Thursday, December 29, 2011

Study at Central

The Backstage Acting Workshops for teens are coming back!

Teens enjoy playing an improvisation game at Central
After completing the Fall Backstage Acting Workshops with the Junior Players, our teens demanded more! 

Good news!  The workshops are back this January at Timberglen, Mountain Creek, and Pleasant Grove branch libraries. 

Teens will learn introduction to acting, basic performance skills, scene work and performance. 

Workshops will be on Saturdays in January, beginning on the 7th and running through the 28th from 1-3pm. 

To sign up call the Junior Players office at 214-526-4076.  Registration preferred, however walk-ins are welcome!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Teen Advisory Board Throws Holiday Party

The Teen Advisory Board at the Pleasant Grove Branch Library recently put their winter break from school to good use for the community.  They planned a holiday party at the library and invited local kids and their families in for an afternoon of fun.  Party-goers enjoyed all kinds of crafts, a holiday storytime, face painting, holiday movies on the big screen, Mexican hot chocolate, fresh baked cookies, and pictures with Santa Clause.  PG Assistant Manager, Will Mayer, estimates that around 400 people came in for the party that day.  Great job guys!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Enter Something!

We know that you are talented, so why not put those talents to use and enter a contest!  Lots of organizations have contests just for teens who are good at all kinds of things from the visual arts, to creative writing, to cooking, to science.  Winning could mean great prizes as well as opportunities to get great exposure for your work and put something impressive on your college application--plus, if you are doing what you love to do, it'll be fun, right?  Some contests are local and only Dallas teens can compete, but there are national contests too.  Can you win?  You never know until you try!

Local Contests:

Best Teen Chef Competition:
The Art Institute's Best Teen Chef Competition is an opportunity for high school seniors interested in pursuing a culinary career to experience the excitement and discipline of the industry creativity.  Winning entrants will participate in a Local Cook-Off Competition at each participating Art Institute judged by professional chefs and Art Institute culinary faculty. Each participating Art Institute will award the title of the school’s Best Teen Chef, who will earn a $4,000 tuition scholarship toward a culinary program at that school. Second place finishers at each school will earn a $1,000 tuition scholarship toward a culinary degree at that school.  The deadline for initial entry forms is February 3, 2012.  Click here for more information.

DWU Visual Arts Contest:
City of Dallas Water Utilities is encouraging all high school students living in the City of Dallas to enter its first Visual Arts Contest.  The theme for this year is "Conserve Together-Water Forever".  The grand prize winner will receive an iPad2 and the four honorable mention winners will each receive an iPod nano.  There will be a reception for winners and their families at City Hall.  The deadline to enter is March 2, 2012.  Click here for more information.

Express Yourself!  Youth Poetry Competition:
The Dallas Public Library hosts a poetry contest every year for Dallas kids and teens.  Sixty poets will be chosen to have their work published in a book and will be honored in a special ceremony with a medal and a copy of the book in the Spring.  There is also a contest for designing the cover of the book.  The deadline to enter is January 21, 2012.  Click here for more information. 

Texas Young Composers Project:
The Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Voices of Change are holding a contest this Spring for teen composers.  Teens must write a piece of music for any combination of piano, violin, clarinet, flute, or cello.  There are cash prizes for first and second places, and the winning pieces will actually be performed live at a concert at SMU.  The deadline to enter is March 1, 2012.  Click here for more information. 

Dallas Hispanic Heritage Drawing Contest:
What do you know about the Hispanic heritage? Love art? Here's your chance to show your ability! Create a scene illustrating your thoughts and feelings regarding the Hispanic heritage, the music, the food, the history.
Winning entries, runners-up and honorable mentions will be on display at Dallas Public Library, 1515 Young Street, October 2012 - November 2012.  The deadline to enter is May 31, 2012.  For more information, call 214-670-1671.

Junior Historian Writing Contest:
The Texas State Historical Association sponsors several different history essay contests.  You could research a new paper, or even submit one that you have already had to write for school.  How easy is that?  Most of the categories are Texas History specific.  The deadline to enter all of these contests is March 1, 2012.  Click here for more information.   

National Contests:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Reading for the Fun of It

We get it.  Teens have so much on their plates during the school year that any reading they manage to do usually has to be the required kind. 

Dickens, Faulkner, Shakespeare, these authors are in the essential classics category for a reason.  But don't forget about the hundreds of fabulous YA Lit novels written every year for modern teens like you. 

I'll be honest and say that I wasn't really even aware of YA Lit when I was in high school.  I spent so much time trying to keep up with the books assigned to me by my teachers, that reading wasn't all that fun anymore and I certainly wasn't looking for anything else to read.

Now looking back, I feel like I missed out--BIG time.  So many YA Lit books out right now fall easily into the categories of can't bear to stop reading, all I can think about all day is going home to finish it books; and the I feel a little different about myself and the world around me after reading it books.  Lots of them are both.  Even though I didn't find YA Lit until shortly after I crossed into "real adulthood", I still credit it for making me love to read again!

The good news is that winter break is coming, which will give many of you more time to actually read for the fun of it.  Take advantage of it!  Check out our holiday library hours here

Not sure what you want to read?  Check out these resources for book reviews written by and for teens:
Or, just ask someone (like a librarian).  If you must know, I am currently in a major dystopian phase.   I am in the middle of reading two different trilogies, and they are consuming my life!  (In a totally enjoyable way)

What I am reading now:
Book # 2 of the Matched trilogy by Allie Condie
Book #2 of the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How YOU Can Help This Holiday Season

Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg... 

Holiday music can be heard everywhere now  (well maybe not that particular song) reminding us that tis the season already!  The holidays can be a happy time with lots of time spent with friends and family, eating delicious food and exchanging thoughtful gifts.

Unfortunately, the holidays can also be a rough time for some people.  Those without the resources to put a big meal on the table or purchase presents for their loved ones and those without loved ones have an especially hard time coping during the holidays.  BUT, there are many ways for you to help!


Find a local charity or food bank that you want to help.  It helps if you talk to them first to find out what they need the most.  Then organize, promote, collect and deliver!  For tips on how to organize a great food drive check out Tackle Hunger .


It's starting to get a bit chilly out there and it is only going to get colder.  Many local shelters including the Bridge are accepting new and gently used blankets and coats.


You could help cook or serve food in a soup kitchen.  Check out the Soup Mobile for opportunities.


The holidays can be especially hard for needy children.  Consider donating toys this season.  Many charities, including Children's Medical Center are now accepting new toys.  Or, consider "adopting" a child by participating in an Angel Tree  program where you find out the needs and wishes of a specific little boy or girl and buy gifts for them.


As donations increase this time of year to local charities, so does the work of sorting them.  Why not spend an afternoon helping out?  Goodwill says that it always needs help.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Teens Act Out at the Backstage Workshops

Teens have been having a blast with the Junior Players the past two Saturdays at the Backstage Acting Workshops.

This past Saturday, teens at the Central Library honed their skills in the auditorium.  They worked on proper annunciation with some tongue twisters and vocal warmups to start.  Then, they participated in various role playing exercises including an improvisation challenge where they were split into groups and given three words that they must incorporate into a scene and act it out together.  

There are three Saturdays left so you still have time to come out and be a part of the fun!  The workshops will continue each Saturday through December 3rd from 1-3pm at the Bachman Lake, Hampton Illinois and Central libraries.  

Lookout for the workshops at other library branches starting in January. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Teens Learn About The College Admissions Process at Mountain Creek

Ahhhhhhh, Autumn...... The season for apples, pumpkins, leaves, football and APPLYING TO COLLEGE! 

That's right, high school seniors everywhere should be working hard to fill out applications, write essays, send transcripts and test scores, and collect letters of recommendation.

This past Saturday, teens met at Mountain Creek Branch Library for a college admissions workshop held by Teen Centers. Teens got tips from a real college admissions counselor on choosing the right school for them and what they need to do to get going in the right direction.

Because it's never too early to start planning for college.  Younger teens learned about the things they need to be doing now to get ready for college in the future.

If you want to have a college admissions workshop at your local branch, let them know!  We also plan to hold financial aid workshops in the Spring--we'll keep you posted!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Poetry SLAM

Calling all teen poets!  

Joaquin Zihuatanejo

World Champion poetry slammer Joaquin Zihuatenejo will be at the International Book Fair this Saturday to host a teen poetry slam at 3pm.  Joaquin is a poet, spoken word artist, and award winning teacher.  Joaquin's hilariously manic presentation is full of compassion and nuance.  In 2005, Joaquin was featured on season five of Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry for HBO.  Joaquin was chosen to represent the U.S. at the 2009 World Cup of Poetry Slam in Paris, France, a competition that he won--besting 13 poets from 13 different nations--making him the number one ranked slam poet in the world.

So bring your best poetry and come on out to the Central Library to show us what you've got!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dallas Teen Book Festival: Who is the Author of Your Dreams?

Teen Centers is so psyched to be planning a Teen Book Festival for the Spring of 2012.  We are going through lists of the best young adult fiction authors around, trying to decide who we want to invite to come out so you can meet them, hear them speak, and maybe even get some books signed.  

There are some really fabulous authors right here in Texas that are definitely on our list.  Right now though, we are working on compiling our DREAM list.  You know, the authors that are so hot right now that it might take a bit of um...convincing to get them here.  We WILL have dream authors at this event.  

We know which authors are on our wish list, but this event is for you!  Tell us who your dream authors are because you never know....your dreams just  might come true!   

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

If Money Doesn't Grow on Trees, How Does it Grow?

If you are interested in finding your fortune as early as possible, you might want to take a look at this article for inspiration...

Secrets of wealthy whiz kids: How to make a million by 21

Oct 4, 2011 10:09 EDT
Earlier this month, Reuters Money featured a story with advice on how to get on the road to Millionaire Row. But what if you’re in a hurry, like so many multi-tasking teens of the 21st Century? What if your goal is to make that million by the time you turn 21? Can it be done?
The answer is yes, if you take the fast lane as an entrepreneur on steroids — something common to the four millionaires we polled for this follow-up. Three made it to the seven-digit milestone by 21; the fourth reached it when he turned 24. Here, those wealthy whiz kids past and present share the secrets that contributed to the fortunes they made.

Jon Koon
Jon Koon, 27

Position: Owner and designer of the Private Stock denim line, marketing guru and manufacturer of auto accessories.
How he made it: A licensing and fashion marvel, Koon made his first million at 16 as a pioneer in car tuning, where vehicles are modified with special parts to enhance appearance and performance.
Top tips for millionaire hopefuls: Get a business plan.Koon saved $5,000 to start his first company, but the business plan helped him get substantial backing. “Investment is always tied to a clear opportunity for profit and that exact stream of profitability needs to be identified from the beginning,” he says.
Koon also advises young business hopefuls to stretch. “I always set my goals above the bar and out of reach,” he says. “I believe it’s always better to surpass expectations then just meet expectations.”
Now that’s rich: Koon’s unofficial motto is “the world better prepare — Jon Koon, the next billionaire.” He also hands out gold-plated business cards.

Catherine Cook, 21
Catherine Cook
Position: Cook, who turns 22 this month, co-founded with Dave Cook, her older brother by 18 months. The virtual meeting place geared towards students has attracted more than 20 million visitors.
How she made it: In July, myYearbook merged with Quepasa Corporation, owner of the Latino social network, in a deal worth $100 million.
Top tips for millionaire hopefuls: Find a successful mentor.
Cook happens to be the younger sister of myYearbook CEO Geoff Cook, who is 11 years older and started his own web company in college. She learned watching him build, a service that edited college admissions essays and resumes. Geoff sold CyberEdit in 2004 to Peterson’s, a division of Thomson Learning, for a multi-million dollar sum.
Catherine Cook also stresses that being a teen is actually an advantage for today’s entrepreneurs. “At 17, you’re living off your parents at home, and they’re paying for your meals. When you’re older it’s a lot less likely you will quit a job to follow through on an idea. When you’re young you do an idea and if it fails, so what? There are almost no downsides.”
Now that’s rich: Of the 100 myYearbook employees, Catherine Cook has the highest rank and the youngest age. “But when you’re all working on something, you don’t notice it,” she says. “The people there are all very passionate about the site. And the age differences disappear.”

John Magennis Jr., 29

John Magennis

Position: Owner of Magennis Entertainment, LLC. A reality TV show producer and author.
How he made it: Working from his bedroom without any startup funds, Magennis launched Internet Exposer, a web design firm, at 14. At first, he charged $15 an hour for website templates. By age 17, he built it into a million-dollar company with Fortune 500 business affiliates as clients, and was nominated for the Ernst & Young’s New England Entrepreneur of the Year award. Magennis has worked in development, casting and producing for ABC, NBC, Bravo, Discovery, Animal Planet, CMT and Lifetime, and as a supervising casting producer for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN.
Top tip for millionaire hopefuls: Invest in a passion or hobby.
Magennis says it’s easier to enjoy yourself, and avoid disappointment, if you tie business goals to personal passions. “When I started my 
technology company, I had a passion for learning everything I could
 about the tech industry and how I could provide a service that would
 benefit my clients,” he says. As he tackled skills from programming to budgeting, “I enjoyed each step of the way. The
 process of learning was in itself an investment of my time, but it 
never felt like a chore. It was exciting to me.”
Now that’s rich: Magennis has a half dozen TV projects in development, including a reality show that sounds a tad autobiographical: “Teen Moguls: Saving America.”

J. Christopher Burch
 J. Christopher Burch, 58

Position: Founder and CEO of J. Christopher Capital and co-founder/co-chairman of Tory Burch, a women’s apparel line; former board member of Guggenheim Capital.
How he made it: As an undergraduate at Ithaca College, he invested $2,000 with his brother Bob to start Eagle’s Eye, a women’s clothing line. Burch made his first million by age 24, and the brothers grew Eagle’s Eye into a business with more than $140 million in sales before they sold it to Swire Pacific Ltd. in 1989. At the time, Burch was 35.
Top tips for millionaire hopefuls: Cater to customers first.
Many young entrepreneurs today don’t think about the customer enough,” Burch says. “They think about themselves, and it’s not good. It’s not about how much you sell your business for; it’s how you provide a service or product that’s extra and do it in a unique and amazing way.”
Burch adds that if he were starting from scratch today, “I would write a very innovative plan, do a one-minute or two-minute video, and show what the focus of the brand is. Show it in a cool way with cool music and put in on a computer. Then go around with the video, and raise a small amount of money from friends and family, or a small group. Don’t be afraid. It’s actually not that hard.”
Now that’s rich: Burch is currently building nine clothing and lifestyle brands, in addition to engineering private equity deals. It’s a long way from the early 1970s, when he received his first-ever shipment of of sweaters from Scotland. “Every single sweater was small enough to fit a monkey,” he recalls. “It was the most depressing day of my life.” He still managed to sell them all.

Want more?  Check out this and other books from your local Dallas Public Library:


Savings and investment information for teens

by edited by Karen Bellenir.
ISBN: 9780780810648

Monday, September 26, 2011

Book Worth Reading: REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnelly

Who doesn't love a good page turner?  Last year, I read Jennifer Donnelly's A Northern Light, which in the end I did decide was a good book, but it probably took me a few weeks to get through it--not exactly one I couldn't bear to put down.

From the first page of her new book Revolution I was hooked.  Even though it was quite a bit longer than her other book, I easily knocked it out in less than a week.  It has so many elements that I am drawn too:  a dark, edgy, self destructive main character with a mysterious past;  a peek into the lives of the gossip girl style, too rich, Upper East Side teens; a ghost story like quality; time travel; and the contrast between the current racial tensions and violence in Paris and the blood and gore of the French Revolution.

If you want to read for fun, check this one out.  Let me know if you like it!

Want to share your own book review?  Soon you will be able to send us your reviews and we will post them on the blog.  If your review of a book not already reviewed on our blog gets chosen to be posted, you will receive a free book! (only one free book per month).  More details coming soon!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Poster Contest Workshop Coming Soon!

Excited about the Teen Read Week poster contest but need some help getting started?  Teen Centers is holding a poster a workshop at the Hampton Illinois branch library on Saturday, October 8th at 2:00 PM. 

We will have the books from the Teen's Top Ten nominee list for your inspiration, as well as poster making supplies and snacks.  You just bring your creativity!

Remember, one winner will be chosen from each library branch to receive a gift certificate!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hey Teens! What do you want to see at YOUR library?

We want to make sure that everything we bring to you is exactly what you want to see.  Want to help us out?  Take this quick 5 question survey to let us know what you are thinking.  We are here to serve you!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Movie Poster Contest

Vote For Your Favorite Books of 2011!

Teen Read Week 2011

Here at Teen Centers, we are gearing up for the 2011 National Teen Read Week.  The theme this year is Picture It @ your library®, which encourages teens to read graphic novels and other illustrated materials, seek out creative books, or imagine the world through literature, just for the fun of it.

We will be celebrating TRW in branches all over Dallas.  More details about event dates and times to come.  

Have an idea for a program that you would like to have at your library's teen center?  Tell somebody--post your ideas here!