Pics Or It Didn’t Happen


Helping a patron search for images of dress styles from the turn of the century for their school report? Want to see what an electric car looked like in the 1970s? Or maybe you need photographic evidence of a building that you swear used to be somewhere so you can win a bet with your friends?

Look no further than the Library of Congress (LOC) Prints & Photograph collection!

Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs

This collection has records for over 1 million photographs, prints and drawings dating back over 1,000 years. The majority of the collection is primarily from the 19th & 20th centuries and covers a large span of topics, including: architecture, portraits, military, sports and daily life.

Quickly narrow down your search by subject, format, collection, date, contributor, etc., with the easily-accessible filters in the left-hand column. Then download high-quality versions of the images you find – from JPEG to PNG to TIFF.

And when you find one image you like…

…scroll down for additional suggestions for images related to that record.


One downside of this valuable site that must be mentioned is how often this message appears:

“Full online access to this resource is only available at the Library of Congress.” Records with this message are such a tease, though sometimes the metadata included in the record can be very helpful. Other times, these listings can link you to additional useful images or collections that are available to view full-scale images online.

Fortunately, there is a way to avoid this dreaded message altogether: use the “Access Condition” filter on the left to select “Available Online.” This narrows the results to show only records that have viewable images. Huzzah!


While the LOC Prints & Photographs collection is helpful to search, it is equally as fun to browse.

There are curated collections available. Some are cumbersome to navigate (e.g. the Lewis Carroll Scrapbooks and Prairie Settlement collections) but others are very easy to access (e.g. African American Photographs Assembled for 1900 Paris Exposition & Aaron Copeland Collection). In the image below, you can see that certain collections have links below the descriptions that say “Collection Items.” Those are the collections that are easier to navigate.


I personally enjoyed searching for historical images of the Pittsburgh region. My favorite record find: “Quack doctor, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania”

I am dying to know: who wrote the caption card from which this item was named? When? What led to this description?

Hopefully your research leads to more answers than questions! Happy searching!

Richelle @ Sewickley Public Library

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Marketing Udemy

The county’s newest addition to our superb assortment of e-resources is Udemy! 6000+ courses offering upskilling in business, tech, and personal development across 75+ different categories. So let’s talk about how to get word out to patrons that Udemy is awesome. I’ve had great luck with physical displays (of course, that’s not entirely possible these days, but if you put on your thinking cap, it can easily be done on your website or virtually in so many ways!) I have a ‘read this book – take this class’ approach. I find some juicy lonely nonfiction, pull it out and create a little bookmark to slip in that highlights a related Udemy class or CreativeBug or any other resource you’re trying to showcase. Here are some examples to get you started:

Kelley – Cooper-Siegel Community Library

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Allegheny County Bar Association

Mission Statement: To empower our members; promote a just, accessible, and inclusive judicial system; and serve the community at large.

The Allegheny County Bar Association is much more than a directory of attorneys:

  • Lawyer Referral Service: helps you find a qualified attorney to meet your specific needs. Participating attorneys offer a free 30-minute consultation.
  • Provide referrals to organizations to help if you can’t afford an attorney
  •  Legal Employment Services: meets the needs of job seekers and employers in the Allegheny County legal community including career counseling, job board, placement service, and resume writing tips.

The Allegheny County Bar Foundation is a public non-profit organization:

  • Educational programming
  • Pro Bono Center provides legal assistance to low income individuals
  • Assists legal related organizations through financial assistance and grants

Lisa Akenhead – Northland Public Library

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19th and 20th Century American Railroad Journals

On Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s website, you can access digitized issues of 19th and early 20th century American railroad journals. If you are interested in railroads and their impact on industrial America, you will find plenty of interesting information in this collection.

This collection contains early issues of titles including:

  • Locomotive Engineer
  • Official Proceedings of the Railway Club of Pittsburgh
  • Railway and Locomotive Engineering
  • Street Railway Review

If you enjoy railroads and history, you will want to have a look at this rare and interesting collection of titles!

Kate Straccia, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh- Main

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