Check Air Quality with

Probably everyone in Pittsburgh has heard about the Google engineer who warned others not to move here due to poor air quality. Here’s a link to the original article in case you missed it: When better isn’t good enough: Why I tell my Google co-workers and industry peers to avoid Pittsburgh

If your patrons are now curious about the air quality in our area, direct them to Simply type in a zip code at the top of the page to receive the air quality index score (AQI) for the day, as well as tomorrow’s forecast. At the time of this writing (Thursday, January 16 at 3 pm), Pittsburgh’s AQI score is “Good” at 45 particle pollution:


Like the weather, this score changes hourly. At 2 pm, our score was “Moderate” at 54 particle pollution.

Here’s how classifies the six levels of health concerns:

  • “Good” AQI is 0 to 50. Air quality is considered satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risk.
  • “Moderate” AQI is 51 to 100. Air quality is acceptable; however, for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people. For example, people who are unusually sensitive to ozone may experience respiratory symptoms.
  • “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” AQI is 101 to 150. Although general public is not likely to be affected at this AQI range, people with lung disease, older adults and children are at a greater risk from exposure to ozone, whereas persons with heart and lung disease, older adults and children are at greater risk from the presence of particles in the air.
  • “Unhealthy” AQI is 151 to 200. Everyone may begin to experience some adverse health effects, and members of the sensitive groups may experience more serious effects.
  • “Very Unhealthy” AQI is 201 to 300. This would trigger a health alert signifying that everyone may experience more serious health effects.
  • “Hazardous” AQI greater than 300. This would trigger a health warning of emergency conditions. The entire population is more likely to be affected.

AirNow has a lot of detailed information that can help people better understand the science behind air pollution and how it relates to their health. It’s a great resource for anyone concerned about air quality in Pittsburgh and beyond.

-Sarah, Mt. Lebanon Public Library

Continue ReadingCheck Air Quality with

Resolve to Learn a New Language

Many library patrons elect to learn a new skill in the new year. What better time to learn a new language? Fortunately, the eLibrary has several language learning resources available for all ages.

logo-with-duoOne option is Duolingo – a language learning platform with dozens of languages available. This public resource operates under a “freemium” model, meaning there are some features that are only available with a paid subscription. However, the software is easy-to-use and works more like a game for users than an instructional program. Users can earn badges and unlock new features as they progress. Bonus, Duolingo is a Pittsburgh-based company (woot woot!).

mangoAnother great language learning tool is Mango Languages – a library-funded resource with over 70+ languages all available for free to patrons. Mango is excellent for learning conversation skills and provides a historic and cultural background for many of its languages. It also guides users through levels as they progress, while also offering specialty units on business, medical, and legal issues. This is a great resource for English as a Second Language (ESL) learners. Plus, the Mango app makes learning on the go easy.

Sure – these resources are great for adults, but what about kids?

little pim2That’s where Little Pim comes in! This language learning software from Mango Languages is geared for children. Little Pim offers 10 languages and uses videos and electronic flash cards to encourage even very young children to begin learning a new language.

Hopefully, these language learning tools will help get your patrons off to a great start in the new year!

Richelle @ Sewickley Public Library

Continue ReadingResolve to Learn a New Language