Category Archives: Programs

Cooking with Caren: Salted Toffee S’Mores Bars

Posted on May 13th, 2016 by crosales in Programs, Recipes, Teen Services

Baked Goods

Sometimes the only thing that pulls you out of a gloomy mood is the smell of sweets in the oven!

1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, making sure the whole pan is covered.

2. Place roughly 13 graham crackers in a single layer on the sheet with edges touching. Sprinkle an 8 ounce bag of toffee bits evenly over graham crackers. We used Heath Bar.

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3. In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat and cook at a rapid simmer, swirling pan occasionally, until mixture is kind of foamy and syrupy, about 2 minutes. Pour the melted butter mixture over graham crackers as evenly as you can—be careful: this stuff is HOT!

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4. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes. Remove the pan from oven and immediately sprinkle 3/4 cup chocolate and ¾ cup mini marshmallows over the top (they’ll start to melt right away). Sprinkle 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt all over.

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5. While it’s still hot, use a pizza cutter to cut it into 2-inch squares.  Let it cool completely in the pan on a wire rack, then enjoy.


Recipe courtesy of: Seventeen Magazine



icon of carenAre you still looking for more recipes? The Boston Public Library has a huge collection of cookbooks that you can browse, check out and take home.

Need a library card? Wondering how long you can borrow a book? Borrowing and Circulation information can be found here.


*”Cooking with Caren” features recipe posts by Caren, the Teen Librarian at the Mattapan Branch, on the second Friday of every month.

Anime Review: Serial Experiments Lain

Posted on January 27th, 2016 by jkenney in Movies, Programs, Reviews - Staff, Reviews - Teens, Teen Services

serial lain

Serial Experiments Lain [R 17+] is a powerful science fiction anime series from 1998.  This psychological thriller centers on the experience of Lain Iwakura and her introduction to cyber-life in “The Wired” [Internet].  After a tragic suicide by a girl in her high school class, she and many other classmates receive emails from the girl after she has died.  This mystery sets the scene for the main thrust of the story.

Other characters include Lain’s best friend Arisu Mizuki and her larger circle of friends, Masami Eiri – apparent designer and god-like figure of The Wired, Knights – “men in black” who are ambiguously involved with the wired, Lain’s family and father who is a computer expert, and a group of younger children who provide another perspective to the developing sense of cyber-life.

Masami serves as the main foil in the series.  A large portion of the plot centers on ideas of self, divinity, physical versus spiritual, real versus virtual, and other wrenching questions often faced in the teen years.  The visual palette contains strong use of “white field” contrasts and fills as well as other shadow fills using “blood pool” and collage-like patterns.  The white fields get repeated emphasis as a sunlight effect in the morning scenes as Lain leaves her house for school.  After a few appearances, the technique is familiar and the artistic style of the series is clearly set apart.  Its continued use serves to amplify the sense of drudgery and emptiness that Lain experiences going to school.  At the same time, the technique itself is stark and almost blinding, creating a confusing crosscurrent to an otherwise static and low energy scene.  It’s truly masterful.  The soundtrack is very strong with its selection of music and an audio “hum” effect that is used to represent the ever-present activity on The Wired. It is usually combined with views of power lines and transformers at scene changes.

Serial Experiments Lain has received notable praise from the critical community and I strongly recommend it for Anime fans.  You can watch it for free on Kissanime.com and Animefrost.com

Anime Review: Samurai Champloo

Posted on January 25th, 2016 by jkenney in Movies, Music, Programs, Reviews - Staff, Reviews - Teens, Teen Services

samurai champloo

Samurai Champloo is an action [shonen] anime from 2004-2005.  Based on the original manga, this story is an adventure combined with poignant drama and comedy that follows the heroine’s search for the “Samurai that smells of sunflowers.”  We have some episodes available on DVD but the title is widely available over streaming sites.  Ask your teen librarian!

The three main characters are Fuu, Mugen and Jin.  Fuu is a teenage girl with a happy-go-lucky attitude and always seems to be hungry.  She is searching for the famous samurai.  Jin is a ronin [roaming samurai] with the classic stern character of the period.  He wears glasses which were actually available at the time but his are modern and lend a stylish flare to his otherwise quiet character.  He is of course, a master swordsman.  Mugen is another great swordsman but of an unconventional style.  He wears his hair in short crazy dreadlocks, and his sword is curved more like a scimitar with z shaped hilt.  He has a chip on his shoulder and is always looking for a fight.

The art work is quite good with strong “brush lines” and solid earthy colors.  The drawing style is slightly elongated with a linear quality that distinguishes it from other modern series such as Fairy Tail and Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood.  One great feature of this series is the inclusion of Hip Hop music and samples.  The theme music is a hip hop song that viewers will probably want to listen to each episode.  Hip hop culture and even Chinese kung fu are referenced several times during the series and at least once each with more focus in their own episode.  These elements as well as a few other surprises add an entertaining enhancement to the ongoing story line and themes.  Fight sequences are strong and dynamic, and character development is sensitive and engaging.  Viewers will not be disappointed.

Microwave Mac and Cheese

Posted on February 4th, 2015 by rschmelzer in Books, Programs, Teen Services

Ah, Mac and Cheese. 90% of Americans’ favorite food (I just made up that statistic.) With over 40 inches of snow that has fallen on Boston in the last week, I would argue that a little comfort food is much needed. At the Grove Hall Branch, Teens this month learned how to make their own instant Microwave Mac and Cheese. No need for pots or strainers, all you need are four simple ingredients and a mug for this recipe:



1/3 cup pasta
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup 1% milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Stir the pasta and water in a large mug or bowl.

2. Microwave on high for two minutes, then stir. The water might overflow, the bigger the mug or bowl will lessen this.

3. Repeat microwaving and stirring for at least 2 to 4 more minutes, stirring at each 2-minute interval. The water should absorb completely and the pasta will be cooked through. If the pasta is still crunchy, add a little bit more water and microwave again. If the pasta is completely dry, it will burn in the microwave!

4. Once pasta is cooked, remove from microwave and stir in the milk. Microwave for another minute. Stir the cheese thoroughly into the pasta, our teens found they had to microwave again for 30 seconds to melt the cheese completely.



Might have gone overboard with the cheese…but when is too much cheese really a problem?


If you are interested in cooking, the Boston Public Library has cookbooks written just for Teens:


Seed Lending Library

Posted on May 13th, 2014 by Angela in Events, Programs


Do you have a green thumb, or know someone that does? Did you know that the Boston Public Library is now part of a Seed Sharing Library that is sponsored by Boston Natural Areas Network and Greenovate Boston?  The program is currently running at the Grove Hall, Mattapan and at the East Boston Branches.  You will be able to borrow seeds from the library and at the end of harvesting season you return whatever seeds you were able to save from your new crops.  To find out more information about the programs, you should visit the branches. And if you want to share your gardening skills both Mattapan and Grove Hall also offer gardening programs in the library if you want to get your hands dirty at some point.