October 2, 2013 · 5:00 am
There’s so much to see and do at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh that no two days here are ever alike. A child’s day at the library could be a day of story time, a day of origami, or maybe just a day with that special grown-up, picking out books and movies to share later at home. Teens can choose to have a day of gaming, a day of homework help, or maybe just a day to curl up in a beanbag chair and think for a little while.
Infinite possibilities abound for adults, too: maybe today is the day you’ll start taking steps toward your new career, learn a new language, enjoy a film or concert, brush up on your computer skills. Today could be a day of unwinding after work with a refreshing beverage and a magazine, or the day you start researching your family history. The choices are abundant, and they are yours.
Of course, thanks to the wonders of technology, you can have a day with the library, even if you’re not physically at the library. A day with the library can mean a day of downloading e-books/movies/music/magazines, getting homework help, working on your research paper, learning new technology skills, or reading library blogs, either on your desktop/laptop, or via the library app on your mobile device/tablet.
Tomorrow, Thursday October 3rd, is Pittsburgh’s Day of Giving, hosted by the Pittsburgh Foundation. If you and yours have enjoyed days of literacy and learning at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, we hope you’ll consider making a donation to support our continued activities in these areas.
Click the image above to learn more, or continue reading below!
This year’s Day of Giving runs from 12:00 a.m. – 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, October 3rd, 2013. During that time period, any donation of $25 or more to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh via the PittsburghGives website will be partially matched by the Pittsburgh Foundation (to learn the ins and outs of exactly how that works, click here). Your contribution helps us continue to provide:
- More than 10,000 free programs, classes, and other learning/training opportunities.
- A collection of more than 5 million items, including books, CDs, movies, digital downloads, and more.
- Computer-based and wireless internet access in all library locations.
- Professional librarians and other trained library workers, to help meet your information needs.
- Meeting spaces for community groups.
- Homework help for children, teens and adults.
- An extensive suite of electronic resources that takes you behind the paywall of many academic / professional journals.
- Resources for job-seekers.
- Much, much more!
If you have questions about supporting the library on the Day of Giving, contact Charla Irwin-Buncher at 412-622-1873, or by e-mail at buncherc at carnegielibrary dot org (humans only, no spambots please!). Thank you in advance for making our day by making days at (and with) the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh last longer, and go further.
with a tip of the hat to 10,000 Maniacs
August 23, 2012 · 5:00 am
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.
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Tagged as books, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, class of 2016, computers, concerts, DVDs, eBooks, free, fun, job searching, learning, LeighAnne, movies, smarts
December 29, 2011 · 5:00 am
Today’s Eleventh Stack post is our 1,000th published essay. That’s 1,000 days of book, music and film recommendations, fun facts about library programs and services, and interesting intellectual detours. To celebrate, we’ve put together a short booklist of library items with the number 1,000 somewhere in their titles or descriptions.
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (Don)
1000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz (Maria)
Music for Lute-Harpsichord by J.S. Bach (including BWV 1000, Fugue in G minor) (Julie)
Where the Birds Are: A Travel Guide to Over 1,000 Parks, Preserves, and Sanctuaries by Robert J. Dolezal (Julie)
One Thousand Nights and Counting: Selected Poems by Glyn Maxwell (Tony)
1,000 Steampunk Creations: Neo-Victorian Fashion, Gear, and Art by Joey Marsocci (Don)
The next one thousand years : the selected poems of Cid Corman by Cid Corman (Don)
The Arabian nights, or, Tales told by Sheherezade during a thousand nights and one night retold by Brian Alderson ; illustrated by Michael Foreman (Joelle)
The best of Mel Blanc [sound recording] : man of 1000 voices. (Joelle)
One Thousand New York Buildings, by Jorg Brockmann (Scott)
1,000 Mitzvahs: How Small Acts of Kindness Can Heal, Inspire and Change Your Life, by Linda Cohen (Leigh Anne)
Patternreview.com: 1,000 Clever Sewing Shortcuts and Tips, by Deepika Prakash (Leigh Anne)
Star Wars: 1,000 Collectibles, by Stephen J. Sansweet (Leigh Anne)
That’s just one tiny sample from a field of nearly 1500 items, so don’t hesitate to browse the catalog for more fun reading, listening, and viewing options. And thanks for reading along with us; we promise to make the next 1,000 posts just as fun, adventurous and enlightening.
the Eleventh Stack blog team
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Tagged as 1000, books, Eleventh Stack, films, fun, information, learning, libraries, milestones, music, professionals, programs
October 14, 2011 · 5:00 am
What do Urban Mommies, a famous Froggy, and a local mystery maven have in common? They’ll all be making an appearance at Read to the People, the 24-hour read-a-thon that begins today at noon. That’s right: 144 volunteer readers, including many local celebrities, signed up for a collective 1,440 minutes of reading out loud to raise awareness of the Our Library, Our Future voter initiative. That’s 24 hours of library love. Makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over.
I’m biased, of course. But, quite frankly, even if I didn’t work here, I’d still visit every day. For starters, you’d better believe I’d be getting my money’s worth from the library. The amount of money I save on books alone is so embarrassingly high I’m surprised it’s not illegal: $850 per every fifty books checked out on my card. That makes the cost of a Donor Plus membership look, by comparison, decidedly affordable. Add in the value of free internet access, free magazines and research journals, free cultural/educational programming, and all the other free perks that come with library membership? I’d be a fool not to spend my time here (especially if I were actually searching for a new job).
It’s the intangibles that matter most to me, though, namely my emotional attachment to the library as a palace of letters and light. Illusory though it may be, it comforts me to think that, in our frazzled, consumption-driven world, there is still one place where any citizen may go and be treated with courtesy and respect. One haven where, if they’re willing to work and learn, people can teach themselves anything they care to know. A sanctuary that values both quiet spaces and noisy, cheerful, collaborative ones. A place for children to dream and explore, and for adults to remember how to dream and explore. A safe space to navigate the sometimes muddy waters of being a teen (and, of course, to have fun while doing so). A place where, no matter how many times you’ve failed, you can always start over.
As lovely as all that sounds, I know that libraries can’t sustain themselves on dreams and illusions. They need you: your time, your ear, your voice, your donations, your vote. That’s why I’m part of the volunteer crew staying up all night for Read to the People: I love the library so much, I’m not content to be with it in the daytime. I’m going to stay up all night to support it, and so are a lot of your friends and neighbors. Won’t you join us?
In conjunction with the brouhaha, Eleventh Stack will update frequently this weekend with photos and short posts about read-aloud festivities. You can also get read-aloud tidbits on Facebook and Twitter, and participate virtually by retweeting and sharing links and photos in your social networks. Spread the word, and we hope to see you soon, either outside or online!
serendipitously celebrating nine years of library employment today
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Tagged as #read1440, books, democracy, equal opportunity, knowlege, learning, LeighAnne, letters, libraries, light, literacy, Our Library Our Future, Read to the People, social justice, sustainable funding, The Kinks, Wisdom
May 14, 2010 · 6:30 am
Another academic year may be coming to an end, but that’s no excuse to stop learning. Personally, I’m going to take some time this summer to dig into the vast store of knowledge found in the Great Courses Series, a collection of recorded lectures given by great teachers on myriad topics that we have available for free in our Film and Audio Department. Here are some highlights:
Exploring the Roots of Religion with John R. Hale, Professor of Archaelogy at University of Louisville
War and World History with Jonathan P. Roth, Professor of History at San Jose State University
Masterpieces of Short Fiction with Michael Krasny, Professor of English at San Francisco State University
Earth’s Changing Climate with Richard Wolfson, Professor of Physics at Middlebury College
Other great free sources of learning worth exploring are MIT’s OpenCourseWare program, and Harvard University’s Open Learning Initiative. Each of these sites offers free course materials from actual classes taught at MIT and Harvard.
All of this open access to higher education makes me feel bad for Jude the Obscure, that sad character of Thomas Hardy’s who wanted nothing more than a university education, but was restricted from it by the powers that be. Happily, these days anyone can use the public library to tap the great minds of academe.
January 15, 2010 · 5:00 am
“Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest.”
—Lady Bird Johnson
With all the attention libraries have received in recent months, I have been thinking back on decades behind the reference desk. I arrived at a time when paper books were the norm. Many of the books we used to answer people’s questions didn’t even have indexes, so we perused their contents page by page. Experienced staff laboriously created and maintained homemade records, clipping, indexing, and filing, while passing on wisdom orally to younger generations. Smaller libraries, with limited collections, had to call even to find out if we had a particular title on the shelf.
The internet, of course, has changed the very nature of the reference process. People are able to do more basic research at home–including students with full-text access to many magazine articles. As in the past, reliability of resources must be considered and librarians are turned to for help in answering more complex problems, or for recommendations.
Today, as more and more experienced librarians retire, we are encouraged that a new generation of energetic, technically-minded and enthusiastic young people are choosing the profession. One day, in the all-too-near future, I shall walk out the door for the last time to begin the final phase of my life. When that happens, I shall take with me the memory of many fine co-workers over the decades and an amazement at the human mind’s endless questioning and desire to know.
To quote Samuel Johnson, “Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind.”
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Tagged as books, card catalog, curiosity, indexes, learning, librarians, libraries, Patience, reference, research, retirement, technology