Teen Program: Paint and Sip

The 4-1-1:

When: Nov 20th, 7:00 – 8:30pm
Resources: How to Paint Birch Trees
How many teens: 22  teens
Cost/Supplies: $72.67

  • 11 x 14 Canvas (24): $20
  • Paint 8 fl oz bottles (6) : $17.82
    • One bottle of each of the following colors: Black, White, Gold, Yellow, Red, & Green.
  • Sea Sponges (5 pks; 25 total): $14.85
  • Brushes (flat, round, & sponge): $20
  • Cardboard Palettes: $0

The run-down:

I’m extremely lucky that I have an artist on staff who did all the planning and taught the class for me. Truly, this is her event, but I was there to help with paint and act as back up.

The set-up was pretty simple. We did 7 tables with three chairs at each table. My co-worker was stationed up front where everyone could see her. Since the canvas was on the smaller size, we did hook up a camera to our TV so it was more visible. This seemed to work well and no one complained that they couldn’t see.

As for the process, my co-worker went through step-by-step on how to recreate the painting. She broke it down as much as possible and gave hints/tips as they went along. She also made sure to tell them repeatedly that each of their paintings would look different and that was okay! Of course, the skill sets were all vastly different, but all the teens had fun which is what matters the most to me. Almost all of them begged us to do another one in the future!

Take-away/lessons learned:

  • I am so impressed by how smooth this one went. We were both worried that with such a large group we’d have trouble getting them to quiet down & listen, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. All of them really paid attention and listened to what they had to do. The next time we do this, we plan to make it only 60 minutes. The 90 minutes was just a bit too much for them.
  • Also, we’ll pick a painting with a bit less detail. All the teens did fine until we got to the birch trees. Most of them did fine, but it was the only area they struggled.
  • Have breaks! We had two 5 min breaks just to let the paint dry and let them chit-chat. I truly think this is what helped keep them so focused.
  • Use disposable tablecloths. I cannot stress this one enough! It made cleanup a breeze.
  • Don’t have an artist on staff? Use youtube as your “instructor”. Had I done this one on my own, I would have simply shown the youtube video and paused it along the way. There are several other instructional videos like this that you could use!

Teen Book Club: And We Stay

And We StayAnd We Stay by Jenny Hubbard
Release Date: Jan  2013
Publisher: Delacorte Press 

Pages: 240

When high school senior Paul Wagoner walks into his school library with a stolen gun, he threatens his girlfriend, Emily Beam, and then takes his own life. Soon after, angry and guilt-ridden Emily is sent to boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where two quirky fellow students and the spirit of Emily Dickinson offer helping hands. But it is up to Emily Beam to heal her own damaged self, to find the good behind the bad, hope inside the despair, and springtime under the snow.

Share, Skim, Shelve?
Sadly, this was a book that most of the group ended up not liking. There was some variety, but the ultimate breakdown came to 1 share, 1 skim, & 8 shelve.

What did you think of the poems? Helpful or hinderance?
Most of the teens really liked the poems. They thought it gave a nice insight into what was happening in Emily’s journey. A couple thought they were irrelevant, but still liked them anyway. And for a few, it was the only part they liked of the book.

If the time frame had been different would the story have changed? (Today vs. 1994/95)
They all agreed it would have been a much different story. Not only due to school shootings, but in technology. They also thought the aftermath would have been HUGELY different. Mainly that the story would have been all over the news and media would have been heavily involved in relaying what happened. None of them felt she could have escaped from her old life as easy as she did.

What did you think about the parallels between Emily Beam and Emily Dickinson?

Some really liked the parallels, especially when it came to the seclusion and the way Emily Beam mimicked Dickinson in order to heal. However, many thought they were way too similar and that they author was trying too hard.

What did you think about Paul and Emily’s relationship?

They all agreed it was a very abusive relationship. They felt like Paul peer pressured Emily into things she didn’t want to do. And that he was controlling, obsessive, clingy, and emotional unstable. The teens believed that Paul and Emily thought they loved each other, but it was obvious in the end that they didn’t.

What do you think of K.T.? Do you think her letting Emily know about her friend’s suicide would have helped?

Most of them thought that K.T. was the best character. However, they felt her character needed more and that she was a bit flat. They all agreed that it took a while to warm up to her as well. They weren’t sure if they could trust her at first. They also wished that she would have told Emily about her friend’s suicide much sooner. They believed it would have built a relationship where they connected more and would have helped Emily heal sooner.

Thoughts on Paul’s suicide?
The teens felt like this scene proved how unstable he was. However, they did not feel as if he planned it. With the discovery by the teacher, it was obvious he felt trapped and had nothing left. There was also some talk on it being more of an accident than suicide.

Do you think the story would have played out differently if Paul’s parents had known about the baby?
This was a resounding yes from all the teens. They believed it would have been much worse for Emily and that Paul’s parents would have had a reason to blame her for this death. However, it would have also given them a reason to watch Paul and maybe stop the shooting from ever happening. They also tossed around the thought they his parents may have stopped the abortion from every happening.

Do you think Emily’s poem will win the competition? Do you think if it’s published it will hurt or help Emily’s healing process?

The general thought was that Emily’s poem would win the competition. They were a bit torn on if it would hurt or help Emily and saw it more as a both thing than an either or. The teens thought it would help people fully understand what she was going through. On the other hand, it would hurt because everyone would indeed know and she may have to relive the experience the over and over again.

Memorable Scenes

  • They all thought the scene where she’s in Emily Dickinson’s house is very weird. I’m pretty sure they were all just like WTF!
  • They all loved the dinner she had with her roommate and their one teacher/house mother. They felt it showed Emily different and what she may have been like before/what she could be again once she healed.

Final thoughts

They all felt like this books description was rather misleading. When they read it was about a school shooting, they thought it would be more along the the lines of an actually lock-down school shooting type scenario and the aftermath of living through that traumatic experience. Instead, they got something that was much more quiet with less action. I do wonder if this preconceived idea didn’t make them like the book less than if they hadn’t known anything about it.


Program 4-1-1

  • When: April 24th, 6:00 – 7:30 pm
  • How Many Teens: 11 teens;  ranging from Grade 8 – 10

Teen Book Club: Pawn

by Aimee Carter
Release Date: Nov 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Pages: 352

For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country. 

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister’s niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter. 

There’s only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed …and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that’s not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she’s only beginning to understand.



Share it, Skim it, or Shelve it?

No hesitations about it, everyone said they’d share it. In fact, they wanted to know when book two came out and groaned when they heard it was the end of the year.

What do you think about the class system?  

There was a lot of discussion about this one. They all agreed it didn’t really work, especially since it only tested one type of intelligence. I started to push them a little on how it was really different from today. After all, things like SAT/ACTs and financial situation dictate what kind of colleges one gets into; and usually the better the college the better your job prospects. They agreed that it was more similar than one would think, but that we aren’t quite as restrictive as in the world in Pawn. After all, we still have the opportunity to pick what exact job we want to do and where we live.

Would you have taken the VII that Daxton offered?

The teens surprised me a bit with this one. They all said yes without a second thought. Even when I asked if they knew what it all entailed, they said they would have still done it. In their eyes, there was no other option. It was either get a bullet now or go for an adventure (and maybe get a bullet later).

What do you think about the masking process?

The thoughts on this one were kind of mixed. On one hand, it was pretty messed up and it felt like they were playing god. On the other hand, it was pretty cool technology wise that they could match appearances so closely. However, none of them understood why they couldn’t do the eye color. They felt it was a bit odd to be able to change everything else (height, foot size, voice, etc) but they hadn’t figured that out yet. They did bring up color contacts, but we thought maybe that would be too obvious to tell or the color was one that just couldn’t be matched.

What are your thoughts on Elsewhere?

For the most part they thought it was messed up. None of them were really too surprised by it. The teens had all figured that Elsewhere meant death, but they didn’t think it would be to that level. Although, I did have one teen who thought it would be a nice die-in-comfort place for the elderly. They agreed it was kind of wishful thinking on their part though.

Benjy or Knox?

There is a lot of mix emotions on this one. For the most part they felt like they could trust Benjy more, but as a character they thought he wasn’t needed. They felt like he was kind of “damsel in distress” where they felt like Kitty was rescuing/protecting him more often than not. They felt like his identity was too wrapped up in Kitty, especially since he was willing to give up everything to just to be with her. Some felt he was maybe too trustworthy and that he had his own secrets up his sleeve. They were all interested to see him fleshed out more in the upcoming books.

Knox they had a bit of harder time trusting. The teens were never quite sure whose side he was really on. They felt like he was looking out for Kitty, though, considering how many times he got her out of bad situations. As a character, they liked him WAY more and all agreed he’d be the one they’d want to have their backs in a fight.

I asked if they thought their was a love triangle happening and the general response was kind of. They didn’t think it was a full blown one yet, but there were definitely emotions brewing and could see it growing in the next book. There was a lot of discussion what would happen once they were married (if they married) and how they could see her leaning more towards Knox because of it.

What is your take on the Hart dynamics? Do you have a favorite member?

The word of the day for the Harts was fake, fake, fake. They thought the majority of them had major issues and needed help. The teens felt like the power had corrupted them into hateful and selfish people.

There were only two names thrown out in terms of favorites: Greyson and Celia. They thought Greyson was smart, but there were also a couple of comment on how they thought he was like a cute little puppy. They agreed he had his issues, but he was the most decent out of all his family members. Celia, on the other hand, they really liked because she could kick some major butt, however, none of them really trusted her.

What do you think of Lila?

None of them had a positive opinion of her. They thought she was a selfish, snotty brat. Although, consider her circumstances, they didn’t really blame her. They felt like her walls were to be expected, especially with all she has experienced. They still don’t trust her, but feel like there is a lot more to her that we’re not seeing.

What are your predictions?

They don’t see how Lila and Kitty could ever switch places again and that Kitty would be trapped much longer than should would like, maybe even forever. They didn’t think that Greyson would take the throne. In fact, they thought that Knox would be the one to likely take over the government. They felt this would usher in the change everyone was hoping for and that Daxton/Hart dynasty days were numbered.

Favorite scene?

  • Anything that involved Kitty climbing through the air vents. They loved what she was able to learn and that no one suspected she was up there because it was a small space.
  • As horrible as Elsewhere was, they thought the hunt in the woods was exciting. They loved the visuals it created.
  • The final face-off between Kitty and Augusta. Without giving anything away, they loved the intensity of the scene and how it ended.
  • The wake-up scene after Kitty has been masked.
  • The dance floor scene when Knox and Kitty share a kiss.
  • Daxton’s ultimatum: the bullet or a VII
  • Her first speech. They loved how passionate Kitty became during and after the speech. It was the first moment she realized how much a difference she could really make.


Program 4-1-1

  • When: February  27th, 6:00 – 7:30 pm
  • How Many Teens: 14 teens; 3 boys/11 girls ranging from Grade 8 – 10
  • Cost/Supplies: Gallon Ice Cream plus toppings: $0 (left over from previous months) Books: $172 (paid via friends money)

Teen Program: Teen Storytime (Guest Post)

Today I have a guest post by one my friends Cindy (@cindysku). She’s a Teen Services Librarian at White Oaks Library District and when I heard she did a teen storytime I knew I needed to have her do a post for me! Without further ado, here’s her post on the program.
My teens are always telling me about when they were children. They often reminisce about the picture books they used to read and being free to play games.  They have had to become more serious about school and their lives as they are growing up. This made me to want to give them the experience of being a kid again and what better way then to have a teen storytime.

Teen storytime would be different yet similar to the children’s version. We started off with a classic children’s storytime song. “These are My Glasses” was used because it is the opener for storytime in our library district. It is a great song because it has a lot of hand motions to go along with. I mentioned before the event started that the most enthusiastic teen would win a prize. This made it easier for the teens that were nervous about looking foolish to join in.

The first book I read was It’s A Book by Lane Smith. It went very well because the teens were starting to guess what the next line was going to be. The teens loved its sassy ending.  They even asked for me to read it again, but I had to move on.

We sang “We Are the Dinosaurs” and the group was a little nervous at first about doing the actions to the song, but as it went along they got more into it. They loved the part at the end when they could roar. They were so excited about the marching that our reference librarian came to check that they were not stomping my bones into the ground.

The next book we read was All My Friends Are Dead. The teens really loved this book, because it was sarcastic and funny. They laughed the whole time.

I then read a few pages from the book I Hate Everything that they liked. I had a small craft in which they each got notebook paper and wrote what they hated, but I did give them guidelines nothing sexist, homophobic, or racist and nothing about the people in the room. We then went in a circle and read the things we hate. They loved this part.

The last craft we had was making a bookworm bookmark with pom poms. I got the idea from pinterest and this worked well with teens, because I could use a hot glue gun to make it go faster.

Our last song was the “Skinnamarink” song and some of them were really trying to outperform each other for the prize.

Overall, it was a great night. I had teens asking for the event to be repeated. A few teens told me they had found some new favorite books and that makes any librarian’s heart swell with pride when they hear that.

Teen Program: Make Your Own Journal

The 4-1-1:

When: June 19th & 23rd, 5:30 – 7:00pm
Resources: Cereal Box Notebooks
How many teens: 25  teens; 7 @ Main, 18 @ Branch
Cost/Supplies: $0; I got really lucky on this one. I had an awesome mom donate a big box of scrapbooking supplies. Otherwise, my cost would have been much, much higher. This project can be done w/o the scrapbooking supplies, but my teens loved having them to decorate with.

  • Cereal Boxes; donated by staff
  • Scrapbook Paper
  • Scrapbooking Misc items, stickers, letters, ribbon, etc
  • Buttons
  • Floss & needles (or stapler)
  • Scissors
  • Glue


The run-down:

This one was pretty simple and I didn’t have much, if any, variation between the two days. I had all the supplies spread out over the various tables and let the teens sit wherever they wished. Once they were all in, I explained the basic steps to the teens and let them go. A couple came back for clarification on steps, but overall the teens grasped how to do it and had no problems with it.

While there are only about 5 steps to this project, the real fun is in the personalisation. While I had 25 teens over the two days, the journals all looked different. I’m discovering my teens really enjoy the simple crafts that have a wide range of interpretation in it. I had them all fill out a survey before leaving and all the teens rated this event as good or awesome.


Take-away/lessons learned:

  • If you’re not able to have the full range of scrapbooking supplies like I had, 90 minutes will probably be too long. I found most of mine were done in just over an hour.
  • Have lots of glue sticks and scissors. The only real complaint I got was that they hated waiting for these to become available.
  • Have thimbles. Although, my teens didn’t complain about this, the needle can be a bit difficult to get through all the layers. A thimble does help push it through easier. If you don’t want to buy thimbles, just make sure that the teens aren’t putting too many pages in their journals. The more pages the harder it is for the needle to go through all the layer.
  • You may want to have some rulers handy as well to help with cutting straight. Some of the crookedness can be hidden when you apply the scrapbooking paper, but a ruler would help with cleaner lines.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Teen Book Club: The Eyes of Minds

The Eyes of Minds 
by James Dashner
Release Date: Oct 2013
Pages: 323

Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to technology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?

But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he’s holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The effects are horrific—the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery.

The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker.
And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team.
But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.

Share it, Skim it, or Shelve it?
Most of the teens thought this was a share it, but I had one or two that thought it was more of a skim it.

What you think of the Virtual Net? Would you be willing to own a coffin?
They all thought the Virtual Net was pretty cool and would totally own a coffin. They did think the wires going into the skin was kind of creepy, but would be worth it it to be part of the network.

Ending: Shock or saw it coming?
No one (besides myself) saw it coming. They knew something was up, mainly because of the parent issue, but they didn’t think it would be that Michael was a Tangent. The teens thought it was an interesting twist that made them rethink a lot of the actions of the book.

Do you think Michael’s friend’s knew he was a Tangent?
No, the teens are deciding to believe agent when she told Michael his friends didn’t know the truth. (I myself am not as trusting and wonder if they thought something was up.) They are interested to see how the information/body swap will change their friendships.

What did you think of Devils Destruction?
They were a bit disappointed with the game. The teens thought it would be so much more and thought these scenes were just meh. We all expected something like Halo or Call of Duty and didn’t understand why anyone would want to enter a game like this. The discussion when in many directions, but eventually the teens thought maybe the game only exists as a test from Kaine and that none of the other participants were actually real. They thought this could explain why an “adult only” game wasn’t garnering more attention.

We also had an interesting discussion on game time vs. real time. In the game, several days passed, but we aren’t the sure the same was true for the real world. The teens thought that days could equal just a couple of hours in the real world and would explain why none of their parents were concerned about them staying hooked up for days. (Although, we never see anyone’s life beyond Michael’s, so it could still be possible. We don’t even know if someone else can make you leave the game.)

Michael and Sarah: heat of the moment or think there is feelings?
All but one thought it was merely in the heat of the moment. One of those, we’re both going to die so I’m going to kiss you now kisses. One of the girls thought there were other moments of build-up, but she couldn’t convince the other teens to see the same way. They all agreed, though, that if it wasn’t a heat of the moment, Sarah would not feel the same once she learned the truth.

What did you think of the Path?
The teens thought some of the aspects were cool, like the creepy zombies, but they thought it got a bit tedious after a bit. They just felt like it was one thing after another and were glad when they were passed it.

Favorite Scene?

  • The mirror scene when Kaine is trying to scare them away
  • The creepy zombies on the path
  • The night club with Ronkia and the Kill Sims
  • The volcano scene during the path

Program 4-1-1

  • When: December 19th, 6:00 – 7:30 pm
  • How Many Teens: 13 teens; 2 boys/11 girls ranging from Grade 8 – 10
  • Cost/Supplies: $54 for 14 pints of ice cream; $168 for 15 books (graciously paid by the friends of the library)

Teen Program: Cupcake Creations

The 4-1-1:
When: June 10th & 11th, 6:00 – 7:30pm
Resource(s): None
How many teens: 49 teens; 7 teens @ Main, 42 teens @ Branch

Cost/Supplies: $128.71

  • Cupcakes (112): $54.85
  • Frosting (7): $11.48
  • Food Coloring: $1.94
  • Sprinkles (5; 4 small, 1 large): $7.24; these were barely touched
  • Spoons (100): $ 2.84
  • Small cups (200): $3.96; little under half left
  • Sandwich Baggies: $0; already had
  • Milano Pirouettes: $4.98
  • Oreos (2): $5.96
  • Cookies: $1.34
  • Graham Crackers (2): 4.36; still had a pack or two left
  • Pretzels: $1.98
  • Wafers: $1.96; half of package left
  • Marshmallows: $1.25
  • Baking Chips; half a bag of each left
    • Chocolate (2): $3.76
    • White Chocolate: $2.50
    • Butterscotch: $2.50
  • Candy
    • M&Ms (42 oz): $8.98
    • Gummy Worms (2): $3.24
    • Licorice (2): $3.76
    • Dots (2): $2.00
    • Nerds: $0.98

The run-down:

I did this a bit different each day, but overall it had the same effect. I knew I was going to have a large crowed the first night and wanted to be sure I had enough variety for the next night. So, for the first night, I took the more popular supplies and divided them among all the tables. This included a cup of frosting for each person. I kept the extra frosting, food coloring, and extra food up by me and had the teens come up and ask for supplies as needed. I taped up some pictures for inspiration, but most of the teens decided to do their own thing. I did try to make it a little more interesting by making it a competition where the top 5 would get a small prize. This night went exceptionally well. The only time it got a little crazy was when I had teens coming up to get their cupcakes photographed and other teens who needed more supplies.

The second night was much smaller, so I didn’t need to divide everything amongst the tables. Instead, I put everything in one big pile and let them pick and choose that way. Since I had plenty of supplies left, I was a bit more free with how much they could have. There were some things like the candy and cookies that I tried to limit them on still since I could use those in other activities. Surprisingly, this group was way more wild than the night before. I think it was mainly because they were so much smaller and they could goof off together easier. Plus, I had several younger teens (going into 6th), which always throws off the dynamics more since they’re new and learning my rules.

Take-away/lessons learned:

  • I probably bought more supplies than I needed. I wanted to give a variety, but I overwhelmed them more than anything. I could have easily cut back on things like the sprinkle, pretzels, graham crackers, and wafers as they were barely used. Still, I’m happy with the $2.60 average per teen, especially since it was a food event.
  • Plastic table cloths are a life saver. I didn’t use them the second night, but wish I had. They made clean up faster and easier.
  • 90 minutes is too long. An hour is more along the perfect time. Both nights, the teens were done and out the door around this time.
  • I was scared to bump my first night as high as I did, but I think this event worked better with the higher numbers. Of course, I may have gotten lucky and just had a good crowd, but I won’t be afraid to let registeration cap at 50 should I do this one again.
  • The only other thing I may consider, if we do this again, is hiring someone to teach them how to do professional looking decorating. I haven’t looked into this option, but it would be something I would throw out to my teens to consider.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.