Despite our burgeoning “eds and meds” economic environment here in Pittsburgh, our working-class roots still show now and again in unexpected ways. Take, for example, the anticipation surrounding the placement of July 4th, that bluest of red, white, and blue-collar holidays, on the calendar each summer. Because many employers will give the day off when it falls on a workday, a weekend Independence Day is a big disappointment for all; a mid-week 4th may offer the opportunity to stretch one or two vacation days into a mini vacation, but of course that comes at a price. A Monday or Friday holiday, which we have this year, is the biggest jackpot of all. You get your holiday and your weekend, with no need to burn vacation time.
As a public librarian, however, I’m a little ambivalent about this year’s Friday holiday. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly appreciate the day off! But because we close for the holiday, that means that our users will miss out on the all-important Friday afternoon stop at the Library to grab some things to read, watch, or listen to over the weekend. I know that, for many people, that’s an important part of your transition into the weekend.
But if you finish your book on Friday, or unexpectedly decide to hide from the sun and watch a good movie, you may just find something to tide you over until Saturday in eCLP, our digital collection of downloadable and streaming books, movies, music, and magazines. Sometimes it takes a little push to try something new. Maybe this holiday will be your occasion to try out your digital library! Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Richard Ford’s Independence Day won him a lot of acclaim, particularly for the development of Frank Bascombe into an iconic American character. There’s no time like a long weekend to follow Frank as he stumbles through his “Existence Period,” a sort of shell-shocked life stage following the death of a child and the end of a marriage. It’s a lot warmer and funnier than you might expect, and Ford proves himself to be a compassionate and empathetic writer. Read it via OverDrive or listen to it on OneClick Digital.
Perhaps you share with your fellow Western Pennsylvanians (or at least seemingly all of my neighbors…) a sincere love for fireworks. And perhaps this year, you’re planning to really impress the neighbors by synchronizing your fireworks display with a musical score. It wouldn’t be very patriotic to violate copyright law and illegally download recordings! Fortunately, you don’t have to: with Freegal, every library cardholder gets three free (both free of cost and free of DRM) music downloads per week. There are over 2oo recordings of Sousa marches in there. Talk about a grand finale!
If you have kids in your life, at some point they may begin to wonder what the significance of July 4th is, besides the hot dogs and fireworks. This weekend would be a great time to take an hour and gather around the tablet to try out our streaming media service Hoopla, which includes a bunch of documentaries about all kinds of topics, including the founding of the United States. Or, you could also use Hoopla to binge-watch Ken Burns documentaries to get a more fleshed out version of American history. Don’t blame me if you miss the barbecue…
Hopefully, if you follow any of the links above, you’ll find something that will at least get you through til we open up again on Saturday. Enjoy your long weekend folks!