Scratch-Painted CD Magnets

Last Wednesday's outdoor teen craft was Scratch-Painted CD Magnets, and 19 people dropped by to make one. Genni found the scratch-painting idea online, then we added the magnet to make it more exciting. Basically, everyone painted the shiny side of the CD with acrylic paint. When it dried, they used pencils and paper clips to scratch a design into the paint so the shiny part would show. Then, I glued on two magnets to each one. They will look great in your lockers when it's time to go back to school! Don't worry if you missed it, though, because it will be available at Craft Closet Cleanout on August 12 (3:00 to 5:00 pm).

Next week, August 5, is our final outdoor craft. We're going to do that science experiment where you make your own ice cream in plastic bags!

Meanwhile, here are some pictures from the scratch-painting project:

Painting the CDs.

It took intense concentration.

Some finished products, stuck on our tent pole!

Some teens with their finished products.

We had bonus snacks this week because I had tons of leftover watermelon from Ben's birthday party!



A few months ago, I walked into a Borders Express mall store, and had a good laugh over the Twlight packaging on movie-size boxes of Sweetarts. They had three collectable designs! I could swoon over their gorgeous faces while stuffing my own!!

Twilight merchandising may have jumped the shark with that one, but this article in the Wall Street Journal confirmed what I noticed as far as merchandising. Borders is really trying to increase its teen appeal, and is rearranging its stores to devote more space for teen materials. Why? Because you buy stuff. Teen fiction is one of the few areas of the publishing industry that is doing well. And they are not just putting books in those new teen areas.

From the article: "We want this to be about more than just the book," said Kathryn Popoff, vice president of merchandising/trade books at Borders, based in Ann Arbor, Mich. Yes. They want it to be about making money off of teens. Beware! Better hang out at the library instead. We <3 free.


Catching Fire

A friend just let me borrow her ARC of Catching Fire, the upcoming sequel to The Hunger Games. I only meant to read a few chapters last night before bed, but actually stayed up until 2:00 a.m. to finish it! The books are set against the backdrop of a yearly gladiator-style tournament for teens in what was once the United States.

I found Catching Fire equally as compelling as the first book, with plenty of action and a complicated plot. Every chapter takes you deeper into the compelling story and the dysfunctional society of the districts of Panem. You know I can't resist a dystopia! This is the middle book in a trilogy, but it is a good story in and of itself. And it has a wicked cliffhanger of an ending! This is a must read.

Want to know more about this series? Read my review or Beth's review of The Hunger Games. Then, read it to get ready for the release of Catching Fire on September 1!!


Our Own Project Runway

Last Friday, 17 teens showed up for our fashion design program that combined a presentation by college-age art and fashion students with a Project Runway-style challenge! Grown-up library teens Kara Naklicki, Marissa Hanker, and Caitlin Cieri are all studying art and fashion in college, and told the attendees a bit about their studies, showed some of their projects and books, and showed how to draw different styles of dresses. The teens practiced drawing dresses, getting ideas from magazines, books, and their imaginations. Then, they got in groups for the design challenge.

The challenge was deceptively simple: create a formal dress using the designs they had drawn. Groups could pick one, or combine elements from several. Each group had unlimited access to black and white trash bags, clear packing tape, black/white/gray duct tape, and scissors. Each group also got a bright color of duct tape and matching sticky gems so we could tell their creations apart, as well as a giant sheet of bubble wrap. Groups had 1/2 hour to assemble the dresses, with advice from myself, Kara, Caitlin, and Marissa. Then, the groups modeled their dresses and the college students judged a winner. The winning group members all got a $5 gift card to Claire's to buy themselves something fabulous!

Here are the pictures...

Kara and Caitlin talking to the group.

A table sketching some ideas.

Cutting open a trash bag to make "fabric."

Creating the top of a dress.

Kara helped a group lay out some trash bags to make a layered skirt.

It looked like a slip-n-slide!

The group assembling their skirt.

The final creations from the four groups in their model poses.

The winning group!

The winning dress with the three judges.

Fashion Books

I put together a display of fashion books for the Project Runway program last Friday, and almost all of them got checked out! The books ranged from clothing craft books to career books to style books, so there's something for everyone. If you want to look for them in the future, here are the titles...
  • I Wanna Make My Own Clothes by Clea Hantman
  • Fashion Careers: Finding the Right Fit by Jen Jones
  • Fashion Design School: Learning the Skills to Succeed by Jen Jones
  • Fashion Design Secrets by K.C. Kelley
  • Second-Time Cool: The Art of Chopping Up a Sweater by Anna-Stina Lindén Ivarsson, Katarina Brieditis, and Katarina Evans
  • Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt by Megan Nicolay
  • Influence by Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen
  • Fashion by Ursula Rivera
  • Save This Shirt by Hannah Rogge
  • Seventy-Five Years of Oscar Style
  • Fashion 101: A Crash Course in Clothing by Erika Stalder
  • Styles of the Stars
  • Trendsetter: Have You Got What It Takes to Be a Fashion Designer? by Lisa Thompson
  • Gothic and Lolita by Masayuki Yoshinaga
  • Sew Teen: Make Your Own Cool Clothes by Sheila Zent


United States Blog Poll Results

Recently, our blog poll asked readers to select the states/regions where they would like to live in our country. Nineteen people voted, and New York came out as the winner with nine votes. A close second was the Mid-Atlantic states, which includes Pennsylvania.

New England states--6 (31%)
Pacific Northwestern states--2 (10%)
Mid-Western states--2 (10%)
Southern states--1 (5%)
Southwesten states--2 (10%)
Mid-Atlantic states--7 (36%)
Rocky Mountain states--1 (5%)
New York--9 (47%)
Alaska--1 (5%)
California--6 (31%)
Hawaii--5 (26%)


Tie-Dyed Shoelaces!!

Last Wednesday, 27 people stopped by our outdoor teen craft station to make tie-dyed shoelaces. It was messy, but great! We had some samples available, but a lot of people tried their own patterns. The library provided all of the materials, but the teens had to take their laces home to rinse, wash, and dry them the next day. We will definitely do this again in the future.

A lot of people had questions about tie-dyeing during the event. To help you in the future, I arranged the photos in order below, so you can see the steps of the process we used. When you tie-dye, you must use 100% cotton items. Many things you buy at the store are blends, so you have to be careful. Also, when I orginally bought our tie-dye materials, I bought this kit at A. C. Moore, which included a helpful DVD. Try tie-dye at home with all kinds of stuff!

Here are the pictures...

The first step is making a pattern on the laces with rubber bands. We used the tiny rubber bands meant for hair braids, and they worked perfectly!

More teens preparing their laces. After being rubber banded, laces went in a soda ash soak for 10 minutes.

After that, it was time to go crazy with the dye bottles! Actually, this project didn't take much dye at all.

Another group getting started with the dye bottles.

Everyone wore gloves to prevent stained hands.

Laces after dye was applied.

More dyed laces, ready to put in bags to set for 24 hours.

Genni and I made some extra laces for prizes at the teen summer reading party. I took these home and did the finishing work myself, and they all turned out well.

Two people wore their laces to the library on Friday!


So Yesterday Book Discussion

Today, 11 teens attended our special book discussion of So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld as part of our "Passion for Fashion" block of summer programs. The group was a good mix of people, with some members of our Read & Rant and Book Grub book groups attending, as well as some people who are not book group members.

We talked a little bit about the plot, but the book discussion really centered on ideas of fads, consumerism, and why we dress the way we do. We also talked about how photos of both people and foods are manipulated in advertising. And if you think the cool-hunters and corporations in So Yesterday are far in the future, think again. Go watch The Merchants of Cool from the PBS show Frontline right now.

As an homage to the book character Jen, an Innovator, we also did Sharpie tie-dying on some shoelaces. Now, check out Ian's Shoelace Site to find a creative new way to use those laces!


Bubble Painting

Last Wednesday's outdoor craft was bubble painted wrapping paper, and 21 teens dropped by to do the activity. To do bubble painting, you mix bubble solution with tempra paint in a small cup or bowl, then blow into it with a straw until bubbles spill over the sides and onto your paper. When they pop, the bubbles leave interesting imprints. We did the project using 30" x 36" pieces of white art paper, and people used multiple colors to create really cute designs. It was a lot of fun, but really messy!

Drop by next Wednesday between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to make a pair of tie-dyed shoelaces!!

Mixing the paint and bubble solution.

Getting ready to paint.

She went crazy with blue bubbles!

Adding another color.

A finished product.

Unexpected consequences...

Our First Accessory Swap

On Wednesday, we held our first-ever accessory swap! It was just like a book swap, only with fashionable items to trade around. About 35 things were swapped by 13 attendees, including sunglasses, earrings, scarves, belts, necklaces, purses, (new) tights, bracelets, and pins. During the program, we watched Bringing Up Baby, as well as clips from other movies that were nominated for Oscars in the costume design category. Bringing Up Baby is a black-and-white comedy from 1938 that features Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant, a leopard, and some great clothes! Everyone enjoyed it, even though it isn't the kind of movie we usually watch at teen programs. We will definitely do another accessory swap, and it will probably be scheduled during winter break. Look for it on the next teen schedule!


Brand Spankin' New

Here are the newest additions to the teen section. Get in here fast...the teen books are flying off the shelves this summer!

  • The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong
  • If the Witness Lied by Caroline B. Cooney
  • Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
  • The Carbon Diaries, 2015 by Saci Lloyd
  • Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith
  • The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
  • The Uninvited by Tim Wynne-Jones


What I've Been Reading

I've been reading a lot recently, but I haven't had time to write full book reviews for the blog. So, here are three suggestions for you in one post! Click on the book covers to see which libraries own them.

Absolutely Maybe by Lisa Yee
When her alcoholic former-beauty-queen mother plans yet another inappropriate marriage, sixteen-year-old Maybelline "Maybe" Chestnut runs away to California to find her biological father and some happiness. The ineptitude of the mother (and her charm school) made me laugh, and the taco truck where Maybe finds work made me seriously hungry. This book has some heavy topics, but is actually a light read and great for summer or vacation.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
This atmospheric read won Gaiman the Newbery Award this year. It is the episodic tale of Nobody Owens, a.k.a. Bod, a child who escapes the gruesome murder of his family and is taken in to be raised by the residents of a graveyard. The episodic style of the story makes it easy to read in short sittings, yet the mysterious premise makes it very engaging. Gaiman had better be working on a sequel because there is a lot more I want to know about Bod!

Finding Nouf by Zoë Ferraris
I usually don't read mysteries, but this book captured me from the start with its inside look at Saudi Arabian families and culture. The mystery focuses on a 16-year-old daughter in a wealthy family, Nouf ash-Shrawi, who is found dead in the desert just days before her marriage. A private investigator takes the case, and his research explores the diversity of Saudi society as much as it explores the circumstances of her death. I have already gotten several other library staff members to read this book, and I also think high school students would enjoy it.


Board Game Blast

Yesterday, 27 teens showed up for our summer Board Game Blast event. All I did was provide snacks and prizes, and everyone amused themselves for 2 hours! I put out some of the library's games, but a lot of people brought their own and we had a good variety. People orgainzed themselves into groups to play everything from chess and Scrabble to mancala and Clue. I gave a box of movie candy to the winner of each game played, as long as the group followed the rules and the person won by playing the game until the end. (Winners of two-player games could only get candy for their first win.) I also did a drawing for a free board game, which included everyone's names. We will definitely do this again!

Pokemon Monopoly...who knew?!

Chess is a (mostly) serious game...

Trying to pick a winner in Apples to Apples.

They're not usually this focused!


String Painting

Today, 19 people stopped by our teen drop-in craft. That's one more than last week, and just enough to use all the supplies we had! This week's craft was string painting on wooden plaques and birdhouses (donated by Genni's Girl Scout troop). We used glitter paint so they would look extra cool. Once the paint dried, I sprayed them with a waterproof acrylic. We also made some improvements in our set-up this week...we used the library's canopy tent! It provided a lot of shade and no one got sunburned.

The early birds got the birdhouses!


Finished projects

Watch Out for Scrabble!

Just in time for our Board Game Blast (today, 3 to 5 pm, upstairs), comes this article from The Onion: Jilted Hasbro CEO Laughs Coldly As Scrabble Destroys Another Relationship



Last Wednesday, 29 teens showed up to play Dance Dance Revolution. I finally managed to get a copy of DDR Ultramix 3 for our Xbox, so it was nice to have some new music! David brought a second Xbox and game, so we hooked that up to the TV and let people play it with hand controllers. We also put out the board games and cards for people to play during the event. As the afternoon progressed, we dedicated two of the dance pads to our tournament. Twenty-three people entered, and the final came down to Sarah E., Judy, and Jamie. They all got candy, but Jamie was the ultimate winner of a $10 gift card to GameStop. I didn't get to dance at all, so you know we have to do this again soon! Look for it on the fall schedule.


Bottled Messages

On Wednesday, 18 teens dropped in to make a Message in a Bottle, the first craft in our six-week Outdoor Art offerings. Everyone was able to write a letter, then put it and some fun thematic elements in the bottle. We had different "recipies" like The American (patriotic glitter, sequin stars, and a flag), The Gardener (flowers, Easter grass, and seed beads), and The Romantic (rose petals, wedding confetti, and lace). After completing the bottle, all you have to do is glue on the lid, slap on an address label, and take it to the Post Office!

Want to send something else strange through the mail? I've heard of people mailing stuffed animals, containers of animal crackers, and even car tires! Check out this article from Improbable Research for even more crazy ideas.

Genni, Nikhila, Christine, Kaitlyn, and Katie E. made an additional bottle to send to Governor Rendell to advocate for libraries during the current budget craziness. They wrote letters with five reasons to love libraries, then filled the bottle with foam hands and beads. I took the bottles down to the Post Office on Thursday morning, and they cost just $1.39 each to mail. The postal worker was a bit confused but willingly sent them! I purchased delivery confirmation for one bottle, so we'll see if/when they arrive.

The five bottles I mailed to Harrisburg.


Favorite Gadget Blog Poll Results

Recently, 26 readers voted in our blog poll about favorite gadgets. Not surprisingly, people love their iPods and other mp3 players the most. Here are the results:

Nintendo DS/DSi--6 (23%)
cellphone--2 (7%)
digital camera--1 (3%)
laptop/netbook --4 (15%)
PSP--1 (3%)
digital videocamera--0 (0%)
GPS--0 (0%)
mp3 player (iPod)--9 (34%)
Kindle--1 (3%)
PDA (Blackberry)--0 (0%)
I am addicted to another gadget.--2 (7%)
I am a Luddite.--0 (0%)