Category Archives: News

Teens in the News: #FreePersepolis!

Posted on March 29th, 2013 by Akunna in Books, News
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free persepolisWhat would you do if a book was banned at your school? Recently, some teens in Chicago had to figure this out.

On March 14, public schools in Chicago were told to take the book Persepolis off their classroom shelves and to stop using the book in classes. Persepolis is a graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi that tells the story of her growing up in Iran during a revolution and a war with Iraq in the ’70s and ’80s and in the Chicago Public Schools, it’s taught in grades 7-12. The decision to ban the book, according to the head of Chicago Public Schools Barbara Byrd-Bennett, was made because of the  images of torture and the concern for students not being able to handle it.

After hearing about this, students at Lane Tech High School organized a rally for the next morning to demand that the book be kept in their schools. One high school senior, who read the book for class,  said Persepolis “sheds light on a different country and religion. It cancels out the stereotypes and changes your perspective.”  When asked whether the book was inappropriate for younger students, she added: “We shouldn’t have 12- and 13-year-olds who are not in tune politically. We’re being sheltered. We’re allowing ourselves to be dumbed down.” Students and teachers at another school called the Social Justice High led a read-in, reading the book in their library to protest the ban.

After these protests, Byrd-BennePersepolisprotesttt “re-phrased” the original message about all schools having to take Persepolis off their shelves.  In a letter to teachers, she stated that the book is appropriate for use in high school classrooms, but should not be used in 7th grade classes, where the book should be taken off of classroom shelves and kept in the school libraries only. Unfortunately, as others have noted, many elementary and middle schools do not have school libraries.

For me, hearing about this made me think a lot about access to information for young people and whether they have a say in that. So, I asked some teens at the Dudley Library what they thought about banning books in schools and what they think they’d do in that situation. Here are some of their thoughts:

Nathaniel: ” Why ban books? Books are about expressing ideas you never thought you had. If they ban a book I like, I might protest.”

Chole: “If someone banned A Girl Named Disaster, I would be upset because I’m reading that right now and I like it. If it was a book I never read, it would bother me because I never got the chance to read it.”

Imani: “It depends…if I like the book and it was banned in my school, I would just get it from the public library. There’s no point to banning one book because there are so many other books that probably have things in there that someone could ban it for.”

Ashley: “If a book was banned, I would try to get a petition signed or see what else is possible to do about it. We learn about war in history class. That’s not a good reason to ban a book. ”

How about you–what do you think? Have you read Persepolis? What would you do if a book was banned in your school or community?




Programs and services offered to youth and teens survey

Posted on February 26th, 2013 by mdevine in News, Programs, Resources, Teen Services
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The Boston Public Library is conducting a systemwide assessment of the programs and services we offer to young people. Please help us but completing this brief survey.

The survey will be available from Monday, February 25, 2013 to Sunday, March 17, 2013. 

Thank you for your time!

Rosa Parks’ 100th Birthday

Posted on February 11th, 2013 by Akunna in News, Teen Services
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The civil rights leader, Rosa Parks, turns 100 this month!

Many of us may have read a lot about how she sparked the 13 month long Montgomery Bus Boycott on Dec. 1, 1955 by refusing to give up her seat to a white person on a segregated bus. But did you know that Rosa Parks had been kicked off a bus before 10 years before the Boycott, by the same bus driver, for opposing segregation rules? Did you know that she remained an activist after the Boycott, around issues like having Black history in schools and anti-police brutality? 

Now is a perfect opportunity to learn more about this civil rights hero:

1) Check out the article 10 Things You Didn’t Know about Rosa Parks for more interesting facts about Rosa Parks.

2) Read about Parks’ life in her own words. Check out Rosa Parks: My Story  from the library.






3) Listen to this rare interview  with Parks on the Boycott.

4) Next time you’re in the post office, check out the new stamp!








Staying Safe At Night

Posted on January 28th, 2013 by Anna in News
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Here are some basic rules to keeping yourself safe while you’re walking home at night.

1.) Walk with a friend or a group of people. Attackers are less likely to do anything if there is more than one person present.

2.) Project confidence.

Violent criminals prey on those who look weak and vulnerable. Know where you’re going, and how you’re getting there. Don’t look lost, even if you are lost, project confidence that you can handle yourself and that you know the streets you’re taking. If this isn’t possible, take the T, or catch a cab. Having to pay a little extra to get wherever you’re going is worth it when you know you’ll arive safe and sound.

3.) Avoid dark areas.

Crooks like to keep themselves hidden, so you and the police can’t see them when they attack. When you decide to take the dark ally as a shortcut, no one will see you if something should happen and no help will come running. Take the extra long route home and get your exercise! It’s safer that way.

4.) Wear sensible shoes.

Should someone try to attack you at night, wearing sneakers, or even ballet flats, can help you outrun the criminal more than fashionable heels. Wearing heels slows you down dramatically, keeps you off balance, and makes it easier for you to fall and twist your ankle. Ballet flats are easy to throw into a tiny purse, so if you can’t carry a good pair of sneakers, at least make sure you always have a pair of ballet flats with you. Plus, at the end of your night out, your feet and the rest of your body will thank you for taking off those painful heels!

5.) Be aware of your surroundings.

Be confident. But don’t be so over confident that you put your headphones on and tune out the world. This lets an attacker sneak up behind you when you’re distracted and not paying any attention, leaving you open to attack. If you just have to have your music on while you walk, keep the volume down as low as you can and be constantly aware of where you are, and who’s near you. Keep an eye on other pedestrians, but also notice cars too. It’s not hard to miss a car turning while you’re trying to cross the street. If the driver isn’t paying attention, or doesn’t have enough time to stop, you could get hit.

6.) Keep your cell phone charged.

Talking on your cell phone is another distraction. It shows attackers you’re not paying attention to your surroundings, and shows off what type of expensive gadgets you carry on you. Don’t show off something you don’t want stolen. It will open you up to attack that much more than if you don’t have that super new iPhone in use. This is also true at busy T stations. Transit Police are always warning passengers not to wear headphones, or show off their gadgets by using them. Busy station, or empty station. If it’s a busy place, the crook can easily disappear into the crowd, and if it’s an empty station, there’s no one to help you should you get hurt. That being said, if someone wants your device, remember, it’s not worth getting hurt over, or even killed. Let them have it. You can always call your cell phone provider when you get home and cancel your service. You getting home alive and well is the important thing.

That being said, keep your cell phone charged and ready should something happen. That way you’ll be able to call for help right away. And if you do need to call for help, the first number you should dial is 911. Don’t call your parents, or your best friend. If you’re hurt, or you’ve just had your iPod stolen from you, call the police first.

7.) Carry a deterrent.

Carry a flashlight with you, especially if you know you’ll be out at night a lot. At the very least, a penlight that attaches to your keychain is best for lighting up the path in front of you, showing the face of a would-be attacker, and helping you get a house key or a car key into a lock faster than fumbling in the dark. Would-be attackers want to stay in the dark, so that you cannot identify them later on. If you shine a flashlight into their face, you’re more likely to get a better description of them, which is not something they want. It also shows you have confidence. The longer you fumble with a key at the door, the more opportunities you’re giving an attacker to hurt you, or get into your house. And if you carry a larger flashlight, if you need it, it can become a way to defend yourself.

8.) Crosswalks were invented for a reason.

Always use the crosswalk, and always wait until the signal says it’s okay for you to cross. Crossing against the light, or out of a crosswalk is the fastest and surest way to getting hit by a car. Drivers aren’t looking for pedestrians outside of the crosswalk, because you shouldn’t be there. When they have the greenlight, they’re not looking to slow down when they approach a crosswalk. And remember, not every driver believes in red lights either. When you are crossing the street, look both ways, even when you do have the light to walk. You never know when some dark car is going to come speeding along at night without its lights on. In a city it’s very easy to forget to turn your headlights on. What it comes down to again, is always knowing your surroundings.


Top phone numbers to have stashed in your pocket or on your phone’s memory:

Emergency: 911

MBTA Transit Police Emergency Line: 617 – 222 – 1212

MBTA Lost and Found: 617 – 222 – 3200 (8:30 AM – 5:00 PM Mon-Fri)


*Pieces of this post are from The Graveyard Shift blog kept up by retired police officer, Lee Lofland.

Today is National Popcorn Day!

Posted on January 19th, 2013 by Anna in News
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Yep, you heard me right. National Popcorn Day is today. Though apparently the date isn’t entirely set in stone. According to The Popcorn Board  the day is celebrated at the end of January, but no one is sure who started the tradition and what the original date actually is. So, in lieu of elusive facts, January 19th is the day currently used.

So for all of you popcorn loving people, and who doesn’t love popcorn, here are some really awesome ways to make popcorn. It’s easy, it’s fast, and hey, tell your mother it’s healthy too!

Just want to run to the store and grab the microwavable kind? Well, I’ve got news for you. That stuff has apparently been linked to some very serious health risks. But, there is another way you can make microwavable popcorn, without the scary risks. Another good thing about this super simple recipe: It’s cheaper! Here’s how:

Pour 2 tablespoons of kernels into a paper lunch sack. Fold the top over once and tape closed. Place in the microwave, tape side down, and hit the popcorn button. Stay close and listen until the pops are three seconds apart. Stop the microwave.

Once it’s done, put the popcorn in a bowl, melt a tablespoon or two of butter in the microwave and pour over your popcorn. Add salt to taste and mix well. Enjoy!

Tired of the same thing every time? Try these spicy versions:

Chile-Lime Popcorn
Top popped corn with lime zest, chile powder, and a sprinkle of cayenne. Toss to combine.

Sugar & Spice Popcorn
In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter with sugar and ground cinnamon. Cook, stirring until sugar dissolves. Pour over popcorn and toss well to coat.

These simple recipes were found here.