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  • January 2020
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Black History Month Spotlights Return to CLP Carrick!

Every Tuesday in February last year, CLP Carrick’s weekly teen program, Teen Thing, focused on a different African American pioneer with a creative activity related to the accomplishments of said pioneer.  We made stop-motion zombie flicks in honor of Duane Jones, flipbook comics for Frank Braxton, 3D glasses for Valerie Thomas, and watched a documentary about the arts scene in Brooklyn in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

It was all pretty awesome.

So… when the topic of continuing the weekly Black History Month events came up this January, Teen Think, Carrick’s Teen Advisory Group, voted unanimously to continue the spotlights with this year’s theme of music.  Throughout February, Teen Thing will be spotlighting innovative and influential African American musicians who have significantly contributed to the sounds of rock, jazz, punk, and hip hop – and it all starts this week!

Tuesday, February 4th
Teen Thing / Black History Month Spotlight: Blues and Early Rock and Roll

The mysterious Robert Johnson

Into artists like Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Jack White, and The Black Keys??? Come find out about the African American blues and rock musicians that influenced them – artists like Willie Dixon, Robert Johnson, Lead Belly, Muddy Waters, and Chuck Berry.

Oh, and make your own harmonica while you’re at it!

Other events include:

Tuesday, February 11th
Teen Thing / Black History Month Spotlight: All That Jazz

Pittsburgh’s Mary Lou Williams

Tuesday, February 18th
Teen Thing / Black History Month Spotlight: Punk 101 – Bad Brains

Washington D.C.’s legendary Bad Brains

Tuesday, February 25th
Teen Thing / Black History Month Spotlight: Hip Hop and Change

Saul Williams

Find out where the music you like comes from at our Black History Month Spotlights!  Teen Thing happens every Tuesday afternoon from 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM and is open to anyone in grades 6-12 or age 12-18.

Jon : Carrick

What are YOU Doing This Summer?

Sun is shining. Weather is sweet. Make you wanna move your dancing feet.” Bob Marley

Only a few days left of school.  The clock is ticking down the minutes until you can rush out those doors; jump on the bus, and say, “Its SUMMER!”  No more school, no more homework, no more nagging voices telling you to stop fooling around and pay attention!

I don’t know about you, but this summer looks like it is jammed packed with so many cool things to do.  Don’t have any money? No special vacations out of the beautiful city of Pittsburgh?  If I were you I wouldn’t worry too much about either one.  Your local Carnegie libraries have been planning round the clock to set up an awesome summer vacation just for you.  Check out this list of things to do for the month of June!

June Events

Also check out the Teen events at your local library this month as they will include:  Gaming, Anime clubs, Teen Advisory, Musical workshops, Art clubs, Creative writing, and so much more!  Check out what is happening at your library so you don’t miss out!

Yeah, this is just for the month of June… Come back to check out the month of July and August too!

Tell me, what do you’ve got planned for your awesome summer break????

Music Matters

“If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:
― Kurt Vonnegut

Music is amazing.  I mostly just listen to it, but lately I’ve been picking up my guitar a little more often to play.  For a while now Ive been practicing chords and learning simple songs with my electric guitar.  Now that I’m the proud owner of a new acoustic guitar I’ve been learning about finger picking style.  Its so fun and rewarding, I try to make a little time each day to practice.  It’s funny because when I was in the High School band I found practicing my instrument to be super boring .  The time I spent in band was memorable for the friends I made and great times we had, but definitely not for my burgeoning music career.

It really is amazing how much music affects our lives.  Lots of people use music to help them get through a tough time.  Certain songs remind you of places and people, and somehow music seems to say more than just words can.  If you don’t believe me take a look at a few of the books on all aspects of music that we have in the library.

Piper is forced into a job managing a local band called Dumb.  Each new member of the band is a bigger cliche than the last and somehow she has to figure out how to get them a paying gig.  Her job would be a whole lot easier if only she knew if the band was any good….but that’s tough considering she’s deaf.

Teenage piano prodigy Glory is devoted to her instrument and spends her days practicing under the instruction of her father and piano teacher.  Its been just the two of them since Glory’s mother was killed in an accident.  Since then, their mission has been to make Glory a renowned pianist.  But when Frank moves in next door and steals some of Glory’s attention away from her studies things get tense.  But even in Europe on tour, Glory can’t forget Frank, even as it begins to affect her playing her relationship with her father and her sanity.  (Coming to more libraries soon)

Get great advice from rock stars of the past and the biggest artists performing today in this guide to everything from choosing an instrument, writing a song, learning to practice and win over fans at live shows. This guide is for anyone who has their sights set on rock stardom.

For any music fan who’s wondered why certain songs stick with them, remind them of another time, bring on strong emotions or just make you want to dance, check out this amazing and accessible book.   Its no surprise music is powerful and this book does a great job of explaining some of why that is.

Whether you plan to be the next classical music star, a singer songwriter, or you just like listening to music in your room, there is no denying that music is important and that it means something.  Each of these books show a different aspect of what music can do, but there is so much more.  The library has books about playing music, writing songs, and singing among many others.  We also have an amazing selection of music on CD and tons of live performances, documentaries and how to DVDs.  So make your way to the library and check out something new.


Teen review: Flobots – Fight With Tools

Happy Monday, Teensburgh. Today, we’ve got another review from Isaiah. If you’re a middle or high school student interested in writing reviews, email teens@carnegielibrary.org and let us know!

Hello again everyone, my name is Isaiah and I review Comics, Manga, books, CD’s, and any other strange thing I happen to stumble upon. Today I will be reviewing the CD Fight With Tools by Flobots, let’s jump right into this.

I feel that I may not give this CD justice unless I give you a track by track review.

We open up with a track called There’s a War Going On for Your Mind. As soon as it begins you can tell there’s something different about this group as they almost speak over the violins as the drums slowly roll in. Just listening to these lyrics makes me want to continue listening to the CD, and the way that they almost perfectly flow onto the soft beat makes the poem of sorts a perfect beginning for this disk.

The next song is one called Mayday!!! which is a little more of a jam than the last one. The powerful lyrics are still there, just performed a little differently. In this track the violins almost make the track–those plus the energy that the  rappers are putting out, and the soft singing in the background simply makes a very good track.

The next track is one titled Same Thing. For me this is one of the best tracks on the album. The rappers keep their educated lines while adding a light-hearted feel to it because of the music. We can see this in the first line,

Somewhere between prayer and revolution/between Jesus and Huey P. Newton/that’s where you find Jonny 5 shoot shootin’/water guns at the audience while ya scootin’.

This song not only features the almost flawless rapping of the Flobots but there is some singing thrown in there that definitely adds to the song.

The next song is a track titled Stand Up. When this starts you instantly feel a more serious tone than the last song. As it plays you have no choice but to not only listen to the lyrics but also jam a little as well. The way that they incorporate the drums is perfect, if I may say so myself.

The next track is named after the album, Fight With Tools. I wouldn’t say that this is the best song on the album, but I really dig the chorus of this one.

The next song is the single titled Handlebars. I really dig the beat of this song. For me it was far from the best, but it does make you want to check out the rest of the album.

Next is a song called Never Had It. For me this song adds a very nice balance to the album; it has a lot more singing than the others and it has a very soothing feel to it.

After this, we have, in my opinion, the biggest jam of the entire album – Combat. It opens with them repeatedly saying, “Don’t know a beat that can keep you lonely.” Which I think is an extremely cool line by itself. When the drums come in it makes the song even cooler–this is a very fun song.

Next is The Rhythm Method (Move!). This is an extremely cool song, and its method is simply saying let the music move you in any way that works for you. To me, it’s hard to listen to this song without jamming a little. The next track is one called Anne Braden. This song is more about the lyrics than jamming even though it’s hard not to. I truly enjoy listening to these lyrics because they are so thought-provoking that you think something different every time.

After this, we have  our second to last track We are Winning which has a little different feel than the other songs on this album. In an extremely good way, to me this has a perfect balance of lyrics and jamming ability.

Our final song on this album is called Rise. Rise is a fun way to end the album and is always fun to listen to. To me it’s one of the best songs of the albums.

This album gets a 9/10 from me because of the thought-provoking lyrics, the fun jams, and unique and original songs. This definitely is not one to pass up, if you get a chance check it out at the library and see if you agree with me.

Teen review: Daniel X by James Patterson

Isaiah is a great new teen volunteer who will be writing reviews for the blog. Remember, if you’re a middle or high school student interested in writing reviews, email teens@carnegielibrary.org and let us know!

My name is Isaiah. I’m gonna be reviewing all kinds of books, comics, manga , and CDs. I go to CAPA for theatre, and I guess that’s okay. I do a lot of music stuff outside of school. I play bass and do some rapping too. I rap with a group sometimes, others I’ll just use beats, which is always cool too. If you’re interested in any of that you can go here to check out show dates and stuff. That’s about it. Also, I’m always up for any review recommendations, so if there’s anything you want me to review, just let me know and I’ll check it out.

Book: Daniel X: the manga
Author: James Patterson
Review by Isaiah Ross


So starting today I will be reviewing many books, comics, manga, or anything else I happen to stumble upon. So starting off, the first thing I will be reviewing is the manga adaption of the book Daniel X by James Patterson. When reading the back of this book is seems pretty solid, let’s see how it shapes up.

So the book starts off very strongly. We begin with a 3-year-old hiding under a table as his parents are murdered by a strange alien known as The Prayer, who is looking for a “list” of some sort. We then fast forward 12 years into the future to a 15-year-old Daniel, who now is a proficient alien hunter. We are also introduced to Daniel’s powers, which allow him to create almost anything he can imagine. We learn that the list is a list of all the alien criminals on earth; Daniel uses this as a guide to find which aliens to go after next. When he is told to go after an alien named Ergent Seth, things begin to get interesting. I’ll leave the rest for you to find.

First, let’s look at the characters–I think that these characters come from pretty cool ideas and a lot can be done with them. Daniel X is a very strong idea for a protagonist and I believe that he is perfect to lead a story. Secondly, the villains–I can see where James Patterson and the artist (Seunghui Kye) are going with these villains but they need some work. The alien concept is very cool, but it’s up to them what they do with it. Third, the action itself–once again, I can see where Mr. Patterson is going with the action, but as of right now, it’s not truly up to par. I’m not saying anything about the art because it’s extremely fresh and crisp but the way that the action is used doesn’t really flow. Fourth, and finally, the story itself–this story is actually pretty great, it moves quickly, and doesn’t stray far from the topic. This is the main reason why I believe I may see this series through to the end.

In conclusion, I give Daniel X a 7/10 for originality, a great story, good characters, and nice art. It’s not the perfect manga yet but it seems that it may get pretty close to it soon. Daniel X is definitely something to watch out for, if you get a chance pick it up from the library and check it out.

Dance Fever

This Sunday I went to see Step Up 3D, and I have to say that it has all the elements that I require in a great summer movie.

1. No distracting plot.

2. Lots of energy without resorting to blowing things up…

3. Except for my MIND, of course.  The dancing was a little mind blowing at points (see: Madd Chadd, Master of Mechanical Movement)

You can read profiles of all the main dancers in the movie in this USA Today article.  But what I really want to talk about is: what do you do once you’ve gone to see Step Up 3D and are infected with dance fever?  YouTube videos will only exacerbate the problem.

Our librarians have already put together some resources that can help you with this dilemma.  Click here to see their collections of links to specific dance resources in the catalog, and links to lists of Pittsburgh based dance companies and recretational dance groups.

Or check out some of these DVDS for inspiration and skill-sharpening:

RIZE, directed by David LaChapelle, a super energy-packed documentary about Clowning and Krumping.

Singing in the Rain: The classic of the classics.  There’s a scene in Step Up 3D that is very reminiscent of the old musicals, and the dance here is exhilirating in its own right.

Any of these DVDs that can be searched for under the subject heading Dancers — Drama.

Or, these Dance Workout DVDS!

Dance Your Ass Off: The Workout

Dancing with the Stars Cardio Dance

Fat Burning Hip Hop Dance Grooves

Or, you could just get the soundtrack to one of the Step Up movies (here) and make your own choreography.    Just make sure to share it with your local teen librarian.  Who knows, we might hold our own Library Jam.

Teen Review: Cory’s Hip Hop Recommendations, Pt. 1*

If you are more into rap music or hip hop than R&B then you may like artists like Lil Wayne, Fabolous, and Young Jeezy. They are very great artists and they create very good music and hits that people like to listen to over and over again. But there are more good artisst that are being discovered every day like Gucci Mane, Drake, and Jamie Foxx. These are artists that make good hits too that people like to listen to over and over again. Gucci Mane is an artist that has been out for a while and he is a artist that people compare to other artists. Most people say that Lil Wayne is the best rapper alive but some say Gucci Mane is better than Lil Wayne.


Thanks to teen reviewer, Cory, for writing this review. It was completed as part of our Fine Alternative Program, which allows teens to work down their fines at the library. Stop by and we’ll tell you all about it!

Holly CLP-Main

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