Coming Soon to OverDrive

We’ve got a holiday treat in store for our patrons!  Before the end of the year, they will be able to discover, browse, and checkout magazines and even some newspapers through OverDrive and the new Library Catalog.  Here are a few of the new titles we’ll be offering:

To read borrowed periodicals, patrons will either need the free NOOK app installed on a compatible device (Android phone/tablet, Apple iPhone/iPad/iPod touch, Windows 8 computer/tablet), or a compatible NOOK tablet.  As with the Zinio and Freegal apps, downloading to a Kindle Fire is possible, but not as straightforward as other devices.  Those apps are not available through the Amazon App store.  But don’t worry, we’re working on instructions to help you walk patrons with those devices through the process.

Here’s what else you need to know about OverDrive Periodicals:

  • Only the current issue is available to download.  This differs from Zinio, in which back issues are available.  However, like Zinio, once an issue is downloaded patrons can keep it for as long as they like.
  • Patrons can check out as many magazines as they would like. There are no loan limits for this format and they do not count against a patron’s checkout limit for other formats available in OverDrive.
  • Some titles have a circulation cap for each issue.  If an issue reaches its circulation cap there will be a message indicating it is no longer available.  We do not anticipate that this will pose a problem in most cases, but please email Sarah Beasley if patrons ask or comment about current issues no longer being available.
  • The OverDrive help pages offer additional information about using OverDrive periodicals.  There’s a helpful introductory video and  step-by-step instructions for downloading and using the Nook app.

We are also continuing our subscription to Zinio.  However, there will be some changes in the titles that are available.  We’ve added some great new content, including some titles especially for children (with two in Spanish!):

Some titles have been pulled from Zinio for Libraries by the publishers,  we have canceled some subscriptions that were not popular, and we are shifting some titles from Zinio to OverDrive.  In addition, the most popular titles will be found in both OverDrive and Zinio.  For a complete list of 2016 titles in Zinio and OverDrive, including information about canceled titles and titles that are exclusive in each, visit our Digital Magazine Title List 2016.

Happy Reading!

Charmaine (CLP)

Continue ReadingComing Soon to OverDrive

Holiday e-Cooking

Have a Holiday Cooking and Entertaining display?  Why not publicize our e-Cookbooks?!

Overdrive has an entire category of Adult Non-Fiction dedicated to Food & Cooking.  A search for “entertaining” will also yield a few good books.

cookbooks overdrive

EBSCO e-Books also has a cooking category directly accessible from the homepage.

REMINDER: Don’t forget about Overdrive’s Seasonal Promo Packs.  These kits include a variety of marketing materials that cover the entire year!

overdrive seasonal promotions

rob – Bethel Park Public Library

Continue ReadingHoliday e-Cooking

Using Google to Find Obituaries

A recurring request at our reference desk is for help finding an obituary. As far as I can tell, Newspaper Source Plus, which is made available through the Power Library, provides full-text access to over 1,200 newspapers, including the Post-Gazette, but it doesn’t include obituaries.

However, Google News provides access to nine different scanned Pittsburgh newspapers, including the Pittsburgh Press (1819-1992) and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (1916-2007).

To access Google’s scanned newspapers, type this phrase in the Google search box: “ “, followed by keywords, such as “wozniak obituary pittsburgh”.

If the patron knows the approximate date of the obituary, you can also access all of the scanned newspapers at this site:

screenshot of Google News listing of Pittsburgh newspapers
Listing of Pittsburgh papers in Google News

Once you click on a newspaper title, you can begin browsing by year, month, or day. However, you can’t search once you are in the scanned papers.

image of scanned newspapers

There are occasional missing issues, and some illegible copies, but this is still a handy tool.

Newspaper Source Plus is updated daily, so is very up-to-date, but doesn’t include obituaries or illustrations.

What tips do you have for helping patrons find obituaries?

Mary Lee (Northland)

Continue ReadingUsing Google to Find Obituaries

Sounds of the Season

It’s that time of year again. Pumpkin spice lattes make way for peppermint mochas. Leaves riot all over the sidewalk, bright carpets of scarlet and gold. The nights grow long and dark. But most of all, as sure as Thanksgiving follows Halloween, it’s time for your early birdie patrons to check out all the holiday music on your shelves, leaving you in the lurch when everybody else is ready to start rocking around the Christmas tree.

Time to go digital!

Still from A Charlie Brown Christmas, copyright Charles Schultz/United Features Syndicated 1965.
Still from A Charlie Brown Christmas, copyright Charles Schultz/United Features Syndicated 1965.

Freegal and Hoopla are your best bets for sing-along holiday cheer. Here are a few search tips and content examples.


  • For a broad search, select “genre” from the top bar, then “holiday” from the genre sidebar on the results page.
  • To narrow it down a bit, try keyword searches for terms like “Christmas,” “holiday,” “klezmer,” etc. in the search box. Make sure your drop-down menu is set to either “Albums” or “Songs” for best results.
  • You can also choose “Advanced Search” at the top of the page, set the genre to “Holiday,” and use “Search All” as your default. This search gives the most visually friendly layout, and easiest results browsing.

Some cool finds:

  • Let’s Celebrate Kwanzaa, Peter Pan Kids
  • Christmas Music by Dogs and Cats, The Christmas Critters
  • Jazz Music for Thanksgiving Dinner, Disembogue Records


  • Hoopla’s search interface is easier to navigate, but less precise.
  • A keyword search for “Christmas” will bring up a wealth of titles.
  • Filter by “music,” then select any title.
  • Each title has suggested tags for “similar items.” Selecting these will take you to comprehensive lists of “holiday titles,” “Christmas titles,” etc

More interesting results:

  • Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever
  • The Karaoke Channel: It’s Thanksgiving!
  • The Golden Dreydl: A Klezmer Nutcracker for Chanukah

Although it’s fun to point out novelties and curiosities, rest assured there’s a wide variety of music, from the fun and lighthearted to the sober and tasteful, for everyone to stream or download. Take a few minutes to explore on your own, and report back on what you find in the comments section.

Leigh Anne

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Main

Continue ReadingSounds of the Season