The Library Ninja Blog

Teen Zone Book Club is on a roll!

This year, the teen book club has read a total of 5 books starting with Mockingjay, Adoration of Jenna Fox, The Fault in Our Stars, The Maze Runner, and The Giver.

Currently we are reading After the End, a suspenseful Sci-Fi novel based on a story of one girl's journey to save the very people who have lied to her for her entire life.

Juneau grew up fearing the outside world. The elders told her that beyond the borders of their land in the Alaskan wilderness, nuclear war had destroyed everything. But when Juneau returns from a hunting trip one day and discovers her people have been abducted, she sets off to find them. And leaving the boundaries for the very first time, she learns the horrifying truth: World War III never happened. Nothing was destroyed. Everything she'd ever been taught was a lie.

As Juneau comes to terms with an unfathomable deception, she is forced to survive in a completely foreign world, using only the skills and abilities she developed in the wild. But while she's struggling to rescue her friends and family, someone else is after her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about her secret past.

If this is a book you would like to read, then be a part of this fantastic teen reading group for book discussions and activities. Book club begins at 4:00 p.m. and ends at 6:30 p.m. every Thursday.  See you there, and let the reading continue!

11/21/2014 by Veronica R. Add a Comment Share this:
Topics: Books

Last Japan Day of the Year!

Here is a recap for those who might have missed it we have missed our last Japan Day this past month.

The festivities started off with a bang, a rousing game of Japanese scary folklore along with some horror anime that would even give the bravest of heart a terror or two. One winner prevailed over the others and she earned herself a complete season of an anime series along with an authentic Japanese poster from one of her favorite anime shows.

We moved on to one of my favorite events: the cosplay costume contest. We had several incredible costumes to choose from including an Erza Scarlett costume from Fairy Tail, a Ken Kaneki costume from Tokyo Ghoul, as well as a Light Yagami costume from Death Note. In the end, the winners won some fabulous prizes which included some Japanese snacks, a Manga novel, as well as a season of a popular anime on Blu-Ray!

We ended the day with an episode of xxxHolic, a riveting anime with magic, supernatural creatures as well as friendship.

If you would like to meet teens with a similar interest in manga, anime or Japanese culture, we invite you to join us for our last Japan Otaku Day Saturday, November 22.

Check out the details here.


Writtten by: Miguel M., YTC intern

11/11/2014 Add a Comment Share this:

Awesome Halloween Photo Shoot Ideas

So Halloween just ended, the library's teen Photography Workshop has just started, so where am I getting at here? Well, I'm sure most of you still have some left over accessories from this past Halloween. Rather than let those items collect dust until next year, why not put together your own cool Halloween-themed photo shoot? And if you're in need of just a bit of some inspiration, check out the following pics that can all found on Pinterest.

"Jack Skellington Jr."



Watching scary movies while a "stranger" lurks in the shadows...

Found on


A shot of "Little Red Riding Hood" walking through the woods to visit grandma.

Found on


And here are some ideas for creating some ghostly photos

A shot of ghost family standing inside of an abandoned house.

Found on

A full shot of a ghost standing in the hallway carrying her doll.

Found on


A shot of ghosts children standing in the backyard.

Found on


      Want to learn how to do your own ghostly photo shoots? Click here!

11/7/2014 by EJ A. Add a Comment Share this:
Topics: Digital Media

Robotic Arms Move Towers

The morning robotics classes here at the Lab began working this week on building and programming robotic arms.  They are challenged to program their robot arms to solve the Tower of Hanoi problem.  Now if you’ve never heard of this challenge, it goes like this.  Three vertical rods are presented.  On the left rod there are a number of discs stacked in ascending order, so that the largest disc is on the bottom and the smallest is on top. 

The solver must move this stack of discs so that it is on the right-most rod in the same ascending order, but two rules must be followed.  First, only one disc may be moved from the top of any given rod per move.  Second, a larger disc cannot be placed on top of a smaller disc.

The robot arms will only be solving a puzzle with three discs, which can be solved in a minimum of seven moves.  The puzzle can quickly get more challenging by adding more discs to it.  An eight disc puzzle cannot be solved with anything less than 255 moves!  The point of this exercise is to demonstrate the idea of recursion which is generally used by mathematicians and computer scientists.  Recursion happens when things are repeated a finite or infinite number of times.  A good example of this is when you face two mirrors together.  The reflection repeats itself infinitely.

Give it a try here and test your problem solving skills!

10/28/2014 by Chris Woodward Add a Comment Share this:
Topics: Technology

Ready for College? Ask the Go Center Mentors at Northeast Branch Library!

For the past 5 weeks, the Go Center mentors in Teen Zone have been talking to students about different college options.  As college students themselves, it becomes a great opportunity for our mentors to share their stories with our students. These stories include financial hardships, tough life decisions, and career options, that have  lead to becoming an independent individual who has goals and responsibilities, despite the obstacles inherent in pursuing a college degree.  As they give our students the knowledge of what "College Life" is and the knowledge of different career types, they have expanded the idea to our students to seriously think about a potential college

Along with the educational presentations, the Go Center mentors have also been able to obtain the trust of our teens with a variety of fun and exciting ice breakers.

We invite you to come by Teen Zone to meet our fantastic mentors and to ask them any questions you may have about college. How will you pay for college? What college would best for you? Which career are you most interested in? Can you change your mind about your career as you take different courses that interest you? These are all valid questions that you can ask your Mentor and they will be happy to assist you in any way possible.

Do your parents have questions? They are welcome too!  They can also come in during Go Center hours and see the options here to help you get into the college you really want to get in to!

10/22/2014 by Veronica R. Add a Comment Share this:

Podcasting for Teens!

Podcasting is a great tool for teens and those that feel that their voices aren’t being heard, to stop waiting until someone gives them that chance and go out their to create their own media. But first, you must be thinking what’s a podcast?! 

Podcasting is a prerecorded audio program that can either be streamed online, or downloaded and sent to an mp3-enabled device. Podcasting allows for you to develop your writing, research, speech, and audio-editing skills all in one project!

The best part about podcasting is that you can make it about whatever you want, in fact, that’s the driving force behind many of the most popular podcasts today; the desire to not “fit in” and to create and deliver content to narrow groups of people and interests. Are you the otaku-iest otaku there is? Make a podcast reviewing and recapping your favorite anime and manga, interview others that are as passionate about Japanese culture as you are, and visit local anime conventions and interview guests and attendants on how they feel about the panels and what coming up in the world of anime.

Love bad movies (I do!), grab a group of friends, pop a few cans of soda and rip into the worst films you can find! Maybe you spend your days and nights playing Minecraft—no problem! Whip up a podcast, and companion YouTube channel reviewing your favorite mods and servers.

With all that said, here are my Top Three podcasts to give you some inspiration on what you could do with podcasting:

1.     Welcome to Nightvale

Imagine your everyday local radio news show done in a town that’s a cross between H.P. Lovecraft, Edger Allen Poe, and a Stephen King novel.

That’s Welcome to Nightvale! It’s an odd blend of the creepy and macabre, humor, and sleepy morning news that just works so well together! Visit iTunes and listen to the pilot episode!                                                 

**And Remember Do Not Approach The Dog Park!**

2.     Stuff You Should Know (By

Have you ever been curious on the orgins of Play-Doh, sushi, tattoos, the Yakuya (Japanese mafia) or skateboarding? Then the 600+ episode podcast Stuff You Should Know, is right up your alley. Twice a week, tune-in and listen as hosts Charles Bryant and Josh Clark cover the history and application of the topic for that day.

Whether it’s finding out how the movie rating system works, to discussing the ethical implications of the death penalty, Charles and Josh will keep you entertained and informed during the whole ride.  

3.     Library of Games

  Based in the Chicago Public Library’s You Media teen space (think Chicago-style version of the Studio) this podcast is created, produced, and hosted by local teens with a passion for video games, gaming news and journalism, and an interest in podcasting, blogging, and video production.

It runs long, but if you really have a desire in gaming and want to look at other teens for inspiration on creating your own gaming content, look no further than Library of Games! Check out their website here. Teens also write and upload articles, reviews, YouTube videos, and designs for the blog!

During the month of October, the APL will be doing it’s own podcasting workshops, come on by and learn how to do a podcast of a different theme each week! We’ve switched some things around, but this week we’re doing an interview-based podcast. Next week, we will be creating music reviews! 

Written by Amina D., YTC Intern

10/20/2014 Add a Comment Share this:

Teen Read Week has arrived!

Teen Read Week (October 12-18, 2014) falls every third week of October and celebrates the idea of reading for the fun of it. I know, crazy concept, huh!

Thousands of libraries, schools and bookstores across the country celebrate this week in order to encourage teens to take advantage of the free, yes, the FREE resources that many school and public libraries provide such as books, magazines, e-books, audiobooks and PROGRAMMING! This week, we will have robotics, podcasting, screenwriting, book club and more. Look for our flyers around the library branches and check out details here.

TRW is also a time that we would like to promote our other awesome resources that you can have access to just by signing up for a library card.

Do you need help with your English paper? You have access to Brainfuse Tutoring where you can actually submit a paper to a tutor and they will send it make with suggestions on edits.

Maybe you want to learn a new language...or you need some extra help on the one you are currently taking? Mango Languages can help you with that. Whether you want to learn a new language to impress a potential love interest or because you know you will be in deep trouble if you don't pass that next French quiz, check it out today!

What if you took some time this week to find more about who you are by finding out more about where you came from with Ancestry?

And last, but certainly not least, this is the last week you can vote for Teens' Top Ten! Vote here now!

The winners will be announced the week after Teen Read Week!

Worst Screenplays of the Decade

So I'm sure most of you are familiar with The Oscars. (It's not like it's the most anticipated annual award ceremony, known for honoring the year's best achievements in film or anything...)  The Oscars gives praises and awards to many important pieces that bring a great film together, such as: acting performances, director performances, and today's focus, the film's screenplay.

Although the majority of films that win are typically movies that the average watcher has probably never heard heard of, none the less, what the Oscars represents is the FINEST in film. But like I said, most of you probably already knew that. Well how many of you knew that there is also an award ceremony dedicated to recognizing all of those films that were just too terrible and painful watch?

Mmhmm, that's right, there is one award ceremony that delivers! And now I present to you... the Golden Raspberry Awards- Honoring the year's WORST achievements in film!

 And without further ado, here are some of the past "winners" of the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay:


2010 WINNER- The Last Airbender


   2009 WINNER- Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

 2004 WINNER- Catwoman


And the past years' nominees...


Well good news 'Twihards," none of the Twilight films have never been official winners of the Razzie award for Worst Screenplay, BUT... each installment after the first 2008 film has been a Razzie Worst Screenplay Award nominee. It could be worse, right? Points for consistency!





By the way, TEENS...

Any of you creative writers interested in learning how to turn your short stories and ideas into professional, Hollywood structured scripts? APL can make that happen for you! Attend our new Hollywood Screenwriting Workshop for Teens, where you'll not only learn the basics of writing movie scripts, but also ways to keep your story fresh so that you don't end up bringing home a Razzie some day!


Hollywood Screenwriting for Teens

@ The Studio in Central

Time: 5:30pm

Dates: Every Wednesday in October! Next Workshop: Oct. 8th!  

Where: George W. Hawkes Central Library

Sign Up Here, It's Free!


Hollywood Screenwriting for Teens- Here we’ll talk about the popular movies we love, trash the one’s we hate, and as writers, teach you guys how NOT make some of the most common mistakes once you begin developing your own amazing scripts. Why wait for someone else to make it big off of YOUR idea? I’ll teach you not only how to write a script, but also how to work up the nerve to pitch your story to a producer or agent! During the program, we will also conduct line-readings, in which you guys or other teen actors/actresses will get the chance to bring every workshop participant’s script to life by taking on the role of their characters and playing out their scenes!

10/8/2014 by EJ A. Add a Comment Share this:

Homework Help @ your library

cross posted from

The information professionals at your library have invested in databases designed to end your searches with high-quality, relevant content to help you make the grade. Student tested and instructor-approved, these sources support typical course content and assignments at your school. And they’re online for you to access from anywhere, any time of day or night, absolutely free. It’s your better bet for free, round-the-clock research.

rather be hanging out with friends? Use our databases.

from Proquest, provider of Ancestry and HeritageQuest

Which to use first?

A quick guide to the best starting points for free, round-the-clock, reliable research…


Free Web. General. Quick and easy for small tasks. Broad sweep of all information openly available online.
Library Resources.  Designed to help pinpoint information for research and class assignments. Information chosen by librarians for relevance to curriculum, correlation to academic standards. Student tested. Instructor approved.

Quality, type, and relevance of information

Free Web. Search results are websites, ranked by relevancy determined by computer programs. Unreliable for getting to deep archives, peer-reviewed or refereed content. Links to information that can be out of date and/or taken from sources unknown or open to question. Note: same uncertainty holds true for Wikipedia-style encyclopedias; user-supplied content can be poorly sourced. Google Scholar Searches can be done for more scholarly literature (newspapers, curriculum-relevant magazines and journal archives), but many are only available for a fee.
Library Resources. Search results are research solutions, ranked in order of relevance by professional researchers and subject experts. Accurate. Reviewed and updated regularly. Designed by librarians and end-users through advisory boards, interviews, and focused research. Available for users for FREE through the library. Access to full-text articles provided by linking technologies, no matter where the original information resides. Reflects partnership with thousands of publishers to ensure copyrighted newspaper, magazine, and journal content is included in search results. Databases are more than raw data: also include maps, graphics, and video and audio clips.

Organization, searching

Free Web. Vast information pool of everything openly available on the Internet. May not search information stored in databases. Provides keyword searching. May not have subject categories.
Library Resources. High-value “microcosm” of the best and most relevant information available on a specific topic. Natural language searching improves relevancy of results and maximizes research effort. Search by keyword, combination of keyword and subject, by date for most recent, relevant results. High-quality finding aids. Structure and guided searches build research skills. Features/functions assist the research process (email capability, marking articles, “My Research” summaries, citation models, etc.). Remember, your librarians know more than just books. They’re experts in finding hidden information if you get stumped.

Bottom line (TL;DR)

Free Web. Free. Sites can disappear. Inconsistent—can be good for quick questions, but for academic research, time can be wasted viewing irrelevant websites or judging incomplete, false, or misleading information. If used for research, back up with at least two other non-Web sources.
Library Resources. Free to library card holders from anywhere with Internet access. Consistently reliable for quality, relevant, reviewed, trusted content. If used, can result in more time to develop knowledge and actually write your research paper or complete your course assignment.

10/1/2014 by Melissa Jeffrey Add a Comment Share this:

The Ninja Reviews...The Giver (Movie Review)

I can remember reading The Giver by Lois Lowry for class in middle school.  Like many people, I was excited to hear that it was being adapted into a movie.  This was the book that grabbed my attention and made me love reading.  I was curious to see how the book was adapted into a movie.   

The Giver is about a utopian society that watches your every move in order to assign each member of the society the perfect job, family unit, and life.  To further promote the perfect society, the government has removed anything that could show a difference in people from emotions to colors.  It is during the Ceremony of Twelve that Jonas will be assigned his perfect job.  Jonas is assigned the very unique and prestigious position of The Receiver of Memories.  The Receiver’s job is to remember the time when colors, emotions, and differences existed in society.  Jonas goes on the adventure of a lifetime as he discovers what it means to live life with all the differences.  During a particular training session, the Giver (the former Receiver), Jonas uncovers a map that shows a barrier of memories.  It is believed that if the Receiver crosses this line that all emotion will return to the society.  Jonas is faced with the decision to stay in the utopian society or to venture out into the great unknown.

The movie stars Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Brenton Thwaites, Katie Holmes and features Taylor Swift.  The all-star cast brings to life this tale of growing up.  With the use of color slowly creeping into the film as Jonas beings to see the difference, the movie allows viewers to be submerged into Jonas’ world.  Strong performances from Bridges, Streep, and Thwaites make this movie believable.  Bridges was born to portray The Giver.  This adaptation seemed a little long at points, but arguably followed the main points of the original novel.  Although, some people including author, Lois Lowry, have voiced their criticism.  I believe that director, Phillip Noyce breathes new life into an often forgotten classic.

Written by Karen M., YTC Intern

The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry

9/15/2014 Add a Comment Share this: