Broaden Your News Search

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Allegheny County library users are fortunate to have access to some great newspaper databases covering local, regional, and national papers. Did you know that there are a few other online collections out there that supplement these robust collections?

Chronicling America

The Chronicling America collection includes America’s historic newspaper pages from 1777-1963. The site also features the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Search by state, date, or even by language – with newspapers printed in 19 different languages!

This resource also includes the Newspaper Navigator that lets users search for visual data across newspapers from 1789-1963. 

Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.

Google News Archive

Google News Archive is an extension of Google News providing free access to scanned archives of newspapers and links to other newspaper archives on the web (both free and paid). Includes The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Pittsburgh Press, other local papers, and national and international titles.

While the search feature leaves something to be desired, the browsability of this site is fairly useful.

Hopefully these additional sources will help you help library users find the information they seek.

Happy searching!

– Richelle, Sewickley Public Library

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Improve Your Graphic Design Skills With Free Resources!

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Summer reading is just around the corner, and that means new faces in the library, big exciting programs every month, and, as always, too much to do and not enough time to get it all done. 

As hard as it can be to find the time to learn a new skill or software, it’s worth it when your new skills let you get important tasks done more efficiently. With Udemy’s Design Tools courses, you can learn how to take advantage of free online resources like Canva, Fusion360, and DaVinci Resolve to make your life a little bit easier.  

Improve your marketing skills 

Most of you are probably already familiar with Canva. On its own, Canva’s already a huge help, especially if you don’t consider yourself to be the most artistically inclined – with pre-made templates and a drag-and-drop layout, you never have to start from scratch and build something totally brand new.

With UDemy’s free Canva courses, you can learn tips and tricks to easily enhance your flyers, calendars, and social media content. You can also use Canva to create resources for programs! 

Boost your social media posts 

You don’t have to become a TikTok sensation to learn how to create engaging videos for your patrons. UDemy’s courses on DaVinci Resolve help teach basic and advanced video editing skills, so you and your team can easily put together video proof of what goes on at your library. 

Strengthen STEM programming and more 

Even if you don’t have a 3D printer, learning 3D design skills can be helpful. Free programs like Blender, Tinkercad, and Fusion360 let you play around and put those skills into practice, and you can easily plan programs and scale them to suit a variety of age levels. 

And hey, you never know when 3D design will come in handy. Maybe you’ve got big plans to rearrange your Children’s room, but aren’t sure how all your furniture and shelves will fit. You can create a replica of your space in any 3D design program and play around! 

Of course, there’s a lot to learn about these subjects. Using UDemy lets you identify the specific tools and tricks that are useful to you and your role, and then you can share those necessary bits with coworkers and patrons. Pretty soon you’ll have your marketing, social media, and STEM programming down to a science! 

-Jaime, Penn Hills Library

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When to Buy a Chainsaw

Do you ever find yourself wondering, “Should I buy a chainsaw?” The answer is definitely yes! But you want to be a savvy consumer. That’s where Consumer Reports comes in. 

Founded in the middle of the Great Depression, Consumer Reports remains an authority for unbiased product information that will help you and your patrons make smart purchases.  

Besides the easy-to-use search features on its home page, Consumer Reports has some great tools that can help you make a good decision not just about which chainsaw you should buy, but also when you should purchase it. Backed up by years of sales research, Consumer Reports has a handy guide to when common items tend to go on sale.  

The home page offers a lot of options, including seasonal products and information, links to the most popular product categories, and the main search bar. To get to the sales calendar, called “Best Time to Buy,” select the “Save Money” option in the Member Benefits box the right side of the page, then “Best time to buy.” Note that some of the other options such as the Bill Negotiator are not included in the subscription. 

The current month is highlighted by default. As you can see, it’s chainsaw (and other things) season! 

Users can also select other months listed along the top, or choose a different product to see when it’s likely to be on sale. You’ll probably need some good headphones to wear when you’re using that chainsaw, and you can see that November and December are the best times to buy them.

It is easy to navigate to a product review and buying guide from the Best Time to Buy tiles by selecting the “Shop & Compare” button.  

There are lots of ways Consumer Reports can support smart and/or chainsaw buying practices. Click here to get started on the eLibrary Consumer & Business resources page.

Let me know if you find a deal!  

-Mary Phillips, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

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RAD Summer Staycation

Rad Summer Staycation passes dropped on May 1st. Please see the following update from James Santelli – Communications Manager, Allegheny Regional Asset District – regarding updates and answers to questions you may be fielding from patrons.

Wow! What a response to the RAD Summer Staycation. We were prepared for many people to book their free tickets right away on May 1, but the response has been much greater than even our high expectations.

You may be left wondering, as one Facebook commenter did: “Is the entire summer of tickets gone on the first day?” Absolutely not. Only a fraction of the 100,000+ tickets that will be available this summer have been reserved. However, in order to offer spots for library-card holders all summer, the RAD Pass system limits the number of reservations that can be made on any given day.

RAD is currently working with our partners at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – who operate RAD Pass for patrons of the Allegheny County library system – to increase supply and ease demand.

Here’s what we’re doing:

1. Working with attractions to replenish their ticket offers on RAD Pass. Many will be adding new offers on a daily basis regardless of the “new passes available monthly” message indicated on the RAD Pass website. (See our advice below the numbered list.)

2. Finalizing the work to get more attractions online in the coming weeks, including some of our favorite places – Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, The Frick Pittsburgh, National Aviary, Pittsburgh Botanic Garden and more.

3. Changing some of RAD Pass settings to serve more people. These back-end changes include reducing the limit on concurrent reservations from three to two (no current reservations will be affected) and allowing more claims for weekday tickets.

4. Adding more events to our RADworkshere.org calendar that are free to everyone, including concerts, festivals and open-house events. Beyond free passes, RAD Summer Staycation is also about celebrating free summertime experiences throughout Allegheny County.

Here’s our biggest piece of advice: Check back to RADpass.org regularly, especially in the mornings, because we promise more passes are coming. The message of “New passes available monthly” is auto-generated by RAD Pass’ third-party system and unable to be changed at this time, even though most of our assets will be replenishing offers daily.

Thank you for your patience as we try something new.  This is our first time offering the RAD Summer Staycation, and we are doing our best to address the first-timer hiccups and make sure you have the chance to enjoy a great day at one of your regional assets.

Sincerely,

James Santelli – Communications Manager, Allegheny Regional Asset District

Questions about the RAD Summer Staycation program? Check out the FAQs on our Staycation page. Questions about your RAD Pass reservation? Head to the Contact Us page of RADPass.org.

Gabi – Robinson Library

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