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Back to School

by Jessica Lee on July 29th, 2014

collegeboundWe’re doing something a little different with this month’s teen reads display (on the second floor, next to the Young Adult Fiction section) by drawing all of our selections from the Library’s nonfiction collection.

The display’s theme is Outstanding Books for the College-Bound (and Lifelong Learners), based on the American Library Association’s suggestions for 2014. Updated every five years, the ALA’s reading list is divided by subject heading:

D’ye agree with the ALA’s choices? Have anything to add? Let us know!


by Jessica Lee on July 14th, 2014

If you’ve been online at all in the past couple of days, you might’ve gotten wind of the disaster that has been #DashCon, a first-year convention organized by and for members of Tumblr. Elsewise, consider this a primer.

In the organizers’ own words,

DashCon aims to be the largest gathering of Tumblr users to date, concentrating on the particulars of this stand out social media site. DashCon will be a place where Tumblr users can express common site wide interests, in both fashion, art, science, and in the world of geekery.

(To be super clear, this was an unofficial event that is not affiliated with the administrators of Tumblr itself.)

Moreover, the convention’s primary target audience appears to have been Tumblr users who are also active participants in various fandoms across media, an intersection of interests that is hugely populated by teens. The inaugural event took place in Schaumburg, Illinois (my old stomping grounds!), over this past weekend and has already become a meme.

And from what I can tell, it has been outrageously disorganized and mismanaged from start to finish, the highlights of which includeballpit

  • mis/disinformation from DashCon organizers to attendees, performers, and possibly the host site
  • reports that the organizers were unable to pay agreed-upon performance, transportation, or accommodation fees for guests of honor, such as Noelle Stevenson and the Welcome to Night Vale staff, on arrival
  • reports that DashCon admin held a hasty (though, amazingly, successful) crowdfunding effort to raise $17,000 in the middle of the convention, ostensibly in order to keep the convention going
  • reports that some panels were poorly/not moderated, and that crushed attendees who had registered for cancelled events were not refunded the cost of their ticket but were instead offered the now-infamous free hour in the ball pit

Here are some master posts that go into more detail:

Opinions vary on whether or not the chaos of DashCon’14 was a result of the organizers’ honest incompetence (managing an event of this size, with so many moving pieces, is seriously daunting stuff) or if the whole thing was a scam targeting the young and inexperienced (and their parents).

Board Games in the Teen Center

by Jessica Lee on July 12th, 2014

catan Some of you may’ve already noticed the newest addition to the Koza Family Teen Center: board games!

Now, during staffed hours (12:30-5pm Monday through Friday, 1:00-6pm on Saturdays), you can play Bananagrams, Settlers of Catan, Skip-Bo, Smash Up, Taboo, Ticket to Ride, Uno, or Zombie Dice.


The writing on the wall will be printed neatly in block letters

by Jessica Lee on July 7th, 2014

src: Dallas News (click through for related article)

This recent post, “Cursive is an Endangered Species,” along with many other similar articles, discusses the decline of cursive in younger generations, particularly with increased reliance on digital devices to take notes, send messages, etc.

So now I’m curious: how many of you learned how to write in cursive, in or out of school? When have you found it useful to know? (Could you read the text in the image?)

Spark a Reaction: June

by Jessica Lee on June 25th, 2014

Imaginator-CropHey folks,

We’re having a baller first month of the Summer Reading Program! So far we have 322 teen participants, of whom 55 have already submitted their first game cards. Don’t worry if you’re not one of them; everyone reads at eir own pace; ye’re all champions in my heart.

DON’T FORGET: somewhere on the game card, you need to write 1.) your name, 2.) the last four digits of your phone number (or whatever number you used to register), and 3.) the number of the prize you’d like a chance to win. Here they are again:

#1: The John Green Pack (a signed copy of Looking for Alaska and an audio book of The Fault in Our Stars)

#2: A Daydreams Comics gift certificate

#3: A Prairie Lights gift certificate

#4: A movie theater gift certificate to Marcus Theaters

PLEASE! WRITE! LEGIBLY! Because if it takes me longer than three seconds to make sense of somebody’s chicken scrawl, I CONSIGN THE OFFENDING GAME CARD TO THE FLAMES.

“But Jei,” you might well protest, “it’s dangerous to light fires in a library.” You’re right. I was exaggerating. I don’t incinerate difficult-to-decipher game cards. I fold them into paper airplanes THAT I THEN LAUNCH INTO THE SUN.

Remember, once you turn in your first game card (which is an automatic entry for the grand prize in addition to being an entry for your Prize o’ Choice), you can get a Bonus / Super Extra Bonus game card for YET MOAR entries into the Grand Prize Drawing (for a Kindle Fire)! Woowoowoo!

Here Be Dragons

by Jessica Lee on June 23rd, 2014

how-to-train-your-dragon-2-poster-full  How to Train Your Dragon 2 came out in theaters earlier this month, but did you know that it started out as a book? A whole bunch of ‘em, in fact.

Cressida Cowell’s heroic misadventures of Hiccup the Viking were written for kids, but we’ve got plenty of dragon-related novels in the young adult fiction section! Which is your favorite?


by Jessica Lee on June 16th, 2014

If you’ve been perusing our summer reading program calendar, you’ve noticed that we’ll be hosting a steampunk DIY event from 2:00-3:00 p.m. tomorrow in the Koza Family Teen Center. But maybe you’ve no idea what this means, and the define:steampunk tool on Google isn’t cutting it.

Here’s how Jeff Vandermeer defines it in The Steampunk Bible An Illustrated Guide to the World of Imaginary Airships, Corsets and Goggles, Mad Scientists, and Strange Literature:

Steampunk = Mad Scientist Inventor [invention (steam x airship or metal man/ baroque stylings) x (pseudo) Victorian (or Edwardian) settings] + progressive or reactionary politics x adventure plot. (p. 9)


src: Rachel Frank

Or maybe you’re already familiar with the aesthetic, but never knew it had a name:

For a fantastic primer on the genre of steampunk, as well as some literary and cinematic examples thereof, check out Steampunk: An Introduction for Teens by NYPL’s Anne Rouyer.

If all of this is old hat to you and you’d like to delve deeper into that “progressive or reactionary politics” business, try these links:

The Intersection of Race and Steampunk: Colonialism’s After-Effects & Other Stories, from a Steampunk of Colour’s Perspective

Steampunk Postcoloniality

And for even MOAR perspectives and resources, check out Tor’s Steampunk Week Series.

Shall We Play a Game?

by Jessica Lee on May 1st, 2014

shall we play a game

Hey folks, we are proud to announce the ICPL’s first ever gamified teen programming!

What this means is that once you register, the ways in which you already interact with the library (volunteering, attending programs and events, and even checking out books) can help you win prizes, fame, and glory! Check out our site at for more info. And as always,


May Displays

by Jessica Lee on May 1st, 2014

We have two shiny new monthly displays for your perusal!

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so our main display in the YA Fiction area features books that deal with mental health issues. Here’s a digital version of Corey Marie’s great self-care comic that we have on the floor:

selfcare1 selfcare2

In honor of Towel Day, which falls on May 25, our mini display just inside the Koza Family Teen Center is all about interstellar travel and extraterrestrial visitors!


Harry Potter Bingo!

by Jessica Lee on April 28th, 2014

THIS THURSDAY, May 1st, from 6:00-7:00 p.m in the Koza Family Teen Center. Play Harry Potter bingo, win prizes, and nom ice cream!

hp hooray