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  • July 2020
    M T W T F S S

Solar S’mores & Pedal Power

Before I got a drivers license, I spent my summers cruising around town on a bike.  It was a gray 10-speed splattered with pink and turquoise paint and I thought it was the coolest.  I loved to speed down the hill next to my house, feet off the pedals, until the day I wiped out on a patch of cinders.  The cinders were dropped by snowplows during winter storms and the street cleaner never seemed able to sweep them all away.  After that, I always kept my feet on the pedals and looked for cinders.  I pedaled to the town pool, the local library, and my friends’ houses.  My friends and I built bonfires in their fields, crafted massive s’mores and ate logs of cookie dough, and stayed up until the stars began to fade.  We’d wake up in dew-covered tents with the smoky scent of campfire still clinging to our hair.

When I moved to Pittsburgh s’mores and bike rides became a thing of the past, as I was nervous about riding on the city’s busy, pockmarked streets and starting a campfire seemed like an easy way to burn down the entire neighborhood.

While I’ve become comfortable riding my bike in the city, thanks to tips from friends and Bike Pittsburgh’s Pittsburgh Bike Map, there still aren’t many s’mores in my life.

Bike Pittsburgh’s Bike Map

That will change this Saturday (8/17) at 3pm during Outside the Lines: STEM + Art.  Abby will teach us how to make solar ovens which we’ll use to make s’mores!  No campfire or BBQ needed, just the power of the sun!  Let Abby know if you’re planning to join her for this awesome experiment.

solar oven

Solar Oven!

Ride your bike to the Library this week (we have bike racks in front and in the parking garage!) and make solar s’mores with us!

Here are some of my favorite bike-themed books and movies and, of course, a book about s’mores!



Whether You’re Pro or Anti Valentine’s Day, We’ve Got What You Need

Valentine’s Day elicits a wide range of emotions in people.  Even if you’re a Valentine’s hater don’t give up on this post, you may read something you like!

In elementary school, I loved creating my Valentine’s mailbox–a shoe box slathered with paint or strips of red, white and pink construction paper woven into a heart-shaped basket.  I couldn’t wait for my classmates to walk up to my desk and fill it with Ghostbusters, New Kids on the Block, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle valentines!


Valentine’s Day took on a more serious tone in middle school thanks to (or not so thanks to) unsolicited and unrequited crushes.  Instead of giving cards to everyone my classmates chose one person to celebrate with, exchanging fancier cards, chocolates and stuffed animals.

“According to tradition, St. Valentine is the saint associated with courtship, travelers, and young people.  Early celebrations in honor of St. Valentine took place in the middle of February, around the time of an ancient Roman festival known as the Lupercalia. It was customary for men to draw the name of a young girl from a box and celebrate the festival with her.”

During high school I gave my friends Sweethearts to show how important they were to me, but I felt like everyone else was spending too much money due to feelings of guilt or obligation.  A dozen roses were delivered to my house on Valentine’s Day.  They were from a boy friend (not a boyfriend).  I panicked and asked, What am I supposed to do with these?  What am I supposed to say?!  My friends looked at me like I was crazy and said, Just say thank you.

“The central theme in the myth of St. Valentine is doomed romantic love.  St. Valentine fell in love just before he was scheduled to die and could do nothing about it except write a message expressing his love.  “Valentine, St.” U*X*L Encyclopedia of World Mythology.

Whether you’re Valentine’s Day experiences have made you pro- or anti-Valentine’s Day, the Library has a list of events to keep you busy this week.  Bring your significant other.  Bring your best friend.  Be serious or silly, it’s up to you!  Join us to make:

If you’re not up for socializing, ask a teen specialist for some book, movie and music recommendations and create your own Valentine’s tradition.  I’ll be eating a heart-shaped pizza and watching Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, which features crushes, crushed hearts and amazing friends!

heart-shaped pizza

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

Get text alerts for CLP- Main Teen events!

You guys are always asking me for more information about events happening here at CLP Main- Teen.  You’ve seen the flyers, posters, whiteboard messages, monthly printed calendars, Facebook invites, and event listings on the CLP website – all to advertise  our exciting and FREE programs.  You seem excited… but on the day of the program you inexplicably don’t show up.  Why?  Nine times out of ten, you tell me that you simply forgot.   Never fear, forgetful teens, you will never have to miss one of our awesome programs again!  How?  By signing up for our new text messaging services using Celly!  Here at CLP Main- Teen, we’re using Celly to create different “cells” to represent all of our diverse program and events offerings.  Right now we have nine, but we’ll probably be adding more soon.  Sign up via text message and you’ll instantly be added to the distribution list and receive alerts for any of the special cells listed below.

  • Text @clpteensevents to 23599 and we’ll let you know about the latest parties, contests, and cool opportunities for teens.
  • Text @clpteensartclub to 23599 for information about art related programming, our weekly Art Club and featured project.
  • Text @clpteenswriting to 23599 to get updates about creative writing workshops including our monthly poetry workshops.
  • Text @clpteensanimeclub to 23599 for all anime and Anime Club related updates.
  • Text @clpteensmovies to 23599 for updates about our Bad Movie Fridays program and other special film events.
  • Text @clpteensTAC to 23599 for information and reminders about CLP Main’s monthly Teen Advisory Council.
  • Text @clpteensgaming to 23599 to be the first to learn about any new games and our weekly All Out Gaming program.
  • Text @clpteensbookdiscuss to 23599 to find out about any teen book discussions and author visits happening at the library.
  • Text @clpteensadvocacy to 23599 to learn how you can advocate for a better-funded and better library.

If privacy is a concern- which it really should be – you should know that your name and number will be kept private – even from us.  Don’t have a cell phone?  No problem!  Sign up to receive email notifications by creating a Celly account using a Twitter or Facebook account, or email address.  And if you ever decide that you don’t want to receive our text alerts anymore, just text stop to 23559.  If you want to temporarily turn off messages to your phone, text off to 23559.  Please keep in mind that standard text messaging rates apply.  Contact us here at CLP Main- Teen or visit the Celly FAQ page for more information about how the services works.

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.

Scratch Day @ CLP Main- Teen: Saturday 5/19 from 1 to 4


Are you interested in creating digital videos, games, and animation?  Do you have a vision and passion for digital art, but lack the technical skills?  If you answered yes, then  Scratch is the perfect programming language for you.  Scratch is a visual programming language that was developed by MIT students in order to offer beginner programmers a simple way to create their own interactive stories, games, animations, music, and art.  Scratch is free to download, easy to learn, and offers a safe and supportive community of Scratchers to share your creations with.

Scratch DaySaturday, May 19, 2012– is a worldwide network of gatherings, where people come together to meet fellow Scratchers, share projects and experiences and learn more about Scratch. Last year, more than 125 Scratch Day events were held in 36 countries around the globe.  Scratch Day @ CLP Main- Teen will feature tutorials for newbies, games to help you hone your Scratch abilities, skill sharing for advanced Scratchers, a project showcase, Scratch the Cat button making, peer Scratch tutors, fun, community, and more!

Pittsburgh teenagers (grade 6-12), mentors and educators are strongly encouraged to bring a laptop to the event.  But don’t despair if you can’t bring your own equipment- you will NOT be left out.  A limited number of laptops will be provided for use during the program.

Scratch Day in Pittsburgh is presented by Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Chevron Center for STEM Education and career Development at Carnegie Science Center, The Ellis School and Girls, Math & Science Partnership (a program of Carnegie Science Center). This event is sponsored by The Ellis School and Spark, Supporting the Kids+Creativity Network.

Event web site: http://day.scratch.mit.edu/event/554

Presented by: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Chevron Center for STEM Education and career Development at Carnegie Science Center, The Ellis School and Girls, Math & Science Partnership a program of Carnegie Science Center

Event fee: FREE

Sponsor: The Ellis School and Spark, Supporting the Kids+Creativity Network

Some refreshments will be provided.

Saturday, May 19, 2012
1:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Teens- Main
4400 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA   15213

For more information, contact:

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!

Tell us what you want!

We’re asking teens all over the city of Pittsburgh

 what you want from your library.

Please take a few minutes and fill out this survey HERE.

Give us your honest opinion, and we’ll look to your answers when creating future library programs!


~LeeAnn Anna

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