Logging in to OverDrive, plus contest

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First, one more plug for #eBooksForAll.
Have you signed the petition?  It only takes a minute and has the potential to improve access to eBooks for all patrons.

Second, are you thinking about your library’s entry in the CONTEST to rebrand this Virtual Lexicon site?    Details:

  • Each library director has received an online entry form
  • One submission per library/department. We recommend brainstorming ideas for a new site name (and any suggestions for content) as a group
  • Deadline for submissions is November 1, 2019

Next, OverDrive wants to make it easier to sign in and get going.  Libby offers the same collection and is still generally much simpler to use.  If you have a patron who hasn’t used either app before, I’d always recommend Libby (if available — sometimes kindles just don’t want patrons to leave the amazon universe).

Below are highlights of OverDrive’s changes, as seen on a desktop computer (followed by my observations in teal).

We’ve made the following updates to the sign-in page at your library’s OverDrive website:

  • Updated design: The look of the sign-in page has been updated and more prominently displays your library’s colors.
  • Simplified sign in options: To simplify the login process, we removed the Sign in with Facebook and Sign in with OverDrive options (both options required a valid library card). Users can still sign in with their associated cards to access your digital collection and their current loans and holds.
    • It’s very simple if using the ACLA link
    • However, it’s a real nuisance if you go to generic overdrive.com — you have to select your home library at least twice, and it’s unwieldy to check books out.
  • New sign-in help links: The sign-in page can display custom URL links to assist users with their login credentials (e.g., for Card/Username and PIN/Password).
    • Our links are not listed by the Sign In button yet. 
    • Clicking on the ‘Need a Library Card?‘ link at the bottom of the page does direct all visitors to CLP’s page — even though people have to select their library first.
  • Easier library selection: For libraries in a consortium, in addition to the drop-down in the Select your library field, users can now type the name of your library or branch for easy filtering.


Christy Barowich
Carnegie Library of McKeesport

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What are you in the mood for?

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NoveList Plus has you covered when you know what you are in the mood to read but you don’t have a book in mind! With NoveList’s suggestions for different moods and break downs by genre you’re bound to find a great read.  NoveList will let you filter by age, genre, and even sub-genre. So if you are an adult who really enjoys a good romance but you are only interested in heroes who wear kilts – NoveList has the perfect list of titles for you!


The spookiest time of year is upon us so I would be remiss in not pointing out that NoveList’s mood suggestions are currently highlighting “Creepy and Atmospheric” titles. So if you are looking for something spooky or suspenseful then look no further than the main page of NoveList under the mood suggestions.


P.S. If you are on the hunt for a real scare don’t miss out on the NoveList’s horror resources with the “Feel No FEAR” highlight on the main page for this season.


Northland Public Library

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Hold List Increase on OverDrive

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Starting Monday, October 14, OverDrive users will be able to have up to 20 items on their Holds list. The current maximum number of holds is 15. We hope that this increase in holds will be well-received by our patrons.

With more holds, it’s possible that multiple books will become available to at once. To help manage holds, you can suspend holds on specific books on your holds list. Suspending a hold lets you continue moving up on a title’s wait list without the title becoming available for you. If you reach #1 on the wait list, you’ll be in the first position to get the book once your suspended hold period ends.

For example, you might want to suspend a hold for a popular eBook if you’re on a long wait list for it, but know you’ll be unable to read it because you’re in the middle of another title.

You can suspend your holds using the website or via the Libby app in just a few easy steps!

Suspending Holds in Libby

1. Select my account in the right-hand corner.

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2. Select Holds to pull up a complete list of the holds on an account.

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3. Find the item from the list that you would like to suspend the hold.

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4. Select Suspend Hold.  

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5. Users have an option to Suspend Hold for: 7, 14, 21, 28, 60, 90 or 180 days.  This will keep the user’s place in the holds line. Once the designated period is up, users will be placed back in line for the item, while keeping the same place.

6. You can change or remove your suspended hold at any time.

~ Pam Calfo, Bridgeville Public Library & Hilary Lewis, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

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Canva – easy graphic design

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Do you struggle coming up with attractive and eye-catching flyers for your programs and events? Do you just use Publisher or Word because it’s on your computer? I might have the answer for you – Canva!

Canva blog

Canva is a free graphic design resource with thousands of templates that are easily adaptable to your needs with plenty of photos, graphics and fonts to choose from.

Conference room

Canva can also help with your social media needs as well by providing templates designed for use on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, You Tube, and more!

And as a library you can apply for a Pro version of Canva for free! https://www.canva.com/en_in/canva-for-nonprofits/

Tracy – Monroeville Public Library


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OverDrive User Survey

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OverDrive would like feedback from library staff and customers on how well we think the OverDrive site functions. If you have a few minutes, consider filling out OverDrive’s User Survey. If one of their questions sparks an idea on how we can improve the eBook and eAudioBook experience for our customers, leave us a comment on this post. Like OverDrive, we are always interested in hearing ideas on how to improve our eResource services.

Hilary Lewis, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

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Pop Culture for Patrons

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We may not be Netflix or HBO, but we have our share of eResource Pop Culture materials!

Take advantage of advertising and marketing from the media to push Library services.  Creating displays and promoting the examples below may attract die-hard fans to new resources they may not be aware of.

stranger things


Stranger Things: Patrons can check out Suspicious Minds: The First Official Stranger Things Novel and Notes from the Upside Down: an unofficial guide to Stranger Things.

Mindhunter: The new popular Netflix series was based on this classic book that looks inside the FBI’s elite serial crime unit.

13 Reasons Why: A #1 New York Times best seller is also another Netflix series.

OK!: Celebrity marriages, the Royal Family, and other gossip make up this popular magazine.




The Joker, The Avengers & Riverdale: Hoopla’s collection includes three of the most talked about comics right now! Always Available!

Soundtracks: The newest soundtracks seem to all be on hoopla – A Star is Born, Bohemian Rhapsody & The Lion King just to name a few!  

Keanu Reeves: This nice guy is everywhere lately! Catch a few of his movies on hoopla including the unforgettable River’s Edge



Entertainment Magazine: Reviews, interviews, style and more, this magazine covers movies, TV, books and all aspects of pop culture.

People Magazine: This staple of celebrity magazines will get anyone caught up to date on who’s who in Hollywood.



For even more recent pop culture classics, search for Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Games of Thrones, and Star Wars!

Our eResources are always updating, offering the most recent and popular materials.  Keep an eye out for trendy titles and remind patrons how cool the Library can be!

Rob Kalchthaler – Bethel Park Public Library

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Forms for All Occasions

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In need of a legal form? Find one fast through Gale’s Pennsylvania Legal Forms Library!

Gale Legal Forms

All forms are available for free. Users can browse by category, see most popular searches, or search for a specific form. There are forms for almost every imaginable situation – from real estate to auto sales to adoption.

Forms can be downloaded as Microsoft Word documents to make editing simple. Users just types their information into the blanks.


All forms are reviewed by attorneys and, unlike the print counterparts in our collections, these forms are always up-to-date.

There is also a helpful Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section in the database with questions & answers regarding common legal issues.

The next time your patrons need legal forms, check Gale Legal Forms!

Sewickley Public Library

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Get ready for Family History Month with these resources!

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Did you know October is Family History month? Get ready for family history month with several great genealogical resources and several tips about Ancestry.com.

Ancestry.com is one of the most popular databases the library offers.  For many patrons, genealogical research can be overwhelming, Ancestry has a number of forms available to make keeping track of searches and results easier. At the top of the page, you can find forms:

ancestry 1

  • Ancestral Chart: Basic chart to help users get started in constructing a family tree.
  • Research Calendar: Keep track of where users have searched and the search terms they’ve used.
  • Correspondence Record: A great way for users to keep track of their research outside of Ancestry. This is helpful for people contacting local historical societies, cemeteries, etc.

FamilySearch.org is a free genealogical resource operated by the Church of Latter-day Saints.  Users can create an account, get started on a family tree and connect their family tree with other users on the site if they would like.

The FamilySearch Research Wiki has a lot of information about how users can get started with genealogical questions and contains links to individual state and country resources as well.

Find A Grave allows users to browse and find graves of ancestors.  It is a free resource that may be helpful to users who are unable to get to cemeteries to look up information.

Pittsburgh and Allegheny County have many great historical societies, archives and museums! Be sure to check them out as well for local genealogical information!

  • Pam Calfo, Baldwin
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Small Engine Repair Reference Center

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Does anyone remember how hard it used to be stock lawn mower repair manuals? And small engine repair manuals? And motorcycle repair manuals? Now we don’t have to. We have the Small Engine Repair Reference Center. It looks just like the ChiltonLibrary for car repair, but it includes repair information for ATVs, lawnmowers, jet skis, snowmobiles, tractors, generators and other small engines, boat motors, and motorcycles. It provides routine maintenance (tune-ups, brake service) as well as extensive repairs (engine and transmission disassembly) and allows users to search by product type, brand, model/engine type, specific area of model/engine type and model numbers. PDF full text is available for all documents. Check it out. Your patrons will thank you! –Mary Lee Hart, Northland


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Databases for Students – Info Right Now!

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School is starting along with assignments and papers.  The library has some impressive databases that can help students with their projects, especially when they come in right before closing and say they need help with a paper due tomorrow morning.  Databases can provide full-text, reliable information along with citation help.

Following is just a sample of the databases we can recommend.  Information is easily discoverable as most of the databases are searchable by topic, subject and/or publication.

  • Academic One-File:  This database offers full-text, peer-reviewed articles from the world’s leading journals in the areas of the physical and social sciences, technology, medicine, engineering, the arts, technology, literature, and more.
  • Biography in Context:   In this database, students will find contextual information on the world’s most influential people.  They will get the life stories of thousands of famous people and full-text biographical articles from many popular magazines.
  • GreenR:  Gale In Context: Environmental Studies – This database offers news, background information, video, commentaries, primary source documents, and statistics in areas such as energy systems, healthcare, food, climate change, population, and economic development.
  • LitFinder:  Students can explore world literature and writers throughout history.  This database offers a wealth of literary works, including poems, short stories, speeches, and plays — with plot summaries, what the writing means, pictures, and stories about the authors.
  • Opposing Viewpoints in Context:   Students can explore current issues from various viewpoints.  Topics include Business & Economics, Energy and Environment, Health & Medicine, Law & Politics and many more.   There are also educator resources and curriculum standards.
  • Science Reference Center Students can research from hundreds of full-text science encyclopedias, reference books, periodicals, and other reliable sources.  They can view more than 280,000 high-quality science images from sources such as UPI, Getty, NASA, National Geographic and the Nature Picture Library.

These are just a few of the databases available.  Take a few moments to browse through them and the rest of the collection.  By recommending databases, we can offer help to students when they need it – usually right now!

Lisa DeLucia, Upper St. Clair Township Library


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