Teens Leading in the Community: The Upcoming Year for Boston Latin School

Posted on July 19th, 2016 by jsnow@private.bpl.org in Teen Services

This post is written by Anna, a SuccessLink teen working in Teen Central this summer and a student at Boston Latin School.

The upcoming year for Boston Latin School


The mission of BLS seeks to ground its students in a contemporary classical education as preparation for successful college studies, responsible and engaged citizenship, and a rewarding life.

Some of you may know of a woman named Dr. Lynne Mooney Teta, known as LMT amongst her students. She was the headmaster of the exam school, Boston Latin School, which prides itself in preparing students for college and eventually life. It provides a sink or swim environment forcing incoming seventh or ninth graders to work as hard as they possibly can to keep up with academics, athletics, extracurriculars, peer influences, and mental health. This stress can become overwhelming, but the bright students who come into the school would then leave as aware young adults who had been studying global issues and act as leaders in their community.

It is not only rewarding to go to a school that prepares on this journey to success, but also being around the type of people who would one day become such great leaders. Said leaders will stand up for what they are passionate in, no matter how much time it would consume. This school, although seemingly picture perfect, has been in the media numerous times in this past year. With the racist allegations towards Dr. Lynne Mooney Teta, this has not been a good year for her nor the school. Dr. Teta tried to hold various assemblies addressing the racial issues present at the school on top of the workshops that were held in students’ english classes, homerooms, and lunch periods. These workshops gave students a chance to speak their mind on the present problems around them. I say students in a technical term, however it may be more fitting to describe them as young leaders. These young leaders throughout the school, whose ages range from 12-18, bespoke their determination on moving forward as a school in the right direction.

On June 21st, a letter was sent out to students, parents, and faculty announcing Dr. Teta’s decision to resign as headmaster from the school. In a school filled with such passionate students, there were many opinions being thrown around in real life and on social media. Many were relieved and many were upset about this decision.

On June 23rd, Malcolm J. Flynn, an assistant headmaster in BLS submitted his resignation letter, in which he explains his reason for his decision. He believed that Boston Public Schools Office of Equity portrayed BLS in a untruthful light. He talks about the real atmosphere of the school and how it not only makes students feel safe, but also is safe. Flynn goes on to voice his disappointment that Dr. Teta was only praised for her work as a headmaster, after she resigned. Moreover, Flynn decided that it was best for him to resign after 52 years because he felt it was impossible to continue.

This fall, students at BLS will return from summer vacation and meet their new headmaster. Alumnus of the class of 1957, former headmaster Michael Contompasis is coming out of retirement and serving in the interim while the district decides on a permanent headmaster.

What does this mean for the students of BLS this incoming year of 2016-2017? While many students are still upset over the fact that their former headmaster had resigned, their goal is still crystal clear: step forward as a school to provide a fair and safe learning environment for all of its students. These young leaders did not lose hope in what they fought for and will continue to do whatever it takes to achieve their goal. It is incredibly rewarding to go to school everyday with these types of people. My peers are all very driven and I am just glad to be seeing change happen as well as excited to see more changes. Keep doing what you’re doing!


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: Travel Tic-Tac-Toe

Posted on July 15th, 2016 by mdevine in Crafts, Teen Services
Tags: , , ,

Welcome to this month’s installment of Get Crafty:

This month, we will be making a Tic-Tac-Toe game you can take on the road when travelling or play with your friends when visiting Teen Central. There are so many creative ways to make the Travel Tic-Tac-Toe board. I will show you examples of four Travel Tic-Tac-Toe boards.

Suggested supplies you will need:








  • A metallic box like an Altoids or gift card box
  • Scrapbook paper or cardstock paper or washi tape
  • Scissors
  • Glue (either E6000 glue, hot glue gun or some strong adhesive)
  • Paint – acrylic or even nail polish works great
  • Strong magnets (either small round or strips you can cut small)
  • 10 Small pieces – buttons, beads, Scrabble letter tiles, Glass Marble Magnets or  Lucky Stars. You need 5 pieces each of the same type/color/pattern. You can use just about anything. Be creative!

Step 1: Decide if you want to have your tic tac toe board on the outside or inside your box.

Step 2: Now it’s time to get crafty and create your own designs. Use whatever supplies help you make the box and pieces that say “you”!

Here are some pictures to inspire you.

magnet-game buttons



You can use scrapbook paper and washi paper to design the inside of the box and use buttons with magnets as your pieces.

This design comes from the online magazine, Canadian Family.








You can use red craft foam glued onto the inside top of the tin and a Sharpie is used to create the tic-tac-toe board. You also could use thin washi tape to create the board. Magnets were painted black and white and when dry, the X’s and O’s were painted on the opposite color.

This design comes from the blog, Crafts4Boys.




tic tac toe Altoids tin by Amanda Coleman Epiphany Crafts blog



This box was decorated on the outside with patterned paper, washi tape and a few craft buttons.



travel tic tac toe Amanda Coleman


Inside, washi tape was used to decorate the inside of the box as well as making the tic-tac-toe board. The pieces were made from bubble caps but you can easily use Glass Marble Magnets.

This design was made by Amanda Coleman on her blog, Popper and Mimi.




tic tac toe outside


This box is decorated on the outside by glueing scrapbook paper and Scrabble craft tiles.




tic tac toe inside


The star beads used in this box do not have any magnets glued to them but if you use a really strong small magnet, you could glue them on. You can use star buttons or make Lucky Stars and attach the magnets to them with glue.

This design was made by Joanna on her blog, The Blue Barn.


Step 3: Store pieces inside the box. Place in bag or travel activity box to carry around.

Step 4: Take out and play often.


Magnetic Tic-Tac-Toe is just one of the fun games you can make using metallic boxes and magnets. Explore the Internet to find more magnetic board games to create.

Have fun and Get Crafty!


manga-me-150x150Need 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.

Hack the System!: Introducing Technology Life Hacks

Posted on July 13th, 2016 by adowds in Technology, Teen Services
Tags: ,


Life can be frustrating sometimes. Dealing with technology can be even more frustrating. But what if we put these two together to make life just a bit easier and a bit more fun? The solution – technology life hacks!

So what is a life hack? Life hacks refer to any tool, trick, skill, shortcut, or method that makes an aspect of someone’s life easier and more efficient. You may incorporate life hacks into your every-day life and not even realize it. For example, have you ever thrown a dryer sheet into your dirty laundry pile to mask the smell? Life hack! Or, you only have a little bit of Nutella left in the jar so you decide to add 2 scoops of ice cream to it – ultimate life hack! These are just two shortcuts to make life smell fresher and taste more delicious.

According to lifehacker.com, the term “life hack” was created in 2004 by technology journalist, Danny O’Brien, to describe ways members of the tech community utilized playful shortcuts to simplify and accelerate their workflow. This term quickly gained popularity and is now used every day, by tech geeks or not, to describe people’s attempts to circumvent this complex thing we call Life.

As I start my new job here in Teen Central, life hacks may become my lifeline as my desk piles high with ideas, computer wires, technology workshop gadgets, and 3D printed toys. Each month, I will highlight my latest life hack creation and invite teens from Teen Central to craft, explore, and test out new hacking devices.

To keep you busy until then, geek out on these simple, everyday technology life hacks:

1. Dirty computer keyboard? Slide the sticky part of a post-it note between the keys to grab dust, dirt, and left-over lunch crumbles.



2. Bent or frayed charger cord? Take the spring from an old pen and wrap it around the top of the cord to keep it straight.





allyWant 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 second Wednesday of each month for her latest post.

Reading Backwards, Watching in Japanese: Appleseed Alpha

Posted on July 12th, 2016 by jkenney@private.bpl.org in Movies, Reviews - Staff, Teen Services

appleseed alphaHello again Otaku! This month we continue with the SciFi genre, even with the same author! Appleseed is another cyborg-mecha SWAT team action franchise by the author of Ghost in the Shell, Shiro Masamune.  Anime Club at the Hyde Park branch got it’s first glimpse of the Appleseed franchise several years ago with the DVD release of Appleseed Ex Machina. This earlier film was a full CGI rendered feature with excellent animation and lifelike flow. I was impressed with the detail and model counts in scenes as well as lighting and soundtrack. A great example was the copious inclusion of bright brass shell casings flying all over the screen and clanking around the floors! Our DVD copy sadly bore the scars of frequent borrowing by our avid teen patrons and wound up with a scratch that made it unreadable. But luckily we are in the age of streaming and the full franchise is available for streaming on Kissanime. To spice things up a little more, we watched Alpha instead last week. It’s a later film but a prequel. Graphics have improved as well as modelling and facial expressions. In fact, the hero’s best “frenemy,” Two Horns, has a mostly cyborg body like his own, but the mouth and facial structures are highly detailed and well animated. This was an obvious focal point of the production and a distinct leap forward in CGI cinema. The soundtrack includes great supporting music for an action movie. The most notable styles are the popular Dub Step and Hip Hop complete with bass drops, releases, and edgy samples.

Appleseed alpha 1

The story begins with Deunan and Briareos, future ESWAT officers, on a mercenary mission after another world war has ravaged major cities. This is before the new city of Olympus was founded. Deunan is the fully human heroine. She is a highly athletic, well trained, combat veteran and weapons expert. A brave heart and loyal spirit mark her character and her relationship with Briareos.

Appleseed alpha 2

“Bri” is her boyfriend/partner/combat buddy who a has been though the horrors of war with her and suffered massive injuries yet still survived. He is mostly cyborg now and is characterized by his metal helmet with compound digital camera eyes and ear-like sensor antennae. They are a bit smaller in this later film which I think is an improvement. After the story opens, we find Deunan and Briareos making their way through a deserted cityscape to meet their employer and find help. Bri is suffering some kind of malfunction and his power resources are very low. He needs repairs and they head to a shop that can help them. This is where he meets Two Horns and the story takes off.

Appleseed alpha 3

It turns out he still owes his frenemy a debt and the dispute escalates. Bri is forced to do another job for this mobster in order to get the repairs he needs in this difficult post war environment. Along the way they encounter another hostile force and the action ensues. It turns out Hitomi, a bioroid or clone and future city administrator, is in a motorcade that drives into an ambush.

apples alpha 4

No spoilers here, so if you liked Ghost in the Shell, check out the Appleseed franchise. Characters are reversed here with the hero being cyborg and the heroine being human. Drama, romance and action are all present in Appleseed, with a good bit more emphasis on action. Ghost in the Shell was deeper existentially with more sophisticated writing, but both excel at modern SciFi, mecha, cyberbnetic, and SWAT team story lines. I recommend them both.


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.

Cooking with Caren: Macaroni and Cheese

Posted on July 8th, 2016 by crosales@private.bpl.org in Teen Services

The people have spoken!

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Cook 8 ounces of elbow macaroni in the boiling water for about 8 minutes. Stir occasionally until pasta is cooked through, but firm to the bite.  Drain and set aside.

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2. Over medium heat melt 1/4 cup butter in a saucepan.  Stir in 1/4 cup of flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of black pepper.  After 5 minutes,   slowly add 2 cups of milk while stirring continuously.  Keep stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly.

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3. Add 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese to mixture.  Stir for about 3 minutes, until cheese is melted.

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4. Fold macaroni into cheese sauce mixture.

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4.5.  Take liberties with your mac and cheese and make it your own! We decided to eat one pan as is, and one pan we added some Parmesan  cheese, more cheddar cheese on top and put in the oven at 350 degrees. 

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5. Eat and enjoy!

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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.