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  • July 2020
    M T W T F S S

A Teen’s Mini Survival Guide: Healthy You!

Part 1

From a Teen Librarian’s perspective

It Starts with You!

Have you ever wondered why things just have not gone right for you? Well, in my experience, I learned that is starts with you. What do I mean by that? I mean you get what you give! Everything in life is reciprocal (give-and-take); for example, you have a friendship that is in turmoil and you cannot seem to understand one another’s positions; sometime you have to ask yourself “Am I the problem?” or “What toxic things have I contributed to the relationship that could have caused so much chaos?” Another step that you can take is self-evaluation. You can start by asking yourself a couple self-reflecting questions like, what is bothering me and why? What is it that I want from this friendship or person and am I using clear communication to express to my listener? Knowing the answers to these questions may help you figure out where you went wrong and it may also help you understand why your friend reacts and feel the way they do toward you. Lastly, after you have realistically asked and answered your self-reflecting questions share your information with your buddy; tell him/her about the process and why you did it. Encourage your friend to participate and share their answers as well. Here at Carnegie Library we have lots of teen reading material that will help guide you on your journey to fixing your friendship. So come check us out, after all a productive and reciprocal friendship is worth saving!

Help yourself by helping others!


Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer! Through volunteerism, I learned that helping others with no need or want of compensation really makes you feel great inside. Being a part of something greater than yourself, allows you to lucidly understand that you are fortunate and that you some of your daily problems are mediocre and easily fixable. Secondly volunteering helps connect you with other. For example, one of the best ways to make new friends and strengthen existing relationships is to commit to a shared activity together. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, especially if you are new to an area. Volunteering also strengthens your ties to the community and broadens your support network, exposing you to people with common interests, neighborhood resources, and fun and fulfilling activities. Third, volunteering is good for your mind and body. Volunteering can provide a healthy boost to your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity. And the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals. Last but not least, from my experience, volunteering can advance your career without making a long-term commitment. For example, if you’re interested in nursing, you could volunteer at a hospital or a nursing home. Your volunteer work might also expose you to professional organizations or internships that could be of benefit to your career.  As you can see, there are many advantages with volunteer. Did you know that you can volunteer at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh? We love and support our teen volunteers, because you are the reason why our organization thrives! See your branch Teen Librarian for more details; he/she will be happy to assist you!

Want to learn more about volunteer check out: Volunteering: a how-to guide by  Audrey Borus.


World Kindness Day

I bet you didn’t know that today is World Kindness Day.  I didn’t know it either until a few days ago, but I think it’s a great idea.  The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has a great website with ideas about how you can help and get involved in your community, cards and bookmarks, and resources about how kindness can make you a happier and healthier person.  And the best part is that it is FREE and EASY to practice kindness.  It can be as simple as smiling or saying hello to someone.

The Library is also a great place to turn for ideas about kindness.  You can volunteer at one of your local branches,  find a great book about kindness, or even go shopping to help the Library and the community!  Here are some great examples of items we have that can help you on your journey to be a kinder person:

 Do One Nice Thing:Little Things You Can Do To Make the World a Lot Nicer by Debbie Tenzer.  Debbie Tenzer is the founder of a website (DoOneNiceThing.com) that focuses on how making small improvements can make a big difference to the world around you.  Her website has a bunch of great ideas and stories, including ways to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy.  In her book, she offers a bunch of easy ideas that people can do to help that won’t take much time or money.  This is a great resource for anyone who is looking for simple ways to practice kindness.

The Power of Small: Why Little Things Make All the Difference by Linda Kaplan Thayer and Robin Koval.  The authors are  advertising executives who offer a number of stories how the smallest acts can influence the biggest decisions.

Jim-CLP Sheraden

Teen Blogger: Wei Interviews Jesse Andrews, author of Me & Earl & the Dying Girl

Hello, my name is Wei. (Before we go further, it’s important for you to know that it’s pronounced like “WAY.” I mean, how awkward would it be if you came up to me & called me “WEE”?) I’m a senior, a vegetarian, I read ALL THE TIME, I can lick my elbow, and I believe I am searching for a “Great Perhaps.”

Wei interviewed author Jesse Andrews at the 2012 Teen Media Awards held on August 2, 2012. Special thanks to Jesse and Wei for a great interview! (Awkward transition at about :40 is totally my fault – corey)

Teen Blogger: Outsmarting the College Salesmen

Hello, my name is Wei. (Before we go further, it’s important for you to know that it’s pronounced like “WAY.” I mean, how awkward would it be if you came up to me & called me “WEE”?) I’m a senior, a vegetarian, I read ALL THE TIME, I can lick my elbow, and I believe I am searching for a “Great Perhaps.”

A car salesman and a college tour guide are basically the same thing. They’re both trying to sell you something that’s ridiculously expensive. They’re going to show you the finer points of their wares while conveniently leaving what’s not so attractive by the wayside. Sometimes they’re bubbling with excitement to show you around. Sometimes they’re evasive. But they’re always trained in the art of selling. And there are always an overwhelming amount of them, each trying to sell you their car/college over the next guy’s.

Touring college campuses, like browsing car dealerships, should be done carefully. While everything should be taken in, it should also be done with a grain of salt. They’re a make-it-or-break-it type experience for a lot of people. You’re seeing where you could potentially be living the next few years of your young adult life. It’s scary, but it’s the most exciting feeling.

So, how do you cut through the half-truths and the pretty façade of these well-rehearsed salesmen to get to the heart of the matter to know what’s the best fit for you?

#1.) Visit as many campuses as you can. I have a lot of friends who have at current count, only visited one school. And then all they talk about is how much they love it and how it’s the school for them. But if you only visit one campus, how can you possibly know? It’s important to note that even if you don’t plan on going to College X, if you get a chance, visit anyway. Even if you hate it, you’ll realize what you don’t want which is at least a step better than not knowing what you want at all.

#2.) Visit with your parents. So, I know that the number one most appealing thing about getting a higher education is the fact that you can do it outside the vicinity of Mom and Dad, but seriously, think about it. It’s not just what you want, it’s what your family can afford. They should see the school that they’re sending their son/daughter to. They should see if it’s a good fit and if it’s worth the money. Plus, it’s good to get a second opinion. I mean, for the most part, they’re relatively wise. They got you this far, didn’t they?

#3.) Don’t fall for the little things. Tour guides are going to highlight the best parts such as the new renovations to the science lab, some famous band that just played on campus, the hundreds of sports and activities that they offer. That’s all great & good, but remember that every school has some award or unique feature, and all of them have clubs. Don’t fall for the little things like a Quidditch team (it’s tempting, I know); instead, look at the whole picture. What good is free Wi-fi if you’re too deep in the middle of nowhere that your phone doesn’t work? What’s the use of a new physics building if the professor still teaches like Prohibition is still a thing?

#4.) What you learn after the tour is just as useful as what you learn during it. Guides are only going to show you the best, biggest parts of campus. It might be a good idea after the tour to go walk around without a guide & try to find all the nooks and crannies and see if they have as much glimmer to them as what you saw on the tour. Also, eat in the main dining hall. Should this be the college you choose, you’ll be eating from there more often than not, so it’s good to get a sense of what kind of food you’ll be anticipating. Also, since the majority of the people there will be college kids, it’s a good idea to scope them out and try to get a feel if they’re the kind of people you want to spend the next few years with.

#5.) Make sure they know you’re coming. This should really go without saying, but schedule an appointment first. They need to know that you’re coming so that they can have a guide ready. Sometimes people will just take a look around by themselves, without the knowledge of the school. While that’s fine, it’s not really the most efficient way. Colleges keep records of all the students who visit them. When applying, if they see that you visited or met with an admissions counselor or in some way showed your interest in their school, they’ll know that you’re serious about wanting to attend. Basically, it will look better on your application.

If the last one went without saying, then this next one should go so much without saying that I’m not even going to list it as a tip: ASK QUESTIONS. Believe me, whatever it is, do not feel stupid. They have had sillier questions. Trust me.

I know it’s frightening, to do all these thing for your future when you’re not even sure what the future looks like. But it’s worth it.

Teen Blogger: Carpe Aestate

Hello, my name is Wei. (Before we go further, it’s important for you to know that it’s pronounced like “WAY.” I mean, how awkward would it be if you came up to me & called me “WEE”?) I’m a senior, a vegetarian, I read ALL THE TIME, I can lick my elbow, and I believe I am searching for a “Great Perhaps.”

Carpe Aestate.

Carpe Diem, as you may know, means “seize the day.” “Carpe” means something along the lines of “seize”. “Diem” means day. “Seize the day.” Do not take today for granted because you’ll never know if you’ll be here tomorrow. Don’t procrastinate, take advantage of your youth, don’t put off to tomorrow what you can do today yada yada yada. Yawn, right? Heard it a million times before, right?

Hate to tell ya, but it’s true. Especially now that it’s summer. Don’t just spend time by the pool, snackin’ on Cheetos (or whatever people happen to do during the summer). Actually make something of your summer, don’t let it go passing you by. This goes for everyone, though I’m specifically targeting those of you who are rising juniors or seniors in high school thinking/worrying/freaking out about college, those of you who are in the same boat as me. So, Carpe Aestate. “Seize the summer.”

Here are some tips to make the most of your summer (and, to a lesser degree, help you prepare for college).

1) Save up some money. You’ll need it later. Everyone is more likely to hate than like their summer jobs. Don’t hate it! Learn to make the most of it. Connect with people, make new friends. Put some money in the good old piggy bank (or better yet, savings account).

2) Learn something new. Take some classes either online or in an actual classroom. It’s not too late to enroll. A lot of online classes are even free. In fact, I’m taking a Sociology course through Princeton & a Pharmacology course through the University of Pennsylvania, both made possible by Coursera. If a structured class isn’t your cup of tea, try learning a new language. Memrise offers basic vocabulary for any language you could ever think of (I personally vouch for their Mandarin course). Or learn to knit or yodel or tie your shoes or something. Basic point: sometimes you learn a lot more if you’re not in school.

3) Read. Reading opens doors, expands vocabulary, and if you pick up the right book, changes your mindset or even your life. Also, you will do A LOT of reading in college. So it’s useful to start analytically read books and learning how to read faster. I know I’m not the only one here who has unread books piling up. Summer is the perfect time to catch up on them. You can even sit by the pool & eat Cheetos while reading! If you don’t know what to read, stop by the library for half an hour. I guarantee that you won’t leave empty handed.

4) Volunteer. I started volunteering because I hated being with people who never cared about anything. Through volunteering, I met people that were passionate about what they were doing–and I loved it. Not to mention volunteering looks really good on college applications and a lot of scholarships have volunteer work as criteria. It’s like killing three birds with one stone.

5) Think ahead. What do you plan to do with your life? What college do you want to go to? Research possible career choices & colleges. Do it now because you won’t have time later. Have you signed up for the SATs or ACTs? Think about whether or not you need to take the SAT Subject tests, and if you do, what subjects? Some colleges prefer certain subject tests for certain majors.

6) Have fun! Summer is still summer & that means no school, no teachers, no waking up at six in the morning. Sleep in, rest up, & enjoy your summer. After all, that is what Carpe Aestate is about.

Apply to Help Create The Teen Center @ WYEP Radio

Want to learn how to project your voice and opinions via the radio?

Do you care about issues in your community, and want to do something about them, other than just complain to friends?

Want to be a part of something bigger than just yourself?

Apply to help create The Teen Center @ 91.3 WYEP Radio!

Here – I’ll let Alexa tell you more about it…

So, hurry!  Apply here.  They’re only accepting applications until October 23rd, which is just right around the corner.

In case you miss the deadline, but still want to be involved in radio, take a look at one of these books are your library!

For a Good Cause


Knitting: I’m honestly surprised I haven’t blogged about this already. I had to go through the archives to make sure.

 I’m a big fan of knitting in general. I could go on and on about the ins and outs of it, but what I want to talk about specifically today is charity knitting.

 There are many people who need knitted things, whether to keep warm or “just” for comfort in a time of crisis. You could make hats for the homeless, socks for soldiers serving overseas, blankets for children in the foster care system, hats for premature babies…the possibilities are endless!

The Knit-A-Square project accepts donations of 8” knitted or crocheted squares that are then made into blankets and given to AIDS orphans in South Africa. They also accept handmade hats and other items of clothing.

Project Linus accepts donations of handmade blankets and afghans to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need.

Socks for Soldiers provides members of the armed forces with socks and other items to help them keep warm and also to brighten their days.

You don’t even have to go through an established charity: you can always donate your handmade items to a local clothes closet or homeless shelter.

Don’t know how to knit? No problem! The library has lots of resources to help you learn in no time.  Go here for how-to-knit books available in our catalog and here for CLP’s knitting resource list.

Not only that, but there are knitting groups that meet at the Main, Carrick, and Woods Run branches. Check them out!]

Want to knit for charity, but not sure what to make? For more free knitting patterns that you will know what to do with, check out Knitting Pattern Central.

~Eva, CLP-Allegheny

LBPH: so what goes on in there?

Last Thursday I got to do some cross-training at the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.  No, not the kind of cross-training that involves a stationary bike and a treadmill.  Librarian cross-training means that we get to see what goes on in different departments and branches in the system.

LBPH is located in an old car dealership on Baum Boulevard:

This means that they have a really cool freight elevator and lots of storage space for their collection.

Here’s what the front looks like if you’d ever like to visit:

LBPH is different than all the other libraries in the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh system.  While the rest of us serve the residents of Allegheny County (and the city of Pittsburgh in particular), LBPH serves half of the state.  That’s 36 counties!  They get extra money from the federal and state governments because they’re also part of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). 

Aaaaand… they serve ALL AGES. Including teenagers.

This means that if you’re a teen who is:

  • blind
  • visually impaired
  • has a physical disability that prevents you from reading standard print books
  • has a reading disability that results from organic dysfunction (like dyslexia)

then you are eligible for the free services of the LBPH.  You can read more here on their home page or here in their brochure, “That All May Read”

In most cases, except for reading disabilities, a librarian can even certify you and sign you up. Otherwise you’ll have to get the signature of another certiying professional (like a doctor or nurse).

LBPH also provides really in-depth, specialized services for their customers.  They don’t just have large print books.  They have a huge collection of special cassettes, and a growing collection of digital books on flash drives.  Plus the NLS offers a downloadable catalog of hundreds of other digital books once you are a certified user of LBPH.  If you go to their catalog and search for “young adult fiction” you can see for yourself how many great, up-to-date titles are available.  Titles like the Good Girlz series by Reshonda Tate Billingsley, the Octavian Nothing books by M.T. Anderson, V.C. Andrews books, fiction anthologies and more.

The librarians and library assistants at LBPH create a specialized profile for each of their customers that lists what authors, subjects, and formats that they like, really like, and never want.  They give each customer a cassette or digital player free for use, and everything is sent free through the postal system. 

So if  you or anyone you know would be eligible for the services of the LBPH, by all means take advantage of it!  Come into the library and sign up, or give us a call.

Or, if you’re a budding dramatist or sound engineer, you can volunteer to create digital recordings of books at LBPH… they hold auditions all the time.

The phone number is 412.687.2440.

Teen Advocacy Day II – This Thursday!

On Thursday, August 19th, from 2-5 pm, Teen volunteers at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh-Main (in Oakland) will be hosting Teen Advocacy Day II.  The first Teen Advocacy Day was a great time, and really made a difference in our 2009 fight for funding.

We’re hoping to repeat that success on Thursday, because the fight for funding continues.  So come on down to Oakland for a free program, where you we will have:

  • Button making – make yourself a button that shows you support the library.
  • T-shirt making – decorate a t-shirt with your personalized advocacy design.
  • Letter writing to influential politicians – write a letter to the RAD board, the Mayor, and the County Executive, urging them to fund libraries.
  • Video interviewing – get “library famous” by sharing what you love about the library.
  • Candy and cookie eating – of course we wouldn’t offer a big program like this without a few noshy bits!

We’re calling it Teen Advocacy Day, but it is really a program for all ages… so bring everyone you know, and have a blast while doing some good!

What are you doing this summer?

It’s not too early to start thinking about summer plans, especially to keep your mind from of the coldness outside.  I’m on the email list for Pittsburgh Cares, a local organization that aims to centralize volunteer opportunities around the region.

It turns out they also partner with the United Way and Pittsburgh Public Schools for something called the Pittsburgh Young Leaders Academy, and now, this summer, will hold a Summer Dreamers Academy for 9th and 10th graders in Allegheny County.  The camp is  described as a mix of  “volunteer opportunities, leadership development training, and youth organizing activities over the summer of 2010, during a five week camp period.”

If you are a 9th or 10th grader who wants to learn how to be a leader, or who needs volunteer and community service opportunities, check out Pittsburgh Cares, especially their Youth Engaged in Service page.

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