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Maker Corps Update PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 30 July 2014 08:55

It’s been a busy few weeks for Maker programming at EPL! Basking in our newfound newsletter fame, we have been running around doing programs in the Loft, the children’s room, the North Branch and the Chicago Avenue-Main Street Branch. In the second week of July, we started off strong with a series of circuitry programs. First, we decided that we missed a program we did last year: squishy circuits. As it turns out, Play Dough is conductive, and you can buy kits full of leds and buzzers that you can hook up and power through the Play Dough. We sat in the children’s room and invited people to play with us for awhile and it was a huge success, drawing kids of all ages to make and wire everything from butterflies to cats to bridges.

altAfter that, we did two different light-up art programs. It seems that you really never can have enough ways of building circuits, because we had a great time testing out different methods. We did a few paper circuit workshops. For some of the younger ages, we used templates for where to hook up the LEDs, for older we left it up to the kids to decide. The older kids also made paper lanterns with some origami-style folding and hole-punching. Some great projects came out of the workshops, including a self portrait and a night/day landscape.

The next week, we packed up and set up shop in North Branch to do a paper rollercoaster program. We were a small group, but we were mighty! We made two different marble runs out of paper towel tubes, popsicle sticks and an outrageous amount of scotch tape, each standing at least two fight high. The kids were really clever with this project and build all sorts of loops and walls. One even made a very complicated “mixer” that sent the marbles into 4 different tubes in an effort to randomize them. This rollercoaster is still standing at the North Branch, so make sure to go check it out!alt

Finally, we kept up the electronics theme this week with DIY videogames at North Branch and Artbots at the Chicago Avenue-Main Street Branch. Using a website called “Scratch,” we helped several teens learn basic coding skills and created lots of maze games and fun little videos that we could control either through the computer, or through a contraption called a “MaKey MaKey.” A Makey Makey is basically an interface with the computer, so you can do things like substitute the space bar with a banana, or anything else conductive like play dough, Swedish fish or pennies. Lots of the kids had already used Scratch, but none of them had seen a Makey Makey before, so it was really cool to see them explore the new possibility of making their own controller out of candy.

Artbots are a completely different game. With some very enterprising third-graders, we tore the motors out of dollar store toothbrushes and implanted them into cut-up pool noodles. Then, we decorated the pool noodles to look like rock stars, basketball players and ballerinas and set them in motion! The secret of artbots is to attach markers to the bottom. That way when you flip the switch, the robot creates art for you! We made some great pictures which you can see taped up on the green wall at the Chicago Avenue-Main Street Branch, and we’re excited to repeat this program with younger kids next week!

(Ruth & Grace)


Life's a Beach PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 29 July 2014 00:00

alt Bored? Need some new summer plans?


Hit the road.

Fall in love.

Learn to fly--or swim it.

Save the world!


And obviously, visit us at the Loft.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown / Holly Black PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 28 July 2014 11:25

altTana wakes up in a bathtub the morning after a crazy but perfectly ordinary party. She walks downstairs only to find that everyone else—all fifty or so party-goers—are dead. The only ones left alive are Tana, her ex-boyfriend, Aidan, and a vampire named Gavriel with a dangerous secret.


The house is still filled with vampires so Tana takes Aidan and Gavriel and escapes with them before the vampires have a chance to kill them. Aidan and Gavriel make it to the car without harm but a vampire scraps Tana’s ankle its teeth.


Being bitten by a vampire means that you’re infected and you become “cold.” If you drink human blood while you’re cold, you turn into a vampire but if you resist the urge, you could become human again.


Afraid that she is going to become cold, Tana takes an infected Aidan and Gavriel to the nearest Coldtown, a sort-of sanctuary for vampires or prison for those who’ve been infected. 


Navigating the eerie and twisted culture of Coldtown, Tana tries to find a way to escape, all the while learning more and more about what it means to be vampire and human—and how cruel each side can be.


For anyone looking for a nifty vampire read (that isn't Twilight), The Coldest Girl in Coldtown takes the concept of vampires and spins it in a new light. It's a unique concept with a promising storyline. Check it out!


(Ashley, The Loft)

From Teens For Teens: Blood Red Road / Moira Young and The Thief Lord / Cornelia Funke PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 25 July 2014 00:00

Blood Red Road Blood Red Road by Moira Young

5/5 stars 

This book was very interesting and hooking. I really liked how complex the story was and how many layers there were. I thought that was really cool. I think this book is my favorite book. It has a lot of action in it. 

(Sabine G., Evanston teen)


The Thief Lord The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

5/5 stars 

The Thief Lord is about two orphaned brothers, Bo and Prosper, who run away from their mean aunt and uncle to Venice. There they join a band of street kids led by the mysterious "Thief Lord." As they try to elude the detective who's looking for Bo and Prosper, they get caught up in the unsolved theft of a mysterious merry-go-round. 

(Cassie T., Evanston teen)

From Teens For Teens: Girls Acting Catty / Leslie Margolis PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 18 July 2014 00:00

Girls Acting CattyGirls Acting Catty by Leslie Margolis

5/5 stars 

Annabelle struggles with Junior High School but finds great friends and some enemies. Annabelle has many tricks up her sleeve for those pesky boys. Girls Acting Catty shows that there are many other people who struggle with Junior High and when you read this book you will find out how to fight off all those problems since the story is so real. 

I would recommend this book for all those girls out there that are struggling with Junior High and when they read this book they will fight their problems off just like I said earlier. Also if you're a boy who is struggling with school then you can also read Boys Are Dogs by the same author that wrote Girls Acting Catty. Hopefully you will read one of these books and find out how to solve your problems more easily! I give this book a 5 star rating, what about you? 

(Halima M., Evanston teen)


Dual POV Reads PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 17:54

Tired of reading a book with only one lead--try reading one with two! That's right, two protagonists, two good guys, two people to root for in the end. Ranging from the quirky rom-com to the steampunk past, tank a gander at some of these fine reads. 

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits--smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. - See more at:
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits--smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. - See more at:

titleEleanor & Park (set in Ashley's hometown of Omaha, NE!)

by Rainbow Rowell (from Ashley's hometown!) 

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits--smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. - See more at:

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits--smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.  



titleThe Night Circus

by Erin Morgenstern  

Waging a fierce competition for which they have trained since childhood, circus magicians Celia and Marco unexpectedly fall in love with each other and share a fantastical romance that manifests in fateful ways. 



titleUnder the Never Sky

by Veronica Rossi  

Aria and Perry, two teens from radically different societies--one highly advanced, the other primitive--hate being dependent on one another until they overcome their prejudices and fall in love, knowing they can't stay together.



(Ashley, the Loft)



Fangirl / Rainbow Rowell PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 14 July 2014 18:16

titleCath Avery hates meeting new people. She hates having to act friendly around anyone who isn't her twin sister, Wren, and navigating social customs she doesn't understand. She gets anxious and uncomfortable, and she’d much rather spend her time on the internet.


You see, Cath is obsessed with Simon Snow, a Harry Potter-like book series with a huge online fandom. Cath has written fan fiction for the books since she first read them, and she's gotten pretty good at it, too--her current story regularly gets 20,000 hits per chapter online. Cath feels happiest when writing about Simon and Baz (the main characters in her stories) with her sister and taking care of her Dad in Omaha.


That all changes when Cath goes to college. Cath not only has to deal with new people and unfamiliar social situations, but has to do it without her twin sister. Wren wants to branch out and party hard while in college, leaving Cath on her own for the first time in their lives. Cath soon has to deal with an intimidating new roommate, difficult classes, and a family that seems like it’s crumbling while attempting to become as comfortable in the real world as she is in fictional ones.


Cath is a character you can't help but root for--anyone who's ever felt anxious or socially awkward can see themselves in Cath's sometimes bizarre behaviors. However, every character in Fangirl is interesting enough to be the star of their own story, and their interactions with Cath are delightful. The book also intersperses Cath's story with excerpts from both Simon Snow and her fan fic, and the fictional world they paint is so much fun you understand why Cath is enchanted. If you're well-versed in fan culture, you'll get a kick out of Cath's fannish internet adventures. However, the story also speaks to universal problems of fitting in and moving on that anyone can relate to.


(McKenna, the Loft)

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