More ways to watch Hoopla!

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This holiday season, relax and watch some great FREE content on Hoopla.  Now Hoopla is easier to watch with a number of different devices and streaming services. It is available on Apple TV, Android TV, Fire TV and now available on Roku Players and Roku TVs.

At this time, you can watch any items you have borrowed on the Roku channel.  If you access your account via the app or website, and borrow items, you can now watch them on the Roku channel.  Unfortunately at this time, you cannot borrow items directly from Roku through Hoopla, that must be done through the app or website.

Right now, Hoopla is featuring a number of “Best of 2017” lists including best movies of 2017 on Hoopla. Also there are two featured collections: Christmas for Kids & Hanukkah for Kids.

Browse these great collections to watch a movie with the family this holiday season!

Be sure to check out Hoopla’s help page for specific instructions on how to set Hoopla up on different devices, TVs and streaming services. 

Continue ReadingMore ways to watch Hoopla!

Extras for Educators

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A select number of Library database companies and many of the specific databases themselves provide useful extras for your educator patrons!  Perfect for the teachers and home-schoolers that depend upon Library resources to get their jobs done.

EBSCO’s Resources for Educators webpage has collection development articles, lexiles and curriculum information for it’s products.

The specific database Explora: Public Libraries’s For Educators section at the top of the page, gives access to the list below.

explora search bar

  • Lesson Plans – STEM Lessons, Geometry and American History
  • Student Tools – Student Scavenger Hunts and Search Help
  • Curriculum Standards – Searchable by State and including STEM Instructions
  • Valuable Sites for Teachers – Includes STEM info and more Lesson Plans

A Lesson Plan Template is also available for EBSCO eResources.

Science Reference Center, another EBSCO database, has a Reference Shelf with links to science experiments, citation help and more.

SIRS Discoverer, a ProQuest database covering a variety of topics, offers Educator’s Resources.

sirs discoverer

Activities, tutorials and webinars will help any educator or students with many subjects including Art, Health, Math, Science, Reading and Language.

Find Educator’s Resources at the top right corner of the SIRS Discoverer search page.

Our Gale eResources (Bio. in Context, Lit. Resource Center, Opposing Viewpoints, History in Context) deliver online extras as well.

Documents and Tools provides lesson plans, tip sheets, research help, and tutorial videos.

gale tools

And the Gale School Toolkit has Lesson Plans by database product name.

Databases are continuously updating and adding new tools to help educators.  Periodically check for new additions and don’t be afraid to provide them with feedback and suggestions!

Rob Kalchthaler / Bethel Park Public Library

Continue ReadingExtras for Educators

Freegal Announcement

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The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh first subscribed to freegal in 2012. In 2014, CLP expanded the subscription to provide access throughout Allegheny County. Throughout the course of our subscription, the user base for freegal has not continued to grow and in fact, this year the user base has declined.

CLP, with the full agreement of Downloadable and Streaming subcommittee of the county-wide Digital Resources Committee, has decided to not renew the freegal contract. This decision was based on an evaluation of the resource that considered many factors including usage and download statistics. The current contract expires on December 31, 2017. After this date, staff and patrons will no longer be able to access the freegal website.

The CLP and erec websites will be updated this week to inform patrons that this service will no longer be available starting in 2018. Libraries that host their own downloadable pages should modify the language on their page to alert their patrons that the subscription to freegal is ending at the end of December.

We have posted an updated eTips handout to reflect these changes.

We understand that some patrons who use this service may be disappointed.  However, we encourage staff members to direct patrons to Hoopla where there is a wide variety of music albums available at all times – no waiting!  Below are some talking points to share with patrons who have questions about freegal.

Talking Points:

  • While we are sorry to eliminate this resource for those people that were making use of it, the number of users was very small, making the service extremely costly.
  • We took into consideration other available services, both those available through the library (Hoopla!) and those freely available to the public.
  • Hoopla offers a great selection of complete albums, all available with no wait. The Hoopla music collection currently offers 293,866 albums including albums from popular music labels such as Verve, Atlantic Records and Def Jam Recordings.
  • We will continue exploring new ways to make music available to patrons.


A question was asked that if a patron has music only saved in the Freegal app, will they lose it. Here is the response from Freegal: 

iOS: (Apple devices)
If the user is still logged into the app after service has stopped they can continue to listen to music that’s still in the app. If they log out, or an app update forces them to log out then they will not be able to use the app to listen to their music as they won’t be able to log back in. The music will still be in the app as long as they don’t delete the app and they can transfer it.

The music is stored outside of the app and will not be deleted by removing the app. If you clear the data then the music will be lost.

In both cases it’s best for users to go ahead and backup their music in another location other than the Freegal app.

Continue ReadingFreegal Announcement

Holiday Guide

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Whether you’re ready or not, the holidays are quickly approaching!

Check out the holiday titles available through e-resources. 



With RBdigital (formerly Zinio), you can borrow and enjoy free magazines and more from your library’s digital collection.


holiday magazines


With hoopla, you can enjoy free television shows, movies, music, ebooks, audiobooks, comics, and more from your library’s digital collection.


holiday movies.png


With Freegal, you can borrow and enjoy free music downloads from your library’s digital collection. (3 free mp3’s per week.) 




Image result for overdrive icon

With OverDrive, you can borrow and enjoy free eBooks, audiobooks, and more from your library’s digital collection.






Continue ReadingHoliday Guide

Digital vs. Physical Items in Catalog

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One of our avid patrons regularly checks her account for items currently checked out, and the addition of Overdrive digital items is great, but potentially confusing.  The catalog now allows people to sort physical vs. digital items — and gives a subtotal of each type of item.


The default setting lists all items intermingled in a list, but you can choose to sort this list.   

It’s nice that digital items are now listed, but it can be maddening if you only want to know your physical items.  For example, sometimes you just need to know if you have to search all of the crevices in your car, look behind the bed again, or dig through your child’s sticky backpack!  And you know you can safely ignore the Overdrive titles that will automatically be returned, so you definitely don’t want to take time to mistakenly look for those.

 To change the setting to sort physical vs. digital items 

  • Log in to your account in the Catalog. 
  • Choose Account in the upper right (it might be the menu icon with the three horizontal bars). 
  • Choose Profile. 
  • Choose About Me. 
  • Choose the option labeled “E-Content Checkouts and Holds“. 

 Choose either:  

  • Show With Physical Items (this intermingles all of your items and is the default)
    … or …  
  • Separated from Physical Items (this sorts physical vs. digital – the sections are marked with gray boxes). 

digital vs physical items screenshots

Christy Barowich

Carnegie Library of McKeesport


Continue ReadingDigital vs. Physical Items in Catalog

Why I Like Libby!

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I was reluctant to try Overdrive’s new app, Libby, for two reasons. First of all, I thought the Overdrive app was pretty good, and secondly, I don’t like change! But now that I’ve tried it out, I note several improvements which give it an edge over the classic app.

  1. Easy toggle between “Library” and “Shelf.” This is NUMBER ONE for sure. I don’t know how many patrons I have assisted who can’t figure out how to find their library or their checkouts in the classic app, and I have to explain about the “hamburger menu” and toggling back and forth. This easy, instant tap makes it worth it for me in and of itself.
  2. Multiple library card option. For families sharing one device, this is a really nice feature. Johnny can look at his books, and then switch to Mary’s checkouts when she’s using it without having to log out & in again. Brilliant.
  3. Quick click on current read. That audiobook I was listening to is front and center, no matter where I am in the app. AND I might mention, it’ll keep playing in the background while I look for & check out the next title in the series.
  4. Speedy Gonzales! I don’t know if it’s just me, but the response and refresh speeds seem much improved with Libby.
  5. Automatic downloads. Yes. This feature makes me wonder – why did they make us go to our checkouts to download stuff in the first place? If I’m checking it out on this device, I probably want to read it on this device. And now. Note that this feature can be turned off for larger downloads or be reserved for Wi-Fi connection only, for those who are out & about and don’t want to use up their mobile data.

All these features I found on my own within a few minutes of using the app. I’m sure there is even more shiny to be discovered with use, and I encourage all those who, like me, don’t like change – give Libby a chance!

Heather Auman
Western Allegheny Community Library

Continue ReadingWhy I Like Libby!

Kindle Enhancements on OverDrive

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This week’s post is a message from OverDrive about upcoming Kindle Book format improvements:

“We are excited to preview upcoming updates to your OverDrive-powered website related to the Kindle® Book format. Working closely with Amazon, OverDrive identified opportunities to improve the discovery and borrowing experience for Kindle users. Below is a summary of the changes scheduled to launch on Monday, October 30.

  • The Kindle Book will be the first format option presented to users on the Loans page.


  • A new option will be added to the Settings page enabling users to select Kindle Book as their preferred format. If a user selects Kindle as their preference, the Kindle Book will be the presented format for titles where it is available (with the exception of OverDrive Read-along titles). Note: Users can change or reset this preference at any time.

content preferences

  • When a user filters a search to Kindle Book or borrows a Kindle Book, we will present them an option to select Kindle as their preferred format going forward (unless they already have Kindle set as their preference or have declined this selection previously).

kindle preferences

  • A new Kindle Books link will appear in the navigation menu, which will generate a search for all Kindle Books in your library’s collection, sorted by date added.

kindle books

  • We will add a new message at your OverDrive-powered website to promote the convenient options that are now available for Kindle users.
  • A Kindle link and icon will be added to your website’s footer as an additional way for users to discover Kindle.

kindle footer

We expect that the thousands of users in your community who prefer Kindle as their eBook format—whether they read on the popular Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Fire, or in the Kindle reading app on their tablet or phone—will enjoy this streamlined experience to connect them to their next great read faster.”

Continue ReadingKindle Enhancements on OverDrive

eResources for Children

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Below is a highlight of some great eResources available for kids.


AR BookFinder

With AR BookFinder, you can search for book titles based on authors, topics, titles of books, IR Levels, ATOS levels, and more!



With BookFlix, you can enjoy classic video storybooks with related nonfiction eBooks from Scholastic to build a love of reading and learning.


Little Pim

With Little Pim, you can enjoy the #1 interactive early language learning program.

Languages include: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish.


NoveList K-8 Plus

With NoveList K-8 Plus, you can find books that are just right for your reading level and interests.Parents, teachers, and librarians can also find tools to teach with books and engage young readers.


Overdrive Kids Edition

With OverDrive, you can borrow and enjoy free eBooks, audiobooks, and more from your library’s digital collection.



With POWER Kids, you search PA’s digital resources for kids including databases, photos, magazine articles and more!


TrueFlix – Scholastic

With TrueFlix, you can search for topics in science and social studies for highly-engaging multimedia resources!


Tumble Book Library

With Tumble Book Library, you can enjoy animated talking storybooks, ebooks, read-alongs, graphic novels, music, games, and more!

Continue ReadingeResources for Children

Reading History feature is live on our OverDrive site!

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With reading history, patrons can see which titles they have already read from a certain author or the last book they read in a series.


Titles are automatically added to the History page (under THREE BOOKS OVERDRIVE ) when borrowed. Each title on the History page is marked with the date of the loan or the date it was manually added. At launch, patrons will see an empty history until they borrow a title, or manually add one.

 od reading history 2

If a title is borrowed more than once, it will appear in the history multiple times.


To manually add a title, select THREE DOTS OVERDRIVE from a collection or search results page, then Add to history. Patrons can add titles they read before the start of the history, or titles read from other sources (print, purchased, etc.).

od reading history


To remove a title, go to History under My Account, select THREE DOTS OVERDRIVE for that title, then Remove from history. If a title listed more than once is removed, all instances of that title are removed from the history.


If patrons have any rated titles, they can be added to history using the Add rated titles button. If a rated title is already in history, it will not be added again.


A patron can choose to opt out of maintaining their history from Settings under My Account. If a patron opts to display their history again at a later date, they will only see titles added from that point forward.

~ Hilary Lewis Lackner, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Continue ReadingReading History feature is live on our OverDrive site!

Gale Legal Forms for your Legal Needs!

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If your patrons need some help in legal land then Gale Legal Forms is where you will want to lead them!


Gale Legal Forms offers forms for wills, power of attorney, landlord/tenant, divorce and dissolution, leases, sale of property, employment, and more.


Gale Legal Forms also provides forms customized to Pennsylvania state law, and includes forms drafted by attorneys for particular legal matters.

The search function allows you to search through three different resource types: Definitions, Law Digests, and Legal Questions and Answers.


The main page of Gale Legal Forms also has an extensive list of main form categories and allows you to choose a category and then narrow from there into a subcategory to search for you form.

At the bottom of the main page you will also find a list of sample searches – so searching yourself may not even be necessary just take a look at the sample searches and see if your form is there!

Now that you know more about Gale Legal Forms you can better assist your patrons when they are dealing with legal matters!


Northland Public Library

Continue ReadingGale Legal Forms for your Legal Needs!