Tag Archives: programs

Our Ever-Shrinking World

This past month, my family had the wonderful privilege of hosting an exchange student in our house for two weeks. In that all-too-brief stay with us, it became very clear through our interactions with this German teenager at how small our world is getting. Whether it was his very excellent English, choice in cologne or his one site-seeing request of visiting a Wal-Mart, the overwhelming evidence was there that we are indeed living in a global society and thus a shrinking world. But as enjoyable as his visit was, I didn’t need it as vindication for me. As someone who works throughout the city of Pittsburgh, I see this on almost a daily basis.

Pittsburgh has been a magnet for visitors, whether long term or short, for centuries now, and thanks in part to a great mix of travellers who have landed on the shores of our three rivers, we now can boast to be one of the “most…(pick your favorite top-ten list Pittsburgh has made it on recently)…cities” in the world. And as usual, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is right there to help the recent traveler, and those who love them, meld into this ever-present global society.

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh offers a variety of language classes and conversation salons throughout the city, including our newest program Let’s Speak English for those whose native language isn’t English and would like to learn through conversation. The conversation salons allow native English speakers to converse with experts of various foreign languages. Just click here to search our events page for language-related programming going on at a neighborhood branch near you.

In addition to these fantastic events happening, there’s also our Mango Languages online learning program. Mango Languages allows you to practice a language of your choice (there are dozens available) in the privacy of your own home, office or wherever you choose to access this resource remotely, not to mention that it’s available on the computers in the libraries throughout the city. And don’t forget about Little Pim, which is a language program specifically geared toward children. The whole family can get in on the action!

foreign language

“Language Laboratory” – A language laboratory at one of Pittsburgh’s public schools, date unknown. Courtesy of the Western PA Historical Society collection.

Whether you want to brush up on your English, German, French or any number of other languages, your local Library is a great place to start your own personal journey through our global society.

-Maria J. (who failed miserably at Latin in high school, but is getting her Pittsburghese dahn pretty well.)

 

8 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Perspective, As Seen from a Corner of the Library

CLP - Desk

It’s a Sunday afternoon and I’m writing this from an undisclosed nook of CLP-Main.  It’s a spectacularly gorgeous (and busy) weekend in Oakland; across the street, a few thousand (give or take) capped-and-gowned bright-eyed job hopefuls are graduating from the University of Pittsburgh.  A kids event is taking over Schenley Plaza.

In the midst of this, the Library is quite the happenin’ place, too.  We have an abundance of people here.

World Kaleidoscope is presenting Alba Flamenca, and they’re warming up for their 2 p.m. performance in the Quiet Reading Room. Families are arriving for Sensory Storytime. People, including myself, are using their Library cards to access the Library’s free Wi-Fi. A librarian is helping a student find information for a research paper that’s due “sometime this week.”

And this is all just on the First Floor.

I’m tucked away in a corner of the Library on a Sunday because, for the second weekend in a row, my daughter is participating in one of our creative writing programs for teens. This is a new experience for her:  learning to write in a different genre (and, God willing, perhaps about something other than the lads of One Direction), having her work critiqued by her peers and learning how to dole out constructive criticism, and meeting new people from different schools and backgrounds.  The workshop is giving her the chance to learn new skills and broaden her horizons – all the things that, in my development job with the Library, I tell people we do every day.

Powered up with my laptop and fueled by my Crazy Mocha coffee, this doesn’t feel like hanging out at my workplace on a weekend. Far from it. In a way, being at the Library incognito as a patron instead of a staff member gives me a different point of view of the Library.  My work hours typically fall during the week, which is why I don’t normally have a chance to see the Library the way I’m doing this afternoon.

In many ways not much is different. It’s still the same Library, of course, but it’s also a reminder to me of the possibilities that CLP offers to all of us in so many ways, regardless of the day.  Whether it’s reading a new genre, listening to a new type of music, or attending a program, it’s always possible to expand one’s horizons … or to remember to look at the same thing you see everyday from a new perspective.

CLP - Stacks

~Melissa F.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Because Poetry

Happy National Poetry Month!

Spotted at Jennifer Grassman's blog - click through for a 2014 poetry writing challenge.

Spotted at Jennifer Grassman’s blog – click through for a 2014 poetry writing challenge.

Occasionally I wonder if we should call poetry something else, like lexicography gymnastics or maybe the grand sensual buffet. Something sexier, peppier, less likely to make people break out in hives. People who love poetry see the word quite differently of course. It even sounds different: all those uninhibited vowels floating around (broad o, bridge of eh, musical tweet of ee), anchored solely by p and t, with the r kind of gliding by, like the tail of a kite. Just enough consonants to hang on to, sturdy fence posts in a windstorm.

Hm. Maybe we should stick with “poetry” a little longer: like a bracing spring gale, it has hopeful possibilities.

Every year or so I make a case for exploring poetry. This year, though, I’m taking the next step and writing my way through the exercises in The Poet’s Companion. It’s messy, joyful, splendid work, and if you’re ready too, there are a whole lot of other books to guide and inspire you. If you’re not quite there yet (never say never),  the Academy of American Poets has other suggestions for celebrating National Poetry Month, including celebrating “Poem in Your Pocket Day” (April 18) and playing Exquisite Corpse, which not only sounds edgy and dangerous, but is also guaranteed to rescue any meeting stretching into its third hour, provided you can find some co-conspirators.

Here are some other ways you can explore poetry in April, and all year ’round:

  • 3 Poems By… is a great opportunity to be social with other poetry-curious folks, and try a poet on for size with small chunks of her/his work. This month’s discussion spotlights Edna St. Vincent Millay, the “First Fig” fraulein; e-mail newandfeatured at carnegielibrary dot org to get the scoop, and the poems.
  • Curious about how poetry intersects with the mundane world? Don’t forget Sam Hazo’s presentation, Poetry and Public Speech, on April 7th, 2014, 6-8 p.m.
  • Consult the Pittsburgh Literary Calendar to find a reading that’s convenient for you. You’ll be surprised and pleased at how much diversity and range there is on the local poetry scene.
  • Pressed for time, but have your phone with you? Download some poetry from our Overdrive digital collection. Busy Apple users can also download the Poem Flow app and share the communal reading experience of a new poem every day.
  • Countless options for streaming and recorded poetry online abound, both on the free web and via the Library’s subscription to Naxos Spoken Word Library (valid card number required for login). Bonus: NPR’s Music and Metaphor has just kicked off its 2014 Poetry Month programming.
  • Shake up your perceptions of what poetry is by flirting with cowboy poetry! You know you want to. We’ll never tell.
  • Like videos? You can watch everyday people reading their favorite poems at the Favorite Poem Project.
  • More of the research and facts type? Check out this report on the state of poetry in America.

And, of course, we’d be thrilled if you’d consider stopping by the library to meet the poets in person, as it were. Introduce yourself to Yona Harvey, Nikky Finney, David Whyte, Rumi, Sonia Sanchez, anybody whose cover art looks interesting, or whose titles grab you. Go for an anthology, so you can meet a whole lot of poets at one time. Keep throwing things against your heart to see what sticks. Borrow then as audiobooks, Playaways, or DVDs, and don’t forget that musicians can be poets too.

Just don’t let National Poetry month go by without giving it a teensy bit of a whirl. Because poetry is for kidsadults, and teens, working people and retirees. Because poetry covers every single point on the erotic spectrum, and is produced by as many different kinds of people as there are in the world (and, sometimes, their cats). Because…well, why not?

Because poetry.

–Leigh Anne

who promises she won’t corner you in the elevator and ask your opinion on drafts

13 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

I Resolve… to Swap Seeds!

In late 2013, I found myself drunk with possibility.  So long, stinky 2013!  It’s time for  a new year!   A new life!  I concocted about 100 new year’s resolutions.   Start rock climbing!  Paddle board all summer! Learn to kayak! Eat a ridiculously clean diet!  Plant and grow more food!  Read 52 books!  Purchase all clothes second hand! Fix up the bike and ride it everyday! Cook dinner at home every night! Remember every niece and nephew’s birthday! Be a better person!  Stop eating so much cheese! Have never-ending patience! Do more yoga! Train your dogs  to not act bananas!  Slow down! Quit caffeine!

You may have guessed that my list was a little too long and ambitious. The new year hit and I realized that I needed to manage my expectations.  Sadly, I can’t do it all.  Maybe I wouldn’t want to –  who wants a life without caffeine?  So, first step: whittle down the list to my priorities.  Second step: learn how to make things happen. I did what any linguistic learner would do. I read some helpful articles and blog posts about how to actually make resolutions work.  It’s all about systems and support, my friends!

I broke down my resolutions into manageable chunks, and have hacked away at them by asking for support and by creating systems that I can use to tweak my schedule. It’s almost spring, so  now the focus is on things I can do outside. I am going to build my gardening skills. Luckily, I work at the Library, which offers  a plethora of tools to do just that.  We have a great collection of gardening and cookbooks.  We also have actual gardens and a seed library.  And we have programs to help us become better, more sustainable gardeners.  On Saturday, March 15th, in collaboration with Grow Pittsburgh and Phipps Conservatory, we will offer our second annual Seed Swap.  This is a great way to get you motivated for the gardening season.  In addition to the actual swapping of seeds, there will be workshops. We’ll have a seed starting workshop at 12 pm and a seed saving workshop at 1pm next door in the Oversize Room.

So don’t get overwhelmed by resolutions or by the fear of finding a way to work gardening into your schedule.  All you must do is come to the library.  We have you covered with the support you need to become a great gardener.

Happy swapping!

Holly

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

We’re Going Big with the Big Read

The Big Read is a nationwide celebration of reading, and locally the initiative is spearheaded by CCAC.  It is a “month-long series of free outreach events designed to promote literacy, reading and open dialogue within our community.”  The Library can definitely get behind this mission, and as such we have a schedule chock-full of events to celebrate this year’s book, The Things They Carried.

This is a beautifully rendered story about the Vietnam War, and the library is working within this theme to present talks, discussions, and film screenings on themes related to veterans.  Below is a well-rounded list of options!  Many of the book discussions will have free copies of the book to give away, courtesy of CCAC.

Beechview

3/6/2014. 6-8 pm Dr. Todd DePastino

 Todd is co-founder and director of the Veterans Breakfast Club, a nonprofit organization dedicated to gathering veterans of all eras and generations together to share their stories of service. Todd will tell extraordinary WWII stories of veterans living in the region and his quest to preserve and celebrate them.

Carrick

3/11/2014, 6-7 pm Book Discussion 

Tuesday Evening Books Presents: a book discussion of The Things They Carried

3/25/2014, 6-8 pm Vietnam War Documentary

Downtown and Business

3/18/2014, 12:15 pm Return With Honor documentary

American Experience examines the lives of American pilots who became prisoners of war in Vietnam and describes their struggles in captivity.  This documentary includes rare footage of prison camps and captured prisoners.  Narrated by Tom Hanks.  Presented by PBS.

Hill District

3/18/2014 1 pm Tuskegee Airmen: A Neighborhood Legacy.

Join a discussion and film on historic Tuskegee Airmen, focusing especially on those men and women from the Hill District community.

Lawrenceville

3/11/2014, 7 pm Buzz: Pairings: The Things They Carried Book Discussion

 On 3/11, we’ll discuss The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien at the Lawrenceville Library. On 3/25/14, we’ll discuss Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers  at a neighborhood location. Check http://clpbookbuzz.wordpress.com for more information.

3/29/14, 2-5 pm Classic Film

Watch and discuss a classic film about a young man who volunteers to fight but quickly discovers that the Viet Cong are not his greatest enemies. This academy award winning film is rated R and includes extreme violence and language. Participation in this program is limited to individuals aged 18 and up.

Main, First Floor

3/13/2013 6:30-7:45 pm The Things They Carried Book Discussion

Bound  Together is a collaborative book discussion. In March, we’ll  discuss The Things They Carried at the Carnegie Museum of Art, with some views of the Carnegie International to boot.

4/17/2014 1 & 6 pm  Books in the Afternoon

Books in the Afternoon will feature discussions of The Things They Carried.

Mt. Washington

3/13/2014 7:00 pm  The Big Read in Pittsburgh:  The Things They Carried.

Mt. Washington will host a lively book discussion.

Woods Run

3/11/2014 11:30 am Book Discussion of  The Things They Carried

Copies will be available at the circulation desk.  Refreshments will be served.

Happy Big Reading!

Holly

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Let’s Go to Work

Starting today, and running through the end of October, the Library is hosting a pretty cool series called WORKshops: Developing Your Career.

We’ll have representatives on hand from UPMC, Giant Eagle, and College Nannies + Tutors to offer up tips and tricks for navigating their application and hiring processes. (Keep in mind that these are not recruitment events, just an opportunity to get really good information!)

The sessions will be held at the following locations: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Main (Job & Career Education Center), CLP — Downtown and BusinessCLP — Hill DistrictCLP — HomewoodCLP — Pop-upCLP — Squirrel Hill, and CLP — Woods Run.

And whether you need to start from scratch or just make some updates, check out a few of these resume books…

  

 

– Jess

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

National Night Out @ Your Library

National Night Out is an event  held all over the country.  It is designed to get people out of their houses and into their communities, to meet their neighbors and promote public safety.  And also, sometimes to accomplish these things, there must be root beer floats. This year it’s the 30th anniversary, and the Library is joining Pittsburgh in celebration, with activities at libraries all over the city!

At the Main Library in Oakland, we’re planning a Root Beer Float Social on the Library Lawn, and inviting all those who work, play, visit, live in, or just love the neighborhood.

Join the festivities, hang by our community garden,* create a superhero cape, listen to some music, meet your neighbors and more!

You can learn more about community building at the Library of course, with books like Pocket Neighborhoods.

*Rain location: First Floor of the Library

Hope to see you out and about on National Night Out!

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized