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Staff Review of Winger by Andrew Smith

February 10, 2014

Winger by Andrew SmithWhy I Checked It Out: I read “Winger” by Andrew Smith because my book club was reading it and it has a pretty great cover.

What It’s About: Two years younger than his classmates at a prestigious boarding school, fourteen-year-old Ryan Dean West grapples with living in the dorm for troublemakers, falling for his female best friend who thinks of him as just a kid, and playing wing on the Varsity rugby team with some of his frightening new dorm-mates.

Why I Liked It: This book is funny. I don’t mean mildly amusing. I mean, from start to almost the end, it is laugh-out-loud entertainment. Ryan Dean is a smart, quirky, talented guy trying to navigate a world where all his friends and teammates are years older than him. His voice is painfully fourteen and realistic, at times immature, whiny and obsessed with girls. I loved reading and learning about rugby, because it is a sport that is tough to follow if you don’t know the rules. I even ended up watching some videos online!

What I Didn’t Like: This book has a controversial ending that is an avalanche of awful that completely does not match the rest of the book. In discussing this book with other people, many liked the abrupt ending and felt it was true to real life: loss can come unexpectedly. Which is true. But if you’re going to deal with it in a book, you need to do better than wrap it up neatly in the last 20 pages. I feel like the author created a situation for cheap, emotional manipulation.

Who Will Like It: All being said and done, I would still recommend this book to people. I feel like 99.5% of the book is fun and enjoyable. And some readers may disagree with my assessment of the last little bit, so if you like sports and the inner workings of teenage boy brains, give Winger a try.

Originally published at Staff Review of Winger by Andrew Smith.

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Financial Aid Fridays: A Resource Cheat Sheet

February 7, 2014

MU ColumnsAs young adult looking for help applying to college, the best place for you to start is with your high school guidance counselor. Planning for college begins in earnest during your junior year and your guidance counselor can help you set goals and meet the many required deadlines. Below is a list of links to area high school guidance departments. You’ll find a plethora of contacts and web resources to help you fund your education.

FAFSA Frenzy
This program is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Higher Education and its goal is to assist students and families in completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). As mentioned in an earlier post, this is the mandatory application used by all colleges and universities in determining your eligibility for grants, loans, work-study, and scholarships.

Review the dates and times for this free event which will be hosted at Fulton High School, Hickman High School, and the Columbia Career Center. And don’t forget to bring:

  • Your parents’ and your 2013 W-2 forms
  • Copies of your parents’ and your 2013 tax forms, if they are ready. If you or your parents have not yet filed your 2013 returns before you attend a FAFSA Frenzy event, be sure to bring any statements of interest earned in 2013, any 1099 forms, and any other forms required to complete your taxes.
  • Student PIN and parent PIN. You may apply for your PINs at www.pin.ed.gov before attending the FAFSA Frenzy.

Hickman High School Guidance Department
Learn about the A+ program, local scholarships, and helpful testing info.

Rockbridge High School Guidance Department
This site lists information related to the A+ Program, college visit opportunities, post-secondary information, and scholarships.

Battle High School Guidance Department
Get scholarship reminders, AP course information, A+ program requirements, and check out the calendar of upcoming college visits.

Southern Boone County High School
Learn about area scholarships and upcoming college visits and enrichment opportunities. Hover over “Guidance” in the menu bar to see the full selection of resources available.

Fulton High School Guidance Department
This site provides senior scholarship information, financial aid and college links, as well as a list of educational opportunities and other events.

Hallsville High School Guidance Center
Learn more about available scholarships, financial aid, and career options.

Photo credit: University of Missouri by ensign_beedrill via Flickr. Used under creative commons license.

Originally published at Financial Aid Fridays: A Resource Cheat Sheet.

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2014 ALA Teen Book Award Winners Announced

February 3, 2014
Erin Morgenstern

Me and Erin Morgenstern, author of “The Night Circus”

Every January the American Library Association hosts its annual Youth Media Awards Press Conference. At this time, authors and illustrators of children’s and young adult literature are recognized for the amazing works they have published over the last year. Below is a list of this year’s award-winning titles.

My personal favorites are the Printz Award and the Alex Award. The Printz Award honors an author for “excellence in literature written for young adults.” In other words, it’s a pretty big deal. My favorite Printz Award winner, so far, has been “Looking for Alaska“ by John Green.

The Alex Award, however, honors the top 10 adult books with teen appeal. My favorite among the Alex Award recipients has been “The Night Circus.” I even got to meet the author, Erin Morgenstern! Squee!

Have you read any of this year’s award-winners? What did you think? Who might you have picked for this year’s top awards?

Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults.

William C. Morris Award for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens.

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults.

Alex Award Winners are the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences.

Odyssey Award for best audiobook produced for children and/or young adult.

  • Award Winner: “Scowler,”written by Daniel Kraus and narrated by Kirby Heyborne
  • Honor Book: “Better Nate Than Ever,” written and narrated by Tim Federle
  • Honor Book: “Creepy Carrots!” written by Aaron Reynolds
  • Honor Book: “Eleanor & Park,” written by Rainbow Rowell, and narrated by Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra
  • Matilda,” written by Roald Dahl, and narrated by Kate Winslet

Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award recognizes an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults:

Pura Belpré (Author) Award honors a Latino writer whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience:

Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award is given annually to children’s and young adult books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered experience.

Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience.

Mildred L. Batchelder Award for an outstanding children’s book originally published in a language other than English in a country other than the United States.

  • Award Winner:  “Mister Orange,” written by Truus Matti, translated by Laura Watkinson
  • Honor Book: “Vacation of My Life,” written by Charlotte Moundlic, illustrated by Olivier Tallec, translated by Claudia Zoe Bedrick
  • Honor Book: “My Father’s Arms Are a Boat,” written by Stein Erik Lunde, illustrated by Øyvind Torseter, translated by Kari Dickson
  • Honor Book: “The War Within These Walls,” written by Aline Sax, illustrated by Caryl Strzelecki, translated by Laura Watkinson

Originally published at 2014 ALA Teen Book Award Winners Announced.

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Financial Aid Fridays: Minority Report

January 31, 2014

Diverse StudentsToday, there are more women and people of color attending college then ever before. In an effort to provide equal access to higher education and promote campus diversity, colleges and civic organizations provide financial aid exclusively to these groups.

As a Mexican American, I received a minority scholarship from the American Library Association. Without it, I would never have been able to afford the graduate school required to become a librarian. If you are investigating minority scholarships, below are a few online resources to help you get started.

Gates Millennium Scholars: This scholarship program is intended to increase the number of African-Americans, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asian Pacific Americans and Hispanic Americans completing undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

United Negro College Fund: This link will take you to a listing of scholarships offered or promoted through the UNCF.

American Indian College Fund: Learn about the two different scholarship programs available, the Tribal Colleges and Universities scholarship program and The Full Circle scholarship program.

Hispanic College Fund: Review the scholarships available based on your current class level.

Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund: The APIASF administers nearly 15 different scholarships each year and offers a listing of additional funding opportunities available to Asian and Pacific Islander Americans.

Don’t forget to stop by the library to review these helpful resources. While the newest editions of these reference titles do not circulate, you may borrow the older editions.

Photo credit: Baha’ibow! by Lorenia via Flickr. Used under creative commons license.

Originally published at Financial Aid Fridays: Minority Report.

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Program Preview: Reinvent Your T-Shirt

January 29, 2014

Reinvent Your T-ShirtTshirt Scarf
Thursday, February 13 › 5:30-7 p.m.
Columbia Public Library

Bring your old t-shirts, and we’ll transform them into new fashions, such as scarves, bracelets and headbands. Ages 12 and older, adults welcome. Registration begins Tuesday, February 4. Call (573) 443-3161 to sign-up!

If you are into upcycled crafts, you should consider borrowing some of these titles from the library:

Photo credit: Upcycled T-Shirt Scarf by Kim Piper Werker via Flickr. Used under creative commons license. Check out the tutorial to make this awesome scarf!

Originally published at Program Preview: Reinvent Your T-Shirt.

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Financial Aid Fridays: Scholarships vs. Loans

January 24, 2014

Money LaunderingGrants and loans and scholarships, oh my! With so many options to fund your college education, it’s easy to see how one might get confused. Here’s a basic breakdown of the most common forms of financial aid as defined by FinAid.org:

Scholarships: Scholarships are forms of aid that help students pay for their education. Unlike student loans, scholarships do not have to be repaid. Generally, scholarships are reserved for students with special qualifications, such as academic, athletic or artistic talent. Awards are also available for students who are interested in particular fields of study, who are members of underrepresented groups, who live in certain areas of the country or who demonstrate financial need.

Grants: Grants are a form of financial aid, based on need, which you do not have to repay. Most commonly, grants are awarded by the federal government and based on the responses provided on your FAFSA form.

Loans: An education loan is a form of financial aid that must be repaid, with interest. Education loans come in three major categories: student loans (e.g., Stafford and Perkins loans), parent loans (e.g., PLUS loans) and private student loans (also called alternative student loans). More than $100 billion in federal education loans and $10 billion in private student loans are borrowed each year. In order to qualify for student loans, you must complete the FAFSA form.

Here are some great books for you to borrow from the library to help you investigate general sources for scholarship funding:

Photo credit: Laundering Money by Images of Money via Flickr. Used under creative commons license.

Originally published at Financial Aid Fridays: Scholarships vs. Loans.

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February 7 Deadline for March SAT Exam

January 22, 2014

Standardized TestThe registration deadline for the March 8 SAT exam is Friday, February 7. Sign-up online.

If you would like to know more about testing locations, exam costs and fee waivers, please visit our  online guide to SAT/ACT preparation. The library also has a wide selection of printed ACT and SAT test guides for you to borrow.

Our most popular resource for test-takers, though, is LearningExpress Library. Through this website, you may take free online practice tests for the ACT or SAT exam. To access LearningExpress Library, you will need to login using your DBRL library card number. Your PIN is your birthdate (MMDDYYYY).  If you have questions or encounter difficulties logging in, please call  (800) 324-4806.

Finally, don’t forget to subscribe to our blog updates for regular reminders of upcoming test registration deadlines!

Originally published at February 7 Deadline for March SAT Exam.

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Free Assistance to Help You Complete the FAFSA

January 20, 2014

FAFSA FrenzyThe Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is the primary application used by all colleges and universities to determine your eligibility for grants, loans, work-study and scholarships. In other words, this form is mandatory for all those planning to attend college.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education has an assistance program called FAFSA Frenzy to help you and your family successfully complete this online application form. They will be hosting several free events at mid-Missouri high schools. If you are planning to attend college in the fall, mark your calendars now for one of these three sessions.

Best all, FAFSA Frenzy attendees are entered for a chance to win a scholarship to a Missouri postsecondary institution for the Fall 2014 semester! To learn more about the FAFSA and its impact on funding your college education, check out our recent blog post, “Navigating the FAFSA.”

Where is the FAFSA Frenzy being held in Boone & Callaway Counties?

Location: Address: Date & Time: Fulton High School 1 Hornet Dr., Fulton Wednesday, February 19 from 4-7:30 p.m. Hickman High School Media Center 1104 N. Providence Rd., Columbia Update:
Tuesday, February 11 from 6-8:00 p.m. Columbia Area Career Center 4203 S. Providence Rd. Sunday, February 9 from 2-4 p.m.

What to bring:

  • Your parents’ and your 2013 W-2 forms
  • Copies of your parents’ and your 2013 tax forms, if they are ready. If you or your parents have not yet filed your 2013 returns before you attend a FAFSA Frenzy event, be sure to bring any statements of interest earned in 2013, any 1099 forms, and any other forms required to complete your taxes.
  • Student PIN and parent PIN. You may apply for your PINs at www.pin.ed.gov before attending the FAFSA Frenzy.

What do I bring if my parents and I haven’t filed our taxes yet?

  • 2012 tax forms
  • 2013 statements of interest earned
  • Last year-end pay stub received in December 2013 by you and your parents, showing year-to-date earnings.

Originally published at Free Assistance to Help You Complete the FAFSA.

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Financial Aid Fridays: Navigating the FAFSA

January 17, 2014

Scrabble MoneyF-A-F-S-A. Commit these five letters to memory. If you plan on attending college, they will follow you throughout the course of your entire academic career. It’s a little daunting, I know. DBRLTeen is here to help make these five letters a little friendlier.

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. All prospective college students looking to qualify for federal grants or loans must complete this online application. Most colleges also require this application so that they can award institutional scholarships based on financial need.

Another important note: Once you are admitted and attending college, you will have to complete this form every year until you graduate. Typically the latest version of the FAFSA form is available in early January, or shortly before.

Of all the applications you submit, your FAFSA ranks right up there with your application to the college or university you have chosen to attend. Translation: Very Important. You have through early spring to complete this online form, be sure to review the 2014 FAFSA deadlines.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE) also offers a free program called FAFSA Frenzy to help students and families complete the FAFSA form. Fulton High School, Hickman High School, and the Columbia Career Center are each hosting this free event. Learn more about upcoming sessions.

Last, check out this video, “Seven Steps to Applying for Financial Aid.” It is produced by MDHE and provides a six-minute overview of completing the FAFSA form. The FAFSA website also now offers a tool called the FAFSA4caster. This resource will estimate your eligibility for federal student aid. Very cool.

Photo credits:
Money on Money by 401(K) 2013 via Flickr. Used under creative commons license.

Originally published at Financial Aid Fridays: Navigating the FAFSA.

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Program Preview: Finding Summer Jobs for Teens

January 13, 2014

Metal Job MonkeyFinding Summer Jobs for Teens
Columbia Public Library
Wednesday, January 29 at 6:30 p.m.

Starting a summer job search now can help you find work that will contribute to a fun and profitable summer vacation. We’ll look at local resources for teen job-seekers and help you identify jobs you may be interested in and employers who may be interested in you. You will leave with resources in hand, including a personalized form which will make it easier to complete applications. Snacks served. Ages 15-18. Registration begins Tuesday, January 14. 

A similar program is also being offered at the Southern Boone County Public Library on Tuesday, February 25 at 6:30 p.m.

Photo credits:
Gorilla Rentals: Now Hiring by Tess Aquariam via Flickr. Used under creative commons license.

Originally published at Program Preview: Finding Summer Jobs for Teens.

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Books for Dudes – “Origami Yoda” Series

January 10, 2014

Fold or fold not. There is no try. Tom Angleberger’s “The Strange Case of Origami Yoda” is as much about life at a typical middle school as it is about Star Wars and the wonderful art of origami. Dwight, a sixth-grader with the reputation of an oddball, usually is a little too weird for his classmates. But when he makes an origami puppet of Jedi master Yoda that predicts the future and suggests the best way to deal with tricky situations, Dwight’s classmates start lining up with questions about homework, love and everything in-between.


Sixth grader Tommy gathers students’ case files to determine whether origami Yoda actually works before he takes Dwight’s/Yoda’s advice on a crucial matter…involving a certain girl and the middle school dance. Lots of students get voices in this fun story, and there are Star Wars doodles, tips for folding your own Origami Yoda, and other fun bonus material. And the best part? Much like “Star Wars,” the story continues!

wookiedarthpaperEvery student introduced in the first book gets their own back story and continues into the next grade level, when Dwight is asked to leave school. What does Dwight’s nemesis, Harvey, have to do with this turn of events, and does it have anything to do with Harvey’s new puppet, Darth Paper? Read “Darth Paper Strikes Back” and “The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee” to find out what happens when Dwight and his origami Yoda puppet are missing at a crucial time for our middle school heroes and heroines.

jabbalabelmakerI love how these books reflect real issues for middle schoolers and for the eudcational system in general. No topic is safe. Don’t believe me? See what an increased emphasis on standardized testing (amusingly referred to in this series as the “FunTime Menace”) does to Angleberger’s characters in the latest books, “The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppet” and the upcoming “Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue!

dp2I had a blast reading these books. True, I am a huge Star Wars nerd in general, and I’m a big fan of Yoda in particular. But I’m now even more interested in what’s going to happen to these kids–will Harvey ever show a shred of decency? Does Dwight’s Yoda really work? Can the principal really be as bad as the Emperor? All these questions are waiting for you inside the “Origami Yoda” series–as well as drawings, doodles, and directions for you to create your own origami fun. Will you love this series as much as me? That’s hard to answer…”Strong am I with the Force, but not that strong.” I’d love to hear your comments about these books and see your own origami creations. Now excuse me while I try to use all of the library’s paper to create my own origami Millennium Falcon…

Originally published at Books for Dudes – “Origami Yoda” Series.

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Upcoming Teen Game Nights

January 6, 2014

Wii-U-Gamepad-gameplayWii U Family Game Time
Columbia Public Library
Monday, January 20, 2-3:30 p.m. -OR- 5:30-7 p.m. 

Drop in to try out the library’s Wii U game console. Become a dancing superstar in “Just Dance 4″ or a bowling champion playing “Wii Sports.” We’ll also have snacks and a selection of new books for older kids and teens. Ages 10 and older. Parents welcome. Registration begins Tuesday, January 7.

Teen Game Night
Southern Boone County Public Library
Friday, January 24, 6:30 p.m.

Challenge your friends to a game on our Wii U console or to a board game tournament. We’ll have various games available as well as supplies for art projects. Refreshments provided.

Originally published at Upcoming Teen Game Nights.

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Project Teen: Survival Bracelets

January 2, 2014

Survival BraceletsAnything can happen, so be prepared! Come to the library to make a survival bracelet from paracord which doubles as a long rope that could get you out of a jam. We’ll be hosting this program for ages 11 and older at the Callaway County Public Library on Wednesday, January 15 at 4:30 p.m. An encore presentation of this program will be held at the Southern Boone County Public Library on Tuesday, January 28 at 3:30 p.m. This session is for students in grades 6-8.

Originally published at Project Teen: Survival Bracelets.

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