Category Archives: Teen Services

Stop the Press: Dakota Access Pipeline

Posted on December 6th, 2016 by rschmelzer in Teen Services

REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Photo: Tony Webster/flickr/cc)

Photo: Tony Webster/flickr/cc)

Protests at the North Dakota Access Pipeline have dominated the move for months. Teens may have taken notice when actress Shailene Woodley was arrested while protesting. Response to the peaceful protests have become violent, as evidenced by this video of officials blasting protesters with water canons in freezing temperatures.

Who: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and hundreds of others of Native American people vs. the Army Corps of Engineers (the federal agency that approved the pipeline) and Energy Transfer Partners (pipeline owner.)

What/Where: An oil pipeline that is planned to stretch more than 1,100 miles from oil fields in North Dakota to a river port in Illinois.

When: Protests began in April of this year, and the case has been in court since July of this year.


  • The pipeline will pass through and likely destroy Native burial sites and sacred places.
  • The pipeline could threaten the tribe’s sole water source.
  • The tribe was not consulted before the pipeline was approved.

What you can do:

  • Educate yourself
  • Sign a petition
  • Voice your opposition
  • Donate
  • Volunteer

For information refer to this list: Huffington Post

References: The Atlantic, Teen Vogue

icon of RebeccaAre you interested in keeping up with the news and current events? The Boston Public Library has subscriptions to newspapers that you can read in the library or online.

*”Stop the Press” features current events posts by Rebecca, the Teen Librarian at the Grove Hall Branch, on the first Tuesday of every month.

On the Radar: Five Books to Check Out in December

Posted on November 30th, 2016 by vkovenmatasy in Books, Previews, Teen Services

Get your library card handy and reserve your place in line for these new December releases! If you place a hold now, they can be in your hands before they even hit the shelf.

Please note: all summaries are taken from the Boston Public Library catalog unless otherwise noted. They may have been edited for length and clarity.


the secret of a heart note cover

The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee

Summary: Sometimes love is right under your nose. As one of only two aromateurs left on the planet, sixteen-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of weeding, mixing love elixirs, and matchmaking–all while remaining incurably alone. For Mim, the rules are clear: falling in love would render her nose useless, taking away her one great talent. Still, Mimosa doesn’t want to spend her life elbow-deep in soil and begonias. She dreams of a normal high school experience with friends, sports practices, debate club, and even a boyfriend. But when she accidentally gives an elixir to the wrong woman and has to rely on the lovesick woman’s son, the school soccer star, to help fix the situation, Mim quickly begins to realize that falling in love isn’t always a choice you can make.

Why We’re Excited: Stacey Lee, author of Under a Painted Sky (aka the only cowboy book you will ever need to read, no seriously, go read it) and Outrun the Moon (ladies being friends! cool history you never learned in school! the San Francisco Earthquake!) is branching out into magical realism? Be still my heart. I mean, go on and put yourself on the hold list, but you won’t be first in line, because I already am. ♥ ♥ ♥ Stacey Lee ♥ ♥ ♥


invisible enemies and invisible allies covers

Invisible Enemies and Invisible Allies by Jeanette Farrell

Summary: In Invisible Enemies, Jeanette Farrell tells the gripping stories of mankind’s struggles against deadliest diseases in human history–including malaria, leprosy and cholera–updated to reflect new medical and social developments such as the continuing ravages of AIDS around the world, the bioterror threat posed by smallpox eradication, and an all-new chapter on the Ebola crisis. Illustrated with more than fifty reproductions of photographs, newspaper cartoons, public health posters, and the like, Invisible Enemies is an intense and intriguing mix of history, biography, and biology. / Although we are accustomed to equating the presence of microbes with disease, in fact most microbes play a vital “friendly” role in shaping our lives. It is not just that one hundred million microbes can populate a thimbleful of fertile soil, or that many millions live happily in as much of our saliva. Microbes are everywhere, and we could not survive without them. In Invisible Allies, Jeanette Farrell considers the invisible bugs essential to an everyday event: the eating of a light lunch consisting of a cheese sandwich and a chocolate bar. Microbes create such a lunch, digest it, and, through the alchemy of decomposition, transform it so that the cycle can start all over again. In the course of her eye-opening narrative, Dr. Farrell relates the historical significance of using microbes to preserve foods, our long-standing ambivalence about the microbes that live on and in us, and our growing understanding of their importance.

Why We’re Excited: Science is so cool! And so gross! Whether you like learning about diseases that can kill you (in which case I also recommend Red MadnessBubonic Panic and Fatal Fever) or the teeny-tiny organisms that make cheese possible (and a lot of other things, but I want to stress the most important one: CHEESE), we’ve got a book for you.


quicks cover

Quicks by Kevin Waltman

Summary: Marion High, an inner-city school in Indianapolis, has never had a state championship. It’s D-Bow’s Senior Year, his A-Game is ready, big-time colleges are taking notice, and he’s dreaming big. What’s rattling D-Bow is the cocky white guy, Daryl. He wants D-Bow’s job at point. It’s time for D-Bow to man up. He needs to be the team leader, and he needs to bring that A-Game.

Why We’re Excited: Now that the NBA and NCAA seasons are underway, we’re going to need a good basketball book to read during timeouts. Quicks is the fourth and final book in the High School Hoops series, following Next, Slump, and Pull; each one chronicles a year in the high school career of Derrick Bowen.


ever the hunted cover

Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill

Summary: Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is the outcast daughter of a bounty hunter who must use her powers to track her father’s killer in a world of warring kingdoms and dangerous magic.

Why We’re Excited: I know, I know, you’re all tired of hearing about how some book is “the next Hunger Games.” And honestly, Ever the Hunted doesn’t sound much like The Hunger Games at all. That said, Britta sounds like a heroine that readers who loved Katniss Everdeen can get behind. And if you loved Kristin Cashore’s Graceling, I hear you’ll probably like this book too.


did i mention i miss you cover

Did I Mention I Miss You? by Estelle Maskame

Summary: It’s been a year since Eden last spoke to Tyler. A year since he left her all alone after nearly destroying their family. But Eden picked herself up and headed to Chicago for college. She’s moved on… hasn’t she? Despite their break-up, Tyler’s determined to rekindle what they once had. He’s headed back to Santa Monica, where Eden is spending her summer. Eden’s not sure she can forgive him. But when a tragedy draws them together, Eden must search her heart and decide if Tyler is worth the risk once and for all.

Why We’re Excited: So I’ve been hearing a lot about Wattpad lately… okay, yes, if by lately you mean “for the past few years”, I’m not that far behind the curve. But I’m seeing more and more traditionally published books that openly advertise originally having been posted on Wattpad (check out After and Before by Anna Todd, My Life With the Walter Boys by Ali Novak, and the prequels to Did I Mention I Miss You?, Did I Mention I Love You? and Did I Mention I Need You?), and if you’re anything like me, you might want to find out what all the fuss is about! The DIMILY trilogy, now that it’s complete, looks like a good place to start.


icon of VeronicaDid I get you interested in reading one of these books? Just click the title of the one you want and the link will take you to the relevant page in the catalog. From there you can click the green “Place a Hold” button and you’re all set!

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


*”On the Radar” features book previews by Veronica, the Teen Librarian at the Dudley Branch, on the last Tuesday or Friday of every month.

Ctrl + Z: Trying Out Prototypes for Programmable Sticker Circuits from Chibitronics

Posted on November 22nd, 2016 by chalpin in Teen Services

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure to join a great mix of educators, students, mentors, techies, and tinkerers to try out a new product under development by Chibitronics. The South End Technology Center hosted sticker circuit creator Jie Qi, who let us get hands on with prototypes that take paper electronics to the next level by making them programmable! These materials are not yet on the market and I felt really lucky to get to try them out. While I have used sticker 11_12_16_3leds_and_clipcircuits before here in Teen Central to make light-up greeting cards, I have little programming experience. Fortunately, there were lots of great helpers on hand to guide in the use of this new learning tool.




We started with laying out tracks of copper tape, and placing sticker LEDs, the negative side of the LED connecting the a ground (-) tape, and the positive side connecting to the other (+) line of tape. A metal clip with a programmable board attached can then be clipped to your paper, aligning the proper pins to the designated polarity of your tape/LEDs. The board has a micro-USB port that can be used connect to a power source. So far I had success! I had a working circuit that allowed my LEDs to light up in a steady state. Next, up programming the board to use different pins, and having my LEDs blink, turning on and off in a loop.

At this point, we opened a web-based IDE where we would do our coding, Love to Code (https://chibitronics.com/ltc/). This is where I breathed a sigh of relief! I’ve recently been learning how to program a Lilypad microcontroller and this is extremely similar. Anyone, who has experience writing sketches in Arduino will know how to use this and even if you don’t, I’ve personally found this be very approacha11_12_16_turn_coffee_into_codeble for a beginner. There are example programs provided, and so we opened the Blink program, and then just tweaked it to our own project. I reprogramed which pin would be the output for my circuit and specified how much of a delay I wanted between the blinks of my LEDs. To download your program to the board, you use a standard audio port instead of USB. This allows you to, yes, use a computer, but you could also use a smartphone, which I think is very cool.

The last piece we played with is the serial monitor. You can connect this small monitor the board using alligat11_12_16_monitor_and_alligator_clipsor clips and then code the display read numbers or text. The first program I tried had the display show numbers that continually counted up. Later, I programmed the display to show the same three words on repeat: peace, love, light.

Having practiced all the basics, we then took full advantage of tables full of crafting supplies, g11_12_16_supply_tableot creative and made individual posters, following the prompt of “hope for the future.” This is my final project for the day! I had so much fun and hope to see these materials developed further. We’ve already had fun with paper electronics in the library, and I definitely see this new version of sticker circuits allowing us to get even more creative and have fun with computer science education at the same time!



This is my final project for the day. An expression of hope for the future. 🙂

** I am a novice in electronics and programming with a great interest in learning, that being said, any mistakes in naming components or process in this post are my own.


hologram on 9-16-15 at 7.25 PM #3

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

* “Ctrl+Z” is all about fearlessly exploring technology. Look here for info about teens, technology, and having fun with new media by Catherine, Teen Technology Coordinator at Teen Central, on the fourth Friday.

Hack the System!: Combating Fake News!

Posted on November 18th, 2016 by adowds in News, Technology, Teen Services
Tags: , , , ,


Post-election anxieties are pretty heightened right about now, and election results have left many people asking, How?!? Why?!? What?!? Fingers are being pointed in many directions, but one culprit taking the lead is “fake news”. So much so, some “fake news” bloggers are actually claiming partial responsibility for the election of Donald Trump.


“Fake news” is a form of news satire. Content is presented in a format typical of mainstream journalism, but the actual content is anything but real and often pokes fun at current events. Fake news stories pop up everywhere on social media sites, and receive almost immediate attention, likes, shares, and reactions from users due to its sensationalized material. According to BuzzFeed News Analyst Craig Silverman, “the top-performing fake election news stories on Facebook generated more engagement than the top stories from major news outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, NBC News…”. Silverman used a tool called BuzzSumo to compare the way the public engaged or interacted with traditional news stories vs fake news stories that peddled false claims during the final three months of the US presidential campaign. He found that the 20 top performing “fake news” stories received 8.7 million shares, reactions, likes, etc. on Facebook while the 20 top performing new stories from reputable publications received 7.3 million.



Does this mean that fake news won the election for Donald Trump? Most likely not. But it does mean that people either are not as media savvy as we hoped or, we tend to trust almost anything once it is posted online — no questions asked. While companies such as Facebook and Google have amped up their abilities to block ad monies that promote fake news and hoax stories, two individuals have created extensions for Chrome to help people circumvent untrustworthy new sites by warning them when they are visiting sites or reading material that is known to be misleading, satirical, or a hoax.



First, Daniel Sieradski created the “B.S. Detector” on Tuesday, November 15th for Chrome browsers only. This extension will identify and flag articles from questionable resources while users are browsing Facebook.  Sieradski’s invention relies on a pre-generated list of well-known fake news sites created by Melissa Zimdars, a communication and media professor from Merrimack College in Massachusetts. Users may submit requests to update and change this list.





The second extension, Fake News Alert, was created by New York magazine journalist Brian Feldman and was released Thursday, November 17th. If a user attempts to visit a known hoax site, a pop-up or banner appears to alert users. Feldman also uses Zimdars’ preexisting list of fake news sites to assist people who may not be media savvy or have been foiled hook, line, and sinker into reading and believing one of these articles.


These latest creations may diminish the outpouring of misinformation, but they also have a few downsides. First, they can only be used on Chrome browsers. Second, it is up to the user to proactively download the tool. And most notably, these extensions only work on the specific website domain, which means users must actually click on the website link in order to receive an alert. According to Feldman, preemptive alerts that flag articles before they are opened or read would require a more sophisticated version of his Fake News Alert Chrome extension. And similar to any antivirus software, new hoax sites can be created that aren’t in the extension’s database.


The good news — Both of these tools were created in about an hour and their inventors admit they are pretty bare bones. There is plenty of room for tinkering and improvement, which means there is ample opportunity for you all to hack the system and build your own app, fight against fake news, and enable people to place more trust in what they are reading!



Want to create your own technology life hack? Stop by Teen Central during Open Lab time.

“Hack the System!” features examples of technology life hacks created by Ally, the Youth Technology Librarian at Teen Central. Check back on the third Friday of each month for her latest post.

Reading Backwards, Watching in Japanese: Library Wars Manga

Posted on November 8th, 2016 by jkenney in Teen Services

library-wars-manga-chapter-34-001v2Hello Otaku!

This month we stay with manga and an entertaining series titled Library Wars.  Story and Art by Kiiro Yumi, original concept by Hiro Arikawa. We have a couple of the print volumes at our branch in Hyde Park but I was able to find it online as well.  Check it out here at Otakumash.com.

You can navigate backwards to the beginning but volume 2 was the earliest we had on shelf. The story focuses on the young staff and instructors at the Kanto Library and their developing battle with the federal Media Betterment Committee (MBC). This body is an overseeing censorship group that was recently formed in reaction to controversial publications in local presses and literature. Libraries have reacted by forming a Task Force to defend freedom of speech, the press, and to fight censorship. This elite unit actually trains in firearms, marksmanship and other tactical combat skills. In a library! The ironic contrast between these two subject areas made for a humorous and light hearted read. The series is actually published by Shojo Beat Manga. Most of you will know that the term “shojo” is used to describe manga or anime meant for young women. This genre tends to center on themes of romance and friendship but the inclusion of libraries and war caught my attention as a “shonen” action fan. I think it’s a real victory for diversity in manga and encourage both men and women otaku of all ages to check it out. It is a lot of fun.

One of the first panels helps outline the library principles at stake in the story and the great fight between freedom of speech and censorship.  The artwork is bold and clean in a fine linear style. Technique is fairly modern and the figure shape, faces and costumes styles are up to date for a real world fiction.


The plot deepens when a bag of “offensive” books is found in a room after an administrator left moments before.


Action ensues early on when the heroine, corporal Iku Kasahara, is practicing on the gun range. Then on the same page, the story drops into friendly competition-chibi mode for a bit of comic relief and humor. The contrast of story elements and subject matter is really refreshing. Familiar visual effects and sound effects are used in this series and help the reader feel right at home.


And of course romantic effects like the classic “champagne bubbles” and “light flares” appear at appropriate times. Here is an example of light glistening off tears when Iku allows herself to cry on her favorite instructor-crush’s shoulder, Sergeant Atsushi Dojo. A tender moment of support and relief after Iku was hounded by the press.

So check out Library Wars. You’ll be surprised by the action and comedy in this “shojo” title. The creativity in manga and anime the past several years is really amazing. It’s not all just epic saga extension of massive story lines and character lists. Some titles are well put together, tightly knit and a lot of fun. There are a couple anime versions out there available at Kissanime. They are next on my list.


john250-150x150Did you know that in addition to physical books and DVDs, your library card gives you access to anime and graphic novels online? The BPL subscribes toHoopla, a streaming service that allows you to check out and enjoy the media you love on your computer, tablet or smartphone. You can learn more about the BPL’s digital media collections here.

Want company while you’re watching anime? The Hyde Park Teen Anime Club meets on Thursdays at 2:30 p.m.

*”Reading Backwards, Watching in Japanese” features reviews of anime and manga by John, the Teen Librarian at the Hyde Park Branch, on the second Tuesday of every month.