Category Archives: Teen Services

Stop the Press: Brexit-what?

Posted on July 5th, 2016 by rschmelzer@private.bpl.org in News, Teen Services
Tags: ,

Though it still sounds to me like some sort of shredded-wheat cereal, Brexit happened last week and it is a big deal. It’s all over the news and social media. You must have heard of it, but does it make any sense to you? Brexit has already affected American and world stock markets, and part of being a global citizen is knowing and understanding what is going on in the world around us. So here I’ll try to break it down in the most non-boring way possible. What better way to do that than with The Simpsons?!


This is the flag of the European Union (Lisa).

  This is the flag of Great Britain (Bart.)

Brexit= British + Exit. The possibility of Great Britain leaving the European Union, which currently includes these countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

After the Second World War there was a new movement to create unity between Germany and France, which would ultimately lay the foundations for the European Union four decades later, in 1993.

The European Union, or EU, gives those living in EU countries the right to travel, work and live in any other EU country.

Each of the countries within the Union are independent but they agree to trade under the agreements made between the nations.

(Credit The Telegraph)

A referendum – a vote in which everyone (or nearly everyone) of voting age can take part – was held on Thursday 23 June, to decide whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union.

Leave won by 52% to 48%.

(Credit BBC)

So now you have a basic understanding of what everyone is talking about! From this point you can do your own research or listen to the news for the short and long-term implications of what went down.


icon of Rebecca

Are 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 July

Posted on June 28th, 2016 by vkovenmatasy@private.bpl.org in Books, Previews, Teen Services

Get your library card handy and reserve your place in line for these new July 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.


cover of this savage song

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

Summary: Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city–a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent–but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

Why We’re Excited: I heard it on the water, on the wind. (Okay, actually I heard it on the internet, but give me some room for poetic license.) Could it be? A YA fantasy novel without the obligatory love triangle? A YA fantasy novel with, in fact, no romance whatsoever? I won’t really believe it until I read it, but this I want to see.


cover of shiny broken pieces

Shiny Broken Pieces by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

Summary: June, Bette, and Gigi are competing one final time for a spot at the prestigious American Ballet Company. With the stakes higher than ever, these girls have everything to lose…and no one is playing nice. June is starting to finally see herself as a prima ballerina. But being the best could mean sacrificing the love of her life. Legacy dancer Bette is determined to clear her name after she was suspended and accused of hurting her rival, Gigi. And Gigi is not going to let Bette–or the other dancers who bullied her–go unpunished. It all comes down to this last dance. Who will make the cut? And who will lose her dream forever?

Why We’re Excited: If there’s one thing I learned from being best friends with a ballet dancer in grade school, it’s that ballerinas are hard-core. Dancing your toenails off (and having to look graceful while you’re doing it)? It sounds like something out of a horror movie to me, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg of what dancers go through to achieve their dreams. This follow-up to last year’s Tiny Pretty Things promises to deliver even more of the drama and the dark side of ballet.


cover of all the feels

All the Feels by Danika Stone

Summary: When uber-fan Liv’s favorite sci fi movie character is killed off, she and her best friend Xander, an aspiring actor and Steampunk enthusiast, launch a campaign to bring him back from the dead.

Why We’re Excited: Let’s be honest, I’ve been in this protagonist’s shoes before. When my favorite character dies (or, to move this into sports fandom, my favorite player gets sold to another team), do I deal well? Nope. Not at all. There is no dealing, only grief and bitter recrimination. And sometimes it’s a lot of fun to see the fangirl life on the page! If All the Feels can live up to Fangirl, the Rainbow Rowell novel that kicked off this recent fandom craze in YA literature, I will be well satisfied.


cover of dinosaurs of the deep

Dinosaurs of the Deep by Larry Verstraete and Julius Csotonyi

Summary: A gigantic sea dwelling mosasaur rises from the watery depths and saves the day in the summer blockbuster Jurassic World . However, these fearsome waterborne predators were anything but heroic, at nearly 50 feet in length and 50 tonnes, mosasaurs made tyrannosaurs look like cuddly puppies. Since their discovery almost two hundred years ago, dinosaurs have captured the imaginations of children and adults alike. What many don’t know is that “dinosaur” the term refers specifically to land born prehistoric reptiles. Despite being discovered nearly 50 years before the before the first dinosaur fossils, prehistoric aquatic creatures like mosasaurs and plesiosaurs have been largely overshadowed by triceratops, apatosaurus and the fierce T-rex. Dinosaurs of the Deep looks to change this by shedding light on the incredible diversity of prehistoric life that was living just beneath the water’s surface.

Why We’re Excited: Uh, terrifying sea monsters need an explanation? The things living at the bottom of the ocean now are scary. Can you even imagine what horrifying creatures were down there when T-rex roamed free? (Including this book is technically cheating on my part because it comes out on the last day of June, but I was more interested in TERRIFYING SEA MONSTERS than release dates.)


cover of flying

Flying by Carrie Jones

Summary: People have always treated seventeen-year-old Mana as someone in need of protection. She’s used to being coddled, being an only child, but it’s hard to imagine anything could ever happen in her small-town, normal life. As her mother’s babying gets more stifling than ever, she’s looking forward to cheering at the big game and getting out of the house for a while. But that night, Mana’s life goes haywire. First, the hot guy she’s been crushing on at school randomly flips out and starts spitting acid during the game. Then they get into a knockdown, drag-out fight in the locker room, during which Mana finds herself leaping around like a kangaroo on steroids. As a flyer on the cheerleading squad, she’s always been a good jumper, but this is a bit much. By the time she gets home and finds her house trashed and an alien in the garage, Mana starts to wonder if her mother had her reasons for being overprotective…

Why We’re Excited: CHEERLEADER ALIEN HUNTER. It’s like Buffy in space!


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: Lego Mindstorms Robotics Clubs

Posted on June 24th, 2016 by chalpin@private.bpl.org in Teen Services

This summer Boston Public Library will be offering our first Robotics Clubs. Over multiple sessions you’ll use Lego Mindstorms kits to learn how to build robots and program them to interact with the world. One of the great things about building these robots is that it should already feel familiar to anyone who has ever played with Lego bricks! Similarly, the code used to program these robots to move, make sounds, and otherwise behave or react to stimulus, is a visual programming language that will look familiar to anyone that may have used Scratch, and is easy to learn for anyone who hasn’t.Mindstorm_Script

Librarians participated in training sessions facilitated by Gary Garber who teaches physics, math, and engineering at Boston University Academy and runs the Boston University FIRST Robotics program. (He is also author of the following Lego Mindstorms related eBooks that you can access through the Boston Public Library here.) With a multi-week curriculum also provided to us, librarians and our intrepid Robotics Club participants will work our way through different activities week to week and build our skills together throughout the summer. We hope you’ll join us!


This program is open to youth in 6th grade through 12th grade, or ages 12-18, and may be of particular interest to anyone who is into building, making things with their hands, computer programming, friendly competition, collaboration, and fun!

This summer Teen Central, the Mattapan Branch Library Teen Room, and the Dudley Branch Library Teen Room will be offering Lego Mindstorms Robotics Clubs. Please register with the location where you would like to participate.

Teen Central starts June 28th from 3:30-5:00 and will continue to run on Tuesdays through August 23rd. For more information and to register call (617) 859-2334 or email: teencentral@bpl.org

Mattapan Branch Library will start on Tuesday, July 12th at 5:30. For more information and to register, contact Teen Librarian, Caren Rosales at (617) 298-9218 or email: crosales @ bpl.org

Dudley Branch Library will start on Tuesday, July 5 at 3:30. For more information and to register, contact Teen Librarian, Veronica Koven-Matasy at (617) 442-6186 or email: vkovenmatasy @ bpl.org

(*Keep your eyes open for future Lego Mindstorms programming at other Boston Public Library locations in the future!)

hologram on 9-16-15 at 7.25 PM #3Need 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 of every month.

Teens Leading in the Community: Meet Brian Foster

Posted on June 21st, 2016 by jsnow@private.bpl.org in Teen Services

Brian Foster is a recent graduate from Excel High School in South Boston and will be going on to study at UMASS Boston in September. Brian was very instrumental in organizing the Boston Public Schools walkouts and you may read more here in the March 11 Boston Globe article.  I spoke with Brian about his work in organizing and here’s what he had to say.

brian foster











You were very instrumental in coordinating and facilitating the BPS walk outs. How did you go about coordinating and facilitating and what tools did you use (like social media, texting, etc)? How do you feel you learned things like that?

I’m interested in my education and felt the need to get involved to stand up for what I and others believe in in regards to the BPS walks-outs.  I worked very closely with the organization BYOP-Boston area Youth Organizing Project. They helped in providing a space and ways to connect with other students because we were working with a lot of different schools and needed help in the coordination piece.  I started by creating a Facebook page and other teens who were involved bounced off that page and used other social media like Twitter and Snapchat and we also used an app to try and keep people engaged. I also did a lot of visits to other schools and talked to other teens to let them know what we were doing and how they could get involved with the work too. I think in terms of how I learned things like this, I’ve been really involved in debate in school and with an organization called Generation Citizen and feel like debate has helped prepare me for speaking and for public speaking.

What skills do you feel you have gained through your activism work?

I definitely feel like organizing is a big one and I mean the organizing of people. You have a lot of different schools and a lot of teens involved, there’s a lot of moving pieces.  This was a challenging and difficult thing to do but it was helpful to work with BYOP and learn things from them in terms of organizing. I also feel like with debate that my public speaking has gotten very good and with the walkouts I did a lot of public speaking.

What are you interested in doing now that you are graduating from high school and what type of career are you interested in pursuing?

I’m going to be starting school at UMASS Boston in the fall, I’m excited.  While the work with the walkouts was challenging I felt it was very important and it was something that made me think more about being involved in this kind of work in terms of organizing and social justice.  I plan to study aerospace at UMASS but I’m thinking more and more about the possibility of creating a degree that focuses on organizing and working closely with communities and social justice.

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

Get Crafty: Simply Cross-stitching

Posted on June 17th, 2016 by Mary in Crafts, Teen Services
Tags: , , , ,

Welcome to this month’s installment of Get Crafty.

This month we are going to learn a little bit about cross-stitching and how to make the full cross-stitch. If you can make an “X”, then you can cross-stitch. If not, there are so many tutorials online to show you how to make a full cross-stitch. I will provide some at the end of this post.

You can learn a little history about cross-stitching here and here. Cross-stitching is considered the oldest type of embroidery. It was used as early as the sixth century BC. The earliest preserved pieces of cross-stitching were found in ancient Egyptian tombs and in Medieval churches. Cross-stitching along with other forms of embroidery were used in tapestries and royal clothing in Europe and Asia. Today, many cross-stitches follow patterns instead of stitching from memory.

Sampler 1836

The above image is a historic sampler finished by Marianne Wenn about 1816.


When beginning  to learn how to cross-stitch, you start much smaller and use easier fabric and threads .

What you need to start: pattern or kit, Aida material 10 or 12 count (any color), embroidery floss (thread), a needle, a needle threader, scissor. Optional: a hoop or q-snaps to hold the material tight.

A quick word about patterns you find online, please make sure the pattern is copyright free. There are people who steal other people’s work and try to sell it or offer it online for free. This is illegal and prevents the true owner from earning money on their own.

To begin, look at the pattern instructions to find out how many strands of thread are required and separate them from the skein.  From personal experience, it’s important to follow the instructions.


Instructions for this pattern: Use Aida 12 count and with three strands of thread. The pattern below is a heart. You can choose what color you want.



To begin, thread the needle. If you use the threader, here is a great tutorial.

After your needle is threaded, start with the upper left corner of the pattern. Start the first stitch by coming up with the needle through one hole. Leave a tail that you will hold under the row you are going to be stitching.  This will help the threads from unraveling.

The second step of the stitch, go down with the needle in the hole in the diagonal corner.

The third step is to go up the hole that is below where you went down.

The fourth step is go down in the hole diagonally to the third step. Now you have made your first X. Here is a picture to show what you need to do.


The next stitch you will start again with step 1 coming up where you came up on step 3 of the prior stitch. For this pattern, skip the next block and come up for step 1 in the next hole. Keep going until you make it to the last row. When you finish take the thread and go under the threads in the row that has 5 X’s and trim the extra threads. Congrats! You have finished your first cross-stitched piece.

The design you made is called a motif. They are small designs that can be stitched once or stitched multiple times to make a bigger design.  You can search motifs on Google for what a motif looks like. For patterns, use the search terms motifs cross stitching free patterns.


For bigger patterns the following picture is useful to follow. Here you will stitch a row of /// and then go back and stitch \\\  to complete your X’s.




For great tutorials on cross-stitching, including other methods to use when you are starting your first stitches and other types of stitches used with cross-stitching, check out DMC Education.

For video tutorials check out: Yarn Tree and Ms. Dunne.

For books on how to cross-stitch and pattern books, check out these books on the the BPL catalog.

Have lots of fun with your new craft and over time you will learn about more stitches used in cross-stitching.



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

*”Get Crafty” features craft projects by Mary, a Teen Librarian at Teen Central, and is posted on the third Friday of every month.