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  • July 2020
    M T W T F S S

Teen Media Awards

On Wednesday, August 14, 2013, Library staff and community members gathered to honor the creative works of Pittsburgh teens at the 3rd annual Teen Media Awards! Winners of the Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest and TheLabs “Labsy” Awards shared their writing and creative arts with a packed theater!

Teen Media Awards 2013 @ Carnegie Museum of Art Theater

Teen Media Awards 2013 @ Carnegie Museum of Art Theater

Keynote speaker Shioban Vivian started off the evening with an inspiring (and comical) talk about following your dreams and always striving to be creative and hard working. See below for winners and photos from this very special night in Pittsburgh!


Keynote Speaker: Siobhan Vivian

Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest

1st Place: “A or a” by Rose Swanson
2nd Place: “Hospitalia” by Agatha Monasterios – Ramirez

Short Prose
1st Place: “Bishop and Wash” by Lana Meyer
2nd Place: “Veteran Advice” by Kristen Grom

Screen Writing
1st Place: “cHaos before hArmony” by Justen Turner-Thorne
2nd Place: “On the End of Every Fork” by Tyler Hudson

Labsy Awards

1st Place:Tanzania” by Olivia Muse
Honorable Mentions: “Flagpole” by Morgan Wable-Keene, “Downtown” by Raven

1st Place:Chronology Poster” by Morgan Wable-Keene
Honorable Mentions: “Submission 2” by Sarah Watkins, “Drawing 1” by Lexi Hall

1st Place:Short Jam” by David Watkins
Honorable Mentions: “Midas Theme” by Morgan Wable-Keene

Maker’s Studio
1st Place:Space Intruder” by Morgan Wable-Keene
Honorable Mentions: “Speaker” by Ceu Gomez Faulk, “Glam-o-Tron” by Joshalyn and Cassidy

1st Place:Hat Chasers” by Simone Traub, Julian Edwards, Ashae Shaw, Umoja Shaw, Trayvon Ramsey, Jayla Ramsey, and Caliyha Hogan
Honorable Mentions: “Midas” by Cody, Morgan, Sarah, Philppa, Pascal, Kayla, and Pei Pei, “Electric Twist” by Kate Philipps, Hannah Philipps, Tessa Twyman, and Mae Twyman

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For more photos from the Teen Media Awards click here or here or here.

The 2014 Teen Media Awards are just around the corner. If you are a budding writer, photographer, filmmaker, designer, creative-extraordinaire in Pittsburgh or Allegheny County, get started on your work today!

Looks for details on the Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest in spring 2014 and visit The Labs at Main, East Liberty, Southside, and Allegheny to start working on your designs, photography, and more!

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:

Friday vs. Kung-Fu Bicycles

By now I’m sure many of you have viewed Rebecca Black’s so-bad-it’s-created-a-viral-firestorm video about a day we know as Friday. If, however, you have not, I will embed it for easy watching:

When I saw this video popping up all over my Facebook feed, I ignored it as much as I could because the last thing I need is a poppy earworm infecting my workday.   But then it was explained to me that people liked it because it was bad. And there are few things I like more than unintentionally bad media. Not in a mean way—I’m just fascinated with people’s interactions with and interpretations of the pop culture machine.

Friday wasn’t the worst thing I’d ever seen. It just seemed sort of naïve and sweet , in short, what Rebecca Black’s version of partying is. I read a little more about it (mostly through this know your meme article) and found out that Black was represented by a company called Ark Music Factory (explained in this Gawker article ) –a company that sends songs to its young artists and makes videos for these songs, hoping to create a viral sensation a la Justin Bieber.  And I guess it kind of worked! Just not in the way they’d hoped.

This reminded me of a favorite documentary of mine – Off the Charts: The Song-Poem Story.  You can watch an hour of it on Hulu or read about it on the PBS website or even put  a hold on the copy that the library owns.

 Before the Internet, you could pay to have your song lyrics become a real song. It cost about $200 to have someone write the song for you.  IMHO, this produces much more original results than Friday (no offense, Rebecca Black, you seem very sweet, as evidenced in this clip of your appearance on Jay Leno). 

For example, people’s obsessions sometimes shine through when they’re sending their original lyrics in. Compare “Friday” to Caglar Juan Singletary’s “Nonviolent Taekwondo Troopers”  and his song about Annie Oakley.

Would you rather listen to a song about a day that comes after Thursday and the perils of choosing where to sit in a car OR a song about a super bicycle named Angelaria, and  who we should thank for Priscilla Presley?

Well, you don’t really have to choose. I find it’s good to be well-rounded when it comes to exploring the world of packaged artists and song-poems.  Like “Friday”, these songs are genuinely catchy and you may find that they’ve insinuated themselves into your list of favorite things to hear.  They’re a refreshing alternative to the stuff you might hear all the time on the radio.


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.

Not Your Momma’s Book Trailer

Over at the MacKids blog, Jessica Brody shows us what happens when a former worker at MGM Studios becomes an author of a YA novel and decides to produce a book trailer.

Normally book trailers are still pictures and text, with an overlay of music and/or narration. 

The trailer for Wake by Lisa McMann is a particularly good example of how effective this can be:

Neil Gaiman narrates the book trailer for The Graveyard Book and the illustrations in this not-quite-animated trailer look like they are taken from the book itself.  All in all, a good showing:

The trailer for Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld takes this concept a step further to good effect:

And finally, the book trailer for Graceling (by Kristin Cashore) tries to go for the full movie trailer treatment, but just comes off as cheesy Plus, starting with a full 30 seconds of one shot is not going to make the viewers stick around for the rest of it.  And I’m saying this as someone who loved the actual book.

The book trailer for Karma Club is a step up in book trailer evolution, if you will.  Where Graceling‘s trailer required maybe two sets and 10 people at most and has questionable lighting, Jessica Brody’s trailer for the Karma Club is like watching a commercial for The Hills… only more interesting:

I want to go see that movie!  I mean, read that book.

Good job, Jessica!

And don’t forget, if you want to try your hand at making a book trailer, our librarians and teen specialists will be only too happy to help you out with the project.  Most branches have a Flip Camera and Windows Movie-Maker available for you to use. We can even post your work here on CLP Teensburgh!


Holly’s previous post about the good things that having a library space for teens to go to was awesome and very inspiring.  But just because you’re in the library and off the streets doesn’t mean that the streets can’t come to you, in other awesome and inspiring ways.

I’d like to showcase some of my current favorite street animations and one extremely talented Ukranian teenager, in case you’re somehow bored at the library and have the time to spare:

First, from the artist named blu, we have a wall-painted animation.

I don’t need to remind you that graffiti is vandalism, but it seems like blu cleaned up after his/herself.  Incidentally, there are some books I can recommend on the subject of teen graffiti artists:

Dirty Laundry by Daniel Ehrenhaft: “Carli, a teen actress who has gone undercover at a New England boarding school in order to research a role, hooks up with a student graffiti artist to investigate the disappearance of another of the school’s pupils.”




Zee’s Way by Kristin Butcher:Zee and his friends are angry that their old haunt has been replaced by stores that are off-limits to them and storekeepers who treat them with distrust. To let the merchants know what he and his friends think, Zee paints graffiti on the wall of the hardware store. After the wall is repainted, Zee decides to repeat the vandalism, but this time with more artistic flair. A store owner catches him in the act and threatens to call the police–unless Zee agrees to repair the damage.”

Trash by Sharon Darrow: “Graffiti artists Sissy Lexie and younger brother Boy try to maintain a sense of family while living in a series of foster homes and staying with their older sister, until a tragic accident forces Sissy to make decisions about her future.”




Graffiti Girl by Kelly Parra: “A Mexican American high school student in a small California town is drawn into the underground world of graffiti art, feeling that it is the only way to express herself artistically and still remain true to her cultural identity.”




Feel weird about writing on walls? Then check out this cardboard animation of weirdly cute bug/monster invaders, done by Sjors Vervoort:

Want to make your own animation?  We have these books to help you:

The Animation Bible: a practical guide to the art of animating, from flipbooks to Flash by Maureen Furniss




Animation unleashed : 100 principles every animator, comic book writer, filmmaker, video artist and game developer should know by Ellen Besen



and more…

And finally, a showstopper: Ukraine’s Got Talent featured a teenager named Kseniya Simonova, who told a story about World War II using only sand and music.  I’ve never watched the American version of this show, but I’m willing to bet it hasn’t featured an insanely talented sand artist.  You must experience it!

Get Animated at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

If to animate is to give life, then no place is more lively than the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s TEEN department. At last week’s art club, we cut, pasted, drew, and took picture after picture to create a stop-motion animation, entitled “Hi.”

Are you interested in trying your hand at animation? Check out Ron Miller’s Digital Art: Painting with Pixels, your guide to getting started with digital art, from 3-D modeling to animation and special effects. You also might want to check out Maureen Furniss’s The Animation Bible: A Practical Guide to the Art of Animating, from Flipbooks to Flash. This is an amazing book that takes you through ever aspect of the process, including digital and hand-drawn works.

If you’re wondering how you might be able to get started on your own, there is also some really powerful (and FREE!) software available to assist you. Check out Pencil, a free animation/drawing program, and Blender, a free, powerful 3-D animation studio.

If you have any animations to share, please link us. Everybody can use a little life during these cold, snowy times.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Main

CLP Quick Flix – Contest Deadline Extended!

Quick Flix Banner

Did you totally mean to enter the CLP Quick Flix Teen Video Contest but time got away from you?  Did you film some stuff, but not get around to editing it?  Well, I have good news for you: we extended the deadline!  The new deadline is Friday, August 8th…but if you get it in by the end of the weekend, you’ll probably be okay.

If you already entered and are wondering who won, you’re going to have to wait a little longer: winners will be announced at the CLP Quick Flix Film Screening and Award Ceremony on Saturday, August 30th from 3-5pm at CLP – Main, Teen.

I’m looking forward to seeing your flix!


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