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What's Your Ideal Space?

by Carrie - 1 Comment(s)

Picture this:

you're getting ready to study for a test, do homework, or just hang out with friends.

Where are you? What does your perfect study or hangout space look like? We want you to show us your ideal spot, so draw it, photograph it, collage it, or use photoshop to build the best possible place.

Send it to us by email, or share it on Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest with the hashtag #CPLfwd, and you could win a $100 gift card to Chinook or Market Mall!

The Rules:

  • This contest is open to Calgary students in Grades 7-12.
  • Enter as many times as you like.
  • Deadline for entries is May 16, 2014.
  • If you’re emailing it to us, send your file as a .jpg, .png, or .psd to teenservices@calgarypubliclibrary.com.
  • Winners will be announced on our Teen Blog and social media sites on May 20, 2014.
  • Disclaimer: By entering this contest, you agree that you and your parent/guardian give consent for your work to be posted on the CPL website and reposted on our social media sites. You also agree that all work submitted is your own original work.

The Skills to Pay the Bills

by Tomas - 0 Comment(s)

youth hiring fair

Looking for a summer job?

The City of Calgary Youth Employment Centre is hosting its 16th Annual Youth Hiring Fair on Tuesday, April 8th. Over 5,000 youth between the ages of 15-24 are expected to attend this event, representing a variety of skill and educational levels, and there will be more than 80 employers who are looking to hire YOU! The Centre has a great website, www.nextsteps.org, including videos with advice on what to expect, how to dress, and how to prepare for the fair.

If you can't make it to the hiring fair, don't worry! The library has lots of great resources to help you with your career:

  • Friday April 11th, join us for Summer Jobs: Opportunities and Options. The Youth Employment Centre will lead a discussion on summer job strategies, with special guests from Calaway Park, The City of Calgary Recreation Department and Canada Safeway.
  • On Saturday April 26, the Calgary Public Library hosts: Accelerate Your Career: Career Conversations, an event specifically for youth aged 13 and up, where you can meet one-on-one with a wide range of professionals.
  • Beyond this one-day event, the library offers group programs and one-on-one assistance in building resumes and cover letters, and Interview skills. take a look at all the offerings available here.
  • You can also find a lot of great resources through our E-library, including resume building, job searching and more.
  • If you're considering college or university, the Crowfoot Library is hosting a Post-Secondary Prep night on May 8th, where you can connect with representatives from Mount Royal University, SAIT, ACAD, Bow Valley College, and the U of C. It's rare to get them all in the same room so this is a great opportunity to check out your options!
  • Volunteering is another way to and to explore a variety of professional fields and to build skills and experience. Propellus (formerly Volunteer Calgary) has a number of great opportunities to explore. If you are in Grade 7 or higher, there are a lot of opportunities available at the Calgary Public Library. Check out Monique's post for some good links and tips.

Good luck!

Tabletop Day at CPL

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

tabletop day

You may not know this, but I have a deep and abiding love for tabletop strategy games. The addiction started years ago with Settlers of Catan, but has grown (and grown) to include so many other great games - immersive, hours-long games like Dominion, Talisman, and Hacienda; quick, humourous games like Poo, Zombie Dice, and Get Bit; beautiful meditative games like Tsuro - honestly, there's almost nothing I won't play.

Which is why I'm so happy to announce that we will once again be celebrating International Tabletop Day at Calgary Public Library! All ages are welcome and you don't need to register - just drop in and play something awesome.

You can join us at four locations on April 5th, from 12-4 pm:

  • Central Library (on the 2nd floor - that's where I'll be!) - 616 Macleod Trail SE
  • Forest Lawn Library - 4807 8th Avenue SE
  • Shawnessy Library - 333 Shawville Blvd. SE (South Fish Creek Complex)
  • Village Square Library - 2623 56th Street NE

And if you just can't wait that long, come to the Nose Hill Library (1530 Northmount Drive NW) for an early celebration on March 30th from 1-4 pm.

Youth Read Remixed - Teen Art Contest

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

Remix the Youth Read mascot and you could win some great prizes!

Youth Read, our epic summer reading program for teens, starts in just 95 days (yes, I'm already counting down)! If you took part last year, you probably remember George the Unicorn:

george lifting weights george gift fiery george
i'm a treasure george reading george trophy

For this year's program, we want to give George a bit of a makeover, and that's where you come in. Just grab the .jpg template below (or click here for the photoshop file), and draw any new poses, costumes, or accessories you like. We want you to get creative, and as you can see from the examples above, it's ok to get a little weird...

The Rules:

  • We'll be awarding points for creativity and for how well your new version fits George's style
  • Digital or hand drawn art are fine; hand drawn art should be scanned, not photographed (visit your local library if you need a scanner)
  • Send your file as a .jpg, .png, or .psd
  • Enter as many times as you like
  • Send all entries to teenservices@calgarypubliclibrary.com by March 30, 2014.
  • Disclaimer: By entering this contest, you agree that you and your parent/guardian give consent for your work to be posted on the CPL website and used to promote Youth Read. Entries may be edited or altered as needed. You also agree that all work submitted, apart from the basic unicorn template, is your own original work.

The Prizes:

We have great YA books, artist prize packs, and gift cards up for grabs and no limit on the number of winners - anyone whose art we use will win.

plain george

Send all entries to teenservices@calgarypubliclibrary.com by March 30, 2014.

Our Freedom to Read Contest Winners

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

book locked upFreedom to Read Week is nearly over, and as a final note, we wanted to share the winning entries in our writing contest. We are always impressed with the creativity and insight shown by the students, and this year, the choice was just as difficult as always. In the end, we chose two essays and a poem that we hope will make you reflect on this freedom that we all too often take for granted. Without further ado, here are the winning entries:

Freedom by Emily G.

Freedom. Seven ordinary letters come together to form an extraordinary word. It is something many of us in North America take for granted, but many people in other countries around the world will go to tremendous lengths to obtain freedom. Take for example the story of 15-year-old, Malala Yousafzai and her struggle for education. Anyone will tell you that the foundation of education is literacy, and literacy comes from reading.

Reading is not limited just to books however. All sorts of media fall under this category. Newspapers in particular have always been a very influential form of expression, especially during the American Revolution. Newspapers offered a platform to share ideas about politics and military strategies, and they were also a way to rebel against the government itself.

During the Second World War, the freedom to read was often challenged. Any book written by a Jew of an enemy of the Nazis was burned publicly, biasedly filtering the content that children learned. In Canada today, we have an enormous number of choices when it comes to what to read: Chaucer, Tolstoy, Lewis, and Rowling to name a few popular authors, and an endless array of different genres as well. If our freedom to choose the books we read was limited, our perception would narrow along with our entire understanding of literature and the world.

Although it may seem unrelated, picture for a moment your plate at the supper table. Roast beef, potatoes with gravy, and a fresh garden salad. Each of these foods and their respective groups are vital to a balanced diet and a healthy body. Take away any of these and you’ll become moody and lethargic. The same is true with literature; take away the variety and you are left with an entire nation ignorant of the broad spectrum of learning and the immense pleasure of reading. Take away our freedom, and you injure our minds.

A New Chapter: A New World by Rachel H.

Every swish of a flipping page welcomes a fresh chapter of your life; a fresh chapter brimming with greater amounts of knowledge and a stronger understanding of the world around you than you had previously thought was obtainable. Literature is the word that plants the seeds of success and opens our eyes to the world, fostering a greater understanding of far away lands and cultures.

As stated in Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird, “You will never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...until you climb inside his skin and walk around in it.” Literature provides the means to view the world through the eyes of the author and may provide information about other cultures which can build bonds between citizens around the globe. By allowing your mind to indulge in novels such as the Breadwinner Trilogy, you can truly comprehend the hardships endured by the citizens of war-torn countries. Instilling empathy into the citizens of the world by means of literature is the only way to establish peace among all of humanity.

Literature is the key that will open the door to world peace and understanding, yet governments and religious institutions around the globe still believe that it is appropriate to ban novels that are perceived to show political or cultural demerits. You must not hesitate to raise your voice against literacy bans because without the universal freedom to obtain any novel that we desire, how can we expect to truly understand each other and create worldwide harmony which will benefit us all?

Within Books by Jasmine Y.

Forward eleven years,
You might find a graveyard,
Burrowed in our mistakes,
Intense scientific nightmares,
Come adrift near our blackout,
Perhaps destiny has led us so,
But more-so, our questionable choices,
Slammed into a soulless shed.

Like the strong feet of the elephant,
Push into our selves,
Passive but stable,
There, concealed in our hearts,
Brave quotes that give life a boost,
Wise thoughts to shy away from doom.

As an infant,
So much stronger,
So fearless,
We march upon the bridge,
Connected to our inside world,
Only needing protection,
Against the outside world.

Without those creatures,
The parallel worlds of you and I,
The glorifying princes,
That await your arrival,
No doubt,
Would our minds be sucked,
Into an army of ten thousand men.

Can you feel my lungs?
Pounding with the liberation,
The colourful life we could give,
Planning a feast of words to the children,
Giving a stick to the frail,
Creating insight into another's mind,
And sharing our stories,
Woven into a thread of past.

Celebrate Freedom to Read Week with us!

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

Three great ways to celebrate Freedom to Read Week:

eleanor & park

1. Read Eleanor & Park (or any other challenged book)

This morning, members of the Calgary Freedom to Read Week Committee presented a copy of Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park to City Council as part of the official launch of Freedom to Read Week 2014. Eleanor & Park is a bestselling and award-winning novel about two teenage misfits falling in love in 1980s Omaha, and it was the centre of controversy in Minnesota this past summer when two parents objected to the book's use of language. The author's planned visit to the school was cancelled, and the ultra-conservative Parents Action League got involved, demanding that all copies of the book be removed from both the school and public libraries, and that the librarians who had chosen the book for the summer reading program be disciplined for choosing to offer this "inappropriate and profane" book (their words, not mine!). Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed.

2. Join us this Thursday at Owl's Nest Books

Every year, the Calgary Freedom to Read Week Committee recognizes the winners of our teen writing contest, and also presents the Freedom of Expression award to a Calgarian who exemplifies the fight for intellectual freedom. This year, they are presenting the award to local radio personality Dave Rutherford.

The celebration is at Owl's Nest Books (815A 49th Avenue SW, in the Britannia shopping plaza) on Thursday, February 27th, at 7 p.m.

3. Read the winning entries in our Freedom to Read Week writing contest!

The sad truth is, material for kids and teens is the most likely to be challenged, which makes YOU the victim of censorship. Every year CPL hosts a writing contest for local students, and as always, this year's winners impressed us with their responses.

Our 2014 winners are Jasmine Y., Rachel H., and Emily G., and we'll post their entries at the end of the week — so if you want to hear them earlier, you'll have to join us at Owl's Nest.

Freedom to Read Contest

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

freedom to read week

Why is the freedom to read important to you?

Canada celebrates Freedom to Read Week every February, as a way of reminding ourselves to think about intellectual freedom, censorship, and our right to access the information that we choose. We often take it for granted that we can read whatever we like, but the truth is that every year, great books are challenged or banned across the world — and that includes Canada.

This year, Freedom to Read Week is February 23rd to March 1st, and as always, we're running a contest to help celebrate!

Tell us why the freedom to read is important to you using words, pictures or video and you could win a great CPL prize pack and a chance to get published in next year's Freedom to Read Week kit. But hurry — the deadline is February 20th!


You can enter in one of three ways:

  • Make a poster (draw, paint or use photography and other graphic arts, 8½ x 14” or 11 x 17”)
  • Write a poem, short story or essay (max. 300 words)
  • Create a film (3 min. or less)

All content must be your own work, except for short, cited quotations. Contest is open to Calgary students in grades 7 to 12. Please include your name, school, grade and telephone number with your entry.

To enter:
Send your project by e-mail to freedomtoread@calgarypubliclibrary.com OR submit a hardcopy to any Calgary Public Library location.

One entry per person.
Deadline for submissions is Thursday, February 20, 2014.

Announcing the Winners of the 2014 Just Write Contest!

by Carrie

gold trophyOur first Just Write teen fiction writing contest was a big success!

The judges were so impressed with the creativity we saw from every single contestant, and it was definitely a close contest. In the end, though, we only had three prizes to give away, so we had to choose.

Our winners were:

3rd place – April Tian, “The Pawn Shop” – she wins a prize pack of books by local authors & a reading at flywheel, with coaching from Emily Ursuliak

2nd place – Tia Christoffersen, “Face to Face with Hope” – she wins a mentoring session with local author Jani Krulc

1st place – Jessica Chen, “The Bookstore” – she wins a spot at Drink the Wild Air, a winter writing retreat for teens.

Congratulations to April, Tia, and Jessica!

If you didn't win, don't despair; we are running a nonfiction writing contest right now for Freedom to Read Week, and we will definitely be running Just Write again next year. Keep reading this blog for more chances to win!

 

The Pawn Shop

by April Tian

It was at the fall of dusk that I found myself standing without a penny to my name under the glowing neon signs of an anachronous pawnshop, Pretty Treasures. Overhead, the setting sun blanketed the once bustling street in a sluggish sheet of velvet. The sign above shone proudly, battling away the listless hues with a vibrant and radiant gold. However, to know what was in the shop you had to go inside; the patina of dust on the front window was thick, but once I thought I made out the shape of an owl on the other side of the glass, its wings lifted in frozen flight, forever.

Compelled by unknown forces, my fingers found themselves wrapped tightly around the handles. The solid oak doors flung open effortlessly, followed by a gust of chocking air, riddled with the musky scent of things long forgotten.

The room was dark. Strange shapes flickered black against the monotonous grey backdrop. I felt a cry tear at my throats, but the tenacious gurgle of my stomach indicated otherwise. My whole body shivered in delight as a sweet smell of roasted meat trickled from with in.

“Oh honey, you must be famished!” I turned around to face a well-worn woman, her hands and cheeks probably pink from spending days by a hot stove and her inviting smile glistened in the dark.

“I was just having some dinner, be a doll and join me would you?” Her voice flowed like a soothing river, washing away all the branches and clumps of grass in its way. And I too, much like a fish, was swept away by her gentle currents. “I do get lonely sometimes.” She admits sincerely.

Still in shock at this show of kindness, I nodded dumbly and together we made our way to the back of the homey shop. To my surprise, the dinner table was small but big enough as if it was made just for two. Upon the table sat a single porcelain dinner plates, piled high with slices of roasted beef, strings of sausages and strips of bacon, and beside it twinkled a devilish red glass of cranberry juice. The woman gestured for me to sit while having no indication of doing so herself.

Are those all for me?

“Go on. You must eat. You are way too skinny for a pretty thing like you. Just look at those pretty curls and that delicate face. Go on and dine to your hearts content.” The woman smiled reassuringly.

Without a moments delay, I dug in heartily, the food flooded my body with warmth. Between bites, I gulped down mouthfuls of the exotically sweet juice that made my head spin in happiness.

Unknowingly, while the other was eating, the older woman never once left her initial position. She smiled as if hearing a joke for the first time. And if you were to lean in closer, you would hear her mumble repetitiously:

“Such pretty treasures.”

 

Face to Face with Hope

by Tia Christoffersen

The message had reached everyone successfully. They were all there, hovering above my shaking hands, above the life-changing object at the ends of my fingertips.

At any moment, the Authorities could burst through the door and arrest us all for our secret meeting, or “Unjust Gathering”, as the Authorities called it at criminals’ executions. Treason would surely be on our criminal repertoires after they got their hands on the espérer.

“What we’re doing here is dangerous,” I say, enclosing my fingers around the espérer.

“We know, Veruca,” someone says, followed by a murmur of understanding from the group of women.

“Goggles on, then,” I order. “The switch,” I hear the familiar buzz indicating I may proceed.

The wires are easy to manipulate, but the small circuitry is always daunting. I feel my hands tremble, worse now. It is now only a matter of time before the electricity coursing into our supposedly abandoned cellar is noticed, and the Authorities come storming in.

After several moments of anticipation, a spark erupts from the small yet powerful object, and shoots down the wire we have laid on the floor, out the window, and to the Country’s power source, its motherboard, which is located one mile from our workshop.

Two loud, short raps on the window from our lookout indicate she saw the spark, too. A moment passes before one loud, unanimous cheer bursts from the mouths of seven women, who have spent their lives being stifled by their Commanders, the Authorities, the dominant group.

Sixteen years of work for one split second spark that will change the lives of thousands.

Three raps are suddenly delivered on the window, meaning something much worse than that lovely couple I heard earlier. A loud shriek. A gunshot. Our lookout is dead.

The room is silent as we wait. We adapt our stony expressions of resilience, which we have employed so many times in our lives.

The cellar door bangs open, and boot stomps sound against the muddy, concrete stairs. I do net let go of the espérer.

“Run,” I whisper. But no one does. They all knew that by being here they were accepting their imminent death. They all knew. And still, they came. Along with taciturnity, we accept our fate.

The next moments go by in a blur. The object I have hunched over for sixteen years is ripped from my clutches, and I am beaten into oblivion. To my ears comes silence, but for the angry shouts from the Authorities.

My eyes are swollen to the point where I can see only through slits, and my bloodied body is dragged harshly up the stairs to its demise.

But what I see when I reach the light of day…. is darkness. And rioting. People standing up to the Authorities. Commanders lie facedown, murdered, in the street.

I let myself succumb to unconsciousness, knowing that espérer has worked. It lives inside us all.

writing prompt

 

The Bookstore
by Jessica Chen

The bookstore on the corner was my home.

Not literally, of course—I lived two blocks over, but I spent most of my time in the bookstore. It didn’t look like a bookstore on the outside. To know what was in the shop you had to go inside; the patina of dust on the front window was thick, but once I thought I made out the shape of an owl on the other side of the glass, its wings lifted in frozen flight.

Inside, there was no owl. There were just books—rows and rows of them, spilling off the shelves.

The owner of the bookstore was an old woman named Mrs. Durand. I was perhaps her only regular customer, and while we had rarely spoken but for the exchange of money for book, we still gave each other unsure smiles when we saw each other. She was old enough to have remembered World War II, a young woman living in the terror of France.

Sometimes I thought about how she was another story in a store filled with stories. I usually didn’t linger on it, preferring to curl up with one of her books instead, but today I held a story about the French Resistance, and my curiosity peaked.

I walked up to the counter, where Mrs. Durand sat in an armchair. When she saw me, she looked up and heaved herself out of the chair, walking unevenly to the counter. “Hi,” I said nervously. I had never been great at speaking to people, even Mrs. Durand, even after all these years. “I’d like to hear a story.” Realizing that this may have sounded demanding, I added hurriedly, “If it’s all right with you.”

“Hear a story?” Her voice was thickly accented with French. “Not read a story. Surely that book you have in your hands would be fascinating.”

I nodded. “It is interesting. I like it. That’s why I kind of want to hear one ... please. You lived in France during World War II, didn’t you?”

At my words, a touch of sadness appeared on her face. “You should come back here,” Mrs. Durand said, gesturing to the space behind the counter.

I had been regularly visiting the bookstore for the better part of two years, and I had never been behind the counter. I sunk into the second squishy armchair.

“When World War II started,” Mrs. Durand said, “I was eight years old. I remember a lot of it, though—I saw it through the eyes of a child.” And with that, she let sixty years of locked-up memories flow. She told me about her family, the terror, the air raids, and I listened to all the stories she had to share.

It was better than any story I had ever read.

When I left the bookstore that day, I knew that even when I wasn’t in the dusty-windowed bookstore, I would hold the stories of everyday people close to my heart forever.

Just Write Teen Fiction Writing Contest

by Carrie - 10 Comment(s)

New year, new contest! If you resolved to be a better writer this year, we have a great way to get you started and help you improve your craft.

I’m proud to announce our brand new teen fiction writing contest – Just Write. We have fantastic prizes lined up, including a spot at a weekend writer’s retreat for teens, a one-on-one mentoring session with a local author, a chance to read your work at the flywheel Reading Series, and book prize packs (of course!).

Ready to write? Here’s how it works.

The Prizes:

  • A spot at Drink the Wild Air, a weekend writing retreat for teens run by Young Alberta Writers (Feb. 21-23 at Kamp Kiwanis).
  • A one-on-one mentoring session with local author Jani Krulc.
  • A prize pack of teen books and works by local authors, along with the chance to read at the March session of the flywheel Reading Series put on by filling Station magazine (March 13th at Pages on Kensington).

The Prompts:

To know what was in the shop you had to go inside; the patina of dust on the front window was thick, but once I thought I made out the shape of an owl on the other side of the glass, its wings lifted in frozen flight. (The sentence)

writing prompt

(The picture)

The Rules:

  • This contest is for teens, ages 13-17.
  • You MUST use at least one of the two writing prompts provided above – your work will either include the sentence provided, or be based on the picture (or both).
  • Entries must be no longer than 500 words. Prose, poetry, and graphic/comic formats are all welcome (graphic formats must include some writing).
  • Send your entries to teenservices@calgarypubliclibrary.com by the end of Saturday, January 25th, 2014.
  • Winners will be chosen by a panel of judges and announced at Calgary Public Library's Writer's Weekend on Saturday, February 1st, 2014.

The End.

YAC Reviews: Parallel

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

yac reviews

parallelParallel by Lauren Miller

Review by Vyoma

I loved this book because of its eminent vocabulary, cosmic benefaction, and plot. The end really was a cliffhanger and the book was very enjoyable to read. Abby Barnes had a plan – she would go to college, major in journalism and have a job before she turned twenty-two. However, one single choice – deciding to take a drama class in her senior year of high school changed everything. Because of a cosmic collision, she is living in a parallel world. There is another Abby Barnes in another world, however that Abby Barnes took an astronomy class in her senior year. With the help of her friend Caitlin, Abby attempts to set things right without losing sight of who she is, the boy who most probably is her soul mate, and a sensible destiny. This book made me realize the importance of proper decision making, as even the tiniest choice that we make may have big consequences.

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