The Library Ninja Blog

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

For the past 5 weeks, the Go Center at Northeast Branch Library, in Teen Zone, as been on a roll talking to students about different college options.  As college students themselves, it becomes a great opportunity for them to share their stories to our students in the Youth Technology Center. Stories about financial hardships, stories about tough decisions and careers options, and stories about the independence they have achieved as they become individuals who have goals, and responsibilities, despite the hardships college can relinquish.  The Go Center Mentors have been able to give our students an eye opening experience to what "College Life" is, the types of careers there are, and expose middle schools and high school students to potential colleges that focuses on their careers!

Along with the educational presentations the Go Center Mentors creates, they also have been able to obtain the trust of our teens through a verity of fun and exciting ice breakers.

We invite you to come by Teen Zone to meet our fantastic Mentors and to ask questions that may linger in mind about college. How will you pay for college? What college would best for you? What career are you most interested in? Can you change your mind about your career as you take up 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.

Parents have questions? They are welcomed too to come in and see what options there are to help you get into the college you really want to go 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:

The Ninja Reviews...If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Like many people, once I heard about the movie adaptation of If I Stay by Gayle Forman, I had to read the book.  After visiting multiple bookstores, I was able to snag a copy of this very popular book.

Seventeen year old Mia is a musical prodigy on the path to stardom with her cello, rock star boyfriend, and quirky yet supporting family.  Her life is perfect in every sense.  Then a simple trip to visit family friend turns her life into a nightmare.  Mia’s world is turned upside down, when her family gets into a car accident.  An unconscious Mia is sent to the hospital where she must fight for her life.  The catch is Mia must make the decision to stay in this world or to pass on to the next.  To make this decision, Mia uses a combination of flashbacks and an out of body experience to make her final decision.

This was an easy to follow book that drew me in with each flashback.  Although it was not full of action, it was a sweet tale of finding your purpose in life.  Some of the characters are a little out there like her rock star boyfriend and her quirky parents.  However, they happened to be my favorite characters.  In my copy of the book, I had bonus materials including the inspiration and reasoning behind some of Forman’s choices.  This additional information made it easier to understand her point of view including the heavy use of music in the story.  As far as the use of flashbacks and out of body experiences, I found myself as a reader skipping through the present day to the next flashback as they were more interesting.  I felt a greater connection to Mia in her flashbacks instead of the out of body experiences.  That being said, it was a unique read and I am excited to finally go see the movie adaptation.

Other books you may enjoy by Gayle Forman

9/7/2014 Add a Comment Share this:

The Ninja Reviews...Guardians of the Galaxy (Film Review)

Last year was "YOLO," this year it's "I am Groot!"  And if you have no idea where this quote comes from then you really do need to get out of your cave and make it to your local theater ASAP! Here's is a brief review on Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel's most recent addition to its cinematic universe. The movie tells the story of how five intergalactic miscreants whose paths have crossed by chance, the unbreakable bond that they develop through time, and how they unite their strengths to take on the chillingly powerful Ronan "the Accuser" in a fight for a certain relic that contains enough power to destroy anything in its path. (Including the one who's too weak to be wielding a thing like that in the first place.) On a scale of epicness, Guardians of the Galaxy certainly delivered with its stylish action sequences, as well as providing us with a perfect balance of light-hearted and intense moments.

Meet the Guardians cast: Chris Pratt will be playing the groovy space outlaw, Star-Lord. Zoe Salanda plays the role of the assassin, Gamora. (Apparently she's green in this one, guys...) Dave Batista will be playing Drax the Destroyer. Vin Diesel will be taking the role as the loveable humanoid plant Groot. Last, Bradley Cooper will be the voice behind the galaxy's most  trigger-happy raccoon, Rocket!

What really surprised me was the amount of depth that was portrayed by each member of the guardians and how a couple of the characters whom you would never guess to be the center focus of some of the most heart-felt (almost tear-jerker) scenes in the film. All in all, Guardians of the Galaxy was an enjoyable ride that all action and comic movie enthusiasts should enjoy. But don't take my word, go see it out for yourselves! Also, don't forget to also check out the original Guardians of the Galaxy comics at your local library!

One last thing, for those of you who may be new to the whole Marvel cinematic experience, be sure not to be too quick in getting up from your seats once the credits start rolling. Just a friendly tip...


Vote Now: 2014 Official Teens' Top Ten Nominees

Voting is now open for Teens' Top Ten! Voting is open to EVERYONE!

Vote between now and Teen Read Week at in order to vote for your favorites. You can vote for up to 3 titles. The winners will be announced the week after Teen Read Week on October 20, 2014.

Here are the nominees:

My votes went to: Splintered (A.G. Howard), Eleanor and Park (Rainbow Rowell), and Monument 14: Sky on Fire (Emmy Laybourne).

Who will you vote for?

Next Japan Otaku Day!

We’ll be learning about katakana, one of the building blocks that makes up the Japanese language. If you’ve ever read your favorite manga (for me it's Watamore!) and you’ve wondered why the action sounds —also known as an onomatopoeia—were written in Japanese differently than the regular hiragana, or what part of Japanese they write non-Japanese names, now you know it's Katakana. Katakana is a part of the Japanese written language used for foreign words and names, to show emphasis, or for onomatopoeias.       


(An example of Katakana used to express an onomatopoeia from the horror mangaParasyte)

(Picture from

As mentioned above, katakana is used to write out non-Japanese words and/or names. For example my name, Amina Doctrove, in katakana would be written as アミナ ドルトロバ, another example is for the lead character from Attack on Titan, Eren Jaeger, (also written as Yeager) in Katakana would be  エレン イェ—ガ—.

(Image via FUNimation)

Learning katakana isn't that much harder than learning hiragana, which used for native Japanese words and names. Don't worry if you're unfamiliar with anything about the Japanese language, the most important thing about Katakana is that it's written a lot sharper than hiragana and is used for foreign words and names. One of the activities for this month's Japan Day is for us to practice writing out our names in Katakana!

The anime this month is Wolf Children (2012) directed by Mamoru Hosoda, the same mind that brought you Summer Wars (2009). Fans of the anime Spice and Wolf will love the story of a young mother by the name of Hana who one day finds herself alone in the world caring for two half-wolf/half-human children. While Wolf Children is much different in tone than Summer Wars, it's still full of heart and a wonderful film about motherhood, identity, and finding one's place in the world.

Of course at the end of every Japan Otaku Day we do a giveaway for some awesome anime and manga-related prizes, join us and stick around until the very end!

Japan Otaku Day will be next Saturday August 30 from 2 p.m. to 5:30.

I hope to see you all there!

Written by Amina D., YTC Intern

8/26/2014 Add a Comment Share this: