Tag Archives: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

We’ve Moved

Our blog has moved to become part of the all-new Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh website! Follow us there for the same great library news, updates, book reviews and more:

http://www.carnegielibrary.org/category/eleventh-stack/

Thank you for for your faithful readership during our time here at WordPress. We’ve been honored to be featured as one of the community’s best book blogs, and we intend to build on that excellence at our new digital home.

See you in the future!

Team Eleventh Stack

 

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Run for a Reason

On Sunday, May 1, 2016, runners will take to the streets to participate in the 2016 DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon. This year, not only can you run in any of the events of that weekend, but you can also raise money for the Carnegie Library while doing so! Currently, runners and Library-lovers have raised close to $1,000; if you are interested in running or donating, check it out here!

Run for the library I used to be a biker. Or a cyclist. Whatever the preferred title is. When I started working for CLP in 2002 I rode my bike to work four or five days per week, climbing up 18th street to CLP – Knoxville where I performed my duties as a children’s specialist. On the weekends I’d go for long bike rides; I rode my bike to the store, to run errands, I rode it everywhere. In 2011, I rode it all around the city in the 48.4 mile Cycle for CLP tour of all Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh locations. If there was a day that I didn’t ride the bike (whether due to fatigue, extreme weather or just simple laziness) I’d be cranky and irritable. In the winter, if there was snow on the ground I might run a few miles every once in awhile, but that was about it.

But over the years a change took place and I have ever so slowly, and at times, reluctantly, become a runner. Now, I haven’t touched the bike for months, but in 7 weeks I am going to lace up my running shoes and run 30,000 or so steps to raise money for literacy and learning.

Way back in 2002 (or even 2010), if someone had told me that I’d be running a marathon I wouldn’t have believed them, and said there’s no way that would ever happen.  

In 2011, on a whim I signed up for the Pittsburgh Sprint Triathlon. After panicking, flailing around and hyperventilating in the open water, I completed the bike and run portions of the race. I finished realizing that I needed to work on being a better swimmer, and perhaps a runner too. After hours and hours spent in pools, rivers and lakes, I still can barely swim. But I begged a couple of friends who were accomplished runners to let me run with them. The first time I ran with my friend Garrett in Frick Park was not a blissful experience: It was cold … and icy … and I was miserable much of the time. We ran a little over eight miles, and afterward, I could barely walk for two days (Does this sound like fun yet?). Every muscle in my legs was so sore it took me five minutes to walk up and down the stairs.

Yet I persisted. Each weekend I’d run somewhere in the eight-nine mile range, and the runs got easier. One Sunday morning, I ended up running 13 miles with a friend, and he told me, “Hey. If you can do 13, you can probably run the full marathon.”  I balked, but you know what? He was right. I ran longer and longer distances each weekend, came home, ate myself into a food coma, and slept all afternoon on the couch. My training plan that first year was very much in the vein of “I run long distances for the worst possible reason: I run to eat.” I have now become one of those people that feels that running for two-three hours is something reasonable to do on a Sunday morning. It can be blissful and sometimes painful, but most of all I find it meditative. Running is where I practice my storytelling for children’s and teen programming; where I think through management issues at work; or just plain daydream about video games, clocks and cooking. Some people practice yoga or meditate. For me, running is a chance to spend a couple of hours alone with my thoughts.   

If anyone out there has contemplated running a half- or full-marathon, or starting smaller with a 5K or 10K, here are some library resources to get you started.

Run Your First Marathonbook1

 

 

 

 

book2.pngFeet, Don’t Fail Me Now

 

 

 

 

book3The Runner’s World Big Book of Running for Beginners

 

 

 


book4
The Complete Running & Marathon Book

 

 

 

 

See you on May 1st!

 

-Ian

 

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Remember

I find it absolutely hilarious that the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh shares its birthday with V for Vendetta day (a/k/a Guy Fawkes day for those of you who don’t speak geek). For starters, V. and Carnegie would not have liked each other at all. Also, V. was concerned about helping the common man by blowing up powerful institutions; Carnegie, for his part, was often unkind to ordinary folks, but was still interested in building institutions for them. The irony is more than a little palpable.

So, in addition to everything else you need to remember today, take note that Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh turns 120 years old this November 5th. It’s hard to believe so much time has passed; much has changed, but many things have remained the same. Governor Daniel Hartman Hastings, one of the speakers at the Library’s 1895 dedication ceremony, had this to say of the enterprise:

The public library is equally a public necessity and a public blessing. Its unfolding and spreading influence for good is beyond calculation. This community already thrills in anticipation of the blossoming and the ripening fruit to come from the tree this day planted.

Here is a temple of enduring stone which will stand through the ages, whose grand and graceful proportions will be a constant source of pleasure to the beholder. Here, Music will charm the ear and gladden the soul. Here, Art will welcome and inspire her devotees. Here, Literature will sit upon her throne and the children of men will gather wisdom at her feet. Here are assembled the representatives of the greatest industrial community in the land to receive the trust committed to their keeping by a benefactor and a philanthropist.

Today the temple of stone is still, indeed, standing*. She’s had a bit of work done, but is all the better for it. Music is still here, and still charming. Art remains welcoming. Literature has expanded her kingdom by leaps and bounds, in ways Carnegie himself couldn’t have predicted. And the Library has consistently—most recently through its current strategic plan—proved itself both a blessing and a necessity to the Pittsburgh region. One of the city’s biggest, best fruit baskets, so to speak.

Nothing there anyone could complain about. Not even V.

Super Science @ CLP - Squirrel Hill, circa 2012 - photographer unknown. Click through to learn more about STEM programming at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

Super Science @ CLP – Squirrel Hill, circa 2012 – photographer unknown. Click through to learn more about STEM programming at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

Will the Library still be here 120 years from now, when we all have internet chips in our brains and we finally get those hoverboards we were promised? I think so. It might look different, but the mission will still be the same: to engage our community in literacy and learning. Complex characters both fictional and historical will still be here, whispering reason—or revolution—as you walk by. And of course, through our programs, services and community engagements, the Library will still be planting, and harvesting, all sorts of fruit for you to enjoy.

The grandeur of the past, the excitement of the present and the hope of the future. Who could ask for a better gift? If you feel the same, please share your Library story and tell us how CLP has affected your life. To learn about other ways you can remember the Library on this momentous occasion, click here.

–Leigh Anne

*Does this make library workers Stone Temple Pilots?  Hm.

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FREADom Songs

Do you love Pittsburgh? How about karaoke? Are you a little rebel who reads banned books? Do you like free stuff, games and prizes?

If any of those things sound like your cup of tea (or coffee or hot chocolate), celebrate your freedom to read at FREADom, the ACLU-PA’s 20th annual reading of banned books tonight at 7pm at the Carnegie Museum of Art Theater (that’s on the lower level).

image courtesy of the PA ACLU - click through for event page.

image courtesy of the ACLU-PA – click through for event page.

A veritable rogue’s gallery of greats from the event’s past twenty years have assembled for tonight. Scrapbook documentarian and Pittsburgh treasure Rick Sebak will read from Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. Talk-show host Lynn Cullen will read selections from the Bible. Award-winning poet Terrance Hayes will read some of Vladimir Nabokov‘s Lolita.

Pittsburgh’s best jazz vocalist, Etta Cox, will sing “Strange Fruit,” Billie Holiday’s banned song that protested lynchings. There will be more singing throughout the night in the form of a banned-song karaoke singalong. Fun fact: I’m banned from this part of the event because my singing voice sounds like a cat giving birth to a helicopter and can literally cause paint to peel.

If you’re over age 21, don’t forget to get your Banned Books Week cocktail from the Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails (LUPEC).

There will also be a Banned Books Quiz, featuring questions about frequently challenged Young Adult books (like The Bluest Eye, The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The House on Mango Street), organized by your favorite CLP librarians. And of course there will be prizes!

Best of all, it’s free!

FREADom is also sponsored by CLP, 90.5 WESA-FM and 91.3 WYEP-FM. For more information call 412-681-7736, email pghinfo@aclupa.org or go to www.aclupa.org/takeaction/events/2015freadom.

–Ross

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A Summer Extravaganza of Heroic Proportions

SR banner

Here we are again at the start of another summer of reading. Where did the past year go? Hopefully yours was spent reading, learning about and investigating this wonderful world of ours through books, library related programming and the ton of free resources at your local public library. But if for some bizarre reason that didn’t happen, there’s no better time than the present to dive into all that your library has to offer.

This Sunday, June 7th, is the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s 15th Annual Summer Reading Extravaganza!!  Library-loving reading-enthusiastic mobs will gather out front of the Main Library in Oakland to enjoy a variety of activities that the library staff and volunteers have planned for this exciting event. The fantastically fun theme for this year’s summer reading is “Every Hero Has a Story.” We’re hoping that you, your family and friends will learn about, meet or become your own heroes this summer with the help of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

What to look forward to this Sunday, beyond meeting some of your library staff, volunteer and Eleventh Stack blog heroes?! There will be a variety of tents and activities, including but not limited to:

  • The CLP Music Tent, where you can make your own instrument with the superheroes of The LABS
  • The CLP Tech Tent with robotics, 3D printing and iPads for display and hands-on experimentation
  • The CLP Readers Tent, where there will be Reading Games for all ages
  • The CLP Wellness Tent with Gardening Thyme planting activities and cooking demonstrations
  • The CLP Languages Tent, where you can listen to read-alouds of children’s books in non-English languages or try out a few simple phrases in a new language

We’ll also have some of the favorite regular features of our Extravaganza:

  • Library Card Sign-Up
  • HUGE Used Book Sale

And we will be joined by some of our great community partners: Eat’n Park, Balloonatic Fringe, Animal Friends, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Pittsburgh Puppet Works, Pittsburgh Musical Theater, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, Timbeleza, Geeks Danz, Larry Berger of SLB Radio Productions, Inc., WYEP and Citiparks.

Of course it wouldn’t be a summer celebration without food and drinks, would it? We’ll have snacks on hand, provided by Giant Eagle, and Franktuary, Oh My Grill, Polish Pierogi, and Rob’s Awesome Italian Ice food trucks will be there!

Be a Summer Reading Hero and stop by Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh–Main in Oakland this Sunday from 12-5.

Print

-Maria J (whose summer reading goal is to get away from the historical fiction and non-fiction she tends to read, and curl up with some cozy mysteries)

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There and Back Again: A Mentor’s Holiday, or The Labs @ CLP in Spain (Part II)

Part 2: Travelogue

(This is part 2 of a two part blog post, so check out Friday’s post to catch up!)

I don’t speak Spanish. Like many Americans, I took two years in high school and we focused on conjugation more than conversation. And though I spent the last three weeks before departing crushing it on Duolingo, I wasn’t going to get by with that level of Spanish.

Photo taken by the author.

Photo taken by the author.

So, I was happy to find that at all of my speaking engagements I either had a translator (through a headset — as did the audience) or people spoke pretty good English. Still, the week long struggle to communicate gave me a sliver of insight into what that experience must be like for immigrants to the U.S. I thought of the largely Kenyan population who attend programming at CLP – Allegheny and the Spanish speaking population in Beechview, and I thought of our Let’s Speak English programs across the system helping new immigrants get comfortable with the language as well as the other language conversation programs that empower our users to learn new languages (and natives to converse in their mother tongue).

All of this got me in the right head space to talk about the role the library and library staff play in encouraging learning and community development.

My first stop was Barcelona, where I spoke at the 6th Seminar on Public Libraries and Social Cohesion organized by the Consortium of Public Libraries of Barcelona, The Goethe Institute, the regional government of Catalonia, and the French Institute.

Corey Wittig: LABS ambassador

Corey Wittig: LABS ambassador

The event was wonderful and I immediately connected with the theme of volunteerism, which is a hot topic in Catalonia. There is a traditional belief that it is (in the words of one of the speakers) “perverse” to give volunteers any kind of incentive. This was challenged by Lluc Marti Pe of the Foundation for Catalonian Volunteers who believes that volunteerism needs to be more like the American model in order to encourage greater social engagement. I talked about CLP volunteers and all of the amazing projects they help us complete. Peer to peer mentorship through teen volunteers has always been a goal of The Labs and this perspective was welcomed by the audience.

My presentation was well received and I immediately noticed that The Labs program model (access to a low pressure informal learning space with technology and mentors to encourage learning) was foreign to Spanish library workers. But they loved it. I let them know that this was still pretty new to us in the U.S. too, and, while we’re still working out the kinks of our programming, we feel confident about the benefits and steadfast about our goals.

The presentation came to life every time I was able to work with youth in Spain. Below is a video compilation of stop-motion animation videos created by teens at a Spanish FabLab (a makerspace based on a design out of MIT where the focus is on fabricating physical artifacts). I got to work with these amazing teenagers on my second day in Spain and it gave me all the energy I needed to make it through the rest of the trip with confidence that what we teach teens in Pittsburgh is relevant and of interest to teens in other places, too.

The goal of all of my workshops was to teach basic stop-motion animation and to ask teens to create a film inspired by what it’s like to be a teen in Spain (Here’s my presentation on stop-motion, if you’re interested).

The events I spoke at in Madrid and Valencia and the workshops I provided for youth in those cities stood to further convince me of the importance of this work. Mentors make magic happen. Librarians are powerful, life-changing community members. We are all life-long learners and learning doesn’t happen in schools alone. It’s important that libraries, museums, and other community sites of informal learning also embrace what it means to be a learning space. That’s our responsibility.

People are always talking about the necessity of libraries in the 21st century. What happens when books are all digital? Well, if we aren’t about books alone, but free and open access to information and learning then we have so much we can sink our teeth into.

Sometimes we have to go away from home in order to find a connection to the place we left. I was feeling that during my trip to Spain. Talking about The Labs and CLP’s great programs and services allowed me to contextualize our mission and our values. It showed me that these lessons are universal, even if I already felt that was true.

A librarian in Madrid told me that The Labs sounded like science fiction. she said that the American model of libraries as community spaces for learning was even better than what she imagined. How great is that?

If you read this blog, you’ve probably felt that feeling.

Promotional flyer for Corey's talk.

Promotional flyer for Corey’s talk.

–Corey

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A Month in the Life of an Outreach Librarian

When I tell people that I’m a librarian, I can practically see the many stereotypical images that come to their mind in terms of what my day-to-day duties involve (and no, librarians do not get to sit around reading all day). I like to quickly dispel those stereotypes by describing all the fantastic projects that I get to be a part of thanks to my job at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, in my role of bringing a variety of services and learning opportunities to the residents of the city.

These were just some of the things that I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to do this past month alone:

soldering101

andrewcarnegiegreenscreen

I know, I know – I’ve just blown your mind! So next time you meet a librarian, you may look at us with a different image in mind – not one of someone dusting off old books, but maybe with a soldering iron in hand instead!

Maria J. –  “jack of all trades” librarian

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