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GEPL Teens: Year-Round School Take 2

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By: Carson M., Teen Blogger

Note from Hannah: You may remember that in June, one of our bloggers discussed the concept of year-round school. Since then, several of our bloggers have considered the issue and written about their take on the balanced school schedule.

"When I say I miss school, I mean my friends and the fun. Not the school."As a 16 year old boy, naturally my immediate response to should students have year round schooling is an immediate and forceful no. However, after doing a little research, yes. Yes we should. While research on year round schooling has given mixed results. Some year round schools have reported an increase in student production and test scores, while others have reported a decline in test scores. According to a Huffington Post article from June 2012, Esther Fusco, a professor at Hofstra University, stated that “research suggests that students in high-needs districts and those who have disabilities do better in year-round learning situations. This is logical because these students do not have the downtime that occurs over the summer. But the results are not very significant. I have not seen any study that shows students greatly improve.” Despite this controversy, many people, including myself, believe that year round schooling is the way to go. In Wake County, N.C., where 50 public schools are on the year-round system, “we definitely use the year-round calendar to maximize space and address some capacity issues,” said spokesman Mike Charbonneau. “We have had a rapidly growing school system for the last 10 years.” Most schools in the United States operate on the 10-month calendar that was established when America was still an agrarian country. But times have changed and many people propose doing away with this “outdated” system and moving to “year-round education.”

In this updated system, schools continue to operate 180 days per year, but they stretch out the 180 days over the entire year and take shorter breaks between each term.

The most popular form of year-round education is the 45-15 plan, where students attend school for 45 days and then get three weeks (15 days) off. The usual holiday breaks are still built into this calendar. There are two other plans in consideration for year round schooling, one being the 60 days on and then 20 days off, or 90 days on and 30 days off. The most important aspect of course with year-round education is how it is implemented. Schools may operate regularly, where all students are on the same calendar and get the same holidays off, or a multi-rack schedule, which has groups of students attending school at different times with different vacations. A multi-track system is currently popular because it allows schools to enroll more students than buildings would normally hold, which benefits both the schools and the teachers. Year round schooling, while it has both its pros as well as its cons, definitely leans more towards the pro side. Year round schooling would enable students to retain the information that they learned, as well as improve their test scores.

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Tweens: Middle School Room Contest

By: Christina Keasler, Tween Librarain

What’s in a name?

There are a lot of weird names out there. Did you know that there’s a guy who legally changed his name to “Beezow Doo-Doo Zopittybop-Bop-Bop”; parents who tried (and failed) to name their child “Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116”. The record holder for longest name is over 600 characters long. Names are powerful. There are plenty of myths and beliefs that your true name holds power over you.

You mane know that in the Youth Department remodel, we are adding a special room only for middle schoolers, however, when picturing this scene, it doesn’t sound so cool.

Stick Figures Talking "What do you want to do toady? Let's Go To The Middle School Only Room! Yes! Although It Can Really Use A Better Name. Yea, I Know, If Only We Entered the Naming Contest!"

We can stop this from happening! Enter your great name ideas during the contest. The middle schooler with the winning suggestion will take part of our opening ceremony and have a blog spotlight written about them!

Posted in GEPL Tweens

GEPL Teens: Fall Books

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By: Hannah Rapp, GEPL Teen Librarian

School is back in full swing, the leaves are turning color, and the pumpkin spice (and attendant memes) are back in our coffees (and on our screens). Even if it makes me cliché, I love fall – pumpkin spice and all, so I’m excited. And just like there’s a distinct profile for summer reads – beachy settings, lighter themes, maybe some romance – there’s also some books that just scream fall to me. So whether you’re as in love with autumn like me, or having a hard time getting excited, here’s some books that might help you with that fall spirit. (All descriptions from Goodreads.com)

Any Harry Potter book

“Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy. He lives with his Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and cousin Dudley, who are mean to him and make him sleep in a cupboard under the stairs. (Dudley, however, has two bedrooms, one to sleep in and one for all his toys and games.) Then Harry starts receiving mysterious letters and his life is changed forever. He is whisked away by a beetle-eyed giant of a man and enrolled at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The reason: Harry Potter is a wizard! The first book in the “Harry Potter” series makes the perfect introduction to the world of Hogwarts.” (Description of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone).

Hannah’s Note: Since Hogwarts and classes are such a big part of most of the books, with most starting nearing the beginning of the school year, it’s hard to go wrong with a good Harry Potter book (or the whole series!) in the fall.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater Book CoverThe Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

“It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.”

Hannah’s Note: From the first line, “It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die,” it’s hard to put down The Scorpio Races. The chilly island wind, the November cakes, the terror of the capaill uisce, and more, all make this a perfect book for reading while curled under a blanket with a cup of hot cider (or, yes, a pumpkin spice latte.)

Scarlet Undercover by Jennifer Latham Book CoverScarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham

“Meet Scarlett, a smart, sarcastic, kick-butt, Muslim American heroine, ready to take on crime in her hometown of Las Almas. When a new case finds the private eye caught up in a centuries-old battle of evil genies and ancient curses, Scarlett discovers that her own family secrets may have more to do with the situation than she thinks — and that cracking the case could lead to solving her father’s murder.

Jennifer Latham delivers a compelling story and a character to remember in this one-of-a-kind debut novel.”

Hannah’s Note: Maybe it’s just Scarlett’s hoodie on the cover, maybe it’s the atmospheric scenes of a city at night, or maybe it’s the fun of a good, hard-boiled mystery, but Scarlett Undercover just seems like it’s set in the fall to me, and makes me want to spend cool nights on city streets. After I find out whodunit, of course!

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell Book Cover Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

“Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.  Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?”

Hannah’s Note: Okay, I may be cheating a bit, since between this and Harry Potter I’m talking about two of my absolute favorite books. But fall is a great time to retreat into comfort reads and favorites, and while Cath’s story takes place over the course of a year, it starts out with her first day at college – a perfect way to get into a fall read.

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake Book CoverAnna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

“Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

Yet she spares Cas’s life.”

Hannah’s Note: What’s fall without a good scare for Halloween? I admit, this is the only book on this list I haven’t read, since it sounds way too creepy for me. I scare easily. But I loved Antigoddess, also by Kendare Blake, and I’ve heard that Anna Dressed in Blood is both great and terrifying – the perfect mix for a book in October!

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Kids: Libraries Celebrate Banned Books Week By Helping You Exercise Your Freedom to Read!

By: Amy Waters, GEPL Youth Department’s School Liaison

Banned Books 2015 LogoWhat do Junie B. Jones, Harry Potter, Captain Underpants and The Giver have in common? All these, and more, have been banned or challenged.

What’s the big deal about banning books?

A ban or a challenge happens when an individual or group has an objection to a book and they believe it should not be read by anyone so they request its removal from a school or library.

Could they be right?

It’s true that every book is not right for every reader. Reading is personal. But who gets to decide? The Freedom to Read means that you get to decide which books are right for you and your family. As a public library it is our responsibility to provide material for all of our readers.

Know your reader. When my son was little a walk to school could take forever “don’t step on the ants” he would warn, as we tip-toed our way along the sidewalk. The same caution was applied to the books he wanted to read. When I approached the library reference desk for a recommendation I would say to the librarian “no books where animals are hurt or killed”.

That’s what we do at the library, help you find the books that are right for you: whether it’s reading level or subject matter, or books with or without certain content, at the library, we help guide you to books that will fit your needs.

A child may be struggling with the death of a pet and need to read a story about that experience to help them cope. Removal of all books on animal death would not serve that child. And it wasn’t what I was asking for, either. I expressed my needs, but didn’t assume that my point of view and needs were the same as everyone’s.

To learn more about banned and challenged books and the freedom to read visit:

The American Library Association, Banned Books

The Freedom to Read Foundation

Posted in GEPL Kids

GEPL Teens: Year-Round School Take 1

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By: Roy M., Teen Blogger

Note from Hannah: You may remember that in June, one of our bloggers discussed the concept of year-round school. Since then, several of our bloggers have considered the issue and written about their take on the balanced school schedule.

Cartoon Girl Says "What?!?!" Cartoon Boy Says "We Have School In Summer." Cartoon created by ruchizzle at toondo.comThere are many different opinions about year round school. Some may say it’s a good thing, while others may be against it.

There are many pros of having year round school. You would get to see your friends and classmates all the time, instead of seeing them like once or twice after school gets out. Another pro would be that you would probably get longer breaks if you keep the same number of days. For example if your spring break is only a week, maybe it could be two or three weeks long. Also, if school was year-round, there probably wouldn’t be as much summer homework to do because summer break would only be a couple weeks instead of two or so months. If school was year-round, there would probably be some summer sports to do like sports camp, but it’s for school because I know that schools don’t always run sports camps for all sports. Another pro is that you would get to know your teachers more because you’ll see them more often. Those are some pros of having year-round school.

There are also many cons of having year-round school. One con is that there really isn’t anything to look forward to because as a student myself, I know one of the biggest things I look forward to during the school year is when school gets out because there are like two months of no school. Another con is that students might start slacking off more because they are getting tired of school and having no summer break. Also, if school was year-round, it would be harder to plan a vacation because a vacation is usually a week or so, and if school was year-round, you might only be able to go on vacation during certain times. You can’t just go whenever you want because of school. Another con is for college students to come back home, if school was year round they would only come back home for two or so weeks and have to leave again because there is no summer break, which is when college students go back home and spend an extended period with their families. It would also be harder for college students whose families are overseas because it’s a lot more expensive to go back home for only around two weeks. It’s much more convenient if it was for like two months. Also if there was no summer break, you would most likely have to choose between going on vacation and hanging out with your friends because each break would only be a couple weeks, which isn’t a lot of time. Those are some cons of having year-round school.

As you can see, there are many pros and cons of having year-round school. But if you ask students what they would like, I know I would prefer not having year-round school, and I think most students would agree with me because summer break is where some of your best memories can come from.


Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: The Humiliations Are Almost Complete

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By: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

As you’ve heard (over and over) from me, from other librarians, and recently, from the Daily Herald, the Glen Ellyn library community surpassed this summer’s reading goals! Teen readers were a huge part of that, setting an all-time record with a 41% increase over the highest levels ever read. Without you guys, the adults wouldn’t have hit their goal – so basically, you all rock!

And of course, as there has been all summer, there is embarrassment in exchange for your awesomeness. And while you guys still have one more embarrassing video coming, since you reached your goals before the tweens, this was the last hurrah for the joint stunts. Middle School Librarian Christina and I saved the best for last, and capped off our summer of ridiculous stunts with a live performance at the Library’s Open Mic Night at the beginning of this month. For better or for worse, none of you were there to see it, so we basically just got up and humiliated ourselves for the amusement of the adults in the audience. But since you all are the ones who earned this, we of course have to share it with you!

So without further ado, I present to you…Hannah and Christina’s Open Mic Night Rap!

I have to admit – this was easily one of the scariest things I’ve ever done! But in the end, it was a ton of fun. I laughed, and hopefully you will all laugh too, which makes it worth it. Enjoy!

(Rap written by Hannah and Christina, to the tune of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air).

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Kids: Technology and Kids – 3D Art

By: Christina Keasler, GEPL Middle School Librarian

There has probably been a time where a child has out-teched you. It’s nothing to be ashamed of – it’s happened to everyone. Kids live in such a digital world these days. They are introduced to innovative technology so early it’s second nature, while we may be comparing the Samsung Galaxy S6 with our old Nextel walkie talkie. They are able to maneuver a touchscreen device before learning how to walk.

Technological advances don’t need to be necessarily avoided. There are plenty of studies that say these gadgets can be beneficial when in moderation. This can also be said about 3D printing technology.

3D Printer with Red Rabbit Sitting in MachineThere has been a shift from 2D to 3D animation, and art created by children doesn’t need to be different. There are apps that transform 2D drawings into 3D objects ready for printing, and many software choices to smoothly transition someone’s interest in 3D design into a hobby.

From now through November 1st, GEPL is accepting 3D project entries to our 3D design contest. Community judges will choose two winners different age group brackets, one for creativity and one for complexity. Submissions will be accepted from 3rd grade and up. Learn more about our 3D Competition.

Use this as an opportunity for you and your child to learn 3D drafting skills together. Beginning software options pride themselves on being accessible to all ages. Your shared interest can be a talking point for both of you, and give you the chance to build upon a hobby that you can share.

Beginner 3D Drafting Software Options:




Posted in GEPL Kids

GEPL Teens: Teens Write – Book to Movie Adaptations

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By: Justin A., Teen Blogger

There are some pretty great book to movie adaptations out there. In the year 2014 along there were many books turned into movies. Some of these were, Carrie, Guardians of the Galaxy, Gone Girl, Enders Game, This Is Where I Leave You, Divergent and more. Of these movies not all of them did well in the box office. Book to movie adaptations are a great way to introduce new things and interest people in reading a little more, though this only works if the movies look and are as good as the book (given the fact that the book was good enough to gather attention and be picked up by a director)

Of these many books turned into movies I mostly enjoyed three.

Enders Game Movie Poster

Enders Game – This is a post-apocalyptic story where an alien invasion killed many people and the world changed. The new world had evolved in technology including space travel, zero gravity chambers and more. In this world we meet a prodigy named Ender who is very smart and a tactical genius. He gets recruited into a military/boot camp for kids becoming military commanders. The book, comic, and movie are all absolutely amazing and display a world that is mostly original.

This Is Where I Leave You Movie Poster

This Is Where I Leave You – This is a story about a man named Judd who has recently had his girlfriend cheat on him, father die and is now forced to stay in the same house as his two brothers and sister by request of their late father. They all interact very interestingly in the way you’d expect a dysfunctional family to work. This adaptation works because of its real life characters and problems. They have moments where they dislike each other but always love one another and continue to show this throughout the movie and book.

Gardians of the Galaxy Movie Poster

Guardians of the Galaxy – This is a story featuring mostly extra-terrestrial comic book characters. A man named Peter Quill (Star-lord), Groot, a tree-like alien from a dead planet, Gamora, a former evil female assassin, Rocket Raccoon, a weapons and mechanical expert, and Drax the Destroyer, the strongman of the team. While they have many adventures in the comic books, in the movie these unlikely heroes are brought together and must protect a thing known as the orb from the powerful Ronan who can use the orb to destroy entire planets.

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Tweens: 3D Printing

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By: Christina Keasler, Tween Librarian

We’ve had our 3D printer for a couple years now. We’ve seen some awesome prints, and some abominable clogs. Eugene (that’s our printer’s name) and I have visited Hadley and Glen Crest multiple times and Eugene was a main attraction at our first STEAM Fair. We have helped contribute to Cantigny museum displays, model airplanes, and patents.

3D Printer with 3D Orange Fish

The Glen Ellyn Public Library Foundation generously donated a MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer to the library in 2013.

Yes, we’ve done a lot. But GEPL has never been one to be in a rut. We’re shaking things up and want to see more from you! We are currently calling for 3D print designs from students like you. It’s time to practice those drafting skills. GEPL is accepting contest submissions until November 1st. We will have two winners for each age group – 3-5 grade, 6-8 grade, 9-12 grade, and adults – one for complexity and one for creativity. While the designs must be printable, the possibilities are endless!

Judges chosen from within the community will choose the winners, whose designs will be printed in a special gold filament, receive a trophy, and will be featured in a future blog post. Plus, you’ll get some serious 3D design street cred.

I look forward to seeing what you create when you combine your imagination with your skills.

Posted in GEPL Tweens

GEPL Teens: Late to the Game

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By: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian

As a teen librarian, I do my best to read a lot of young adult literature. It’s not only part of my job, but a huge part of why I love being a teen librarian. I try keep up with a lot of the beloved, popular, or well-reviewed books and series, from The Fault in Our Stars to Divergent to Twilight. I also try and get ahead of what might be popular or win awards. I read an advanced copy of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, practically salivated until I got ahold of An Ember in the Ashes, and felt a surge of pride when a title I’d already read – This One Summer – was nominated for the prestigious Printz award. But it’s impossible to keep up with everything, and now and then, a book or series that I hear great things about, or that is recommended over and over, slips through the cracks. Often, I never do get around to them, but sometimes, I’m just a little late to the game, which is its own unique experience.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer Book CoverThe most recent example of this is Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I just finished the first book on audio, and not surprisingly, given the rave reviews it’s gotten from professionals and public alike, I loved it! I can’t wait to read more of the Lunar chronicles, and I can’t decide if I’m upset I took this long to read it, or glad because now I can binge on the series! Cinder was a little unique in that I wasn’t spoiled too much coming in – I knew Levana was evil and that Cinder was a cyborg, I knew it was a fairy tale retelling, but that much information hardly counts as spoilers – it’s more just basic plot. So I got to go along for the ride, finding out more about the characters, the world, and the intricate plot as I went along. But the downside of coming into the big books or series late is that it’s awfully hard to do it spoiler-free.

The biggest example of that side of the equation for me isn’t actually a book – it’s the TV show Dr. Who. I’m still slowly but surely working my way through the TV series, but it’s a strange experience. Strange because, thanks to my friends, the internet, and the delightfully nerdy social and online worlds that I live in, I already know so much about the show. Major reveals and plot twists were already familiar to me by the time I got to them. I knew all the actors and which number doctor they were before I started. I had strong suspicions about which companions would be my favorites – all of which have been correct so far. I often feel dread in the pit of my stomach long before something bad happens, because usually, I know that it’s coming.

Interestingly enough though, I don’t think either of these experiences is inherently better or worse. Reading Cinder relatively unspoiled was fun. It allowed me to experience it as though I was one of the first on the bandwagon, instead of jumping on way late. But watching Dr. Who and getting perspective on all the bits and pieces I already know is fun – it feels like getting to know a celebrity or something. And it means that when there is a twist or turn I didn’t know about, it’s about ten times more shocking, because I thought I knew what was coming.

Like it or not, there are always going to be some things that we come to late. Whether you’re just getting started on Harry Potter, or only now realizing why everybody has been raving about Legend, it’s a fact of life. But the good news is, you’re getting to experience all that wonderfulness now instead of never, and there’s something to be said for both coming in blind to a popular series and enjoying the expansion of a world or story that you already kind of know about. So don’t be afraid to tackle something just because you’re behind the times – whether it’s all new to you or something you’re already familiar with, you’ll still be jumping into a whole new world!

Posted in GEPL Teens