We’re a group of library workers who are passionate about books, movies and music. We’ve started this blog so we can tell you about all the cool stuff you might not know we have here at the Main Library; after all, there are about three million items in the building, so we figure you might have overlooked some of them. On top of that, we get new items almost every day, and we want to make sure you know about them. Lately we’ve even been branching out beyond our doors to expose you to the goodness the rest of the Carnegie Library system has to offer.
We don’t just want to see our names in print, though–we’d like to know what you think about the blog posts we write, and the materials we review, so please feel free to leave us comments. We also take requests, so if you have suggestions for future blog posts, we’ll be happy to consider them. Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy the blog!
Eleventh Stack team bios:
Abbey is currently working at the LBPH branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. She has a bachelor’s degree in history and a masters in Library and Information Science. She tends to read anything that someone hands her, but truly enjoys reading about history and young adult novels. She also loves to bake (chocolate chip cookies are a specialty) and loves trying new foods. She has only lived in Pittsburgh for six years, though, so she still doesn’t have a Yinzer accent. She’s working on it, though.
Dan is a librarian who works on outreach, partnerships, and all sorts of other library work that happens outside of library locations. If he managed to finish half of the books (mostly big novels and nonfiction) he starts, he’d be pretty well-read. Alas, most weeks the poems and restaurant review in The New Yorker will have to suffice.
Eric is PGH born & bred, a Library Assistant @ LBPH, is vegan, loves cooking, coffee, and records…has an amazing wife, and two fantastic cats…loves running, books about serpent handing churches, playing soccer (Tartan Devils FC), and watching soccer (West Ham & St. Pauli)…listens to a lot of punk, crust, oi, goth, new-wave, bluegrass-etc., watches the Pittsburgh Pirates, is obsessed with Flannery O’Connor, loves watching ice hockey (Penguins), and playing dek hockey (Team Blue), loves poetry, painting, is also obsessed with Morrissey, …that about sums it up.
Holly is often cheerful, especially at the library, but appreciates books that feature totally miserable characters. She is settling into managing the First Floor after years of working with teens at the Main library. You can find her running, boxing, cooking vegetarian food, reading of course, thrifting, watching Romanian films, listening to hip hop, camping, gardening, or generally meandering around Pittsburgh with her two dogs, MCA and Frida.
Irene is a senior librarian in Reference Services, specializing in government documents and patents. She can generally be found reading, running, or knitting, usually while simultaneously dreaming of having more time to do all of those things.
Jess is the Clerical Specialist at the Woods Run branch on the North Side. She grew up in the ‘burbs of Pittsburgh, spending her weekly allowance on Babysitter’s Club and Fear Street books. These days, she’ll read just about anything you put in front of her, but gravitates toward teen fiction (still), war memoirs, comic books featuring Batman, and the occasional trashy romance novel. Like the great Albus Dumbledore, she loves knitting patterns and believes one can never have enough socks.
Joelle, a librarian in the Music, Film & Audio Department, was a drummer and played with many bands in many bars before children came along. Now she misses it, but she still sings very loudly in the car.
Julie now works on the second floor of the Main Library, as Department Head of Music, Film & Audio. She recently returned from a week of music-making in Santa Cruz with a desire to learn to surf. She still believes we’re all doing the best we can.
Kelly reads, writes, and sometimes sews. She is hopelessly obsessed with Star Wars, comic books, and Warren Zevon, and can always be found with a large mug of tea. Her job as a Senior Clerk in Customer Services at Main gives her lots of good ideas for her short stories and novels. When Kelly is not engaged in any of the aforementioned activities, she is probably playing with her two dogs or taking them for a long walk in one of Pittsburgh’s beautiful parks, while she thinks about what to write next.
Leigh Anne gets up at the crack of dawn to either go running or bake something. She strongly suspects that she started running simply because of her penchant for baking things, but is at peace with that. On the clock, she’s a senior librarian in the Reference Services department who takes great joy in connecting people with the books and information they need. Leigh Anne also loves reading, writing, peanut sauce, her family (more than peanut sauce), her cats (slightly less than peanut sauce), singing, webcomics, theater, board games, card games, RPGs, LARPing, wearing black, Thai food (peanut sauce!), and you.
Maria A. is a librarian in the Reference Services department. She’s a dedicated vegan and eco-conscious minimalist, writes a fiction and history blog, studies Jane Austen, and loves being outside. She is also a native Michigander (with a proud accent) who often uses her hand as a map.
Maria J. is a native Clevelander who has had a soft spot for Pittsburgh since a child visiting her relatives in the South Hills. Her dream of someday living in Pittsburgh was realized 21 years ago when she came to Pittsburgh to go to Library School AND marry the man of her dreams. She’s nothing if not efficient. An avid reader of just about any genre, a gardener and advocate for environmental sustainability and food access issues, she tries to fit all those interests into the free time her two teen-age boys, the man of her dreams, and pet dog allow.
Melissa F. was voted “Most Likely to Become A Librarian” by her high school classmates in suburban Philadelphia. She holds that honor quite proudly – and comes by it honestly, as her first job at 15 was as a page/circulation desk assistant in her hometown library. She loves short stories (especially ones that are interconnected), literary fiction, memoirs, historical fiction, young adult, poetry, essays and creative nonfiction. Melissa has, on occasion, referred to herself as a “groupie” of certain writers. She may or may not have written an unpublished novel (or two). After more than 20 years of fundraising for various nonprofits (mostly in Philly), Melissa is a happy transplant to Pittsburgh, working in CLP’s External and Government Relations office as Manager of Grants and Research.
Melissa M. is a librarian on the First Floor, and is relishing that her job now requires her to work with books again, after being one of the library’s computer instructors for 9 years. She likes reading memoirs and biographies (especially those of chefs), cookbooks, women’s studies and history, chick lit, and any books where the central figure is a librarian. But her first and greatest love is mysteries. She’s read everything Agatha Christie ever wrote, even those hard-to-find romances. When not reading, Melissa enjoys playing on the Wii with her son, having dinners with her best friends, and going dancing with the neighbors. She fell in love with Italy while visiting there in 2007, and is trying to learn Italian. Ciao!
Natalie‘s high school librarian once described her as an enigma wrapped up in a riddle. At the time she had to look up what “enigma” meant. Important things to know about Natalie: brevity is not her strong suit; in person her stories can go on for half an hour, so unless you want to waste your lunch hour stay clear of her. Feel free to skim her posts–she is really long-winded. She really enjoys writing about herself in the third person. She is a part-time Librarian Assistant in the West End, and really only got the job so she could enjoy the perks (did yinz know about the free books?).
Richard is the manager of Reference Services and never bothered with children’s books after reading the entire Hardy Boys series when he had the chicken pox. He’s an old-school, hands-on person who learned most problems can be remedied with a pair of pliers, a 9/16″box wrench, and a flathead screwdriver. As an indication of his maturity as a mechanic: he no longer relies on a 5 kilo sledge hammer. Richard’s preferred reading is non-fiction – history, military history and contemporary issues. When he deigns to read fiction, it needs to be either historic, techno-trash or gritty realia. His fondest wish is for James Lee Burke and Lawrence Block to collaborate on a work that brings together New Iberia’s Dave Robicheaux and New York’s Matthew Scudder. In a previous time and place Richard has birthed about a dozen calves and almost one human.
Ross has been living in Pittsburgh for almost ten years. Before he was hired as a clerk the Mt. Washington branch of the Carnegie Library, he was a starving artist. He’s still a starving artist, but now he at least has health insurance. In 2013, he watched 378 movies. He acknowledges that he might have a problem.
Scott has been a librarian for 16 years, and a gamer for 30 years. He works as a senior librarian at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Downtown and Business branch (he’s the bald one). He has also worked freelance for the adventure gaming industry, designing several miniature battle games and some role-playing supplements. He paints miniatures, reads superhero comics, and does a lot of push-ups.
Suzy was born the year Elvis died and she’s not entirely sure that’s a coincidence. She’s left-handed, loves symmetry, presents and bacon. She hates birds. Her favorite books are The Life of Pi by Yann Martel, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley and Microserfs by Douglas Coupland.
Tara is a librarian in the Music, Film and Audio department. She is a West Coast transplant, but is becoming very fond of Pittsburgh. Some of her reading interests include gardening and cookbooks, comics, and devastating fiction. When not at work, she enjoys naps, cooking things, art projects, and riding her bike on the river trails. As far as movies are concerned, she will watch pretty much try anything at least once.
Guest bloggers/ Occasional contributors
Aisha is a librarian at the Squirrel Hill branch which is amusing to people who know her because when she was younger, she was chased by two squirrels and since then, has had a love-hate relationship with them. She has named two cars after Kathleen Edwards so thinks they should just be best friends already. Some of her favorite things in the world are pretending she’s a member of Wild Flag, Nutella-covered peanut butter cookies, “Parks and Recreation”, accidental rhyming, “Fringe”, the sound dried leaves make when stepped on, authors that inspire talent envy, and naps. She enjoys performing stand-up for her plants; whether they enjoy it is unknown.
Amy E. is a Senior Librarian in the Music, Film & Audio department. She has a fondness for obscure Japanese mystery novels and true tales of the Gilded Age, though neither one really relates to film or audio. She’s delighted to work for an organization that cheerfully tolerates blue, green, red, and/or purple hair and swears that she doesn’t dye her hair specifically to match her clothes.
Amy R. is a librarian and unofficial techie, Main Children’s. Former musician, current lover of words.
Anna works in the Telephone Reference department of the Main Library, renewing your books and browsing back issues of Consumer Reports. She’s all about oral history, radio journalism, whiskey she can’t afford, country music, off-beat British comedies, Stephen Sondheim, and befriending neighborhood cats.
Annica a famous librarian in the making. Her interests include Youth Advocacy, Early Literacy, crossword puzzles, and leisure. Annica is deeply in love with Carl Sagan, and enjoys running with dogs. Her favorite genres include sci-fi (think Ender’s Game), realistic fiction (historical or otherwise), and non-fiction books about elephants, bees, and violent food histories.
Beth has now survived three years as the manager in Customer Services (she still can’t decide if it’s harder than being on-call for her last job in healthcare). She thinks her staff is incredible with all the daily problem-solving they have to do. She was a collector of Nancy Drew books when young, and an avid sci-fi reader. Right now she’s a big fan of the foreign film collection at the Main Library. Her reading lately has been books by authors she has heard speak at various lecture series. She occasionally works as a techie in the theatre and tries to do good work in the areas of homelessness and domestic violence.
Don is a senior staff librarian in the Reference Services department. He’s a lit guy: high-end, sci-fi, comics, horror, Proust, Hesse, Austen–you name it. And, oh yeah, he lives for poetry. And music. And films. And…
Jude is a librarian on the First Floor here at Main. She’s been an information geek and community educator for a long time, but a “real” librarian for less than a year. Nonetheless she feels sure that she wants to spend many more years as a member of this rowdy bunch. Health care access, crafts and organic gardening are a few of the gazillion interests that she has.
Mary has worked for the Library for untold eons, since dinosaurs ruled the earth. She now works in the Telephone Ready Reference Unit, where she can often be found raging and fulminating impotently about nonsensical matters. She is a great Patron of the Arts, meaning she rents terrible old sci-fi and Godzilla movies from Netflix, which she watches with great enjoyment with her cat, Boo Radley Long.
Melissa H.is a part-time Librarian Assistant in the Subpool, and full-time student. When she is not working or studying, you can find her curling up with a good book. Although she reads all kinds of material, it is mostly chick-lit and consumer health non-fiction that grab her attention. Melissa enjoys painting, jogging and hiking in her spare time. Sometimes, you may even catch a glimpse of her incognito at your local library.
Marilyn Cocchiola Holt, MLS, is Department Head of the Pennsylvania Department of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and President-Elect of the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society. She is also an Honorary Vice-President of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania. Ms. Holt has worked with genealogical patrons at CLP for 28 years and has presented numerous programs on local and family history topics, as well as teaching courses on genealogy since 1988.
Patience is a lifelong librarian and Pittsburgher with no particular outside interests or hobbies worth mentioning [editor's note: that's dedication]. The Eleventh Stack team appreciates her willingness to contribute a guest post to the team effort despite her concerns about internet privacy.
Rebekah is a music librarian – thirteen years and going strong. Outside of the library she works as a collaborative pianist for singers and instrumentalists and coaches opera singers (who may be louder than both Tim’s and Wes’s bands). She loves MGM musicals, books about cognitive science, and performing recitals of lieder and art song. Rebekah also believes that pie is superior to cake, enjoys her dual heritage as a southerner and northerner, and really hopes to visit Vienna someday.
Sarah is the former Manager of the Film & Audio Department and current coordinator of e-Resources, though her first love is books. This means she spends a lot of time feeling guilty about watching films instead of reading books or feeling guilty about reading books instead of watching films. Lately, she spends a lot of guilt-free time reading books to her two young boys. Finally, Sarah’s husband plays guitar in Wes’s metal band and she agrees that it is louder than Tim’s (see above).
Sheila is the Assistant Director for Main library services, and a voracious reader who reads at least 100 books a year, many of which are romances. She also enjoys swimming, sewing, and cooking, though not necessarily in that order, and invitations to her dinner parties are fiercely coveted because her food is not to be missed.
Sky is a clerk in the Shelving and Stack Services Department. Inspired in his youth to travel by the example of Jack Vance, he has been both a soldier and a sailor in his time and has the barely believable stories to prove it. He is very interested in history and its uses and misuses, and devours non-fiction about the Middle East, Central Asia, and Islam. He is easily distracted and can also often be found with a science fiction or fantasy novel, or bouncing around the globe with non-fiction about other regions.
Tessa is the Teen Services Librarian at CLP East Liberty. She blogs for CLPTeensburgh, usually about poetry, and is the co-creator of Crunchings and Munchings, a Young Adult literature blog. Outside of work she makes homemade ice cream and tentative forays into container gardening. She once saw a ghost, maybe.
Tim is a drummer. He also is a music librarian who attended 96 concerts in 2007. In addition, he watched 39 operas in 18 months, kept a list of books read since 2001, and has recently started keeping track of movies (especially Broadway musicals) seen since December 2007. Not surprisingly, he has great affinity for obsessive-compulsive eccentrics. When he dies, he’d like to be buried in a coffin full of lentils. Tim’s metal band is faster than Wes’s (see below).
Tony is a library assistant at the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. He is a native and lifelong Pittsburgher with exception to a one year exile to the state of New Jersey. He enjoys the hockey stylings of the Pittsburgh Penguins, progressive fiction, aspiring poets, and fall fashion. He often wears a beard and has been described as having wild hair, which is accurate. You may call him “Tone,” if you like.
Whitney is a librarian and Midwest escapee who works in the Main–Teen department. She claims to avoid reading realism, because she does real things all day long. She’ll make exceptions to this rule for non-fiction, cookbooks, children’s books, scary stuff, witty protagonists, graphic biographies, or books that are horribly sad. Perhaps she just enjoys exceptions to rules? When she’s not geeking out about teen fiction, early literacy, or alternative education, she is also an artist who makes big paintings and small puppets.
Abby was a clerk in the Customer Services Department before abandoning us for the wilds of New York State (but we’re not bitter). She especially liked to wait on seniors and young children. She reads poetry, cookbooks, and the occasional novel when it proves itself worthy. She lived in Pittsburgh for five years and enjoyed the local accent and the brownstone buildings at sunset.
Apryl was an intern on the First Floor of the Main Library. She loves the redesigned bookstore/café-style space — a library trend that influenced her decision to pursue librarianship as a new career rather than open a bookstore. A magazine junkie, she is excited to help with the First Floor’s amazing magazine collection, among other projects. Having worked in continuing and graduate education for many years, she’s taken the plunge herself as a master’s student in the University of Pittsburgh’s library and information science program. When not working on her online courses, she indulges in popular fiction and is currently obsessed with audio books.
Bonnie feels the best part of working in a library is mending broken, damaged books. This may stem from a heart overflowing with compassion, but more realistically it is because she likes gluing and taping things. In her free time she likes karaoke, board games, playing cards, and avoiding books that have sad endings.
Christopher is that tall guy with glasses who works in the Film & Audio department. No, not that one. The other one, with the brown hair. If you ask him, he’ll tell you that he’s a philistine, but sometimes he can be found watching documentaries or reading books that are based on real events or that even teach you how to do things.
Corey is the Digital Learning Librarian for Teen Services, and also takes part in the many dynamic programs CLP offers for teens. Corey also helps run “Out of the Gutter,” CLP’s one-and-only graphic novel discussion group, occurring every third Monday of the month on CLP, Main’s First Floor.
Gwen was a senior staff librarian in the Reference Services department until May of 2010. She likes books that explore the resilience of humanity; in short, she reads nearly everything. Her interests at this time are sewing, gardening, and epistolary novels. The Eleventh Stack blog team wishes her all the best on her exciting new position in Cincinnati, and misses both her and her quiet wisdom very much.
Heather was an intern in the FirstFloor–New and Featured department. During her first year in Pittsburgh, she enjoyed how much she discovered calling soda “pop” and rediscovered her love for art and dinosaurs. In her spare time she enjoys live music, road trips, and late-night chats with best friends.
Jane has recently returned to Pittsburgh after a 30-year detour to the wilds of Montana. Thankful to be spending most of her time in the great indoors, she enjoys crossword puzzles, opera, Project Runway, and is currently in the middle of a great personal property purge–to make way for the future by clearing out the past. During this process she was thrilled to discover that her basement really does have a floor.
Joseph is a Teen Specialist in the Main Library’s Teen Department, where he collects manga, graphic novels, and CDs, as well as the First Floor’s GLBT collection. Joseph also runs a number of other programs ranging from after-hours teen parties to working with youth at the Shuman Juvenile Detention Center.
Kaarin was the manager of the First Floor – New & Featured area of the Main Library, where she is happy as a clam surrounded by fiction, cookbooks and a bunch of really creative people. While she’ll read almost any kind of fiction, her non-fiction interests lean toward memoirs and spirituality. She loves to look at the pictures in decorating, design and craft books, a habit picked up during her nine years as an art librarian. And she can’t describe herself without mentioning that if she’s not reading, she’s probably dancing.
Kathie was the manager of Main’s Music department. An accomplished professional, she has many years of library experience with, as well as personal interest and involvement in, matters musical and artistic.
Laura loves to wear her hair in a bun. Her library favorites include patrons walking + reading at the same time and the privilege of overlooking a prehistoric landscape from 5th stack. She loves very tiny hardback novels, cookbooks that are more book than cook, and anything having to do with Jacques Cousteau. The entire blog team misses Laura already, but wishes her and “Mr. Laura” well as they set off on their new life adventures together!
Lisa worked as a library assistant on the First Floor until July 2010, and is much missed by everybody at CLP. She is wildly fascinated by found objects left behind by patrons. Her reading interests include vegetarian cookbooks, fiction featuring existential dilemmas, memoirs about childhood and books with pretty pictures. When not in the company of her previously mentioned interests, Lisa is probably sitting with a cat in her lap or making soup.
Marianne (a/k/a MA) was the crazy, eccentric redhead you used to see wandering cheerfully about the library on a daily basis. A historian by trade, Marianne prides herself in her extensive knowledge of anything Medieval or Romanian. She currently works in the Interlibrary Loan Department, and is always seeking new ways to expand her already vast horizon, which is littered with her many activities of painting, knitting, crocheting, yoga, reading, writing, sketching, traveling, etc., etc…
Melissa F. was an intern with the CLP Main Customer Service department. She has since graduated from the University of Pittsburgh’s MLIS program and accepted a position at the Washington County Free Library in Washington County, MD.
Renée was a First Floor librarian assistant involved with the graphic novel collection and poetry and music-related library programming, and now she works in the Communications and Creative Services Department. She likes to read about mythology, world politics, popular science, vegetarian cooking, poetry and good old-fashioned fiction, which you can tell from her goodreads account. She also writes poems, listens to shortwave radio and makes collages (which means she likes cutting up books as much as reading them).
Shannon was an intern with the First Floor–New and Featured department at the Main Library. She is a junior English major and Italian minor at the University of Pittsburgh. Her favorite activities include trolling used book stores for old leather-bound copies of classics, watching musical movies while eating chocolate fudge brownie ice cream, and pondering deep questions of literary theory out loud to her uninterested friends. She dreams of growing up to become just like Jane Lynch, and she would like to tell the world to “Cardigan up!”
Tanya served as an intern at CLP Carrick and CLP Main, as part of the CLP Minority Summer Intern program in 2009. We thoroughly enjoyed having her as part of the team, and her contribution to the smooth sailing of so many library tasks is deeply appreciated.
Wes is a the senior librarian for the Job, Career and Education Center (JCEC) and PC Center; he is also one of the few library workers who has a dog instead of a cat. He really enjoys reading science fiction and nonfiction, and spends an inordinate amount of time obsessing over the current state of the multiverse. When he wants to come back down to earth, he reads books by guys like Jack London and Hermann Hesse. Wes’s hobbies outside of books include eating food prepared by his cookbook-loving librarian friends, drinking craft beer, and watching TV shows made for HBO. Wes’s metal band is louder than Tim’s (see above).