Archive for July 25, 2014

Maker Camp: Part 2

I’d like to share another fun maker program that we held at the library – Maker Camp: Brushbot Derby!

What is a Brushbot, you ask?


Why, a Brushbot is a robot made from a toothbrush (seems obvs) and they are sold in kits from Maker Shed, which is the Make magazine online store.  You can purchase a Brushbot Party Pack here:

brushbot party pack

From their website: “Kit makes 12 spinning bots that teach kids basic electronics.”  Yes, it does!

I bought 2 kits of 12 and gave each teen their own toothbrush, batteries and tape to create the basic “bot” and then had other supplies on hand to jazz them up a bit.  I bought feathers, pipe cleaners, beads, stickers etc.  The teens got very creative with the bots!  I was impressed:







We then created an “arena” using cardboard blocks and had them face off.  We taped a finish line onto the table and in groups of 3, had them race to the end of the table.  The funny thing was that each time, it wasn’t a straight run down the track and they kept bumping into each other and backtracking at the last minute.  It was a lot of fun – all in the name of science and technology!

Sharon Long

Teen Services Librarian

Maker Camp: 2014, Part 1

20140708_143957  20140708_144953   20140708_160323

This summer, as last year, the Syosset Library hosted a series of Teen Summer Reading Programs for fans of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM).  Dubbed “Maker Camp” (inspired by Make Magazine), I have had a lot of fun getting people together to make and create.

First up, Maker Camp: 3D Printed Jewelry.

We have a MakerBot Replicator 2 at the library, so we are very fortunate to put together programs using this machine.  There isn’t a lot out there on the web right now on how to actually run teen programs using the MakerBot, so it’s a little like the wild frontier in YA programming land.  This is where I thrive!  Haha, anyway.  The main problem, as you can imagine, is how do you get multiple teens to use the machine and feel like they were able to get hands-on with it and even take something home?  A small item, like an inch-long replica of a cat, might take a 30 minutes to print.  You can’t make a cat for everyone during a 1 hour program, sorry.  But what you can do is a combo of making items in advance and running small jobs during the program.

I decided a while back that I wanted to have a 3D printed jewelry/keychain program for the teens where I would make a big supply of small printed items (in this case, Platonic solid/Polyhedral dice bracelet beadsPlatonic solid/Polyhedral dice bracelet beadsPlatonic solid/Polyhedral dice bracelet beads, found here: to have on hand as supplies.


Then I made a few larger charms, like hearts, anchors, 8-bit dinosaurs, you name it, in a few different colors.


We own filament in neon pink, neon green, purple, translucent red, white, black and clear.  So I made a bunch of items in advance in each of the different colors.


I went to the craft store and purchased jewelry and keychain making materials, metal jump rings, earring backings, stretchy bracelet thread etc.  This way everyone was guaranteed to leave with something that had 3D printed parts.  I also made sure to mention it was a program to make jewelry AND keychains, to attract both girls and guys.  Larger or custom items, such as a robot charm or a READ keychain could be pre-made and raffled off or could be printed after the program ends and picked up later.


In general, the kids were pretty good about sharing the larger items and whenever there was a request for a particular charm, I’d try to get a consensus on what color filament they wanted (in this case, black was the winner) and would try to shrink down the items and add multiple items to the build plate to speed the process along.  For example, we made a few mini Deathly Hollows charms and shrunk them to 50% to hand out at the program.

The other benefit of running print jobs at the program is that a lot of the teens had never even seen a 3D printer!  So it was an informative demonstration of the machine, the MakerWare software, and the process of desktop manufacturing.  It was education, artistic, scientific and fun!  What more could you ask for?



Keep on making,

Sharon Long

Teen Services Librarian

Recently read YA books

Hi everyone,

It’s a long holiday weekend, and I’ve been catching up with my YA reading.  here are some new (or new to you) books that have been occupying my beach bag/night stand/dining room table you name it:

No one else

No one else can have you by Kathleen Hale.

“As sixteen-year-old Kippy of Friendship, Wisconsin, reads her best friend Ruth’s diary, she is shocked at what she learns and spurred to solve Ruth’s murder, certain that the boy who was arrested is innocent.”

First off – how awesome is the name Kippy?  No joke, my cousin’s childhood cat was named Kippy, so I had that in my head the whole time.  But for those of you without the association of a relative’s long-dead pet, this book is still great.  It reminded me of the movie (and now tv show) Fargo.  A murder in the middle of nowhere, a small-town police force that isn’t capable or willing to solve the murder, and dark humor throughout.  Pick it up for the weird Wisconsin expressions and for Kippy’s reaction to Ruth’s diary.  A laugh out loud read.

Next up:


Panic by Lauren Oliver

“A high-stakes competition marks a summer in a small isolated community and compels graduating seniors Heather and Dodge to tap inner strengths while hiding dangerous secrets and forging unexpected alliances.”

This book will probably be made into a movie, so you heard it here first.  Anyway, take the game aspect of the Hunger Games, but set it in modern-day upstate New York.  It’s a deadly game for kids who think they have no other options out.  The prize money is the real draw, but something about the danger attracts the players as well.  Heather is a relatable main character and there are a lot of action-packed scenes to keep things moving.


were were liars

We were liars by E. Lockhart.

“Spending the summers on her family’s private island off the coast of Massachusetts with her cousins and a special boy named Gat, teenaged Cadence struggles to remember what happened during her fifteenth summer.”

A perfect summer read, with descriptions of how the other half lives and vacations on a private island near Martha’s Vineyard.  There is a mystery and a surprise twist and an almost a surreal feel to this book.  Is it a dream or a memory?  I kept turning the pages to find out.


one man guy

One man guy by Michael Barakiva.

“When Alek’s high-achieving, Armenian-American parents send him to summer school, he thinks his summer is ruined. But then he meets Ethan, who opens his world in a series of truly unexpected ways.”

Full disclosure: I picked this book up because I am half-Armenian and never see any YA about young Armenian-Americans.  I really related to Alek, he’s a good kid who wants three things: to fit in, fall in love AND please his parents.  Ever notice that some things are easier if you pick only 2 out of 3?  Well, he learns it the hard way, but eventually things start to look up.  A fun, relatable read.

There you have it, some new YA books to enjoy!  Happy 4th of July!

Sharon Long

Teen Services Librarian

Spark a Reaction: Science and Technology reads

Spark Book Oval

To support our Summer Reading theme: “Spark a Reaction”, here is a booklist of great YA Science and Technology fiction.  I hope you find something that “sparks” your interest (sorrynotsorry for that one).

Science Fair

Science fair: a story of mystery, danger, international suspense, and a very nervous frog by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.

The president of Kprshtskan is plotting to infiltrate the science fair at Hubble Middle School in Maryland in order to take over the United States government, but when Toby Harbinger, an ordinary student, makes up his mind finally to win the fair, the terrorists’ plans go awry.

Very LeFreak by Rachel Cohn.

Consumed with emailing, online video games, and the many distractions of her electronic gadgets, hyper-frenetic Columbia University freshman Veronica, known as Very LeFreak, enters a rehab facility for the technology-addicted after her professors and classmates stage an intervention.

Airman by Eoin Colfer.

In the late nineteenth century, when Conor Broekhart discovers a conspiracy to overthrow the king, he is branded a traitor, imprisoned, and forced to mine for diamonds under brutal conditions while he plans a daring escape from Little Saltee prison by way of a flying machine that he must design, build, and, hardest of all, trust to carry him to safety.

Cold burn by Max Allan Collins.

Remote. Peaceful. Picturesque. That’s how the Mumford Mountain Hotel bills itself in its brochure, and it lives up to its billing — most of the time. But this year, the hotel is hosting a prestigious conference for the study of forensic science, and the organizers have extended CSI head Gil Grissom an invitation he can’t refuse.

Code Orange by Caroline B. Cooney.

While conducting research for a school paper on smallpox, Mitty finds an envelope containing 100-year-old smallpox scabs and fears that he has infected himself and all of New York City.

The explosionist by Jenny Davidson.

In Scotland in the 1930s, fifteen-year-old Sophie, her friend Mikael, and her great-aunt Tabitha are caught up in a murder mystery involving terrorists and suicide-bombers whose plans have world-shaping consequences.

 Invisible things by Jenny Davidson.

In an alternate 1930s Europe, sixteen-year-old Sophie and Mikael, now more than a friend, investigate her parents’ death, setting off a chain of events that unravels everything she thought she knew about her family, and involving them in international intrigue and the development of the atomic bomb.

The angel of death: a forensic mystery by Alane Ferguson.

Seventeen-year-old high school senior Cameryn Mahoney uses skills learned as assistant to her coroner father to try to unravel the mystery of a local teacher’s gruesome death, while also awaiting a possible reunion with her long-missing mother.

The Christopher killer: a forensic mystery by Alane Ferguson.

On the payroll as an assistant to her coroner father, seventeen-year-old Cameryn Mahoney uses her knowledge of forensic medicine to catch the killer of a friend while putting herself in terrible danger.

Eve & Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate.

After being in a car accident, a patient recovering in her mother’s research facility is given the task of creating the perfect boy using detailed simulation technologies.


Dangerous by Shannon Hale.

When aspiring astronaut Maisie Danger Brown, who was born without a right hand, and the other space camp students get the opportunity to do something amazing in space, Maisie must prove how dangerous she can be and how far she is willing to go to protect everything she has ever loved.

Vitro by Jessica Khoury.

Resolving to find the mother who left her behind, Sophie enlists the help of a charter pilot to visit a remote Pacific island lab only to encounter genetically enhanced humans created in a scientific experiment who all possess a terrible flaw.

True blue: a novel by Jeffrey Lee.

Molly’s life was turned upside down by the car accident that injured her and crippled her father, but at her new middle school she teams up with a weird misfit for a science competition and makes a true blue friend.

Planesrunner by Ian McDonald.

When fourteen-year-old Everett Singh’s scientist father is kidnapped from the streets of London, he leaves a mysterious app on Everett’s computer giving him access to the Infundibulum–a map of parallel earths–which is being sought by technologically advanced dark powers that Everett must somehow elude while he tries to rescue his father.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer.

As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, observed by a ruthless lunar people, Cinder, a gifted mechanic and cyborg, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story. (Series: Lunar chronicles)

The adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson.

In the not-too-distant future, when biotechnological advances have made synthetic bodies and brains possible but illegal, a seventeen-year-old girl, recovering from a serious accident and suffering from memory lapses, learns a startling secret about her existence. (Series: Jenna Fox Chronicles)

Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve.

Foundling Fever Crumb has been raised as an engineer although females in the future London, England, are not believed capable of rational thought, but at age fourteen she leaves her sheltered world and begins to learn startling truths about her past while facing danger in the present.

across the

Across the universe by Beth Revis

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet 300 years in the future, but 50 years before the ship’s scheduled landing, Amy is violently woken from her frozen slumber.

Framed by Malcolm Rose.

Sixteen year old forensic investigator Luke Harding and his robot sidekick Malc race to discover who is behind three student murders, only to find that the evidence points to Luke himself.

Partials by Dan Wells.

In a post-apocalyptic eastern seaboard ravaged by disease and war with a manmade race of people called Partials, the chance at a future rests in the hands of Kira Walker, a sixteen-year-old medic in training.

Double helix by Nancy Werlin.

Eighteen-year-old Eli discovers a shocking secret about his life and his family while working for a Nobel Prize-winning scientist whose specialty is genetic engineering.



Leviathan by written by Scott Westerfeld; illustrated by Keith Thompson.

In an alternate 1914 Europe, fifteen-year-old Austrian Prince Alek, on the run from the Clanker Powers who are attempting to take over the globe using mechanical machinery, forms an uneasy alliance with Deryn who, disguised as a boy to join the British Air Service, is learning to fly genetically-engineered beasts.


Sharon Long

Teen Services Librarian