation using a vector and bitmap artwork. It eliminates the need to create animation frame-by frame, allowing you to produce 2D animation of a higher quality with fewer people and resources.”


Unlike many of these programs, Pencil works with Macs as well as PCs, and can be used for traditional hand-drawn animation.  Here’s an example of something made with Pencil:


Blender can do 3-D rendering and is free and open source for all operating systems.  The effects in this movie were made using Blender:

Before you start out on your journey, you can always use your local library to do some basic research on making animation!

– Tessa, CLP – East Liberty

I prefer to listen

It’s full-on summer reading time.  This makes me happy, but what about those of you for whom a page of print is a slow and treacherous journey, or would prefer that someone just tell you a tale? 

For you, my friend, there are audiobooks.  (Yes, they count as summer reading.)

photo from flickr user nguyendai

The library, being a library, has several options for you to get audio recordings of the books that you would like to listen to.   In fact, there are 601 records that turn up in a search for Teen-designated books on cd when I search Catalog Explorer, including the amazing Paper Towns by John Green, the harrowing Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, the buzzed about London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd, the pointy Fang by James Patterson, and the summery Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen… AND MANY MORE! 

How would you do this search? I’m glad you asked.

1. Click on the following link for Catalog Explorer.

2. Type an asterisk (it’s above the number 8 on your keyboard) in the search box.

3. Look on the right side of your screen and click on “Teen” under “Age Group”

4. Look at the icons right above your search results and click on “Book on CD”

5. Ta-da!  Put your audio books on hold.

BUT BUT BUT! You say.  I don’t want to go to the library to pick up my audio book.  Is there an option where I can download it right now right this second?  Onto my computer and then my mp3 player?


The library pays for a service called Overdrive.  You can do just this thing with Overdrive.  To browse the audiobooks available, go HERE.

They have such books as:

Jane Slayre, by Sherri Browning Erwin (“Raised by vampyre relatives, Jane grows to resent the lifestyle’s effect on her upbringing. No sunlight, keeping nighttime hours, and a diet of bloody red meat is no way for a mortal girl to live.”) 

The Wild Things, by Dave Eggers (“The Wild Things is about the confusions of a boy, Max, making his way in a world he can’t control. His father is gone, his mother is spending time with a younger boyfriend, and his sister is becoming a teenager.“).  And, as always, many more.

The selection is different depending on what kind of mp3 player you have, and you will have to download the Overdrive software to get and play the audiobooks.  More information is available here or from your personal librarian.

What else?  Every week until September, there are two free Teen audiobook downloads at SYNC.  One is a modern book and one is a YA classic on the same theme.  This week they are offering Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, and in two weeks you could be downloading the audiobook of the Hunger Games for free!  You can sign up by clicking on the Sync logo above.

Happy listening!

– Tessa

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