PPL: Highlighted Teen eResources
Free Online Resources for Teens
Compiled by the Teen Services Staff of Portland Public Library.
Updated every Wednesday.
PPL To Go is ongoing for your check-out needs! You can arrange for curbside pickup at all of our locations.
Sorry, we’re closed: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all Portland Public Library locations, including the Teen Library at Monument Square, are closed in compliance with city and state orders. While this situation may be new, overwhelming and scary, your librarians are here for you. It’s our job to provide factual and relevant information… and in times like these, we need that more than ever!
We miss the Teen Library and our teen patrons. Please stay in touch through email or Instagram. Message us if you have questions, need information, recommendations, or just to say hello. Be safe friends! -Ms. Blue, Megan & Sarah
Books & Reading
- Stamped from the Beginning, Ibram X Kendi’s bestselling, in-demand book on the history or racist ideas, is now available for free on the Spotify app. Login/open Spotify to search for the title. Bonus: watch a recent interview with Dr. Kendi and one of our favorite YA authors, Jason Reynolds, here. Jason adapted Stamped for young adult readers.
- The Brown Bookshelf Generations Book Club is currently featuring several themed lists of books by Black creators for the youngest readers through YA to adults with related links and resources. Join in the celebration by reading, writing reviews, spreading the word!
- Read Black YA Fiction or nonfiction for teens on Black history and contemporary experiences with these reading lists from PPL Teen staff. Many of these titles are available digitally on our cloudLibrary app.
Webcomics for Tweens & Teens: School Library Journal has compiled a list of free webcomics for middle grade and teen readers, including some of our personal favorites like On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden.
cloudLibrary: download new, popular and bestselling audiobooks and eBooks with your library card! Download the cloudLibrary app to your device for free, enter your library card number and go! PPS students and teachers, here is a guide Ms. Blue put together for how to use cloudLibrary with your SEED #.
Need help finding a good book to read? Need a list of books on a special topic or theme? Take our Your Next Great Read survey and we’ll send you a personalized list of titles curated by Teen staff based on your interests!
PPL Teen staff have also created and maintained book lists on every teen topic under the sun! Check out our Staff Picks page and look for Teens. Questions? Email us or DM us on Instagram and we’re happy to make personal recommendations based on your interests.
Education & Jobs
New: Here’s an opportunity for climate activists! Blunt Youth Radio is offering a free training for teens interested in audio recording, editing, and sharing from February 1 to March 15. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for their Audio Workshop for Youth Climate Activists!
Scholarship opportunities: Here are some scholarships open for applications right now!
- The Clyde Russell Scholarship is open for applicants from October 1st until February 1st. The amount awarded ranges from a maximum of $10,000 to the runner-up finalist amount of $500. Download the application from the website here.
- Writers can apply for the Penguin Random House Creative Writing Awards until March 2, 2021 or when 1000 applications have been received. Applicants must submit a piece of original work – either poetry, memoir/personal essay, fiction/drama, or spoken word – for consideration.
- New: Applications are open until March 15th for two $500 scholarships from Kenisha Anthony (the author of the memoir Labeled) and the Labeled Project. You have to satisfy several requirements to be eligible for the money – see specifics at their Instagram post here.
Join the 2020 4-H Club! Through UME’s Extension program, 4-H aims to engage teens with college readiness and workforce development. Members will meet twice a month for a variety of activities both online and off.
Portland Public SEED Numbers: don’t forget your SEED Number! All Portland Public Middle and High School students have a special Portland Public library number that gives them access to all of our digital online content listed here and more. To make your SEED Number, combine the prefix 21220980 + your unique school lunch number. For more information about this program, visit our SEED Number page.
Digital Maine Library & High School Teen: a curated collection of educational and informational databases for high school students from the Maine State Library. Easy to access via geolocation or, in some cases, your library card or SEED number.
Learning Express School Center: tutorials, homework help and practice tests for Elementary, Middle and High School level mathematics, English language arts, social studies, science and more. Create an account with an email address to keep track of your progress. Maybe you’re interested in Career Exploration, SAT/ACT or TOEFL Test Prep, or even College Level Courses? Learning Express has those options as well! Learning Express also offers a whole series of classes, homework help, and practice exams in Spanish.
Do you need information about qualifying and applying for unemployment benefits? Our Business & Government librarian has created this page to help.
Art & Entertainment
New: Portland Youth Dance is holding free dance classes on Saturdays from January 23rd to February 20th. You can attend either online, or in-person at the studio on Forest Ave. Click here for the flyer with the schedule and an email to contact.
The Telling Room’s annual writing contest is now open for submissions! Contestants who enter a piece of writing on the theme “Lost & Found” join the running to win $200 and a chance for publication in the Telling Room’s spring anthology, as well as additional recognition through a chance for public performance or other public feature. Get writing and send your piece in by January 31st! More info on the Telling Room’s website.
Need a group for Among Us? The Equality Community Center is playing every 4th Wednesday! Sniff out who’s sus for your team, or put on the performance of your life as a deadly imposter stealthily eliminating the crew. If you prefer your roleplaying in longer sessions, the group is also running an online Dungeons and Dragons game every other Thursday, starting in December. For more about the ECC, including game night info and the Discord link, go to their Facebook page!
Here’s another opportunity for artists: an open call for submissions to “Freedom & Captivity: Art on Abolition”. Both existing and new work is acceptable as long as it answers the prompts “What does abolition look like?” or “What does abolition sound like?”. This exhibition is a joint production of many local groups including Maine Youth Justice – see more here.
Maine Trans Net hosts a virtual crafts night twice a month for trans and gender non-conforming teens. Teens aged 12 to 15 can join in on the first and third Saturday of each month to hang out and do some crafting. There are more details as well as other events on Maine Trans Net’s website.
View a variety of protest art, from photographs to murals, with this online collection of Black Lives Matter exhibits. Some of the art pieces are physical art from all around the country, while others are viewable online only.
Comics, comics, comics! With the shift to online, many annual conventions have stepped up and are hosting entire events through the internet. The Massachusetts Independent Comics Exhibition, or MICE, went fully virtual and had plenty of online activities for the month of October. Visit the archive here – just click on the “Replay Now” link next to each event to view! After that, check out the archived programs and events for Comic-Con@Home. And if you’re a fan of the indie comic scene, you can browse the panels from this year’s Small Press Expo on their YouTube channel.
Leave your mark on this period of history! Portland Public Library is collecting personal accounts during the pandemic for Isolating Together, our ongoing epidemic archive. Send us your thoughts, poetry, letters, diary entries, original artwork, doodles or comics, or browse the collection online at our Omeka site.
Tired of seeing the same thing outside your window? Go on a virtual vacation with WindowSwap. This website lets you cycle through window views submitted by other people around the world. There is also an option to submit your own 10 minute loop.
Watch a performance by author Jason Reynolds of his work “For Everyone” here. This piece is so moving, and Jason’s delivery adds another layer.
Teen artists can have their work featured at the Portland Museum of Art through their Susie Konkel Gallery for Kids! The gallery is entirely digital – fill out the entry form and submit your artwork to their website here.
First Second’s Sketch School is a series of free drawing lessons entirely online! The lessons include videos from Ngozi Ukazu of Check, Please! and Gene Luen Yang of Dragon Hoops. Watch some amazing comic artists work and draw along!
Do you miss Dungeons and Dragons at the Library? We do, too! Until we can meet again, try out some of these one page role playing games. There are no handbooks or props required, and each one only has one page of directions – easy to pick up and try for an evening! For a start, check out “Honey Heist“, in which players roleplay some mischievous honey-stealing bears; “Adventure Skeletons“, which flips the adventuring genre on its head as the skeleton players explore the human ‘dungeon’; and “Oh, Dang! Bigfoot Stole My Car With My Friend’s Birthday Present Inside“, which says it all with the title. These are all free to play, with the option to donate money to the creators. Happy gaming!
Or you could teach yourself 13 Levels of Beatboxing: Easy to Complex with 2005 Female World Beatbox Champion Butterscotch. In this Wired YouTube Channel, she explains the art of beatboxing starting with just the bass drum and layering on more and more…!
Check out PPL Health Librarian Becca’s page on COVID-19; updated regularly with news and information you can trust.
New: Deering High School has an ongoing calendar of wellness events, offering events like guided meditation sessions, light yoga, and strength training. See the Instagram post here for Zoom links and updates.
Maine Trans Net is offering a variety of online support groups during the pandemic. Visit their website to explore your options and find the right support for you.
Medline Plus Teen presents high-quality, relevant health and wellness information that is trusted, easy to understand, and free of advertising, in both English and Spanish. A service of the National Library of Medicine.
Teen Health & Wellness provides middle and high school students with up-to-date, nonjudgmental, straightforward curricular, and self-help support. Topics covered include diseases, drugs, alcohol, nutrition, mental health, suicide, bullying, LGBTQ+ issues, and more.