Meet the Teen Gaming Specialists in Teen Central

Posted on October 7th, 2016 by jsnow in Teen Services




Meet the 2016-2017 Teen Gaming Specialists in Teen Central; Ananda and Jorge! What are the Teen Gaming Specialists you may ask? Two Teen Gaming Specialists are hired (and paid) for the school year to work with the Teen Librarians in developing programs for the Media Lounge (video gaming space), build the gaming collection by working with other teens in Teen Central as to their input for new video games, write blog posts on new video games coming out, write blog posts on programs they develop and participate in career readiness workshops to help build career readiness skills.

George is a sophomore at Excel High School and Ananda is a freshman at Boston Latin School and they are the first ever Teen Gaming Specialists for Teen Central. We’re excited they will be working with us being instrumental in building a bigger and better gaming collection and developing programs centered around gaming that teens will be interested in participating in. Stay tuned for posts throughout the year by George and Ananda.

If you or another teen you know may be interested in being a Teen Gaming Specialist, check in with us here in Teen Central or email teencentral@bpl.org in May 2017 as we will be interviewing teens for the next school year.

Stop the Press: Fact Checking the First Presidential Debate

Posted on October 4th, 2016 by rschmelzer in Teen Services



Last week, two presidential candidates that have said a lot of things about each other, finally got the chance to say it to each other’s faces. Whether we pulled out the popcorn, threw/yelled things at the TV, vented on social media, or pretended the whole thing didn’t exist… presidential debates are an important part of our democratic process. We have three more debates before the election, the next of which is tonight!

October 4, 2016 – Vice Presidential Debate

October 9th, 2016 – Second Presidential Debate

October 19th – Final Presidential Debate

You’ll hear the term “fact-checking” in regards to the debates. What this means is that candidates, believe it or not, may make statements with varying levels of truth to them. Why they do this, I’m not sure. It may be they remember  incorrectly, or they’re trying to bend the truth in their favor. Maybe they hope that people will listen to what they say at face-value and not do the research for themselves. Luckily, many places do the fact-checking research for you! Two non-partisan sites are the Politifact Truth-o-meter and Factcheck.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

If you will be 18 years old by election day, your absolute LAST day to register to vote is October 19th. This means registered online, or your paper application is postmarked (stamped by the post office) on this day. You can pick up a paper application form at your local library, or if you have a Massachusetts RMV ID you can register online https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ovr/ (if you don’t have a RMV ID you can start the process online, but will still have to print and mail a paper application.)


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.

On the Radar: Five Books to Check Out in October

Posted on September 30th, 2016 by vkovenmatasy in Books, Previews

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


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Goldenhand by Garth Nix

Summary: Lirael lost one of her hands in the binding of Orannis, but now she has a new hand, one of gilded steel and Charter Magic. On a dangerous journey, Lirael returns to her childhood home, the Clayr’s Glacier, where she was once a Second Assistant Librarian. There, a young woman from the distant North brings her a message from her long-dead mother, Arielle. It is a warning about the Witch with No Face. But who is the Witch, and what is she planning? Lirael must use her new powers to save the Old Kingdom from this great danger–and it must be forestalled not only in the living world but also in the cold, remorseless river of Death.

Why We’re Excited: IT’S FINALLY HERE. The Old Kingdom series has some of the longest waits in between books I’ve ever experienced — Sabriel came out in 1995, Lirael in 2001, Abhorsen in 2003, and then series prequel Clariel (which resolved NOTHING and I’m still mad about it) in 2014, so depending on how you look at it I’ve been waiting two years to find out what on earth Clariel had to do with anything or over ten years to find out what the heck happened after Lirael saved the world and became the Abhorsen-in-Waiting. That’s a long time! Since Sabriel and Lirael were some of my favorite fantasy novels as a teen, Goldenhand has a lot to live up to, but I have faith. Either you’re already a fan of Nix (whom you may also recognize from standalones A Confusion of Princes, Newt’s Emerald, and probably the creepiest sci-fi novel I’ve ever read, Shade’s Children, as well the Keys to the Kingdom series) and have been waiting for the next installment of this series as eagerly as I have, or you get to read all five books in a row without all the lag time in between — it’s a win/win situation!


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The ABC’s of LGBT+: Understanding and Embracing Your Identity by Ashley Mardell

Summary: The 21st Century has seen very positive movement for LGTBQ+ rights in the last few years – the overturning of DOMA, SCOTUS ruling in favor of the Marriage Equality Act, American transgender politicians elected to office and landmark moments such as Apple becoming the most valuable company in the world under the leadership of an openly gay CEO. We are living in a post-binary world where gender fluency and awareness of how people identify is essential. Ashley Mardell, one of the most trusted voices on YouTube, presents a detailed look at all things LGBTQ+. Along with in-depth definitions, personal anecdotes, helpful infographics, resources, and more, Mardell’s book is proof it does get better every day in a world where people are empowered by information and understanding. In Mardell’s own words, “This book is also for allies and LGBTQ+ people simply looking to pack in some extra knowledge… a critical part of acceptance. Learning about new identities broadens our understanding of humanity, heightens our empathy, and allows us different, valuable perspectives.” Whether you are a questioning teen, a teacher or parent looking for advice or anyone wanting to learn the language of respect, this book is an essential guide for you.

Why We’re Excited: I was surprised but pleased to see Ashley Mardell, whom I recognized from her YouTube videos, on the cover of a book! And it’s certainly true that if we don’t want to find ourselves swimming in gender and sexual identity alphabet soup (for what it’s worth, I prefer QUILTBAG to LGBT+ as an acronym; I find it more inclusive and also easier to pronounce), we’re going to need some straight-talking guides — no pun intended — for the well-meaning but confused. I’m looking forward to seeing how this one measures up!


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Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz

Summary: Jasmine de los Santos has always done what’s expected of her. She’s studied hard, made her Filipino immigrant parents proud and is ready to reap the rewards in the form of a full college scholarship to the school of her dreams. And then everything shatters. Her parents are forced to reveal the truth: their visas expired years ago. Her entire family is illegal. That means no scholarships, maybe no college at all and the very real threat of deportation. As she’s trying to make sense of who she is in this new reality, her world is turned upside down again by Royce Blakely. He’s funny, caring and spontaneous–basically everything she’s been looking for at the worst possible time–and now he’s something else she may lose. Jasmine will stop at nothing to protect her relationships, family and future, all while figuring out what it means to be an immigrant in today’s society.

Why We’re Excited: Well, first of all, Melissa de la Cruz (author of the Blue Bloods, Au Pairs, and Witches of East End series, among others) has a new book out, and it’s a contemporary! Plus, it’s fantastic that de la Cruz, who is herself an immigrant who came from the Philippines to the United States as a child, has chosen to use her own personal experiences to help bring this story to life. As the United States struggles with immigration reform, books like Something in Between (you might also try Diane Guerrero’s autobiography, In the Country We Love, and Jose Antonio Vargas’s longform article for the New York Times, “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant”) are more important than ever to remind us that undocumented immigrants are not just statistics; they’re people.


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Tattoo Atlas by Tim Floreen

Summary: After Franklin commits a horrific crime and is sent to a special lab for rehabilitation, only Jeremy believes that Franklin might actually be better… but when crimes start up again in their small town, Jeremy begins to wonder if evil can ever truly be quelled.

Why We’re Excited: Just in time for Halloween, a deeply creepy psychological horror novel about the scientific determination of good and evil! (And also a life lesson on why you shouldn’t hook up with someone who murdered your friend even if he seems to have had a personality transplant.) There’s a new trend in horror novels that I’ve noticed lately, with Three Truths and a Lie, As I Descended, and now Tattoo Atlas, where queer characters get a chance to just be characters in a horror novel — villains, protagonists, or even victims of a deranged serial killer — instead of being defined by their sexuality. I thoroughly approve.


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The Way Things Work Now by David MacAulay

Summary: Explainer-in-Chief David Macaulay updates the worldwide bestseller The New Way Things Work to capture the latest developments in the technology that most impacts our lives. Famously packed with information on the inner workings of everything from windmills to Wi-Fi, this extraordinary and humorous book both guides readers through the fundamental principles of machines, and shows how the developments of the past are building the world of tomorrow. This sweepingly revised edition embraces all of the latest developments, from touchscreens to 3D printer. Each scientific principle is brilliantly explained–with the help of a charming, if rather slow-witted, woolly mammoth.

Why We’re Excited: I like knowing how things work, don’t you? I’m old enough to remember reading the original The Way Things Work (published in 1988, the year of my birth — we’re both pretty outdated now!) as a kid, although I have to confess that I still can’t explain internal combustion. (I probably should have tried rereading the book as a teenager, when I would have understood it a little better!) We’ve gotten so many new technologies since then, it only stands to reason that we’ve needed a few updates. If MacAulay can explain wifi as well as he explains levers, I might finally understand how the precious internet connection I can’t live without actually functions.


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.

Hold the Popcorn!: Queen of Katwe

Posted on September 26th, 2016 by jlevins in Movies, Teen Services

David Oyelowo is Robert Katende and Madina Nalwanga is Phiona Mutesi in Disney's QUEEN OF KATWE, the vibrant true story of a young girl from the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess.

David Oyelowo is Robert Katende and Madina Nalwanga is Phiona Mutesi in Disney’s QUEEN OF KATWE, the vibrant true story of a young girl from the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess.

Based on Tim Carrothers’ 2012 book The Queen of Katwe: A Story of Life, Chess, and One Extraordinary Girl’s Dream of Becoming a Grandmaster, the new Disney film Queen of Katwe is the story of a young girl named Phiona (played by Madina Nalwanga in her debut role) who sells corn for a living on the streets of the Ugandan countryside with her mom Harriet (played by the fantastic Lupita Nyong’o). Their lives are not very easy, but they are very strong and resilient people. Soon Phiona meets Robert (played by David Oyelowo of 12 Years a Slave). Robert is a former soccer star turned missionary and chess mentor who teaches Phiona about chess. Phiona happens to be a natural born chess player, and Robert brings her natural talents to the surface. Skeptical at first, mom Harriet eventually realizes that Phiona’s natural aptitude for chess, combined with Robert’s mentorship, might be Phiona’s best shot at avoiding an impoverished life of selling corn. I have been waiting patiently for a really good, positive film like this for quite some time. I heartily recommend that everyone go to see Queen of Katwe on the big screen.



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.


Ctrl+Z: Girls Who Code is coming to Teen Central!

Posted on September 23rd, 2016 by chalpin@private.bpl.org in Teen Services

gwc-logo_2016-hi-resGirls Who Code is a national non-profit organization that works to address the gender gap in technology.  Volunteers with computer science knowledge partner with community organizations who act as host sites, and Girls Who Code provides a curriculum designed to teach young women computer coding while also promoting camaraderie, teamwork, and leadership skills. Participants will work collaboratively on a project that addresses a problem relevant to their community and provide a solution through computer science. Girls will be introduced to a variety of programming languages and learn key coding concepts such as, functions, variables, conditionals, and loops.

Teen Central is excited to launch a new Girls Who Code Club here at the Central location of the Boston Public Library. Our club will start on Saturday, October 8th, 2016 and then continue to meet weekly between 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Participants must either be in grades 6-12, or ages 12-18. Registration is required. To register email teencentral@bpl.org, or call (617) 859-2334.


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 of the month.