Dear incoming college students:
Hey there –how’s it going? We’re really glad you’re here. We know you’re super busy, what with the moving, unpacking, and starting a whole new chapter of your life thing, but we thought we’d write a quick note welcoming you to the neighborhood and inviting you to come over and check us out (literally and figuratively). We met some of you at the Pitt new student orientation the other night, so we can already tell you’re just the kind of people we want to hang out with: fun, smart, classy, and about ten different kinds of literate.
Here’s a few things you might not know about us, and some ways you can get to know us better, online and offline:
- Library cards are free! The carving over the door says “Free to the People,” and that means everybody in Allegheny County, including you. Getting a card is a snap, with the right ID and info, You can even start your application online, though we will need you to stop by after that and do a few more things before you can pick up your physical card.
- Your library card has special powers. Think of it as an Easter egg in the game of life: once you have a card, you’ll be able to check out items, search databases, download digital items to your Kindle/Nook/other device, get book recommendations, learn languages, and explore tons of other options. Did we mention the “for free” part?
- We will hide you from your annoying roommate. If you really need to get some studying done, and you want to get off-campus for a little while, we’re a short walk down Forbes. Make your way to the second floor and indulge in one of our quiet study areas. We’ve got wireless. We’ve got long tables where you can spread out undisturbed. We have comfy chairs. Heaven.
- There’s an app for us. Got a smartphone? Download our free app to have library functions–including catalog searches, account checks, and social media features–at your fingertips 24/7.
- We know how to have fun on the weekend. The library’s fun all the time, of course, but we pack our Saturdays and Sundays with free special events like world music concerts, poetry readings, unusual films, and other interesting things as we dream them up. Perfect for dates or just hanging out with friends in air-conditioned comfort.
- Coffee: we have it. Do you consider caffeine a vitamin? No problem. The library’s Crazy Mocha coffee shop serves tasty food and beverages from local sources, so you never have to choose between your library books and your latte.
- Community service options abound. Maybe you have to earn a certain number of volunteer hours for a class or service club you belong to. We can work with you to set up an opportunity that will make both you and us very happy. Visit the library’s volunteer page to learn more and fill out an online application.
- Books you don’t have to read for class. Whenever you need a break from the rigors of Advanced Calculus or Extreme Spreadsheets, we’ll be happy to hook you up with reading material that will give your brain a break. From world fiction to sci-fi, mystery, and romance, we’ve got a little something for everybody. And if we don’t have it on hand, we can usually get it for you in less than a week from anywhere else in the county.
- An extra shot of academic support, minus the guilt. Because it’s not all fun and games, you’re eventually going to need journal articles, books and other materials to get those art history, literature, and science research papers written. To level up from smart to amazing, come visit us after you’re done at your school library. We’ve got journal databases, research guides, and a virtual library collection you can use long after the physical doors have closed. You can even get a jump on internships, local job searches, and standardized tests (it’s never too early to think about this stuff) via our Job and Career Center. If you want to be excellent (and who doesn’t?), make us part of your game plan for world domination.
- Gandalf, Captain America, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer work here. Everybody on staff is a superhero in disguise, just waiting to solve your problems. Think of us as the kindly wise folk who show up when you have no idea what to do next; we can point you in the right direction either in person, over the phone, or via a variety of virtual services like e-mail, chat, and text. The only special power we don’t have is mind-reading (that’s not part of the official library school curriculum yet), so we still need you to let us know how we can help. Rest assured, though, that once we know, we’ll do everything in our power to get you the materials and information you need.
That’s a lot of data to process, and even though it’s just the tip of the iceberg, library-wise, we’re pretty sure you have things to do this weekend, so we’ll sign off for now. Stop by and see us soon, though! We hope your time in Pittsburgh is lovely and amazing, and that by the time you graduate, we’ll be good friends. Or, at least, the people you smile and wave to when you run into us between classes.
–Leigh Anne (but you can call her Buffy)
PS: Make sure you get out of Oakland once in a while and see our other locations, too. Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods are unique, and every single one of them is worth a trip. Plus, you’ll have someplace to take your folks when they come to visit.
PPS: Please don’t lend your fabulous, free library card to that annoying roommate! Or to anybody else, really. Pretend it’s a credit card, because, really, it’s the same principle: you’re responsible for whatever goes out on the card, and we’d hate for you to start your brand new collegiate life with bad credit from library debt.