eResource Challenge Lite #3

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We’re kicking off the new year with a new eResource Challenge!

confettiBefore we get to this month’s scenario, we want to congratulate Rita B. from CLP, the winner of last month’s challenge.  Her chances of winning were pretty good since only 20 people submitted a response.  Let’s all make a resolution to participate more in 2015.  That includes the Digital Resources Committee.  We resolve to do our best to post the monthly challenges on the day they are supposed to go live 😉 .

Despite the low numbers, the responses were impressive.  Many of you indicated that you would show the patron how to set their preferred maturity settings in OverDrive, disable cover images, point them to our eReading Rooms especially for kids and teens , and/or recommend other eResources such as TumbleBooks and BookFlix.

And now, on to this month’s challenge.  Here’s the scenario:

A patron calls and tells you he’s made a New Year’s resolution to start investing. He’s got a list of companies he’s considering investing in, but he wants to learn more about them.  He’d like to find out their current value, how they have performed in the past, and what the professionals have to say about them.  He’s also interested in whatever guides to investing we have to offer.

You know that Morningstar offers some great tools. What do you point him to specifically? Are there other resources you would suggest?

Submit your answer/tips in the comments section by Friday, January 16th to be eligible for a prize. (Comments are moderated, so don’t be alarmed if you don’t see your comment right away.)

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“Company Profies” in Business Source Premier

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You can get  company profiles (thumbnail sketches, or in-depth) in Business Source Premier.  Simply click on “Company Profiles” located  on the blue toolbar at the top of the launch  page. On this next page you’ll see  a listing of companies  (international in scope) with numerical names like “7-Eleven, Inc.”,  “3M Company”, an “84 Lumber Company”. This is followed by an A to Z  list that goes form from  “A-Sonic Aerospace Limited” on through to  “ZeptoMetrix Corporation”.  To get a thumbnail sketch of the company  that you have chosen, click on that company’s name, and to get a more in-depth profiles click on “PDF Complete Report” that is located next to the company name. If you don’t want to search through the list a searchbox is provided.


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‘Tis the Holiday Season!

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Get your users into the holiday spirit and share a reminder that your digital collection is available even when the library is closed. Are all your books on holiday baking checked out? Need some materials to read while waiting at the airport for your weather-delayed plane? Going on a long road trip? Don’t forget the sleighful of downloadable materials, many of which are immediately available.

Wrapping gifts? Use Freegal and type in search term “Christmas” to retrieve all types of Christmas music. Download Christmas tunes by Tropical Steel Band to get you in a festive mood. Or Perry Como’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”.

Don’t want to put on your boots to get a holiday dvd? With Hoopla, you can get instant dvd’s. See the categories of “Festive Holiday Flicks and “Holidays with a Heart”. Hoopla also has holiday music.

Going on a long road trip to grandma’s house? Use OverDrive to download audiobooks to keep everyone entertained.

OverDrive also provides downloadable marketing for their collection. Check out their Winter Promo Pack for fun holiday social media graphics, print-ready flyers to display, and promotional materials.*





Need some light reading to wile away the time spent waiting in an airport lounge? Don’t forget to use Zinio to download the latest edition of your favorite magazine.

And, best of all, It’s all FREE!!

Karen (Northland)

* Hoopla, Freegal, Zinio and OneClick all have marketing materials too!  Questions about getting print marketing materials? Contact Sarah Beasley for more information.

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New Find Articles Page

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The Digital Resources Committee, formerly EREC, has redesigned the current county databases landing page at .  We hope the page is more user friendly and intuitive for patrons, better designed for mobile devices.

We are looking for your feedback on the redesigned page BEFORE the site goes live.  Please add any feedback and suggestions to the comments section of this blog post.  We are asking for all feedback on or before Friday, November 7th.  Or you can email me at

Currently the page can only be accessed from within the library.  If you are not in a library this link will not work.

Here is the link:


P.S. Don’t forget about eResource Challenge Lite, coming November 1st.

Dustin, Sewickley

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Health Information Made Plain

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Providing medical information is always a challenge. Adding to the difficulty is the mismatch between medical terminology and the average reading skills of many Americans.

According to a study conducted last year by the U. S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, 32 million adults in the U.S. can’t read. And 21 percent of adults in the U.S. read below a 5th grade level.

The National Library of Medicine has been working hard to provide medical information that uses plain language to describe medical issues. Plain language substitutes everyday words for medical jargon, uses short sentences, and highlights key points.

medlineplusTo access the easy-to-read medical literature that the National Library of Medicine has developed, visit MedlinePlus (available on the Find Articles and CLP database pages) and click on the “easy-to-read” tab in the bottom right-hand corner. (“Easy-to-read” articles will also appear whenever you are reading about a topic that has also been written about in plain language.)

MedlinePlus is a great resource. It contains drug information, interactive tutorials, and late-breaking stories about medical issues. The spelling, definition, and pronunciation of medical terms are always a click away.

It has links to health information in 44 languages. It has medical information in plain language. And it’s free.

Mary Lee (Northland)

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Discuss This!

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As a librarian, NoveList is a resource that I would definitely have a hard time living without.   As everyone knows it is a great readers’ advisory tool; especially for genres you have little interest in reading. I am not a reader of science fiction, and I will readily admit that I have a hard time suggesting titles for steampunk and space opera readers!   Another gem in NoveList that I recently started using is the Book Discussion Guides.   Our community has many book discussion groups, so at least monthly I have a book discussion leader stop by the reference desk and ask for some help in finding author info and a few good discussion questions to help their group along.

photo source:
photo courtesy of:

NoveList Book Discussion Guides are accessible from Lists & Articles and Professional Toolbox in the orange menu bar and under the Quick Links lower down the main page. The guides are categorized as Adult or Teens, and each guide has author info, book summary, several discussion questions, and further reading. You can browse the 800+ guides by author or title, or use the Advanced Search to look for specific titles or authors and limit by Document type –Book Discussion Guides. You can further limit by Audience (adult/young adult), publication date, number of pages, author’s gender, author’s nationality, award winners, etc.

If you don’t find what you are looking for on NoveList, try Lit Lovers, they too have a great amount of discussion guides. Lit Lovers was started by a former college English instructor who currently resides in Pittsburgh!

Sharon (Mt. Lebanon Public Library)

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Double the Mango!

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As we are only too aware, libraries can only house a limited number of language-learning CDs and DVDs. Recently a patron asked me for a course in Czech. Unsurprisingly, that was a language we didn’t have on our audio shelves. Fortunately, I was able to direct him to Mango Languages.

Mango offers language courses in 63 languages. It also supports ESL learners with 18 different native languages.

And now, Mango has been improved with 1000+ hours of interactive language learning! The content of over 40 language courses has doubled in size—totaling 10 new chapters for each language.  For details about which languages have expanded check out this list from Mango.

Little Pim on LaptopAdd to that the August 1st launch of Little Pim, a language-learning program for kids offering ten language options, and our patrons of all ages will be greeting us in Spanish, German, or Czech in no time!

If your library needs help in spreading the word about Mango or Little Pim, there are website tools and other promotional materials at:


Lynne (Sewickley)

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Fizz, Boom, Read…online

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Are you a secret science junkie, bubbling over with excitement about this year’s kid’s summer reading theme? If so, you probably already know that Gale’s Science in Context offers access to articles from The Science Teacher and Popular Science as well as information from a variety of other sources on hundreds of science-related topics.

The intended audience for this database is high school and above, so you probably won’t find material suited specifically for children but if you’re looking to brush up your own knowledge it’s a great resource.

BookFlix, on the other hand includes books and videos just right for an early elementary audience. By combining engaging stories (like Scaredy Squirrel) with informative texts (Backyard Wildlife: Squirrels) BookFlix offers the best of both worlds and makes learning painless. Sections on Animals and Nature







and Earth and Sky fit most obviously with the theme, but don’t overlook People and Places or even ABCs and 123s. Basic skills, after all, are the foundation of many different kinds of literacy.

Then there are TumbleBooks and OverDrive. Both offer a wide variety of children’s titles to read for information or for pleasure—and to log for summer reading. The TumbleBooks homepage highlights a variety of offerings:








In OverDrive, use the drop-down subject guide on the kids’ OverDrive page to find books on Science & Nature, or locate Sci-Fi & Fantasy titles.

Finally, if you have a CLP card but haven’t yet spent much time browsing through Facts on File’s Science Online this summer is the perfect opportunity to familiarize yourself with this resource. Whether you’d like to plan a program that features a science experiment on a popular topic like Forensic Science, browse a timeline that offers a glimpse of scientific discovery through the ages or view a brief video on a science-related topic, this easy to use database offers lots of different ways to explore this year’s summer reading theme.

Are there other great summer reading resources lurking online? Share them in the comments.

Lisa (CLP)



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Top 7 Reasons to Use the Library Instead of Pirating Media

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Woman on laptop computer with man reading bookMedia consumers prefer to get their content quick, free, and easy.  It is no secret that many of these consumers are turning to illegally downloading media through sites like The Pirate Bay.  The Institute of Policy Innovation estimated the damage piracy has done to the music industry alone at $12.5 billion.  There are a number of reasons why we should remind people that using the public library digital resources are a smarter option than downloading media illegally.

1. The Copyright Alert system is working with Internet Service Providers (including Comcast and Verizon) to identify violations.  These violations may generate alerts that could lead to the ISP slowing down a user’s connection speed. Source

2. More than 200,000 law suits against pirates have been filed since 2010. Source

3. Using library media, although free, still supports the artists and producers who are creating the content.

4. The stream of new media will dry up if its creators aren’t compensated for their work.  The quality and quantity of what is produced will shrink without a way to get paid.

5. Most of the media the library offers through OverDrive, Hoopla, Zinio, and Freegal is available just as quickly, in the convenience of your own home, as obtaining it illegally.  Although there could be a wait time if the media is checked out.

6. Piracy is illegal.

7. Library resources are free!

Dustin, Sewickley

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(e)Book Babies

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This week we welcome guest blogger Megan F. from CLP-Squirrel Hill:

This wonderful hat was embroidered by one of my talented former pages, Laura.

Yesterday was the first time I sat at an actual computer in nearly six weeks.  On February 6th my adorable son was born.  When we got home from the hospital, the downstairs of our house, specifically the living room couch, became my base of operations.  I fed the baby on the couch, ate meals and snacks on the couch, slept on the couch and pretty much lived on the couch for several weeks.  This was necessary because it turns out that having a baby makes your body feel like it’s been run over by several big rig trucks – so the least amount of moving around, the better.

What do you do while hanging out on a couch?  Well, I’ve become very thankful for my smart phone (seriously, I might owe the guy who sold me the phone a gift basket).  My phone has been my outlet to the rest of the world – thus the constant liking of every picture and post on Facebook. (Sorry, friends, I promise to stop stalking you really soon, just as soon as my life gets marginally interesting again.)

So, for me, as a sleep deprived mom of a newborn that mostly loves to sleep cradled in my arms, OverDrive was a lifesaver.  I was having a hard time holding a sleeping baby – who I was trying not to wake up – and also reading a regular book.  E-books worked much better.  And, being able to check out a library e-book from my phone at 3 a.m., that luxury is truly priceless.

Happily, my son and I are getting out more and using a real computer so we have access to even more fun online resources.  Here are a few other online resources for surviving life as a new mom (or dad)*:

  • Freegal Music has old school Sesame Street songs that can be downloaded for free.  I’m slowly creating a “kids songs that don’t drive mommy crazy” playlist.
  • BookFlix provides picture books with slightly animated illustrations that you can watch like a movie with your child (sort of like how Reading Rainbow used to present the books).**
  • The new eKids page pulls together all of the countywide online resources for kids and is a great place to start looking for content to share with kids as they get older.

Do you have any online resources that you love to recommend to new moms or dads or for when you’re stuck in the house?  I’d love to hear about them!

~Megan F. (Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Squirrel Hill)

*Yes, the most important thing to survive being a new mom is sleeping when the baby sleeps – but that only works if the baby lets you put him down at 3 a.m. – otherwise, your best bet is having something good to read or having a dance party with your fussy little one.

**Okay, so I’m cheating a bit with BookFlix, since really it’s more of a 3-6 year old resource.  But I love this resource – which also pairs nonfiction titles with the stories.  I used to present an Online Playground workshop for preschool teachers and BookFlix was always one of the favorite resources, so I really wanted to include it.  If you haven’t checked it out yet, you should.

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