Tag Archives: MP3

Presents You Can Open Early: Zinio and Freegal

We are as pleased as punch to present two new digital library services that will rock your world!

That’s not hyperbole. Although librarians remain staunch defenders of the printed word (think Nicholson Baker, but cuter), we also love digital tools that extend the library’s reach beyond its walls, and we actively seek out new products and services that will help you experience the library better (just another one of those invisible tasks we’re up to all day).  This month the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh debuted two new eCLP services that expand our magazine and music offerings in fun ways; here’s a peek at what they are and how they work.


What it is: A collection of 300 magazine titles that you can read on your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone (huray for apps!). The collection covers a broad range of topics including cooking, news/current events, fitness, gaming, crafts, and tattoos (yes, really).

Who can use it: Library cardholders in good standing from any Allegheny County library.

How you sign up: First-time Zinio users should visit the eNewsstand page to start the sign-up process and choose which titles they’d like to read.

When you’ll receive your magazines: After you’ve created your library and Zinio accounts, and subscribed to your titles, you’ll receive a new e-mail from Zinio every time there’s a new issue of your magazines (so, monthly for monthlies, weekly for weeklies, etc.).

Where to get help: The Zinio User Guide and video tutorial can both walk you through sign-up and service use, or you can ask a helpful library worker.

Why you won’t see all your favorite publications: Much as with e-books, some magazine publishers are reluctant to sell digital content to libraries. The library’s subscription includes as much available content as we could provide.

Things to Watch Out For: The two-step sign-up process can be confusing if you’re not used to registering for online services, so please take advantage of the help features. Also, Zinio has magazine subscriptions for sale that are not part of the library’s collection, so if you ever see prices or requests for payment information, that means the title is not part of the CLP subscription.

The bottom line: If you don’t mind a little set-up work on the front end, Zinio is a great way to sample new magazines risk-free. I personally love the high quality of the scanned images, and the ability to tweak certain screen features for readability. Most publications even let you print pages, if you’re so inclined. Recommended for people who love to read magazines, but don’t always have time to come hang out in the library.

Fluffy loves reading Audubon Magazine on Zinio. Spotted at VentureBeat

Fluffy loves reading Audubon Magazine on Zinio. Spotted at VentureBeat


What it is: A free and legal (see what they did there?) way to get your hands on over 3 million songs, including the entire Sony Music catalog.

Who can use it: Anybody with a card in good standing from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

How you sign up: Visit the eCLP Music page and log in with your library card number and PIN. That’s it!

Where to find music: Freegal’s landing page offers a variety of browsing options, including “Featured Albums,” “Recent Downloads,” “Genres” (from a capella to zydeco!), “A-Z Artist Browsing”, and “The National Top 100.” Looking for something specific? You can do a simple search from the main page, or select Advanced Search for more detailed options.

When you’ll hit your download limit: Freegal allows library users to download a total of 3 songs per week. In an age of instant gratification, that might seem maddening, but remember: your music doesn’t cost you a penny, and there’s no pesky DRM to deal with either (some things are worth waiting for).

Where to get help: There’s an extensive FAQ that covers everything from transferring music to iTunes or Windows Media Player, downloading to your desktop, and using the Freegal app, should you so desire. As ever, your friendly neighborhood library workers will be happy to help.

Why you can’t find your favorite artist: Only certain record labels have agreed to work with Freegal. You can keep current with their latest offerings by checking out the “News” section while you’re logged in.

Things to watch out for: If a song has been covered by a tribute band, you might find that version in Freegal along with the original – double-check to make sure a song is really what you want before you use up a download. Also, advanced searches are far more precise than simple ones, so if you’re really jonesing for a specific tune, hit the advanced search first.

The bottom line: Search quirks and delayed gratification issues aside, Freegal is a terrific way to beef up your music library. The range of available genres is eclectic enough to suit every mood, and I’m pleasantly surprised by how many popular artists and songs I’m finding, too.

Ehrmegerd, The Mountain Goats are on Freegal! Still shot of an animated .gif

Ehrmegerd, The Mountain Goats are on Freegal! Still shot of an animated .gif

We hope you like your library gifts, and that you’ll not only open them early, but use them often! If you’ve tried the services, and have questions or other feedback, please leave a comment.

–Leigh Anne


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Hey there, iPod users!

Have we got news for you – Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh now offers iPod compatible downloadable audio books! And there was much rejoicing!

To see what’s available, start at our downloadable audio books page, and choose either OverDrive or NetLibrary

Some of OverDrive’s new MP3 titles are listed at the top of their page – there’s also a handy link that you can click to see a complete list. Right now, we have 123 MP3 titles for your listening pleasure!

Lost Boys     Killshot     His Illegal Self     Kafka On The Shore     Dave Barry Is Not Making This Up

The NetLibrary titles are a little trickier to find. Once you’ve logged in to the site, click on the Advanced Search link that’s just below the drop-down menu for the basic search. When you reach the advanced search page, scroll down to the Format section, check eAudiobooks and select MP3 from the drop-down menu. It’s worth the effort though, as you’ll find a list of 753 different MP3 titles that are available to anyone at any time!

Book Cover     Book Cover     Book Cover     Book Cover     Book Cover

As you can see, the NetLibrary covers are not as exciting as the OverDrive covers. But we still love them anyway.

All of our downloadable audio books are completely free to anyone who has a valid Allegheny county library card. If you have any questions or problems, just email us at eaudio@carnegielibrary.org and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. We promise.

Happy listening!

– Amy


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The rectangle is the new circle.

When people come up to the Film & Audio Department looking for audiobooks, I know that there’s a whole litany of questions I’ll have to ask before we can find that special book for them.

The first question is always, “What kind of audiobook were you looking for?” I’m trying to find out if they’d like fiction or nonfiction, mysteries or science fiction – helpful librarian stuff like that. 

Unfortunately, the answer that I usually get is, “The kind that you listen to in the car.” Now I know that I have to try a different approach.

“Okay,” I respond. “Cassettes or CDs?” This question is usually effective. They pick a format, and off we go. But sometimes I am met with a confused stare. That leads us to the next question, and eventually, to the subject of this post.

“Right,” I reply. “Would you like a rectangle or a circle?” I make the appropriate shape with my hands (for the visual learners), and away we go.

“Oh! Rectangle! I mean, cassette!” or “Circles, I mean CDs, please.” And from there we get into fiction, nonfiction, how long is your trip, is your grandmother or six year-old in the car with you, all of them very important things.

You see, when I first started working with audiovisual materials, the library was just getting into the book-on-cassette thing. There was even a time when I spent a good part of my day splicing broken cassette tapes (and now I can splice almost anything). But a few years later, we switched to the book-on-CD thing, and there was much rejoicing. We were cutting edge! CDs are shiny and round and awesome! Look at us!

Now we still purchase audiobooks on CD, but we’re exploring new formats: we also carry Playaways, which are compact MP3 players preloaded with a complete book, and we offer two different downloadable audiobook services through Overdrive and NetLibrary – just download the book you want and put it on your MP3 player! It’s cutting-edge enough to make a brave librarian weep.

So you see (or hear, in this case)  how we’ve come back to where we started. From cassettes (rectangles) to CDs (circles) and now to Playaways and MP3 players (rectangles once more), there’s an audiobook format out there for everyone.



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