Monday, December 20, 2021

Shinchaku Manga マンガ

It's been an end of year project to refresh the teen manga collection with some new titles as well as to add a few more volumes to some of the popular titles we already own. Some volumes are still on order and are taking longer than usual to arrive like everything else involving shipping. In the slider above is the first volume of each manga title that is either new to our collection (shinchaku) or has had new volumes added. Click the book cover to visit the catalog where you can search to see how many volumes are included for each title. If you have a favorite and want to see more volumes added, please let me know. Also, please let me know if there is a manga that we don't have that you would like to see in our collection. Stop by the library and tell me about your favorites, or send me an email at kclaire @

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Write the Hook - Story Writing Contest

This Fall we are holding a writing contest, in honor of NaNoWriMo, to challenge teens to write the hook for a book. What's a hook? A hook is the beginning lines or pages of a book written to hook the reader's attention. A hook is what impels the reader to want to continue reading the story.

Contest rules and the google form entry link are found below.

What is NaNoWriMo? National Novel Writing Month happens every November. It's the world's largest writing challenge; designed for people who aspire to writing a book. Participants commit to writing 50,000 words during the month of November. To participate create a free account at, the official site for ages 13 and up. Then, post your daily word counts, display samples of your writing, and discuss your progress (if you choose) in forums with other writers. Or, if you are age 17 or younger and want to participate for the first time, you could start with NaNoWriMo's Young Writer's program. This program allows you to set individualized goals. So instead of the set 50,000 word goal you set your own goal of 1,000 words,10,000 words, or 100,000 words.  

Write the Hook Contest Rules
  • Write the hook for the beginning of something longer; for the start of a story or book.
  • Open to teens in grades 6 to 12, who are residents of Essex County in Massachusetts.
  • Entry must be your original work and have a word count between 300(minimum) and 1,000(maximum)words.  
  • Maximum of 1 entry per author.
  • Give your story hook a title. 
  • Entries due by midnight, Sunday, December 12, 2021.
The preferred method for story submission is via the google form link below. Entries will also be accepted in paper form, but your entry must be typed in 12 point Times New Roman font on 8.5"x 11" paper. If you submit your entry on paper you must include on the back of the last page: your first and last name, grade level, phone number, email, and word count. Paper entries that do not follow the above guidelines will be disqualified from the contest.
The Write the Hook contest is closed.
Our contest judges will use a rubric that scores points based on:
  • Length: Is the entry between the minimum and maximum word count?
  • Story Hook: Does the writing hook you? Do you want to find out what happens next?
  • Character(s): Is/are the character(s) clearly described?
  • Writing: Does the word choice convey a clear picture? 
  • Grammar: How is the spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.?
  • Creativity!: original ideas? surprising? imaginative?
 $ Cash Prizes to be Awarded $
Prizes are funded by the Friends of the Hamilton-Wenham Library.
First $50, and Second $30, place cash prizes awarded to: 
Writers in Grades 6-8
Writers in Grades 9-12
Contest winners and any honorable mentions will be announced in January 2022, both on this blog and individually to the winners. Winning stories, along with author's name and grade level, will be published here on the Library's Informed Teens blog.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

September is #LibraryCardSignupMonth!

This year, Marley Dias, founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks, author and executive producer, is taking on a new role as honorary chair of Library Card Sign-Up Month. In her new role, Dias will promote the value of libraries and encourage everyone to get their very own library card. 


A library card is the most essential school supply of all!

Lost your library card? Get a free replacement this month. September is National Library Card Sign-up Month and we've got a brand new card that is actually two cards, a regular one and a key chain card. You get both.

Through access to technology, media resources and educational programs, a library card gives you tools to succeed in the classroom, provides opportunities to pursue your dreams and passions, and saves you money. Empower yourself: Sign up for your own library card this September. 

Get to know Marley in this Meet the Changemakers WNET Youth Collective Summit video from September 2, 2021:

 Seven Lucky Ways to Save Using Your Library Card

🍀Library of Things - Having an outdoor party? Borrow one of our lawn games from our Library of Things such as: Badminton, Bocce Ball, Bucketball, Cornhole, Discgolf, Frisbee Ball, Ladder Toss, Lawn Dice, Lawn Dominoes, and/or Spikeball.

🍀Creativebug - Learn a new craft or hobby by taking a free online class. Creativebug has unlimited online access, at no charge, to over 1000 online art and craft classes on knitting, crocheting, ceramics, jewelry, paper crafts, sewing, and more. The classes do not expire and can be watched any time.

🍀Freegal - Freegal is a free music service that offers access to about 15 million songs, including Sony Music's catalog of legendary artists, and over 40,000 music videos. Our subscription to Freegal gives you five downloads per week, and three hours of streaming per day. For more information, click here.

🍀Mango Languages - Mango has conversation-based instruction in over 70 different languages. Use spoken lessons, recorded responses, quiz slides, color-mapping, and grammar and culture notes to build vocabulary, fine-tune pronunciation, identify patterns, and more.

🍀Hoopla - Ditch one of those subscription services you rarely use and stream movies, TV shows, music, and audiobooks for free through Hoopla using your library card. Plus Hoopla's ebooks are always available - no holds, no wait. You can borrow up to four items per month.

🍀Kanopy - Like Hoopla, Kanopy is also a media service for viewing movies, documentaries, foreign films and more, available for streaming across multiple devices. You can borrow up to six items per month.

🍀Overdrive - Save money on magazines, audiobooks, and eBooks by borrowing them for free with your library card on OverDrive. Download the Libby App for this service.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Trending on BookTok

In July, after I made the request to them, our MVLC consortium added a Teen Room (there was already a Kids Room) to our OverDrive service. Browse the Teen Room here:
Here are some of the Teen Room lists:

Got a suggestion for a list to add to the Teen Room?--please let me know ( If you've never used OverDrive, download the Libby App. It's the best way to get started with OverDrive. For those of you who have been using the OverDrive app you will probably want to migrate over to Libby as OverDrive is sun-setting the OverDrive app in favor of Libby. Click here for information about that from OverDrive posted on August 9.

The newest list in the Teen Room is: Trending on BookTok. Some of the books are in the scrolling list below. Clicking on any of the covers will take you to our catalog if you would like to borrow a print copy rather than a digital copy. Click on the link below to see the list in the Teen Room: 

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Teen Book Club: Tails & Tales

Tails and Tales Book Club will meet April-September 2021. Join Young Adult Librarian, Kim Claire and others to chat about each month's book. We will meet via Zoom, but we may be able to meet outside in person during the summer (with snacks! 😸). The six books either have an animal that is telling the story or a significant animal character(s) in the story. Tails and Tales Book Club is intended for ages 12 to 17.

Be one of the first 10 to register each month and you will have the option to receive a copy of that month's book, to keep, if you wish. If all 10 "keeper" copies are taken, a hold will be placed on a library copy for you to borrow. Register via our Library Calendar here:  

A Cat Story, by Ursula Murray Husted, 2020. Cilla and Betto are cat friends who need a place to call home. The docks in Valletta are wet, and the scraps of food are scarce. The city is busy, and the humans unreliable. But what about the quiet garden from old kitten tales - a place where all cats are welcome, and the humans are always kind? Cilla and Betto embark on a grand adventure to find out. Graphic novel.

Across the Green Grass Fields, by Seanan McGuire, 2020. Regan passes through a mysterious doorway and finds herself in a world filled with centaurs, kelpies, and other magical equines--who expect humans to step up as heroes. But after embracing her time with the herd, Regan discovers that not all forms of heroism are equal, and not all quests are as they seem. Fantasy fiction.

Edge of Nowhere, by John Smelcer, 2014. 16 year old Seth is a deckhand on his father's boat when he and his dog are washed overboard and swept to one of Alaska's small islands where they struggle for months to survive off land and sea. Adventure, Survival fiction.

Threatened, by Eliot Schrefer, 2014. 
Escaping his debt jailer by fleeing into the forest with a scientist who is not entirely what he seems, an African street youth helps the scientist with his studies of chimpanzees and must join the chimps to save their habitat from unwelcome intruders. Adventure, Survival fiction.

Grand Theft Horse, by Greg Neri, 2018. Greg Neri tells the story of his cousin Gail Ruffu, who stole a racehorse in order to save it, and ended up taking on the whole racing industry to fight for the humane treatment of animals. True crime and legal drama mixed with horse racing and animal activism. Graphic format biography; Nonfiction.

Rotten, by Michael Northrop, 2013. When troubled sixteen-year-old Jimmer "JD" Dobbs returns from a mysterious summer "upstate" he finds that his mother has adopted an abused Rottweiler that JD names Johnny Rotten, but soon his tenuous relationship with the dog is threatened. Realistic fiction.

This book club series is made possible through CARES Act funding to the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services as administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Serene Spring Series

De-stress, relax, and ease into spring with our Serene Spring series of workshops and take and make kits for teens and adults. Learn to meditate; add a quiet and cozy atmosphere to a room with a luminaria; soften the edges of your day with feathers; decorate your body with a henna design; and then relax recumbent with a soothing eye pillow. Pick one or two workshops and kits, or register for them all. Our Serene Spring series is made possible by CARES Act funding to the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services as administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

Virtual Meditation Class with
Amy Rutledge
Click here to register for Tuesday, April 20, 7:00 to 7:30 PM
Click here to register for Tuesday, May 18,  7:00 to 7:30 PM

This class is 30 minutes with an introduction, guided practice, and time for Q&A. Free and open to all levels and beginners welcome! The webinar will be recorded. The recording will be available for one month to anyone who registers for the class. This is an online event via Zoom webinar. Join Amy Rutledge, a certified meditation instructor to learn how to cultivate self love, self worth, confidence, compassion, focus, concentration, reduce stress and anxiety, and help with navigating difficult emotions and change. Amy Rutledge is a Certified Meditation Guide through the Nalanda Institute in association with The Path in NYC.

Take & Make Craft: Luminaria
RSVP for a craft kit, while supplies last:
Click here to RSVP for the Luminaria kit
Pickup of RSVP'd kits is on May 4, 5, or 6th.

Pointillism perfection, but without the paint. This craft is great for people who like to work small and in a focused style, or anyone who aspires to tattooing, perhaps. We include 4 colors of card stock, a selection of templates, one flame-less candle and instructions.

Take & Make Craft: Denim Feathers
RSVP for a craft kit, while supplies last:
Click here to RSVP for the Denim Feathers kit
Pickup of RSVP'd kits is on May 18, 19, or 20th.

Learn how to up cycle denim (or most any fabric) into feathers. The perfect craft for 'fidgety' fingers. We include 2 types of denim, a template, yarn, beads, and instructions. You'll need to supply some ordinary household or woodworking glue.

Henna Alchemy: a Two Day Workshop with a Henna Take and Make Kit

Part One: Wednesday, May 12, 7:00 to 7:45 PM
Part Two: Thursday, May 13, 7:00 to 7:45 PM

Do you want to make henna paste and have a little fun? Join Mandy Roberge for a two part workshop intended for teens in grades 6 to 12, and open to adults. Registering for the workshop reserves you one henna kit which will be ready for pick up starting Wednesday, May 5th. Workshop space is limited to 17 people.  

Click here to register for Henna Alchemy.

On Day One (May 12): We will meet on Zoom to learn the history and culture of mehndi and talk about chemical henna -- what it looks like, how to detect it and avoid it, and why natural henna is so important. Using our kit, we will make our own henna paste.
On Day Two (May 13): We will check for dye release and learn how to cone the henna up, and learn about storing/using henna. Everyone gets a little workbook and will learn 5 basic elements of creating simple henna designs.

Take & Make Craft: Cat Inspired Eye Pillow
RSVP for a craft kit, while supplies last:
Click here to RSVP for the eye pillow kit
Pick up of RSVP'd kits is on June 1, 2, or 3rd

Create a dreamy batik cat eye pillow! We provide the materials including instructions, template, cloth & accent material, thread, floss, needles and pins. Rice for 'stuffing' is also included. You will need to provide a pair of scissors and a ruler. Lavender oil or other scent for your eye pillow is suggested but not included in kit supplies.

Friday, January 15, 2021

New Reading Challenges Launched

Two new reading challenges launched today on our Beanstack platform. They are ongoing challenges that you may join at any time.

Read 100 Books Before High School (for grades 5-8) or Read 100 Books Before Graduation (for grades 9-12), log your books as you finish them in Beanstack, earn badges, and then prizes from the Hamilton-Wenham Library. If you read and log at least one book a month, you will be entered into a monthly raffle to win a gift card to a local business. The Library will be doing this raffle for at least six months starting with the first drawing at the end of Feb 2021.

After earning the 50 book badge, you'll receive a small prize. If you complete the challenge, reading 100 books before high school or graduation, you will earn some more fun prizes. To complete either challenge you must earn all the badges for reading & logging 100 books and writing 2 reviews.

Participants can only complete a challenge one time. Each book logged must be unique; rereads cannot be counted as two separate books. For more answers to frequently asked questions please see the Reading Challenges page on our website. Or send me an email at

If this is this your first time using Beanstack just create your account using the Beanstack link below, enter the challenge for your age group, then start earning badges and prizes. Or, if you've registered for a previous challenge, just log into your account and start one of the new challenges!

Get Started

  • Sign in or create your Beanstack reading challenges account at
  • Log your books from home or on the go. Beanstack is browser-based, but has a mobile-friendly app. The Beanstack app is available for iOS and Android.