Category Archives: Teen Services

Teens Leading in the Community: Youth Vote Amendment Act

Posted on May 17th, 2016 by jsnow@private.bpl.org in Teen Services

Welcome to this month’s post on Teens Leading in the Community. Each month I will feature an interview or a story about teens leading in the community. This could be a teen in a leadership position in school, in the library or in the community. We want to feature stories about teens leading and making a difference in their communities.










This month’s feature focuses not on teens in Boston, but on teens in the Bay Area in California-cities like Oakland, San Francisco, and Alameda. Teens in these cities are working together, collaborating, presenting at City Council meetings and more. For what? To lower the voting age to 16.  The voting age in the United States is 18 years old but there are 9 states that are trying to have the age lowered to 16 (Massachusetts at one time was one them, significantly with North Andover and with Cambridge). The first state to have lowered the voting age is Maryland and that occurred in 2013.   The really amazing thing about all of this is the movements have been completely youth led.

They are old enough to drive, work without restrictions on their hours, and pay taxes–they should also have a voice in their local government. Also, lowering the voting age can drive demand for better civic education in schools. These are some of the reasons teens have said they feel the voting age should be lowered to 16. What do you think?

The Youth Activism Project has an article about lowering the voting age and highlights the work that the youth led commission, the San Francisco Youth Commission has been doing to try and get the age lowered.  The Youth Vote Amendment Act of 2015 aims to lower the voting age to 16 years old and by doing so bringing young people directly into the political process and, hopefully, creating lifelong voters.

What do you think? Do you think the voting age should be lowered to 16 in the state and/or cities in Massachusetts?


jessi250-150x150Are you interested in learning more about leadership opportunities? The Boston Public Library, Teen Central has a Teen Leadership Council that meets monthly in Teen Central and there is a job help page that provides information on  job opportunities, volunteer and internship opportunities.

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

*”Teens Leading in the Community” features interviews and stories about teens leading in their communities by Jessi, the Teen Services Team Leader, Central, on the third Tuesday of every month.

Cooking with Caren: Salted Toffee S’Mores Bars

Posted on May 13th, 2016 by crosales@private.bpl.org 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.

Teen Central is Hiring Two Teen Tech Mentors

Posted on May 12th, 2016 by jsnow@private.bpl.org in Teen Services

Teen Tech Mentor Program

Who: For teens in grades 9-11

What: Teens will serve as Teen Tech Mentors in the Lab while they are trained in a number of different software programs by Teen Central Technology Staff.  Teens will be trained in the software in the Lab and will serve as peer mentors and assist in programming.  During open hours of the Lab, Teen Tech Mentors will informally teach other teens about the software and how to use them during the hours of Mondays and Tuesdays 3:00-6:00 pm.  To be a Teen Tech Mentor you must commit for the year September through May.

When: Program runs from September through May (follows the Boston Public Schools calendar) Program begins on September 19, 2016.

Are you interested in applying? If so, we are having open interview sessions on June 14, June 15 and June 17 from 4:00-6:00 pm on each day. You may fill in applications then or come to Teen Central to get one.  Teen Central is located; 700 Boylston Street Boston, MA 02116.

Questions? Email Jessi Snow jsnow@bpl.org or call 617-859-2335

Teen Tech mentors will be paid $10.00 an hour for 6 hours a week.


Reading Backwards, Watching in Japanese: Gintama

Posted on May 10th, 2016 by jkenney@private.bpl.org in Teen Services

gintama1Welcome back, Otaku! This month we dig in a little deeper. At the Hyde Park Anime Club, we’ve been watching many different series, both new and old. Along the way, we found the classic, Gintama. Starting as a successful manga, it has also won rave reviews as an anime and sits near the top of many lists. I figured we needed to look more into it, so this month I will review both the manga and the anime so we can compare them.

Gintama takes place in the future, where earth has been occupied by aliens known as the Amanto. The setting is a mix of present day technology and life with the ancient ideals of Feudal Japan and science fiction alien technology. All swords have been banned and samurai are now disrespected as obsolete and unnecessary. A peace treaty was struck when the aliens “friends” arrived but life is not great under the occupation.

The story starts with our main character Shinpachi Shimura, a boy who wears glasses. He is trying to keep a job at a restaurant while Amanto aliens (with animal hybrid bodies) play games and harass the native Japanese and the old samurai class. Shinpachi is the son of a samurai dojo owner who died when he and his sister were young. They trained well, but were on hard times when their father died and have been struggling to survive without him. Enter Gintoki Sakata, a man who does odd jobs but still burns with the fire of Bushido and carries an illegal sword with great skill. Volume one, chapter one starts with the chapter, “Nobody with Naturally Wavy Hair Can Be That Bad” referring to the dynamic Gintoki. Comedy and action fill this manga from the very beginning. After a touching introduction around Shinpachi’s father’s sickbed, the second scene is a classic slapstick comedy where Shinpachi’s boss is furious with his performance and smacks him around a little. The excitement takes off from there. About half way through the first volume we meet Kagura, a girl who carries an umbrella and seems to be hungry all the time. Gintoki and Shinpachi literally run into her as they flee the scene of an epic “illegal” battle with a gigantic alien monster. Several side stories continue involving two-bit loan sharks and wanna-be gangsters with crazy outfits and hairstyles. Lots of nose-picking and potty humor occur throughout but the blend is really quite funny and should keep most teen readers entertained. Parody is also used a lot and lends to the lighthearted air of the series. The artwork seems to fit between Dragon Ball Z vintage and more modern styles which is consistent with the manga’s original release. There isn’t much landscape art at all in the first volume but some architectural details and more intricate alien technology does appear in the city scapes and battle scenes. You can request the manga using your Boston Public Library card here.


Gintama the anime is available online from many streaming sites. Our current favorite is Kissanime.com. The first two episodes are combined on this site as well as Animefrost.com. The anime differs here in that it basically adds an episode up front, to provide more back story and foundation. The first part of the episode follows Gintoki and a bunch of feudal style citizens on a chase around town. This serves to establish a better sense of the old culture that has been suppressed by the arrival of the Amanto. Great comedy ensues and eventually gets integrated into the current futuristic landscape. The animation is pretty good, showing the style and performance of its era in the mid 2000’s. You could say it fits in “post-Dragonball” but “pre-Fullmetal Alchemist.” The anime makes great use of the action inherent in the story. It’s a great combination of Shonen action and Slice of Life Comedy. This is probably why it’s been so successful. Gintama is a long running series and I hope to be able to get through it like I did Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and Fairy Tail. There’s a lot to look forward to.



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 to Hoopla, 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.

Curl Up & Read: Reunited

Posted on May 6th, 2016 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff, Teen Services
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Title: Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham

Read by: Anna, a Teen Central Librarian

Summary: 3 ex-best friends, 1 concert, 1 1976 green VW camper van, and 1 long road trip. How bad could it be?

Genre/sub-genre: contemporary fiction/humor

Series/Standalone: Standalone

Length: 325 pages

Personal thoughts: 

Hilariously funny and achingly real, Reunited had me hooked from page one.

Summer, Alice, and Tiernan are well developed characters, that easily drive the story forward, and keep the reader turning pages. With the point-of-view rotating between the three ex-best friends, we get to see their fears, their anger, and their joys, as they navigate the wild events of their road trip and attempt to forget the night they broke up at the school dance several years before. Along the way, the girls learn a little something about life, love, friendship, and about themselves.

Peppered throughout, are the catchy lyrics to Level3’s songs, including title and album information, making the band feel that much more real and a part of the story.

The ending was unpredictable, realistic, and hopeful. It’s clear that there is still work to be done for these three friends, but the ending was every bit satisfying. I’m just sorry I didn’t read this sooner.

I recommend this for anyone who enjoys reading contemporary fiction about best friends and music, especially with a good dose of humor.




Looking to borrow this library book? Look no further!

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


*”Curl Up & Read” posts book reviews by Anna, Teen Librarian at Teen Central, the first Friday of every month.