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model network connection lines for tecnology



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Teen Think Tank

Inspiration. Collaboration. Community.

A Library Teen Services Community


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NEW! Monthly Hangouts

Take care of yourself with a monthly virtual hangout

Save the date!

Our next In-Person Workshop will be held in September 2024

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Create a Workshop

We'll help you create your own Teen Think Tank Workshop

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model network connection lines for tecnology

Our Story

Teen Think Tank started with three Ohio teen librarians who liked to collaborate. Erin Gillespie, Rikki Unterbrink, and Steve Moser would share ideas and help brainstorm on a regular basis. One day they realized that it would be great to get even more people sharing ideas and helping to brainstorm when needed. Teen Think Tank is what became of that conversation. Since then, the planning team has since grown. Some have left us, others joined us.

Meeting for workshops twice each year (1 in-person, 1 virtually), the goal is for each attendee to leave with new contacts and new ideas for programs, decorations, crafts, books, and more. When in-person, each presentation throughout the day is carefully planned to keep everyone actively involved. When attending Teen Think Tank, you try the games, make the crafts, construct the decorations and see the books.

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Our Community Leaders

Sarah Amazing

Amy Burkard

Valerie Laukhuf

Steve Moser

Rachel Rausch

Bailey Rogers

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Caitlin Wichterman

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model network connection lines for tecnology

Sarah Amazing

Valerie Laukhuf

Sarah is the Teen Services Department Manager at the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library, where she has developed comprehensive teen services since 2007. She frequently speaks about marketing, programming, and connecting with teens, and currently serves as one of YALSA’s Transforming Teen Services trainers. She writes at

Sarah can be reached at

Valerie is the Youth Services Supervisor and School Liaison for the Putnam County District Library. Her current position keeps her busy with everything from storytime to collection development for all 8 library locations. Her favorite part of her job is advocating and mentoring the teens. Valerie enjoys concerts, shopping, gardening, movies, and audio books. In her spare time, Valerie spends time living life with her family and friends.

Valerie can be reached at vlaukhuf@seolibraries .org

Amy Burkard

Steve Moser

Rachel Rausch

Rachel is at the Delaware Co. District Library Orange Branch. With 10+ years of experience, most of her time is spent running their volunteens, Teen Advisory Board, and trying to keep up at D&D club (she’s a novice but has good intentions). She enjoys fostering community partnerships, representing her library in the Delaware Co. Against Human Trafficking Coalition. She enjoys horror, feminist retellings of Greek mythology, and Russian folklore featuring Baba Yaga.

Rachel can be reached at

Bailey Rogers

Caitlin Wichterman

Amy is currently the Teen Specialist at the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County. Amy runs her library’s Teen Advisory Board, facilitates a teen led beginners D&D program, provides STEAM programming for tweens and teens, and more. Amy tries to read as much YA as possible.

Amy can be reached at

Steve is the Teen Librarian at the Trotwood Branch of Dayton Metro Library. Before moving to Dayton, he was at Lima Public Library for 11 years overseeing the creation of a Teen Advisory Group and a Teen Lounge. He currently works to ensure teens are represented, given their voice, and receive the programs/services they want and need. He loves audiobooks and has a love/hate relationship with glitter.

Steve can be reached at

Bailey is the Teen Services Librarian at the New Lebanon Branch of the Dayton Metro Library. The teens there often cry during Roll to Regret (a tabletop RPG) and rarely leave with fewer than four books. Bailey loves to be creative and plan big. Feel free to reach out, except in November when they are working on Nanowrimo (probably behind on their word count).

Bailey can be reached at

Caitlin manages the Youth Services Department at the Fairborn Community Library of the Greene County Public Library. She runs a Preschool and Baby Story Time and a 3rd-5th grade book club. When not at the library, you might find her hunting ghosts at haunted locations or curled up on the couch with Dave the Dog reading or watching horror movies.

Caitlin can be reached at

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STEM Learning Websites

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Teaching Math and Computer Science to Kids with Special Needs STEAM LEARNING

​Why It's Awesome: As people who work with teens, it is important to be up-to-date on learning styles and methods.

Best Apps for Improved Study Habits

​Why It's Awesome: As people who work with teens, it is important to be up-to-date on apps that might help our teens.

Science projects and activities reusing plastic bottles

​Why It's Awesome: This is perfect for families looking for new ideas - THANK YOU! Together, we found a page filled with fun science projects and activities! The Teen Think Tank Crew would like to thank Allie, Stella, Nessa, and Kason for submitting this awesome website.

Engineering Games and Projects

​Why It's Awesome: I didn't know what Engineers did so it was nice to read about the different jobs they do for a living. I didn't know there were so many different types of engineers! There are lots of games on here that you can play online and I took the 'What Kind of Engineer Are You?' quiz which was fun! I got Aerospace Engineer!

Jr. Handyman’s Toolkit: Projects, Essentials & Checklists

​​Why It's Awesome: I liked this one because it had woodworking projects. We made a birdhouse in Girl Scouts last year and I really liked it. I want to do more projects like this with my troop. The Teen Think Tank Crew would like to thank Girl Scout Hannah B. from Alabama for submitting these. She found them helpful with her 'Think Like an Engineer' Badge. Thanks Hannah!

Science Buddies

Why It’s Awesome: Science Buddies remains one of the best due to it’s ability to find personalized results. Users can select when the project is due (a month, a week, tomorrow…) along with their grade level. It then asks a series of simple questions such as “Do you enjoy watching or participating in sports?” to determine which projects you would be most interested in.

How Stuff Works

Why It’s Awesome: I love the How Stuff Works books at my library and was excited when I discovered their website is more of the same in an easier to read format.

Free Stem Activities and Resources

Why It’s Awesome: Loads of STEM resources compiled in one space. Thank you to Brendan, a volunteer at the Fullers Library in New Hampshire for his suggestion to add this link!

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Teen Health & Safety Websites

Substance Abuse and the LGBTQ+ Community TEEN HEALTH & SAFETY

LGBTQ+ People and Substance Abuse Statistics TEEN HEALTH & SAFETY Why is Substance Abuse worse in the LGBTQ+ community?

​Why It's Awesome: It's important, as those who work with teens, to know about the "epidemic within a pandemic"

Signs of Drug Abuse

​Why It's Awesome: An article about spotting signs of drug use such as shooting up. Also details how to get help for a loved one that you feel may be abusing drugs.

Struggles of the LGBTQ Community​

​Why It's Awesome: Features struggles of the LGBTQ Community that lead to Addiction.

Importance of Adolescent Screenings

​Why It's Awesome: Early screenings—they’re key to helping health professionals establish a baseline and pinpoint exactly what they should be treating. And, the best part about these kinds of tests is that they’re confidential between young patients and their doctors.

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Arts & Crafts Websites

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Stardoll ARTS & CRAFTS

Why It’s Awesome: Stardoll is “the world’s #1 fashion game” according to their own website and is very substantial design tool. I consider Stardoll to be a more robust version of the Sims character maker which can be easily accessed on library computers. Note: Like Roblox; play is free, some features will be locked behind a paywall.

Sprite Stitch

Why It’s Awesome: This website claims to be “the largest group of video game and geek crafters on the web” and has some very impressive projects on display.


Why It’s Awesome: Takes a simple black and white drawing and fills in the details using a database of stock photos. This means that your simple drawing of a purse could create a unique (and potentially bizarre) realistic looking purse. My favorite option here is the cat creator though, some have ended up unintentionally terrifying.

Emoji Maker

Why It’s Awesome: This is a very simple way to create emojis and other fun little designs for your phone or computer. There are some ‘pro’ options which cost money.

Weave Silk

Why It’s Awesome: Create eye catching fractals/patterns in seconds. You simply have to check out for yourself as words cannot do it justice.

Storyboard That

Why It’s Awesome: Create simple storyboards and scenes using either preset images or uploaded images. After scenes or comics are created, it’s easy to save and share the creations although there does not appear to built-in sharing platform which is disappointing.

Perler Bead Projects

Why It’s Awesome: Perler Bead projects are easy to create, but it can be difficult coming up with designs that look good once it’s all put together. The official Perler Bead website solves this problem by providing over 400 printable pdf’s that provide detailed patterns for kids and teens to replicate. There are even 3D designs, fidget spinners and headbands available to create.

Pixel Art Maker

Why It’s Awesome: Pixel art has regained popularity in recent years due to the rise of indie gaming and retro graphics. It’s also incredibly simple to create. Pixel Art Maker is one of the more comprehensive creators available, allowing users to set individual pixels while also offering advanced tool sets for drawing pixels, adding blur effects, and mirroring lines of pixels.

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Technology & Gaming Websites

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Why It’s Awesome: Weebly is a very simple website creation tool and is ideal for beginner and intermediate users.

Google Arts and Culture Museum View

Why It’s Awesome: Google Arts and Culture allows it’s users to visit museums, temples, tombs and more from all over the world using a home computer, phone or tablet. This works similarly to Google Street View in that you can ‘walk’ around the locations and the optional VR mode makes everything that much more real.

Crafting Idle Clicker

Why It’s Awesome: ‘Mine’ resources, create weapons, fill orders to expand your weapon making business. Very addictive, can easily run on most computers with internet access.


Why It’s Awesome: A hacking simulator. Enter console commands to take over virtual systems, earn money & upgrade your equipment. Great for those interested in coding.


Why It’s Awesome: Teens with an interest in science and technology will find a lot to love about Futurism. These brief news articles keep it simple, yet remain very informative. There are also sections for infographics and videos, but the news articles are the real highlights here and can be easily sorted to find the technology trends that are of the most interest to them. I particularly enjoy the sections on Virtual Reality, Enhanced Humans and Robotics and recommend doing at least a quick scan of the top headlines.

Junction Gate

Why It’s Awesome: You can run your own space station, design your own ships and send them out to harvest resources and explore the universe. There is a lot of cool stuff to do, but the main reason I’m including this entry on the list is the stock market simulator.

Something Something Soup Something

Why It’s Awesome: In the future, humanity has perfected teleportation technology and now outsources their meal preparation to aliens. In this 5 to 10 minute game, your job is to determine what is and what is not considered soup so it can be teleported down to hungry humans. The game is not only amusing, but it’s thought provoking. I

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Careers & Business

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Universal Paperclips

Why It’s Awesome: Grow your small paperclip making business into an AI that takes over the world using assembled paperclips. This requires some strategic decision making and even has a very simple stock market simulator built into it.

Investopedia Stock Simulator

Why It’s Awesome: This is my favorite way to learn about the stock market and how supply and demand actually works. Participants are given $100,000 in virtual (fake) money with the challenge being to make as much money as possible. Think you have what it takes to make millions? See for yourself…

(Free) Resume Maker

Why It’s Awesome: The state of New York provides a truly free resume builder. Simply fill in the blanks and you have a resume.

Free Career Test

Why It’s Awesome: Teens can get free career test results in only a couple minutes. The results do not recommend specific jobs which may disappoint some, but it does point people towards major career areas such as Education and Technology. I recommend looking up specific jobs using the “Occupation Outlook Handbook” online or in print form to get more information.

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Language Arts Websites

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My Storymaker ALL OTHERS

Why It’s Awesome: This simplistic digital storybook creator allows users to create their own picture books by directing the on screen characters. You can change the backgrounds and characters and tell them how to interact with your other characters and the story will begin filling itself in. Might be too simplistic for some teens.

Teen Ink Magazine

Why It’s Awesome: Are you a teen interested in getting your work published? Teen Ink Magazine accepts a wide variety of submissions including poetry, short stories, art and opinion pieces that have the chance to get published in an actual print magazine.

Romeo’s Magic Love Poem Generator

Why It’s Awesome: Many of our teens are scrambling to impress their significant others. This resource is for those teens that want to make a good impression, but need extra lyrical assistance.

Journal Buddies

Why It’s Awesome: This website has a wealth of resources available for writers of all ages, but my favorite part about it is the sheer number of creative writing prompts. Sometimes it can be hard coming up with a good idea but with these prompts, anyone with a shred of an imagination can come up with an original story. Examples include: “What would happen if Children ruled the world?”, “Why do you think some people take advantage of others?”, and “I wish everyone had…”.

Pro-Tip: Creative writing prompts can also very useful when meeting new people or on first dates. No one likes to hear the same 20 introductory questions and with these prompts, you have the opportunity to really make an impression.


Why It’s Awesome: Every November, writers are challenged to write a 50,000 word novel during National Novel Writing Month. This can be really intimidating without the right support, so a Youth Writer’s Program was created to provide teens with the tools they need to write their first (or second, or third) novel. There are videos, help guides and forums available for writers to get the help they need and the website provides it’s writing own writing platform so you don’t have to worry about saving and transferring your progress each time you change computers.

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All Other Websites

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Why It’s Awesome: These are great for developing critical thinking skills and proving once and for all that you are smarter than your friends.


Why It’s Awesome: It’s simple to use, it’s visually entertaining and has enough depth that advanced songs can be created if one is creative enough. There is a social platform built in for sharing music and I really like the concept of the Top 50 songs that are based on what is popular this week, this month and this year.

Planner 5D

Why It’s Awesome: Is designing your home in the Sims your favorite part of the game? If so, take a look at Planner 5D, an amazing free resource that allows users to create their own custom homes and rooms. Consider this one when it’s time to redecorate a room (or a miniscule college dorm room) and need to figure out where to put everything.

Beat Lab

Why It’s Awesome: Beat Lab allows for an insane amount of customization when creating the perfect beat and it even lets users lay down their own vocal track.

UJAM Studio

Why It’s Awesome: Want to create your own songs but don’t know any instruments? UJAM allows users to sing or input their own vocal track and then remix it using preset musical styles. The styles are very diverse and cover everything from blues to brit pop to hard rock. Within minutes, my library teens had created hard rock and techno remixes of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”.

Do Something

Why It’s Awesome: Do Something takes a different approach to spreading goodwill by encouraging positive actions. Users can select how much time they have to devote to a cause, what type of cause they are interested in (Bullying, Discrimination, Environment) and how they want to contribute (making something, performing a face to face action, improving a space).

Volunteer Match

Why It’s Awesome: It can be hard to find opportunities that will accept children and teens, so Volunteer Match includes special filters that show opportunities available for any age group. Volunteer Match breaks Volunteer Opportunities down into categories such as LGBT, Crisis Support and Animals which makes it much easier for find something anyone can be passionate about.