Tackling the Issues

It’s a presidential election year, which means hot topic political issues are being discussed and debated.  Not just by the candidates but also our library users young and old.

This might be a good opportunity to tell people about Opposing Viewpoints in Context to get up to speed on both sides of the important issues.  Opposing Viewpoints presents viewpoints from all sides of issues like: minimum wage, national security, global warming, racism, and many more.

They make the information easy to find by organizing it by topic and featuring timely, well written viewpoints, biographies, and statistics.

Have an informed opinion and go beyond commenting on a candidate’s hair and outfit!

Dustin Shilling, Sewickley




Zinio For Kids

I recently had a patron come in and ask for the children’s magazine Cricket. We do not carry that at our library, but I was able to point her in the right direction. But that got me thinking about children’s magazines and my collection. Upon doing a little research on the databases, I found that Zinio has a section on their site for kid’s magazines – including Cricket and their other publications for the different ages.

This is not something I had thought about and it’s not a database that I was marketing to the younger patrons. But I am now!


Here is the flyer that I created to hang in our children’s section. Please feel free to use it as an example for your own library. If you would like the file to edit – please email me at bollandg@einetwork.net.



So next time you have young patrons looking for magazines – send them over to Zinio!



Robinson Library

Common Sense Media

This week’s Virtual Lexicon entry is about Common Sense Media (commonsensemedia.org). It is a freely accessible reliable resource that I cannot believe I have lived so many years without! I’m admitting my ignorance here, but yes, I never heard about it until I was in a meeting collaborating on a Digital Citizenship project with our local school districts.  Common Sense takes the approach of “sanity, not censorship” and as a librarian, I can definitely get behind that! Their mission:

Common Sense is the leading independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology. We empower parents, teachers, and policymakers by providing unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools to help them harness the power of media and technology as a positive force in all kids’ lives.

Because I am a completely honest person, I should also tell you this website is overwhelming!  It’s filled to the gills with information for parents, teachers, and kids. There is even a “Latino” option. Prepare yourself.

Having only recently discovered the glory that is Common Sense Media, I can’t go into all of the aspects of the website, so I thought I would give you my top 5 favorite things:

  1. Reviews. The reviews cover Movies, Games, Apps, Websites, TV Shows, Books, and Music. Each entertainment type offers valuable filters to maximize your search.
  2. Common Sense Education’s K-12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum. Designed to be used as part of a school curriculum, lessons can be downloaded and used individually. They can be easily adapted for use at home.
  3. #DeviceFreeDinner. This is a challenge from Common Sense. In addition to offering tons of information about the good parts of technology, the website also has suggestions and data about when to unplug.
  4. “Best of” Lists. Yes, I love the reviews, but I love the “Best of” even more. I don’t always have time to sift through the information. It’s like the New York Times Bestseller list for parents!
  5. Family Guides: Essential TV. I’m not a TV person. I need someone to tell me there is such a thing as “essential TV’- I finally found someone to do it! (Thanks, Common Sense!)

I really cannot say enough about this website. Just trust me and go check it out.

Alexis Rittenberger

Northland Public Library

Ancestry Library Edition

Ancestry Library Edition is a wonderful resource offered for free by the library.  By offering patrons access to 7,000 databases and billions of records, it can help support research into local history and genealogy.   Ancestry Library is available to patrons only at the library.  That is good thing because it compels people to come to the library to see all the other wonderful things we offer.

Ancestry is easy for patrons to use.   It has an intuitive search interface, detailed search indexes and helpful tools.  Patrons can search through records such as:

  • Birth, Marriage, Death and Military Records
  • Tax, Criminal, Land and Wills
  • Stories, Memories, Histories and Pictures
  • City, School, and Church Directors and Histories
  • Newspapers, Maps, Atlases and Gazettes

ProQuest has some YouTube training videos.  They are nice and short, so you can share them with your patrons.  Here is the link:  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-aFAdxOSTDcpY0OQQoffKmX2AEjpUYUP

Instead of paying for an Ancestry subscription, our library edition is a great alternative for patrons.

Lisa DeLucia, Upper St. Clair Library








Promoting eMagazines with Your Print Collection

A simple way to promote eMagazines is along with your actual print display.  Many of the magazines that we have in print are also available through Overdrive and Zinio.  Our library has placed a small sign with each magazine on display that may also be checked out in a digital format.  For those patrons who love eMagazines this is a nice reminder that their favorite magazines may also be found on their device.  For those patrons who are unaware of eMagazines it’s an eye-opener. Download an easy template HERE.


Other marketing and promotional resources and templates may also be found at the Overdrive site — resources.overdrive.com.





OverDrive – Tips & Tricks

As much as I use OverDrive both personally and helping patrons, I find myself still discovering more ways to have a better experience with OverDrive. Here are a few that may be of use to you and your patrons.

  • IMG_1851OverDrive History: On certain devices in the OverDrive app, under your menu there is a section that is “History.” This feature only keeps track of your history with OverDrive on that specific device.  Additionally you can delete these titles off and remove them from your history two different ways: 1. Under the history tab, you can select different titles and remove them individual or all at once. 2. Under the Settings Tab, you can select clear device history.  According to the OverDrive help page, OverDrive does not have access to your history and it is only for your personal use.
  • Filter by Subject: Often when I am assisting a patron with Capture
    OverDrive, they just want to browse as opposed to searching for a specific author or title.  On the left-hand side of the page there is a way to filter by subject.  While this fields a lot of results, it is an easy way for patrons to have a more specific browsing experience and may help to jog their memory of a title or author they would like to investigate further.  Another way you can filter by subject is at the top of the page, clicking the “View More…” link, sends you to a list of different subjects as well.  While there are a number of ways to help patrons browse on OverDrive, these two are incredibly user-friendly and ones they can do easily on their own.

Pam Calfo – Baldwin

Hamilton Fever!

Alexander Hamilton. A Founding Father who is every where these days. Sure, you see him on your $10 bill all of the time. But lately, Hamilton is just about the hottest celebrity.  Why? Well, it’s all thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda and his modern musical hit.

Perhaps you watched the Grammy Awards and saw the cast of Hamilton perform the show’s opening number live. Maybe you’ve seen pieces about the musical and its creator on Sunday morning television or perhaps you’ve read one of the countless articles about it. Either way, it’s the hottest Broadway ticket in years and everything about the show has entered pop culture officially.

History, Music, Hip-Hop, Rap Battles, Love Stories, War, Duels and One Incredible Story.

Nothing like this has ever been done before and it’s just about blowing minds all over the globe. The Grammy Awards were really the first time most Americans were able to see what all the fuss was about and it’s so protected that a legal video of the performance is not available on YouTube, but you can head over to Vulture to watch the official CBS video.

Can you feel the energy and excitement?


The Hamilton Soundtrack

Believe it or not, Hamilton didn’t make its Broadway debut until August 2015. But tickets are sold out, prices are high, and every day a lottery is hosted where hundreds of people enter to try and win free tickets to show. How many tickets do they give out at each performance? Just twelve. But the Grammy-award winning soundtrack is at the library just waiting for you! After one listen you’ll be sucked into the story of our “Founding Father without a Father” and even if hip-hop isn’t your usual cup of tea, you’ll soon have favorite tracks on repeat and be singing along in no time. With Hoopla you don’t even have to wait for it. You can have hip-hop and American history right at your fingers immediately. Once you become addicting to the musical’s fast-paced and gut-wrenching songs, you can read all about the making of the broadway hit by reading Lin-Manual Miranda’s Hamilton book and see real-life photos of the actors and the stage.

 Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

One of the best things about Hamilton the musical is just how much you’ll learn as you’re listening to the music tell his story. Just how did a Broadway composer know so much about a Founding Father? Well, he started here. Chernow’s 2004 biography of Alexander Hamilton is the basis of the musical. In fact, this book is the first full-length biography ever written about Hamilton and spans the life of Hamilton from his boyhood in the Caribbean to his untimely death by duel. Pick up the book as you listen (or before) and you’ll surely impress friends, family, and office mates with your in-depth knowledge of Alexander and America’s birth.  You can also check out a digital audio version of the book .  digitally too.

The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay

One of the ways you can tell you’ve officially caught Hamilton fever is that you’re eager to dive deep into history and learn more about America’s birth than just what you learned in high school. Originally published anonymously, The Federalist Papers first appeared in 1787 as a series of letters to New York newspapers exhorting voters to ratify the proposed Constitution of the United States. You probably remember learning a little bit about them as a student and might even remember that there were 85 of these letters. But one of the very first facts I learned after listening to the Hamilton Soundtrack is that John Jay got sick after writing just five, James Madison composed 29 letters, but Alexander Hamilton wrote the other 51! Many copies of The Federalist Papers are available through the library collection as they have been studied and debated throughout generations.

It’s a rare moment when a musical enters our pop culture lexicon with such force. Hamilton doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon and you might be surprised to find how much you enjoy the history lessons along with the music…even if musicals and hip-hop aren’t normally what you listen to. And if you find yourself caught up in Hamilton fever? Raise your glass to freedom!