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Yes, Virginia, There is Teen Stuff Going Down at the Library This Week

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No school and nothing to do???  The Library’s got you covered!  Here’s a brief glimpse of what’s going on this week:

Monday, December 23

Teen Time @ Lawrenceville / 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM

Gaming @ Main, Allegheny, and East Liberty!

Open Lab @ Main and Allegheny!


Tuesday, December 24

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Wednesday, December 25


Thursday, December 26

Teen Lounge: Pop-Up Flix @ Brookline / 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Teen Time @ Knoxville / 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Teen Creative Writing Workshop @ Beechview / 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

iPad Playground @ Squirrel Hill / 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM


Friday, December 27

Bad Movie Fridays @ Main / 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Gaming @ Main, Allegheny, and Sheraden!


Saturday, December 28

Teen Manga Club @ Beechview / 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Movies All Day @ Main / 10:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Aquaman and Aqualad gingerbread cookies from Teen Thing @ Carrick


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

ALSO!  Don’t forget about the Teen Winter Reading Raffle, which is going on now till January 15th.  You could win stuff just for reading!

Jon : Carrick

Teen Review-Erebos by Ursula Poznanski

caroline photoHi! I’m Caroline. I’m 17 and a senior at Oakland Catholic. My favorite letter is probably F because it is the first letter of many of my favorite things; for instance: fencing, friends, and Frankenstein. (Best book ever!) I’m somewhat of a grammar freak and an anglophile and I like to fool around with crafts when I get the time. I also like to try to harmonize with songs on the radio. Enjoy my reviews!

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Erebos by Ursula Poznanski

Colin isn’t showing up at basketball practice.
Not only, that, Nick discovers, but his best friend won’t pick up his phone. And he’s suddenly hanging out with the creepiest guy in school. In fact, he’ll barely talk to Nick.
What’s going on?
Nick gets his chance to find out when he is handed a mysterious CD. Eager to see what it is (he’s sure this is what everyone’s been sneaky about), he loads it onto his computer to discover a game called Erebos. Only it’s more than just fun. It’s so realistic, Nick can’t stop playing. Set in a mystical world, the goal is to become one of the top players – and if you die, you don’t get a second life. Not only that, but the game instructs him to carry out certain tasks in the real world – sometimes dangerous ones – in order to gain levels. The catch is that Nick’s not allowed to speak of the game to anyone – not even other players. But the game is so addicting that Nick keeps playing. He works his way through labyrinths, battles the other players, and blank. He becomes more and more disconnected from the real world – ignoring his grades, his basketball practice, and his family. His friend Jamie tries to help him, but Nick doesn’t want any of it.
Then he is asked by the game to carry out a terrible task in the real world – and when he doesn’t, his character dies, leaving Nick with nothing to do – and nothing to lose. So he breaks the rules that no longer apply – he reveals the game. To find out what happens next, read the book!
I liked this book a lot more than I thought I would. In fact, I was on the edge of my seat reading this, and I often felt that I was the one playing the video game (and worrying about someone catching me!) It was really realistic and suspenseful. You don’t even have to like video games to love this book – put it on your to-read list!

Indie Games – lovingly crafted video games for the discerning gamer

Recently, while scanning through Netflix Instant’s “New Releases,” I found a documentary that piqued my interest called “Indie Game: The Movie.” Indie Game is about the burgeoning independent video game biz and it follows the development of two games: Super Meat Boy and Fez.

These aren’t your typical multi-million-dollar-budgeted blockbuster games like Halo or Call of Duty, they’re personal projects painstakingly designed and coded (often by just a couple of people), where ingenuity in gameplay takes precedent over flashy graphics. The budgets for these games are small, too, and most of them don’t have big publishers like SquareSoft or Bethesda to promote them after the game is finally complete.

The movie does a great job of communicating the passions and frustrations of these game designers. And though I consider myself a life-long gamer (chronologically from Rogue on my first PC in the 80s, to the NES, Sega Genesis, N64, PlayStation 2, and, now, Playstation 3, with plenty of other PC upgrades and games along the way) I never really knew how games like these were made. Indie Game gives you a peak inside that process through interviews with journalists and such indie game luminaries as Phil Fish (Fez), Jonathan Blow (Braid), and Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes (Super Meat Boy). If the creators of Fez and Super Meat Boy are anything like other indie game designers (and I think they are), the process seems to include a lot of late nights, coding, poor nutrition, legal battles, and stress. But they make really cool games.

Watch the trailer to get a feel for the film:

This documentary is about more than the steps it takes to create a independent video game, it’s about gaming as an art form and a way of life. These guys grew up on classic games like Super Mario Bros. 3 and the Castlevania series; they want to contribute to the artform that captured their attention as kids. As they attempt to, you can see them struggle with creating just as a writer or painter might. They’re fighting to make their dreams tangible, and then, struggling to accept the opinions of the critics and gamers who suddenly have access to a part of them.

If you’re into gaming as a hobby or a possible career choice, or you just want to watch an interesting documentary, I suggest clicking over to Netflix and giving Indie Game a shot.

Beyond the story that Indie Game tells, there are indie video games themselves–they’re really worth checking out. Most are available as downloadable titles through X-Box Live Arcade, the Playstation Network, and the Wii Shop. X-Box currently has the best lineup of indie titles, but the Playstation Network is offering more all the time.

Indie Game picks:

The Unfinished Swan (platform: PS3)The Unfinished Swan is a videogame about exploring the unknown. The player assumes the role of a young boy chasing after a swan who has wandered off into a surreal, unfinished kingdom. The game begins in a completely white space where players can throw paint to splatter their surroundings and reveal the world around them. [Metacritic]


Journey (platform: PS3) Enter the world of Journey, the third game from indie developers thatgamecompany (creators of “flOw” and “Flower”). Journey is an interactive parable, an anonymous online adventure to experience a person’s life passage and their intersections with others’. You wake alone and surrounded by miles of burning, sprawling desert, and soon discover the looming mountaintop which is your goal. Faced with rolling sand dunes, age-old ruins, caves and howling winds, your passage will not be an easy one. The goal is to get to the mountaintop, but the experience is discovering who you are, what this place is, and what is your purpose. Travel and explore this ancient, mysterious world alone, or with a stranger you meet along the way. Soar above ruins and glide across sands as you discover the secrets of a forgotten civilization. [thatgamecompany]


Limbo (platform: PS3, XBox 360, PC) LIMBO, a black and white puzzle-platforming adventure, puts players in the role of a young boy traveling through an eerie and treacherous world in an attempt to discover the fate of his sister.


Braid (platform: PS3, XBox 360, PC) Braid is a puzzle-platformer, drawn in a painterly style, where the player manipulates the flow of time in strange and unusual ways. From a house in the city, journey to a series of worlds and solve puzzles to rescue an abducted princess. In each world, you have a different power to affect the way time behaves, and it is time’s strangeness that creates the puzzles. The time behaviors include: the ability to rewind, objects that are immune to being rewound, time that is tied to space, parallel realities, time dilation, and perhaps more. Braid treats your time and attention as precious; there is no filler in this game. Every puzzle shows you something new and interesting about the game world. Braid is a 2-D platform game where you can never die and never lose. Despite this, Braid is challenging, but the challenge is about solving puzzles, rather than forcing you to replay tricky jumps. Travel through a series of worlds searching for puzzle pieces, then solving puzzles by manipulating time: rewinding, creating parallel universes, setting up pockets of dilated time. The gameplay feels fresh and new; the puzzles are meant to inspire new ways of thinking. [Microsoft]


Super Meat Boy (platform: Wii, XBox 360, PC, iOS) – Super Meat Boy is a tough as nails platformer where you play as an animated cube of meat who’s trying to save his girlfriend (who happens to be made of bandages) from an evil fetus in a jar wearing a tux. [Metacritic]


Fez (platform: XBox 360, PC) This quirky platformer stars a little white creature with a bright red fez. Gomez is a 2D being living in a 2D world. Or is he? When the existence of a mysterious 3rd dimension is unveiled, Gomez embarks on a journey that will usher him to the very end of time and space. Utilize your ability to navigate 3D structures from 4 distinct 2D perspectives. Explore an open-ended world full of secrets, puzzles and hidden treasures. Re-open the mysteries of the past and discover the truth about reality and perception. Alter your perspective and see the world in a different way. [Metacritic]


Happy gaming,

Corey, The Labs @ CLP

Assassin’s Creed!!! 3!!!

I have a confession to make. I am a video game addict. I actually had to disconnect my Playstation because I was staying up til 3 or 4 in the morning playing Madden. It’s been over 5 years since I touched a video game system, but I think my streak will end in one week when Assassin’s Creed 3 is released.  I feel like this game was created just for me as it combines some of my favorite interests: early American history and first-person shooters.

I bet you didn’t even know that you can use your library card to get video games! The library has hundreds of video games available. Some of my favorites are Medal of Honor Airborne, Madden NFL ’12, and NHL ’12.

The historical setting of Assassin’s Creed 3 has always been one of my favorite topics to read about, too, so that makes it especially exciting for me. The revolutionary war period was turbulent, violent, and a lot of it happened right around Pittsburgh. There are a lot of great books about this era; some of my favorites are: Wilderness Empire by Allan Eckert, Patriots: the Men Who Started the American Revolution by AJ Langguth, and  1776 by David McCullough.

We are also lucky to have the Fort Pitt Museum right here in Pittsburgh!  This is a great spot where you can learn about the French and Indian War and other aspects of colonial history.

– Jim, CLP-Sheraden

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.
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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.
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“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.

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See you there!
Whitney, CLP – Main

The Labs @ CLP: Teen Digital Media Labs

Hello, everyone,

Just a quick note from your friendly neighborhood librarian to let you know, one more time, about the launch  of a brand-new, exciting, ongoing teen library program–The Labs @ CLP.

So what is The Labs?It’s Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s teen digital media lab program. And what’s a digital media lab? Well, it’s a computer lab of sorts, but full of equipment and software specially designed to help you create.

We’re launching the program with a big party this Wednesday at CLP-Main and mini Launch events at the other three locations next week. (For in-depth information on the program as well as dates and times for each launch, go HERE.)

About the program: From iMacs to music production equipment (M-Audio Fast Track Pro and Apple’s GarageBand) to graphic design (the full Adobe Creative Suite) and filmmaking (HD Canon Vixia camcorders plus a green screen), plus plenty more, The Labs is your resource for getting creative in the library.

We’ll be offering weekly themed programming at all four Labs locations as well as open Labs time where you can explore and create with the help of Labs mentors–digital media artists and librarians who will be on-hand leading programs and acting as a resource for creation. Each month the theme will change. This October, for example, we’ll focus on filmmaking. Then, in November, we’ll focus on Audio/Music Production with podcasting and music recording. Check back for our ongoing schedule.

Why simply consume media when you can create it? You can use The Labs as a resource for creative multi-media school projects or as a place to do something completely separate from your school work–something based on your own personal interests. Work on a podcast with friends, film a scary movie scene (that’s what we’ll be doing this October!), or get help recording your music in the library. There are so many options!

And where are The Labs? There will be four digital media labs located throughout the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh system. Here are their hours and a link to the first day of October’s program: The Scary Story Filmmaking Challenge.

CLP-Main, Teen Dept.
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 3-7PM
Friday, 3-5PM
Workshops: Wednesday and Thursday 4-6PM starting in October
October Workshop: Scary Story Filmmaking Challenge 

CLP-Allegheny
Hours and Workshops: Monday, 4-7PM
October Workshop: Scary Story Filmmaking Challenge

CLP-South Side
Hours and Workshops: Tuesday, 4-7PM
October Workshop: Scary Story Filmmaking Challenge

CLP-East Liberty
Hours and Workshops: Wednesday, 4:30-7:30PM
October Workshop: Scary Story Filmmaking Challenge

That’s all for now; I have to run and get everything ready to go!

– Corey, Digital Learning Librarian

End of Summer- BOO! End of Summer Party- YAY!

When I was a teenager, I couldn’t stand those back-to-school advertising campaigns that seem to kick in while summer is still in full swing.  And how about the stores that start selling fall jackets when it is still 90 degrees outside?  For me personally, the count down to the new school year was such a drag that even a full scale-gratuitous-shopping-binge didn’t prove therapeutic.  So now that the Teen Department at CLP Main is hosting an End of the Summer Celebration on Friday 8/24 from 2 pm to 5 pm, I feel like such a traitor.

But really- we’re on YOUR side.  We’re not trying to pour salt in the wound, we simply want to reward you all for your participation in this year’s Teen Summer Reading program (which, by the way, it’s not too late to sign up for….).  And the truth is, we’ll use any excuse to throw a party here in the Main Teen Department.  So, come- despite yourself- and just try to enjoy the last sliver of summer….

Friday, August 24

2pm to 5pm

CLP Main- Teens

4400 Forbes Ave.

Pittsburgh, PA

All teens in middle or high school welcome.  For more information, contact teensmain @ carnegielibrary.org or 412.622.3121.

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