On the Radar: Five Books to Check Out in June

Posted on May 31st, 2016 by vkovenmatasy@private.bpl.org in Books, Previews

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



Romeo and/or Juliet by Ryan North

Summary: Romeo loves Juliet. Or Rosaline. And Juliet loves Romeo. Or Viola. Or Orlando. It’s Shakespeare as you’ve never played him before. In this choose-your-own-path version of Romeo and Juliet, you choose where the story goes every time you read! What if Romeo never met Juliet? What if Juliet got really buff instead of moping around the castle all day? What if they teamed up to take over Verona with robot suits? Whatever your adventure, you’re guaranteed to find lots of romance, lots of epic fight scenes, and plenty of questionable decision-making by very emotional teens.

Why We’re Excited: They had me at the title, to be honest. Plus, Ryan North (of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl fame) has rounded up some of my favorite artists, including Noelle Stevenson, Kate Beaton, and Randall Munroe to illustrate our infamous lovers’ various endings. What better way to celebrate Shakespeare’s 400th deathday? If you just can’t wait until Romeo and/or Juliet is in your sweaty hands, check out To Be Or Not To Be, North’s loving send-up of Hamlet.


the end

The End by Charlie Higson

Summary: Shadowman, realizing that Saint George’s army is headed toward the center of London, has raced ahead to warn the kids of the impending disaster. He knows that he has to make them understand–somehow–that they are going to have to work together. This means that Nicola and her kids at the Houses of Parliament, David and his kids at Buckingham Palace, Matt at St. Paul’s, General Jordan Hordern and his troops at the Tower of London, the squatters in St. James Park, and all the kids at the Natural History Museum must unite. But will they do it in time? The book culminates in a massive pitched battle in Hyde Park. How will it play out? Who will be the winners and who the losers? One thing is certain: this series will not go out with a whimper!

Why We’re Excited: My enthusiasm is mainly vicarious in this case — I have some zombie-lovers at my library who have been waiting very impatiently for the seventh and final book in the Enemy series. I’m excited for them to finally get to read The End and I’m also excited for them to finally stop asking me if it’s out yet!


being jazz cover

Being Jazz by Jazz Jennings

Summary: Teen activist and trailblazer Jazz Jennings–named one of “The 25 Most Influential Teens” of the year by Time –shares her very public transgender journey, as she inspires people to accept the differences in others while they embrace their own truths.

Why We’re Excited: In the wake of HB2, aka The Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act or the North Carolina Bathroom Bill, it’s more important than ever to have positive, #ownvoices representations of the trans community on library shelves. Human ray of sunshine and trans activist Jazz Jennings definitely qualifies. Pick up Some Assembly Required by Arin Andrews and Rethinking Normal by Katie Rain Hill if you’re looking for more memoirs from trans teens while you’re waiting for Being Jazz!


you know me well

You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan

Summary: Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really? Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed. That is until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way. When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other — and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

Why We’re Excited: Superstars of LGBTQ YA LaCour (Everything Leads To You) and Levithan (Boy Meets Boy, Two Boys Kissing, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson) are teaming up for a book about two queer kids becoming friends at San Francisco Pride? YES, PLEASE.



Justin by LJ Alonge

Summary: Justin has a list of goals stashed under his mattress. Number 1 is “figure out life plans.” Number 5 is “earn Zen Master rating in WoW.” Nowhere on that list is “play the crew from Ghosttown,” but that’s the type of trouble that always seems to finds him.

Why We’re Excited: I haven’t seen much buzz for the Blacktop duology, but ever since I read the summary for Justin and realized that I was looking at a basketball book with a World of Warcraft nerd for a hero, I’ve been dying to see how this series goes. Companion book Janae is getting published at the same time, so there’s a whole other book to look forward to as well!


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: New Technology Librarian & Teen Job Opportunities in Teen Central

Posted on May 27th, 2016 by chalpin@private.bpl.org in Teen Services

Teen Central welcomes our newest team member, Allyson Dowds! ally pic

What is your role in the Teen Central?
I am the Youth Technology Librarian, which means I should be an aficionado of robots, computers and video games. While you are more likely to find me atop a mountain than behind a computer, I believe exploration can be done from anywhere and is good for the soul 😉

What is your favorite thing about Teen Central so far?
The Tech Lab. Wow! If you have not visited the Tech Lab, you must. The opportunities for teens to explore, tinker, and craft their own creations is endless. A lot of thought was put into establishing this space and how teens would use it. Also, the streetlight. I don’t know why, but the industrial feel to the light reminds me of something you would find down a narrow street, on a rainy day, in old-time Boston. It gives the space character and identity.

What are you most looking forward to in the coming months here at the library?
Getting to know the teens! I really am super pumped to work with all of the teens who visit Teen Central and watching and learning from them. Teen Central provides such a wonderful space for teens to be teens, while allowing them to create and mold their personalities.

Have you read a good book lately?
Yes! I recently completed the Graceling series by Massachusetts’ very own, Kristin Cashore. COULD NOT put these books down. But, when I’m not escaping into various fantastical realms, I am a huge reader of non-fiction, specifically dealing with World War I & II. Erik Larson is one of my all-time favorite historians because he captures and retells moments in history in such a personal, magnetic way. You feel like you are reliving history as you flip the pages.

Welcome, Ally!

In related news, Teen Central is hiring 2 teens to work in the library this fall.
Are you a teen (or know a teen) who is interested in technology and sharing your knowledge with others? We’re looking to hire two Teen Tech Mentors to work 6 hours per week, from September through May, Mondays and Tuesdays, during the hours of 3:00-6:00 p.m.

We are having open interview sessions on June 14, June 15 and June 17 from 4:00-6:00 p.m. on each day. Click the links below to download job descriptions and applications.  Teen Central is located at 700 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116.

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

Job Descriptions and Applications:


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.

Hold The Popcorn!: Keanu, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, & Barbershop: The Next Cut

Posted on May 24th, 2016 by jlevins in Movies

Keanu is the first feature film by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele and it is hilarious! Keanu is a cat who shows up in the life of Rell (played by Peele) shortly after his girlfriend leaves him. Unfortunately, Keanu is catnapped, which leads Rell and his cousin Clarence (played by Key) to go underground, infiltrating a sketchy drug gang led by Cheddar (played by rapper Method Man). Hilarity ensues! Keanu is rated R and is therefore only recommended for older teens. Currently in theaters, available on DVD soon.

While some viewers might find Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to be a bit on the corny side, true comic book fans will definitely enjoy it. As inferred by the title, Superman and Batman just can’t seem to get along. Batman is angry with Superman for the excessive bodycount which was a result of his battle with General Zod. At the same time, Clark Kent (Superman’s alter ego) attempts to portray Batman as reckless and a danger to society. Enter traditional Superman nemesis Lex Luthor and a bunch of kryptonite, and the audience is in for a heck of a ride! Batman v Superman is rated PG-13, mostly for excessive and intense comic-book style violence. Currently in theaters, available on DVD soon.

Legendary NWA rapper turned actor Ice Cube reprises his role of Calvin, the owner/operator of a neighborhood barbershop on Chicago’s South Side. In the ten years which have past since the last installment in the Barbershop series, Calvin’s barbershop has gone co-ed. Calvin’s neighborhood has gone through a lot of change as well, and not necessarily for the better. In Barbershop: The Next Cut, comedy interacts with serious current issues as the barbershop crew tries to cope with a litany of inner city social problems. Strong performances are given by popular hip-hop artists Common and Nicki Minaj as Rashad and Draya. Barbershop: The Final Cut is rated PG-13 mainly for language and some mature themes. Currently still in theaters, available on DVD soon.

BarbershopTheNextCutposter Batman_v_Superman_poster keanu_1sht_main_vert_2764x4096_dom_master


animatedDo you love watching movies? The Boston Public Library has tens of thousands of DVDs you can borrow with your library card and even more that you can access online through our streaming service, Hoopla. Plus, if you can’t find a movie you want to watch in all the ones we offer, you can always suggest a purchase. Start placing holds now, and you’ll never have to pay to watch a movie again!


*”Hold the Popcorn” features movie reviews by James, the Teen Librarian at the East Boston Branch, on the fourth Tuesday of the month.


Get Crafty: Glass Marble Magnets

Posted on May 20th, 2016 by Mary in Crafts, Teen Services
Tags: , , ,

Welcome to this month’s installment of Get Crafty! This month we will be making glass marble magnets. Do you need a gift for a friend who is going off to college? Do you want to spruce up your magnetic bulletin board? Glass marble magnets are super easy and fun to make.

marble magnet

There are many ways to make these magnets. I am just showing you one way. Web links to more examples will be found toward the bottom of this post.

Supplies needed:

->Mod Podge – Glossy (or strong clear craft glue), 3/4″ diameter strong magnets, 1 1/4″ flat back glass marbles (can be found in fake flower section of craft stores, other sizes of magnets and marbles can be used), foam or bristle type brush (that you don’t mind throwing out after you are done), hot glue gun (or E6000 glue that is stronger than Super Glue and will not seep through paper), small pictures (cut out from thick paper magazines, scrapbook paper, washi tape, stickers, pictures, old book, or old maps), and scissors or a Circle Shape Punch that is the size of the marble or just slightly smaller but larger than the magnet. Most of these items can be found at a craft store.


Before you start, cover your work space with newspaper or an old cloth to avoid getting glue on the surface.

Step 1: Decide what you want your marble to look like in the end. Do you want it to have sayings with scrapbook paper backing it, a design from scrapbook paper that could be something you or your friend might like, a theme such as only flowers, super heroes, colors, or holiday patterns?

marbles design

Step 2: Either use the marble to trace your image and cut out just inside the line or use a circle shape punch on your image. For stickers that have inspirational phrases, cut the sticker out from the sticker page and trim down to the size of the circle. If you are using scissors or a circle hole punch test the size of the sticker and your placement before you take the backing off the sticker.

Step 3: Brush some Mod Podge or E6000 glue on the marble (the flat side). Make sure to cover the entire back of the marble.

brushing mod podge

Step 4: Place your image on the back of the marble. Smooth it out so you don’t have bubbles. Let dry for a few hours or more. If you have bubbles, don’t worry. It makes the image unique.

Step 5: When dry, trim your picture down at this point, if you feel you want the picture to fit perfectly. Now brush another layer of Mod Podge on the back of your image to really secure the image. Let dry again.

While waiting, it is a great time for you to read an e-book from Overdrive or enjoy a movie from Hoopla. Both databases are available with a valid Boston Public Library card.

Step 6: Using the hot glue gun (or E6000 glue), put the glue on one side of the magnet and attach your marble. It dries fast so make sure you place the magnet where you want it or adjust it very quickly.


Step 7: At this point, you can trim the image if you want to do that. Then, use your hot glue gun or E6000 glue to run a bead of glue between the marble and the magnet. This helps to keep the marble and magnet together for a very long time.

If you want to add some extra creativity, when using stickers, you can add a sticker to the top of the marble. Other variations of this craft include using glitter instead of images or nail polish on the flat side of the marble.

Step 8: Enjoy your magnets.

glass marble magnets

You can store your magnets in a metal tin like a clean Altoids or gift card tin. You can bunch them together in a small mesh pouch and tie with a bow to give as a gift. Another way of giving the magnets as gifts (or selling at a craft fair) is to make them into sets. Sabby in Suburbia’s blog gives a great demonstration on how to organize your magnets in a package.


Here are some websites with additional tutorials on creating your glass marble magnets:

The Frugal Girls – Marble Magnets Tutorial

Not Martha – To Make: Marble Magnets

Cut Out and Keep – Marble Magnets

Here are two YouTube videos that helped me out when I started creating my glass marble magnets.

Crafts According to Anna – How to Make Glass Gem Magnets 

One Very Happy Bird – Make Gorgeous Sparkling Marble Magnets in a Gift Tin (using glitter for your design)


I hope you had as much fun making glass marble magnets as I did. See you next month for the next installment of “Get Crafty”.




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.



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.