Black Friday at the Library

Yesterday afternoon, lots of teens ditched shopping in favor of hanging out at the library. First, six people showed up to make origami. Thank goodness for the animated instructions on Origami Club! We were able to figure out the directions when we had problems. After that, 18 people came to Anime Club. We ate noodles and watched several different shows. Tim and I also had prizes to give away, so a lot of people went home with something extra. This was our last Anime Club meeting of the year, but we will start back up at the end of January. Look for the winter schedule in mid-December!



I have found some great origami resources on the internet, so start folding! Or bring along an idea to our origami program this Friday. We will be making gift tags, boxes, or whatever, from 2:00 to 3:30.

Traditional Origami
This is my favorite site because it has tons of easy-to-follow patterns. And if you're hardcore, here's the site in Japanese.

Origami and Crafts
Written for cub scouts, this guide shows you how to make origami and then turn it into something else.

Money Origami
Don't have much to spend for a gift? Make one out of the money! I still have a pair of origami cowboy boots I got as a waitressing tip years ago.

More Origami
Find out how to make nontraditional items like rings, envelopes, and even edible items from origami!


Book Review: Little Brother

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
(click on the cover to see which libraries own it.)

SUMMARY: Marcus, a.k.a “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works–and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems. But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days. When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself. (adapted from the inside cover)

OPINION: This book is the most scarily possible dystopian fantasy that I have ever read, and yet it is also incredibly hopeful. Taking place in the not-too-distant future, Little Brother describes a great loss of freedom and privacy in the name of safety. Addressing questions important to Americans, particularly since September 11, this book takes reality one step further and shows how technology can be used to both dominate and liberate people. This book takes inspiration from Orwell's classic, 1984. Instead of allowing Big Brother to watch and control everyone, though, Marcus creates rebellion by inspiring thousands of Little Brothers to watch the watchers and outsmart them. As a long-time reader of this genre, I can say that this book is dystopian fiction at its best.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cory Doctorow is a famous techno-geek that you've probably never heard of. Find out more about him on his blogs, Craphound and Boing Boing, and read more of his books!

AMAZING FACT: Cory Doctorow invented the Paranoid Linux operating system for the purposes of this novel. Now some coders are actually writing it!

Book Swap and Comedy

On Saturday, 14 people came to our Book Swap and Comedy program. Almost everyone stayed the whole time, and 55 books got swapped! We watched Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, which is completely implausible and yet extremely hilarious. We also enjoyed Men in Black, which is more of an action comedy. We ate food, lounged around, and even got the newest edition of the library zine assembled (thanks to Katie, Genni, and me). Look for more book swap events on the winter and spring schedules! And pick up a copy of our zine, What If..., at the next event you attend.


New to You

New books continue to be added to our tiny teen room, so come by and check out a few!

  • Princess on the Brink by Meg Cabot (Princess Diaries series)
  • LBD: It's a Girl Thing by Grace Dent (replacement)
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • Paper Towns by John Green
  • Jazmin's Notebook by Nikki Grimes (signed by the author)
  • Summer of Secrets by Paul Langan (Bluford High series)
  • Heaven Looks A Lot Like the Mall by Wendy Mass (signed by the author)
  • Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass (signed by the author)
  • Leap Day by Wendy Mass (signed by the author)
  • The Search for the Red Dragon by James A. Owen (Chronicles of the Imaginarium series)
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (replacement)


Katie's Creations

Check out the Nintendo characters that Katie crocheted! My favorites are the star and the mushroom, but they all turned out really well. Katie made them all without patterns, which takes a lot of thought and skill. She brought them to display at Nintendo Night last week. Thanks, Katie! Do you take orders??


Book Review: Inventing Elliot

Inventing Elliot by Graham Gardner

(Click on the book cover to find out which libraries own it.)

SUMMARY: Teased by bullies in his old school, Elliot is determined to reinvent himself at his new high school by donning a cool, unflappable exterior. Ironically, the 14-year-old's aloofness earns the interest of an elite group of bullies, known as the Guardians, whose members target school losers for punishment in cruel and ritualistic ways. In this psychological drama, the outwardly congenial Guardian leaders, who are never seen "in the company of actual violence," recruit Elliot using control tactics adopted from their favorite book, George Orwell's 1984. Not as a victim, though; they want Elliot to become a Guardian. (adapted from the SLJ review)

OPINION: At one time or another, probably everyone has wished for a chance to start over at something. And, some days, starting over at a new school really does sound like a good idea! Elliot decides to make the most of his chance, and completely changes his outward appearance and demeanor at his new school. But, he goes too far the other way, and becomes untrue to himself. The psychological story builds up to a dramatically realistic conclusion. This book is an interesting study of the "self" we present to the world versus the "self" we are on the inside. My only complaint is that Elliot never read 1984. If he had, he would see how the Guardians were completely misrepresenting its message!

RECOMMENDATIONS: If you liked this book, look for:
  • Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  • Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn
  • The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga
  • The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci


Shiny Newness

One thing I am against is incomplete books in series, particularly if they are popular! In an effort to keep up, we just got these latest installments:
  • The Dragon Heir by Cinda Williams Chima (Heir series)
  • City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (Mortal Instruments series)
  • Revelations by Melissa de la Cruz (Blue Bloods series)
  • The Diamond of Darkhold by Jeanne DuPrau (Ember series)
  • Rumors by Anna Godbersen (Luxe series)
  • Doomwyte by Brian Jacques (Redwall series)
  • The Indigo King by James A. Owen (Chronicles of the Imaginarium series)
  • Stop in the Name of Pants by Louise Rennison (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series)
  • The Coffin Club by Ellen Schreiber (Vampire Kisses series)


Nintendo Night

Last Friday, 27 teens packed our programming room for our fall Nintendo Night event. Everyone entered the Super Smash Bros. Brawl tournament on the Wii, and 11 people tried the Mario Kart DS tournament. We also had fun with my original NES, especially since John E. brought his gun for Duck Hunt! After five rounds, Maher emerged victorious in the Brawl tournament, winning a $15 gift card to GameStop. In the Mario Kart tournament, Connor S. won a $10 gift card to GameStop.

Big thanks to Katie E., who displayed her crocheted Nintendo characters on the mantel for everyone to see. She has been working on them all fall, and made them all without a pattern. My favorites are the mushroom and the star, but they all looked great! I will get a picture of them on here soon. Thanks also to David for providing controllers and the Brawl game for the tournament.

If you missed this program, we will do another Nintendo Night in the winter with a new structure, so stay tuned!


Princess for President?

In the weeks leading up to the election, teens could vote for an author for president at our special windowsill display, called Elect to Read. The authors had to meet the basic qualifications: be born a citizen, have lived here for at least 14 years, and be at least 35 years old. And the winner is...Meg Cabot! Author of the Princess Diaries, among many other things, Meg got seven votes. Jerry Spinelli and Barry Lyga also did well in the voting.

I had three prizes to give away, based on people's reasons why they voted for a certain author. They didn't have to pick the winner, just defend their choice. Saranjeet had the best answer, and she wins a $10 Borders gift card. Katie E. and Genni had good answers as well, and they each win a copy of First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover by Mitali Perkins.

Thanks to everyone who entered!


Vampire Party

Last Friday, 14 teens came out to our after-school vampire party! We made vampire lollipops and fake blood, played a crazy trivia race game, watched a video clip of Bram Stoker's Dracula, and, of course, ate food. Our best snack was sandwich cookies decorated with fanged smiley faces! Genni and Max won mini-vampire plushies as prizes for their costumes, and the team that won the trivia game got vampire-mouth lollipops. They were like ring pops, only on a fanged mouth instead of a ring. I wish I had pictures. I do have pictures of us making crafts, so here they are:

Making fake blood.

Making lollipop vampires.

They look awfully happy to be holding bags of blood!

More finished bags of fake blood.

Vampire Crafts

Whether you missed our vampire party on Friday or just can't wait for the Twilight movie, here are some vampire crafts you can make at home:

Coffee Filter Vampire Bats
Garbage Bag Vampire
Origami Dracula Face
Realistic Vampire Bite Wound
Vampire Bite Cookies
Vampire Blood
Vampire-Inspired Necklace
Vampire Lollipops