Free Resume Builder!

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The other day a patron came to ask me to help him print a resume that he had just created. As soon as I saw it I knew that he wouldn’t be able to print it without paying for it. Of course, it wasn’t a one-time purchase either. He was disappointed. But this gave me the perfect opportunity to promote Resume Builder through Power Library!

If you haven’t used this resource you are missing out. It’s a very easy fill-in-the-blank form that will create a very basic, but professional looking resume as a PDF.

It does have its drawbacks though. It can’t be edited and it does say at the bottom that the resume has been Prepared by

But for the patron who is looking for a free, simple, no frills resume then Resume Builder from Power Library is the way to go.

Tracy – Monroeville Public Library

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Using Lists on the Catalog

Have you ever had a patron ask for a book recommendation in a genre that you don’t read? Or maybe they’re looking for books on a specific topic? Find the answers you’re looking for by searching pre-made lists on our library’s catalog. 

To begin, you’ll want to navigate to the catalog’s home screen. From there, several lists appear for you to browse in a carousel.  

If you’re looking for something specific, look at the search bar at the top of the screen. You’ll want to change the searching filter from ‘Keyword’ to ‘List’ before typing in your search term. Some helpful lists to try are ‘wordless picture books,’ ‘mysteries,’ and ‘pop-up books.’ The catalog will bring up lists created by librarians and patrons. All the books in the lists are items found within Allegheny County.  Happy searching!

-Erin Weaver, Bridgeville Public Library

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Book Recommendations and Read-Alikes

Have you found that you have read all of Brad Thor’s books but you want to read something similar?

Which side note – good job! That is some excellent reading you’ve done!

But back to the craving you need to sate – more Brad Thor-like books. Allegheny County Libraries and NoveList Plus can help! We can feed that need!

All you need to do is go to the County eLibrary and click the Go! button on NoveList Plus to get started. Once you put in your library barcode you will be able to search by author, Brad Thor (obviously), or even title, “Black Ice” (just an example I get it if you are more of a “Rising Tiger” fan) and then you can get read-alikes for either!

No judgement seriously some of us are just bigger Black Ice fans.

You can even just search using keywords to find a book on a topic if you wish… although why you aren’t searching for more Brad Thor read-alikes is a little confusing to me.

You can also browse genres if you want more thrillers and suspense books!

The moral of the story here is that the Allegheny County Libraries and NoveList Plus have your Brad Thor book needs covered but if you need more than just Brad Thor books we can also help there. If you run into any issues with library databases please reach out to you local librarians to help!

-Adrianne, Northland Public Library

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The HistoryMakers – Your New Favorite Digital Archive

I have a confession: I love history. As often as some think about the Roman Empire, I’m thinking about my favorite topic of historical research: baseball. I’m always trying to learn something new, something interesting, something that shapes my understanding of the people involved in baseball history. I want to know what it was like to be there. You know, the kind of history you only get firsthand from someone who was there. Which is how I’ve already invested a few hours exploring the newest resource offered to the library patrons of Allegheny County: The History Makers, the Digital Repository for the Black Experience.

The HistoryMakers is a non-profit organization that created their digital archive in order to document and preserve the history of African Americans — their lives in their own words. The process began in 2000, which means they were able to interview a lot of African Americans who had experienced life in 20th century United States and beyond. There are tons of interviews with videos, photos, and text transcripts. Some faces you’ll recognize, like Barack Obama, who was interviewed in 2001 when he was still working his earlier gig as a U.S. senator.

And if you’re ready to feel old, they feature a picture of him prior to the post-Presidency grey hair.

The exciting thing is, many of the faces and stories in this digital archive will be new to you, even if you have special historical interests! Let’s take a quick deep dive to illustrate my point. Where are my baseball historians at? …I said where are my-

Ah, geez. Someone shoved you into a locker again.

Everyone knows Hank Aaron, right? With a career WAR of 143.1, he’s easily in the conversation for the greatest baseball player of all time. And you may also impress your peers by name dropping Ernie Banks. In his biography section on The HistoryMakers, they contextualize his impressive prime from 1955 to 1960 with the fact that he: “…hit more homers than anyone in the majors, including Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron, and he finished his career with five seasons of forty or more home runs. In 1959 he became the first player in National League history to win consecutive Most Valuable Player trophies, a year removed from setting an NL record for homers by a shortstop with forty-seven.” Here’s a snippet of Ernie Banks’ Baseball Reference page for all my stats nerds out there:

That 1958 stat-line is what we stats nerds like to call “a pretty big deal”.

As cool as it is to dissect Ernie Banks’ career numbers on Baseball Reference, it misses the key element that is provided by The HistoryMakers — his story. And we aren’t learning about him from some dramatized biopic or secondhand documentary. Ernie Banks himself is telling us about his life on and off the field.

But your historical knowledge of baseball players of that era is incomplete without Dennis Biddle, who may not have his own Baseball Reference page, but holds the record as the youngest person to play in the Negro Leagues when he was just 17 years old. He got picked up by the Chicago Cubs in 1955 (for historical reference, only 47 years into their 108 year World Series drought), but unfortunately broke his ankle on the first day of spring training and never got to play in the MLB. So, he went back to school and became a social worker, positively impacting the lives of countless underprivileged youth and juvenile offenders. In 1996, he founded Yesterday’s Negro Leagues Baseball Players LLC which preserves the history of African American baseball players pre-integration.

The unique value of this resource is that it provides a plethora of primary source information directly from African Americans — entire life stories that we wouldn’t even have without The HistoryMakers.

What’s great is that my example doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. There is so much more to explore on these individuals and many others on The HistoryMakers. All you need is your Allegheny County Library card.

Derek – South Park Township Library

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