About Us

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 West End 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.

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.

Ginny is a baker of treats, reader of fiction, and Coordinator of Volunteer Services at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. She wants to pet your dog.

Irene is a senior librarian in the Job, Career and Education Center, 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 can be found at the Woods Run branch on the North Side. Her reading list is usually loaded with romance novels, YA, and nonfiction audio books. 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.

Kayla is a page at Squirrel Hill. She has her bachelor’s degree in communications. When she’s not shelving books, you can most likely find her reading a YA book with her headphones on. In addition to reading, she loves to write, watch TV and sports (mainly football and basketball), music, and Starbucks. Also, she is usually recommending a TV show to watch or a YA book to read to one of her colleagues.

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 at the West End branch 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 has worked in a variety of positions during her 13 years at CLP, and is currently serving as a Senior Librarian in the Reference Services department. When she’s not on the clock, she’s probably reading, writing, or learning something new. Other interests include geeky needlework, baking, gaming, and creating Facebook cover photos with Very Bad Puns in them.

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 Library Assistant at CLP-Sheraden, 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 P. has been a librarian for 17+ years. He works as a senior librarian at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Downtown and Business branch (he’s the bald one).  In his spare time he’s an EMT, hiker, writer, gamer, and reader of 1970s and 1980s superhero comics. He also does a lot of push-ups. You can follow his further exploits on his tumblr.

Suzi is a librarian at the Downtown & Business Library. She is rebuilding the children’s department there while also learning about high, low, and closing costs of stocks. She has lived in four foreign countries, three states, and came to Pittsburgh for the first time in 1989. While not born and bred, she considers herself a true Pittsburgher, especially since she has left Pittsburgh three times and returned three times. She is not a vegetarian, she is allergic to cats, and is still not sure she likes Facebook. She loves cupcakes, especially the calorie-free imaginary kind.

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 lovehate 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.

Audrey is a branch manager temporarily moonlighting at CLP Main.  She has worked at CLP for 20 years, beginning in the Pennsylvania Department.  She grew up in the burbs of Pittsburgh.  As a child, her favorite books were Little Women, Nancy Drew, and the Little House books.  She also fondly remembers the sci-fi series beginning with The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron.  While at college, she acquired a BS and an MRS (to a great guy!).  There are two grown daughters and three beautiful grandchildren (of course!).  She enjoys reading (romance, sci-fi, historical fiction, YA), writing (romance, historical fiction, YA), and genealogy.  Her biggest claim to fame is that she attended the Beatles concert at the Civic Arena on September 14, 1964!

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.

Bonnie T. works the customer service desk at the Squirrel Hill branch, and is the queen bee of their DVD section. She’s a natural-born Texan, and has the culinary skills to prove it. She’s a confused Pirates fan, an overly ambitious quilter, and firm believer in fairies. She wants to read too many books.

Brandon first worked for CLP back in 2010 at the West End branch, working as a page and then as a library clerk. The next year, he left the organization to move to California and spent the next two years there. By summer 2013, Brandon moved back to Pittsburgh and returned to his role as a library clerk at the West End. Recently, he began his new job as senior clerk at the Squirrel Hill branch. His favorite book of all time is The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. He also loves to read autobiographies.

arcimboldo_librarian_stokholm.jpgDon 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…


Isabelle is an outreach specialist and likes the big things in life (whales, book, etc.).

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.

Megan is a children’s Library Assistant. She also works as a research assistant at the University of Pittsburgh. When she isn’t reading, she enjoys gaming, watching movies and writing fiction. Several of her short stories have been published. She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a certificate in English Writing and a master’s in Library and Information Science, all from Pitt. Her favorite genres to read are fantasy and magical realism, and pretty much any children’s book. If you think rodents are the best pets, you will get along with her famously.

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).

Scott M. is a Library Assistant at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh- West End location.  When not busy running around with his 2 daughters he likes reading non-fiction, learning languages, gardening, and cooking.

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.

Stacie is a volunteer and a library assistant with the substitute pool at the Carnegie Library. She loves to geek out about things ranging from cross stitch to genealogy to massive, multi-volume high fantasy series.

Sue B. is the Deputy Director of CLP – best job in the world – which drew her across the country from Portland, OR in 2012.  In Portland, she was the Director of the Central Library for Multnomah County Library and boomeranged there from Kentucky and Ohio where she began her library career as a traditionally-built woman of a certain age after a career in the performing and community arts.  FriendBeast of avid reader and library supporter Honey Banks Earl, Sue B. lives on the South Side Slopes with her husband Jamie Earl and spends her free time (when not reading) walking up and down hills and city steps and keeping the South Side weird.

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).

Tobin is a clerk in the Shelving & Stacks Services at CLP-Main. She has big dreams of becoming a sexuality educator, therapist, and/or historian someday, but in the meantime very rarely shies away from a discussion on most topics relating to sex. When she is not ensuring the safe arrival home of wayward books, Tobin enjoys listening to stand-up comedy and techno music, honing her sewing skills, reading comic books, and lounging on her porch, preferably while doing the aforementioned activities.

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 Z. is a Native Pittsburgher. She is currently a substitute Library Assistant who loves audiobooks, music and movies. She believes firmly that NASA made a mistake in their demotion of Pluto and would sincerely like for said decision to be reversed.

Bloggers Emerita

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Melissa H.was 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.

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 was 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).

Whitney S. was a librarian and Midwest escapee who worked in the Main–Teen department and at CLP-South Side. 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.

80 responses to “About Us

  1. Geo

    You guys are brilliant! You blow the doors off everything that has come before.

  2. Thanks, Geo! If you have any ideas for a theme post, pass ’em on! – LAV

  3. Great blog! Makes me wish I still lived within walking distance of CLP Main…

  4. Thanks Sarah! Come back and visit us, anytime. :)


  5. Hi –
    I found your quote about using unemployment to plant a garden and linked to it from my garden blog in northeast Oklahoma.
    Great blog.

  6. I miss working (interning) at CLP! Brilliant blog. you guys rock!

  7. Thanks Martha, Stephanie! Definitely appreciated.


  8. Melissa

    Not sure if I missed it or not…is there an RSS feed for your blog?

  9. Hi Melissa – try this:


    I just tested this in Bloglines, and was able to subscribe normally – if your newsreader is cranky about it, let us know…


  10. Sue

    I’m so glad I accidently found this blog!
    I put a link to your blog on a post on my blog titled “Walking on Glass” about the library!

  11. Pingback: I Left My Heart in Piaggine « Eleventh Stack

  12. Can you tell me if your library (Carnegie?) owns this copy of Rip Van Winkle found at:

    I’d like to consider use of the cover in an elementary textbook but need to know if it’s available before consideration.

    Many thanks.

    Sandi Rygiel
    Picture Research Consultants, Inc.

  13. Hi Sandi – the book cover images we use are, unless otherwise labeled/cited, part of a package of content we purchased from these folks:


    You might want to check with them about rights/purchase, etc.- I know we can use them for library projects, but I’m pretty sure that’s the extent of what’s allowed.

    Leigh Anne

  14. Jeff

    The DC world of used books has been a lot less fashionable since Irene left, but I’m sure Pittsburgh is a better town for it.

    I’d like to see more posts about the weird stuff people do at libraries when they think no one is looking.

    Great blog. I love the hawk/squirrel post. Amazing photos and video.

  15. Thanks for the comments, Jeff! Either our patrons are exceptionally well-behaved, or they hide better…really strange stuff doesn’t happen all that much here…

    The nature encournters are a better bet. I’d love it if we could get a shot of the wild turkey strutting through Oakland.


    Leigh Anne

  16. JNH

    This is a great blog. It gives me hope for librarianship whilst mired in library school.

  17. Pingback: The People in My Neighborhood « Library Alchemy

  18. Esther

    This is a question for Amy, the Librarian that likes Japanese novel. I read a book last year that was translated from Japanese. I can’t remember the name or the author. Regardless, I went to Japan last spring and want to read more translated novels. Any suggestions?

    • estherinmiami

      I remember the name of the book: Norwegian Wood.

      • that would be haruki murakami! i’ve enjoyed everything of his that i can get in translation. not to be confused with ryu murakami, who writes more bloody, creepy things (still good, though).

        i also really like natsuo kirino and miyuki miyabe – they tend to write mysteries. if you want something more “classic,” try junichiro tanazaki, shusaku endo, or kobo abe (his “woman in the dunes” was made into a wonderful movie).

        “rivalry: a geisha’s tale” by kafu nagai was also quite good – i read it in a hotel bathtub in las vegas, and was quite content to stay in my room!

        – amy

  19. LCD Protector :

    most of the time i listen to audiobooks while surfing the net, i love to multitask he he ::

  20. Pingback: The Day After Thanksgiving | Eleventh Stack

  21. Sue

    Love the blog. And wanted to share this with you. I found it in our house.

  22. Pingback: A Weird Librarian « Reel Librarians

  23. Your list…and your blog…causes me to want to be a librarian!

  24. I love that the library staff works together to put together this blog! I worked in my university library for three years and I absolutely loved it! (Except shelving ALL of those books…) I wish we had done something like this!

    Keep up the good work! :D

  25. Very nice blog! I love how you have the whole village working together on this project.

  26. Holy smokes, do you have ever staff member writing for this?! Haha, great bios. There is no other word than “pop,” sorry Tony but I’m a Canucks fan and even most of us Canadians don’t like Sidney Crosby, and I am amazed that – even as librarians – you can get through over 100 books a year… Consider me a follower, I look forward to seeing what else you’re reading!

  27. Great blog. Would you be interested in an author interview?
    All info on my website: http://www.lisakwinkler.com

  28. Pingback: This Thank-You is Overdue… | Eleventh Stack

  29. Donna Gaffney

    Found your blog while researching my grandfather’s home town, Piaggine, in preparation for an upcoming trip to Italy. If Melissa M. could find time in her busy schedule to contact me directly, I’d be most appreciative of the opportunity to pick her brain on this subject!

  30. What an awesome blog! It’s nice to read so many points of view on great literature!

  31. Pingback: Abraham Lincoln Brigade: Little-Known American Heroes | Eleventh Stack

  32. Jane et al,
    Not sure you got my earlier message. Just wanted to let you know that your devoted readers have acted upon your recommendations and 38 of them visited the Little Free Library website in the past couple days. Way to go! As we say, “Libraries Big and Small, We Love Them All.” ( Especially Carnegie Libraries) and you are definitely among the coolest. Maybe we can meet some of you at ALA. Thanks for getting a Little Free Library and telling others about it. Let’s keep in touch.

    • Rick, thanks so much for your comment! Our intrepid admin has been down with the flu, so we’re just now seeing your message here – I will definitely pass this on to Jane and the other bloggers – we’re so glad we could help with the Little Free Library effort!

      Leigh Anne

  33. I have nominated your blog for the Versatile Blogger Award.
    The rules of this award are here: http://alltheinbetweenblog.wordpress.com/the-versatile-blogger-award/

  34. Come Fly With Me!

    Hi! I absolutely love your blog! As much as I love reading, I wish I had become a librian! What a fantastic job you must have!

    • Thank you so much! We’re glad you’re enjoying the blog – being a librarian is GREAT, from where we’re sitting, but we’re a little biased. ;)

      Leigh Anne
      for the Eleventh Stack blog team

  35. I love your blog! A couple of years back I had applied for a part-time job a my local library. I didn’t need the extra money, I just wanted to have a job that I absolutely loved. And since I’m a bookworm, I thought working in a library would be marvelous. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the job because my full-time job cut into the part-time hours. But I still love the feeling I get when I walk into a library, the smell of the books, the sight of the shelves, the friendly smiles of the librarians! I’m so glad I found your blog!

    • Thanks so much for reading and commenting! We love to hear about people’s positive library experiences – hopefully, the books and movies we write about will give you plenty of excuses to keep going back. :)

      Leigh Anne
      for the Eleventh Stack blog team

  36. Hi. According to your recent blog post “Reading Room @ Market Square, “Librarians love outreach.” That’s why I’m writing. I thought you and your readers might like to know about this documentary and new media project called “Free for All: Inside the Public Library”. If you google our website, you can see our work in progress trailer. Please help us spread the word.

    Thank you!

  37. cinejuana

    Great effort…following your blog :)


  38. Myself and Alex look forward to reading your posts. You guys have an awesome blog!

    Keep your pens busy!

  39. Pingback: I Read Kids’ Books–So What? | Eleventh Stack

  40. Pingback: The Reference Department | Eleventh Stack

  41. I’m so glad I came across this blog. It has become one of my favorites. I never know what I’m going to read about, but the posts are always informative and fun. As someone who is contemplating the librarian route this blog has been a great affirmation of the profession. Keep up the great work!

    • Thank you so much for the kind words! We’re glad you enjoy our efforts – best of luck to you in your contemplations! If you do pursue librarianship, you will never be bored, we can promise you that. Every day is an adventure. :)

      Leigh Anne
      for the Eleventh Stack team.

  42. Pingback: It’s Time to (Fake it Till You) Make it! | Eleventh Stack

  43. Hi! I just wanted to say that your blog is fantastic! I love to read it all the time. :) I’m just starting to do book reviews on my blog (other than travel, nonsensical stuff) and your blog completely inspired me. Thanks!

    • Wow, Gabriella, thank you so much! The whole team works really hard to keep it interesting, so we’re glad we could be inspirational as well!

      Happy blogging,

      Leigh Anne
      for the Eleventh Stack blog team

  44. Apryl

    Really terrific blog. I wish I had written more than one post (about St. Croix, USVI) during my internship on the first floor department. I’d love to be involved in one again, but I just started a new job at a very small library.

  45. Pingback: Language Learning 101 @ Your Library | Eleventh Stack

  46. Pingback: eCLP Saves the Day! | Eleventh Stack

  47. Yogini Patil

    This is so cool. I love reading, and I totally love libraries – I call it a ‘dreamland’ :D Wish to set up a small one for myself one day. Loved visiting your blog, will look forward to read more here.

  48. mbviera

    Hey guys! I nominated you for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award! The details are here: http://whatthehellisshereading.wordpress.com/2014/12/26/sisterhood-of-the-world-bloggers-award/

  49. Pingback: If I Stay, I’ll Stay Home | Eleventh Stack

  50. Pingback: Arcade, Well-Played | Eleventh Stack

  51. I worked in the library when I was in high school and worked long and hard putting together lists of books for a variety of needs. If a student had a book report due for any given class and needed help finding one that wouldn’t be too hard, I had a list for that. I also frequented used bookstores and donated hundreds of great books to the library. Before I arrived, it was largely just full of academic and reference books, but since it was a private boarding school, there was a steady stream of students coming in asking for help finding a good book to read purely for entertainment. So I made it my mission to go through every single shelf in the library in search of good reads and compile multiple lists for every conceivable area of interest. I’m still in contact with the librarian and she assures me that ‘Bethany’s Lists’ are still kept by the front desk and are heavily used by each new wave of students.

    I own thousands of books housed in many groaning bookshelves and never leave the house without a book in my purse. The one perk to having Crohn’s disease is that I have a lot of free time to myself, so I average about a book a day as well as having lots of fun watching TV shows and movies. I write reviews of the latter for the precise reason of helping people with limited time for television and movies choose things to watch that they’ll love and will be a worthwhile use of time. Not having my health isn’t great, but I’d voluntarily trade it for all the hours of enjoyment I get from books.

    • That. is. SO COOL! You’ve given generations of students a gift that will never wear out! I’m so glad you made the time to stop by and tell us about this…

      Always pleased to meet another voracious book lover. Thank you so much for stopping by to read and comment – we hope you’ll stick around!

      Leigh Anne

  52. Pingback: A Summer Extravaganza of Heroic Proportions | Eleventh Stack

  53. Excellent blog. Thank you for this amazing idea to help people find their way in the gold mine called library. We need to read more; to know more; to have more to give; and to give more to the world.Bravo to the team!

    • Thank you so very much! It was good of you to stop by and read the blog – we do our best to help people find the best books, movies, etc. for them, and a kind word in return makes us feel like we’re getting it right. :)

      Leigh Anne
      for team Eleventh Stack

  54. Thanks for reading my comment and responding so kindly.

  55. Pingback: Very Inspiring Blogger Award! | Untamed Shrews

  56. Hey guys!!! Great collaborative and creative work!!! :-)

  57. Pingback: Nearest Burning Building | Eleventh Stack

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