Posted by amypelman on 03.07.13

I’m in love with this giant book called The Elements: A visual exploration of every known atom in the universe, by Theodore Gray.

Full disclosure: I never took chemistry so it’s kind of like a crash course, but even if I had taken chemistry, I think I’d find this book fun to pore over. The author is really funny, the pictures are beautiful and it’s chock full of crazy facts! Bonus feature: no need to read it chronologically: for a good time, just flip open to any page and start reading!


Chemistry Experiment: Glowing Pennies

Note, you'll need pennies from before 1982 to try it. You can find actual instructions how to do this here.
I haven't actually tried this, but it seems pretty cool!  Kinda crazy though.  So if you try it, for goodness sake, BE CAREFUL!  Better yet, ask your science teacher if he or she will perform the experiment in class! 

Posted by Trixie on 03.01.13

Looking for the perfect bookmark to hold your place in a library loaner? Well, look no further! You can make your own with glue (the school or white variety), the indented top of a pencil case or anything else you can use as a mold, and whatever you'd like to decorate your bookmark with. I'd probably go with something small like glitter or confetti so that your bookmark sits between the pages of your book. Colored pencils or crayon shavings would probably work well too. You can even use markers or watercolors to color or produce a pattern on your bookmark.
Follow these steps or watch the tutorial to make your own unique bookmark!
  1. Gather all the supplies needed: pencil case/mold, glue, markers, glitter or whatever you'd like to use to decorate your bookmark.
  2. Draw a pattern or color in the indentation on the pencil case or mold. Keep in mind that anything not colored in will be clear.
  3. Fill in the indentation with a thick layer of glue. Make sure not to use too much glue; it shouldn't spill over the edge of the mold.
  4. Add glitter, confetti, or anything else you want to decorate your bookmark with.
  5. Practice patience. Let the glue dry for 1-2 days depending on the thickness. It should look clear, not white, when it is ready.
  6. Carefully peel off your bookmark. You can trim the edges with scissors if you want.
  7. Dive into a good book without worrying about losing your place!

Posted by Trixie on 02.22.13

Can't get enough of The Oscars? Here are some current and past nominees that you might be interested in checking out.
Winner of Best Art Direction and Costume Design. Nominated for Best Visual Effects
Nominated for Best Picture, Director, Actress, and Adapted Screenplay.
Inception (2012)
Winner of Best Cinematography, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Visual Effects. Nominated for Best Film, Director and Screenplay.
Nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Film Editing.
Winner of Best Original Screenplay. Nominated for Best Director, Picture and Actor.
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2004, original release: 2003)
Winner of Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Original Score, Original Song, Visual Effects, Art Direction, Costume Design, Make-up, Sound Mixing and Film Editing.
Nominated for Best Visual Effects.
Winner of Best Picture, Director, Actress in a Leading Role and Actor in a Supporting Role. Nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
Winner of Best Writing (Original Screenplay).
The Social Network (2011, original release: 2010)
Winner of Best Adapted Screenplay, Original Score, and Film Editing. Nominated for Best Picture, Actor, Cinematography, Director, Film Editing, Original Score, Sound, and Adapted Screenplay.

Posted by mkrueger on 02.22.13

Here is an iPad app that you absolutely must try if you are a lover of fiction and technology! Linden Labs has released an app by the name of Versu, Versu, is an interactive story similar to a Choose Your Own Adventure book, however; there are a few key differences.
You will begin a story by selecting a character, then you are given an introduction to the story, and finally you will be prompted at certain points in the story to choose what action the character should take. Actions can range from talking to other characters, moving to different rooms, or going in search of objects. The number of actions changes as the story progresses. You can gain achievements, similar to a video game, based on objectives that the story suggests you accomplish.
The app is free and includes 3 stories, one of which is a tutorial to help you understand how the app works. You can purchase more stories for $5, there is only one story to purchase at the moment but more will be added in the future. Check out the video below to learn more!

Posted by mkrueger on 02.18.13

This February we ran the DIY: Pixel Art program. This project is so simple and you can make some really great pieces to hang, wear, or whatever you want! Posted below is a gallery of the program and what our attendees created.
Also posted below are all the instructions, and a few extra sites worth looking at, to create your own pixel art.
Pixel Art Tutorial - This site contains everything you need to know to get you started making pixel art, the tutorial covers what materials you will use and a couple links to useful sites to get you started.
That 8-Bit Guy - This link goes to a guy on Facebook that makes all different characters from video games, movies, and a number of other subjects. Totally worth checking out.
Make Your Own Cross Stitch - This site is for generating cross stitch patterns from photos you upload. What does this have to do with pixel art? Well, cross stitching patterns and bead patterns are nearly identical! You can upload a photo and play around with the sliders to generate a pattern that is modified for the number of colors you want to use, and size.
Kandi Patterns - If you're looking for ideas on what to create using the bead materials, then look no further. This website contains a database full of characters from video games, television shows, and a number of others.

Posted by mkrueger on 02.15.13

I posted on our Facebook page (, shamless plug) the video below of an art project. The project was a room filled with 8,000+ LED lights, that seems to simulate an endless field of lights. The video is very cool and I recommend giving it a watch.

Submergence01 from squidsoup on Vimeo.

Now as much as I like the video above, that's not what this post about. This post is about a new artist by the name of Leo Villareal who designed a light sculpture along the San Francisco Bay Bridge West Span using the same idea. The bridge holds a staggering 25,000 LEDs. The display will be up for 2 years and be switched on March 5th. So if you happen to find yourself in the area make sure you take the time to stop and see this!


Posted by amypelman on 02.13.13

It's not just librarians who are always extolling the wonders and joys of books and reading.  Book-boosters come in many forms.  You might be surprised that some serious metal-heads used to go around performing songs about science fiction authors and books.  You might not be surprised that they would get the message across by hurling books out into the crowd (often beaning someone in the head with them).  The band was called Bloodhag and they called their brand of music edu-core. What's edu-core? Bloodhag invented it!  They explain it and their mission in this brief video about their library tour!  Sadly, they've since broken up and gone on to do other music projects.  Here's hoping they inspire other bands and musicians to be edu-core!
Here's me with my Bloodhag cd... :) 

Posted by amypelman on 02.11.13

Let's face it.  Valentine's Day isn't for everybody.  Even if you're in love and your boyfriend/girlfriend is your best friend and everything couldn't be more perfect with your relationship, you STILL might not be into the holiday.  Cheesy, Hallmark holiday, forced romance, too many hearts and roses... there are a lot of reasons you might find it a tad, shall we say, uncool. Don't get me wrong!  No disrespect if you <3 February 14th, I'm just giving a shout-out to those of us on other side of the candy heart....
So. If the thought of Valentine's makes you feel a little bit like hurling, here are some books to distract you this week! 
When her boyfriend ends their relationship, high school sophomore Lucy thinks she will never recover from the heartbreak until she meets three magical girls who say they can heal her, but at a cost.
Sadie Allen has spent the last two years pining for Garrett, but when he heads off to camp for the summer without her, she decides to kick her crush for good, with the help of her co-workers, another boy, and her own twelve-step program.
And Then Things Fall Apart by Adriana Tibensky
Devastated by her parents' decision to split up, pressured by her boyfriend to have sex, and saddled with a case of chicken pox, fifteen-year-old Keek finds consolation in her beloved, well-worn copy of Sylvia Plath's "The Bell Jar."
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
Sixteen-year-old Min Green writes a letter to Ed Slaterton in which she breaks up with him, documenting their relationship and how items in the accompanying box, from bottle caps to a cookbook, foretell the end.

Posted by mkrueger on 02.08.13

I've always loved these "how it's made" kind of videos. To celebrate their 80th anniversery, Nikon released a short video showing the production of the lenses that their cameras are fit with. This video should surprise and make you really appreciate the work that goes into producing a camera.

Posted by amypelman on 02.06.13

Need a break from textbooks and essays?  Craving a treat for your brain?  You might not think reading would be the way to go, but I beg to differ.  Especially when it comes to graphic novels!  The combination of expressive pictures, short bursts of text, and fast-moving storylines is a perfect recipe for great entertainment that won't insult your intelligence.  There are so many different types of graphic novels and comics out now, that there is sure to be one to fit your mood.  Creepy, hilarious, thought-provoking, suspenseful, dramatic, romantic...  they've got it all!  We recently updated our Recommended page with a list of Great Graphic Novels for Teens!
Here are few that I personally enjoyed:
In the mood for something funny and light? 
While working on the sets and stage crew for her school play artistic, enthusiastic, (and just a little bit clueless) Callie stumbles into some rocky relationship territory.  Pick up this cute story and prepare to forget your own troubles!  
Want something more serious and thought-provoking? 
This interesting book details the race to develop, build, and deploy the first atomic bomb.  Chronicling everything from the initial intellectual pursuit to the ultimate and incredible devastation caused by dropping the bomb, it's anything but forgettable.    
2012 was a great year for graphic novels. What are some of your favorites?  Let us know in the comments!