Hold the Popcorn!!!

Posted on December 28th, 2016 by jlevins in Movies


Rogue One is the movie that I have been waiting almost my entire life for. It is amazing! Rogue One depicts the events leading up to A New Hope, the original Star Wars film from 1977. The movie begins on the farm of Galen Erso, the scientist responsible for creating the Death Star, the Evil Empire’s moon-like weapon which Star Wars fans know is capable of destroying whole planets. Galen is taken by the Empire, but is successful at protecting his daughter Jyn from the Empire’s clutches. Jyn (played by Felicity Jones) is raised from that point on by Saw Gerrera (played by Forrest Whitaker) and eventually becomes a key asset to the Rebellion. Jyn is imprisoned and blames Saw for her captivity. Jyn eventually confronts Saw, who shows her a hologram of her father Galen, whom she had feared was dead. In the hologram, Galen tells his daughter that he when he was designing the Death Star under duress, he included a weakness that the Rebels could use to destroy it and that she and the Rebels needed to get ahold of these plans which happened to be under the control of the Empire. Star Wars fans will know that these are the same plans that were the focus of the original Star Wars: A New Hope, stored inside R2-D2. In order to avoid spoiling the film for those of you who haven’t seen it already, I will say only that the rest of the film depicts the Rebels led by Jyn trying to get the plans back from the Empire!
The one thing that was nuts about Rogue One was just how advanced the special effects were, especially how they seemingly raised Peter Cushing from the dead to digitally reprise his role as Grand Moff Tarken. Also, it will be hard for true fans to hold back the tears during the last scene of the film, given the untimely passing of Carrie Fisher on December 27th. In conclusion, Rogue One was more than just a morsel to tide Star Wars fans over until the release of Episode 8 at the end of 2017. IMHO it is the best installation of the Star Wars franchise since The Empire Strikes Back came out 35 years ago. I heartily recommend multiple viewings!

Ctrl+Z: Tech Toy I Most Want for X-Mas

Posted on December 23rd, 2016 by chalpin in Teen Services

When it comes to gadgets, tools, and tech stuff there are so many things that I could add to my wish list (and so many things that I’d love to put into the  hands of others!). I’d love to get a laptop, a set of noise-cancelling, bluetooth headphones, and GoPro would be fun, but really if there were one thing that I could get my hands on just for the pure fun-factor of having a tech toy, it would be the Microsoft HoloLens. This device (a kind of optical headset) allows users to interact with holograms in an augmented reality, or mixed reality, environment. There is so much potential for how this tool could be used from enhanced long-distance communication, gaming and play, education, storytelling and entertainment… the possibilities seem endless.

Mixed reality is only going to become increasingly popular in 2017 and beyond. Sadly for me, the price tag is out of reach, to say the least. Plus, according to the company website this device is for sale solely to developers and commercial enterprises for now. All the same, this is tech that has captured my imagination and I’ll be following news to see where it goes and when it becomes accessible to the average user among us. (I know we could have fun with it in the library!)

I’ve linked to a couple videos below to show off some of what HoloLens can do. I totally fell down the rabbit hole of YouTube videos that exist around this product… there’s some pretty spectacular looking stuff. The future is now!

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!: Tech Hack Your Winter Break

Posted on December 16th, 2016 by adowds in Technology
Tags: , , , ,



Winter break is upon us. With almost two weeks of no school and no homework, there is a lot of time to fill up with anything you want, even if that means spending days upon days binge watching your favorite shows. But, if you’re bored, not sure what to do, or are looking to try something new, I’ve listed four tech hacks to keep your minds buzzing and your hands tinkering. Enjoy!




1. Empty Cup Full of Music – Hanging out with friends and need some speakers right away but don’t have any? Grab a plastic, paper, or glass cup, stick your phone inside, and you’ve got volume! It might not be the same as most portable speakers, but it will cost you nothing.





2. Turn an Old iPhone Into an iPod Touch – Oftentimes, we don’t know exactly what to do with our old phones. You can sell it, trash it, or hold on to it in case

ipodtouchyou lose or break your new phone. Rarely do we think there could be another purpose for that now outdated, unwanted phone, but there is! You can turn your iPhone into an iPod Touch. To get started, insert a SIM card into the phone — the card must be from the same wireless carrier that the phone uses. Connect the iPhone to an Internet-enabled computer with iTunes, which will activate the program, letting you use it as an iPod Touch. Once connected, you can remove the SIM card from the now iPod Touch and place it back in its original device. It’s that simple! One catch – you must make sure to enable and connect to a WiFi network to use the apps and listen to music with using data!


3. Bouncing Batteries – If you’re like me, your supply of batteries is one heaping pile of mess. I have no idea if a battery has juice or not. I often feel like I am on the Price Is Right, trying to guess what is behind Door #1. But with a little bit of Chemistry on your side, all you have to do is bounce batteries to determine which ones have the most charge left. The higher they bounce, the lower the charge they have in them. Check out this pretty cool video demonstrating the power (pun intended) of Chemistry!



4. YouTube Your GIFs – GIFs have been around for 25 years, but the rise of the animate GIF started in 2015 and has never been more popular than it is today. GIFs are one of the most convenient ways people share and express something, and YouTube is one of many mainstream platforms in which teens choose to broadcast their daily lives, thoughts, and happenings. Sometimes you want to send a friend just a clip of a YouTube video without siting through several minutes of irrelevant material. Thankfully, the website GIFYouTube.com makes creating an animated GIF from any YouTube video you can find. The entire process is quite easy. Simply paste the URL address of a YouTube video into the “Create” bar, and then quickly select where you want the animated GIF to begin and where you want it to end. You can even add captions if want to customize.



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.

Teen Gaming Specialist Program Recap

Posted on December 12th, 2016 by jsnow in Teen Services

Greetings my fellow gamers! It’s Jorge again, and on November 22nd, 2016, I led a program in which my co-workers used GarageBand to make a beat/soundtrack for a video game. If you weren’t able to attend this program, I suggest you take the time out of your day to find out what happened. I had a whole PowerPoint presentation set up, in which I introduced myself and the purpose of the program, went over various sections of GarageBand via photo, and showed an audible representation of what a soundtrack to a horror game sounds like, and what a more strategic game sounds like. After that, I instructed them to open the application, and start working. The hands-on activity lasted for about half an hour, and everybody seemed to be staying focused, having fun, and finishing their products. I also made progress too, making not one, but two “soundtracks” during the approx. 30 min period, those including scary, and laid back themes. Overall, the program went well, everybody had a good time, and learned something new! And there’s nothing wrong with learning something every once in awhile!













Hello there! Ananda here! So, on November 21,2016, I hosted my own gaming program and titled it “Gaming Skills,Techniques, and Secrets”. In case you happened to miss my program, there were a few exposures to the game Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 and I even introduced a few games and game theories (a special game theory below). I’m glad to say that the few comments I got were actually very helpful as well as inspiring. I’d also like share an opinion once again briefly; the game No Man’s Sky is not a bad game. It is up to the eye of the beholder,but also please don’t be the person to complain and ruin someone else’s gaming experience with your negativity. I introduced a game I cherish deeply, that game being Skyrim or The Elder Scrolls V; Skyrim. The graphics are just…amazing. I can’t even put it into words. I highly recommend to play this game. You start to contemplate all your life’s decisions. Briefly I commented on my mission of retrieving old video games and making them more of a reality to the entire gaming world. It’s just my opinion though, but you should join my crew: #OldGamingComebacks. Anyhow, be to check in for our next program(s). Ananda, signing out. Peace!

Special Theory( In case you were hiding somewhere… Five Nights At Freddy’s. Now your gaming educated.): Fnaf Series

So this is most likely so old that it probably has more searches on YouTube than I have likes on instagram,(Btw you should like add me on instagram @AJGameSlayer. Wow I just did that.)Anyhow, onto the theory…..

To start off the game were made in a sequence but, it has a completely different storyline order. The order of the game goes 4,3,1, and 2. So in Fnaf 4, the mini games explain a few things. 1. Why Chica in Fnaf 2 has no beak?Why are many of the animatronics broken? In Fnaf 4, you encounter a little girl at the park, who is crying about her toys being broken. 2. In Fnaf 1-3, when you make it to 6AM, *cough* *cough*, if you make it, the sound of the grandfather clock goes off. Now in Fnaf 4, although the grandfather clock is outside, it sounds an alarm clock. This is supposed to represent the young boy in the hospital and there is also some flowers somewhere in the game. 3. Now the last one I have to expose is that the new Fnaf Sister Location, the character Baby is actually to represent the Purple Man’s daughter. I also like to think that Baby murdered the Purple Man’s daughter and that’s why if you go back to the “secret hiding place” under the desk, you’ll hear her talk about not being able to control herself when there was only that 1 girl in the room with her.OOH! That’s all I got for now, folks. Until next time. Ananda, Signing out. Again.





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.