Get Creative This Summer With Creativebug

It is officially summer (although this heat wave was a rude way to remind us) and you might be looking for things to do with the kids, a new craft to unwind with after work, or maybe you just want a summery project to beat the heat –well look no further the Allegheny County Libraries have you covered with crafts from Creativebug

There is something for everyone with Creativebug – nail art classes for you and your teens, crafts for those that like to get messy with paints and ceramics, those that like to stay tidy with yarn and sewing, and everything in between! Creativebug helpfully offers crafting level breakdowns for those working with little ones and offers beginner options for those of us not very creatively inclined (I am pointing to myself here). You can even choose a class to work on your technique or a quick class for when you just want a fast rundown on how a craft is done. All you need is your library card to login and get started!

P.S. Creativebug has some great classes up that go hand-in-hand with our Summer Reading Club this year so don’t miss out! And don’t forget to check their calendar to see if there are any fun upcoming live events. Make sure you don’t miss out on the latest crafting hits! 


Northland Public Library

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Safe Travels with Kelley Blue Book

It’s summer and that means that it’s time for a vacation! Vacation often means hitting the road, but before you do that, you’ll want to make sure that your car is in top shape.

You and patrons can find nearby repair shops using Kelley Blue Book. Select the Car Repair tab, and then select the type of service that you are looking for. We’ll look at Maintenance Pricing.

From this screen, select a vehicle year, make, and model, and then choose a service. We’ll look at a mileage service.

Kelley Blue Book tells us that a fair price to pay would be between $60 to $100. It then recommends some service locations based on the zip code that we are using.

If the worst should happen, and you or a patron need a new car, Kelley Blue Book has you covered. You can find car reviews and browse cars for sale.

Happy travels!

-Erin Weaver, Bridgeville Public Library

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Please Be Advised – Listeners Are Readers Too

Readers’ advisory, simply put, is connecting someone with reading content they’ll enjoy based on what they already enjoy. It’s about giving them chocolate with their peanut butter. Or peanut butter with their jelly. Or jelly with their chocolate, if that’s the kind of thing they’re into.

And this is the internet, where no one is judging you for what you like!

So that must mean that recommending an audiobook is basically the same thing, right? Wrong! You just grated chocolate on someone’s plate of spaghetti! You just drizzled peanut butter on a nice coq au vin blanc! You put jelly on my egg McMuffin!

And even though I loved it, I’m going to tell you about listeners’ advisory anyway.

Listeners’ advisory shares all the nuance of readers’ advisory with the added parameters of things like: format and narrator preferences. Think about it like this: people read at different speeds, they may want the ability to listen at different speeds. People listen to audiobooks when they jog, so will a 10 CD audiobook work? What if they don’t have a smart device? What if they only want something read by the author?

They said they wanted a book read by the author! Imagine the egg on my face when I recommended The Epic of Gilgamesh, HIYOO! heh…Is this thing on?

Here’s a simple recipe to help you put together a good listeners’ advisory interaction. One part read-alike, one part agreeable narrator voice, and one part format preference. No surprise here, we can find read-alikes easily with Novelist! You can get a lot of legwork done in the Advanced Search feature by limiting results to Audiobooks and using all the relevant keywords. You can also narrow results by duration, series status, abridged or unabridged, audience, award winner status, the list goes on. You want an audiobook thriller in a series that is read by the author? You got it!

Well, that was easy! Guess we can call it a day, right? Just put a hold on that in Libby, and when it comes in next week just download it right before your 15 hour flight to Malta! Oh, you tried that once just to discover the narrator’s voice bored you to tears? Unlistenable you say? It upset you and your bad mood ruined the entire vacation for yourself and everyone you came into contact with?

May I recommend an audiobook?

It’s always good practice to Sample an audiobook in Libby, if that’s your preferred format for audiobooks. There’s no shame in liking or disliking a narrators voice! And audiobook aficionados will sometimes have strong, yet valid, opinions.

Alexa, play “That’s What Friends Are For” by Dionne Warwick.

Here is an additional resource for finding the right voice. AudioFile Magazine’s website is a great place to find reviews, hear audiobook samples, and see which audiobooks are winning awards! You can even discover specific narrators who have been recognized in the field of professional reading! So next time you visit Novelist or the library catalog, you can try searching by your favorite narrator instead of author and be pleasantly surprised.

There’s also format. Would you believe they stopped putting CD players in cars? Right around the time The Epic of Gilgamesh was written (HIYOO!!). But, CD audiobooks still circulate alongside Playaways as a reliable alternative to eAudiobooks.

“Some people prefer the feel of real digital, man.” – guy wearing a scarf in June

So, listener’s advisory requires some extra attentiveness if you want to cook up the perfect recommendation for your patrons tastes. But, as always, you’re fully equipped for success thanks to your Allegheny County digital resources! If you’re looking for audiobook recommendations, feel free to reach out to your local library!

Derek – South Park Township Library

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Free and Fabulous – Royalty-Free Media and You

In libraries, every cent counts. Regardless of your zip code, libraries are always interested in pinching a penny, and one easy way is to utilize copyright-free material. From images and videos to music and documents, copyright-free resources can be a game-changer and really up the pizzazz of advertisements and social media posts.

Artist’s rendition of me worrying about copyright law
before I found great online resources.
  • Cost-Effective Creativity

Copyright-free material, available from various online sources, provides high-quality content without a hefty price tag. Many different websites (some listed below) offer thousands of images for free, allowing libraries to create professional-looking materials without breaking the bank.

  • Legal Peace of Mind

The risk of unintentionally using copyrighted material and facing legal repercussions is a daunting prospect for any organization. By relying on copyright-free resources, libraries can avoid legal pitfalls. Free licenses, such as Creative Commons, clearly outline what can and cannot be done with the material, offering peace of mind and the freedom to create without worry.

  • Enhancing Visual Appeal

In today’s digital age, visual content is king. Engaging images and videos can significantly boost a library’s outreach efforts and satisfy the mysterious algorithms behind social media. Whether it’s for social media campaigns, annual reports, or fundraising events, stunning visuals help tell a compelling story, capturing the attention of your audience.

  • Flexibility and Adaptability

Libraries often need to produce a variety of content quickly and efficiently (“Oh yeah, that event is next week. Can you make a flyer for it?”). Copyright-free materials offer a flexible solution. Need a background image for a social media post? Infographics for a report? Copyright-free sites provide an array of options that can be tailored to fit the specific needs and branding of any program.

  • Getting Started with Copyright-Free Materials

Ready to dive into the world of copyright-free resources? Here are some websites to get you started:

  • Unsplash: High-resolution photos for free, suitable for any project.
  • Pexels: A wide range of free stock photos and videos.
  • Pixabay: Over 1.7 million free images, videos, and music tracks.
  • Creative Commons: A platform to find works with free licenses.
  • Burst by Shopify: Free stock photos tailored for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Some do require you to create a free account and offer premium versions, but you can often find what you are looking for, especially if you hop from site to site.

We did it! We started using royalty-free images to make our content even better!

What websites and resources do you use? Any tips/tricks you’d like to share? Drop me a line at:

Cameron R.S. Smith | Cooper-Siegel Community Library

Part of this text generated by ChatGPT, May 29, 2024, OpenAI,

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