It Came from the Library!

Ready to hear a scary story involving two fantastic digital resources that are perfect for instigating Halloween fun?

It was a dark and stormy-uh…morning…when the library patron walked into their local library. They were there to check-out their favorite Halloween movie. When they approached the circulation desk they saw…A LIBRARIAN! No, something scarier…a TECHNICAL SERVICES LIBRARIAN!

This feels like an overreaction.

Anyway, they asked for help finding the movie but to their horror they couldn’t quite remember the title! It was based on a book written by Anne Rice. Brad Pitt was in the movie along with…Jonah Hill? No, you’re thinking of Moneyball. Did Anne Rice write Moneyball?

The patron’s movie plans were getting slashed right before their eyes until they were reminded of IMDB.com, the exact resource they needed — linked right there on their library’s website. The Internet Movie Database provides information on films, television series, and online streaming content. The patron was able to figure out the movie they were looking for and they found information about the cast, production crew, plot summaries, trivia, ratings, and reviews!

Yeah, I remember it being a 7.5 too.

They also learned through IMDB.com that Interview with the Vampire was recently re-VAMP-ed into a TV series. That’s going on the binge watch list. As the patron was checking out, they remembered their Interview with the Vampire themed Halloween party. That’s tonight! They meant to grab a copy of the original movie soundtrack! Surely, getting ahold of this item was going to be a hassle.

Oh no! The narrator was conveniently wrong for the sake of proving a point!

The patron was reminded of hoopla, the free resource through their library where they can stream all sorts of digital media like music, audio books, e-books, movies, TV and comics. They can stream this soundtrack directly from their computer or phone! They even found some Halloween e-books to read to their children after a fun night of trick-or-treating.

The library patron left with exactly what they were looking for and more, thanks to IMDB.com and hoopla. Both of which can be found on your very own library website. Scary stories don’t usually get endings as happy as this one. What a twist!

Derek, South Park Township Library

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Farewell, Flipster

I am writing this to inform the staff that the digital magazine subscription service Flipster will be ending in Allegheny County libraries on December 31, 2022. Once an innovative forerunner in the digital magazine game, Flipster has begun to show its age, outshined by relative newcomers Overdrive and hoopla. Before we announce anything to patrons, we wanted to take the time to explain why we are sunsetting Flipster.

Considering budgetary restraints and service overlap, the Digital Resources Committee (DRC) conducted a thorough review of all three big names in digital magazines: Flipster, Overdrive, and hoopla. It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a shot in the arm for digital access. With the dust starting to settle on the pandemic (or at least settle into the dreaded “new normal”), a re-evaluation of digital services was necessary. While looking at each provider, we considered several factors: usage, cost, user experience, authority/company reputation, accessibility, content availability, vendor service and administration, and mobile functionality. Each committee member took the time to independently evaluate these services with these criteria, and lo and behold: a consensus formed prior to discussion.

On all fronts, Flipster was coming up short. The final scores were: Flipster, 161; hoopla, 226, and Overdrive, 244. We found Flipster lagging on a number of important factors: missing latest editions, buggy/hard-to-use interface, limited back-issue access, and little name recognition. In addition, since the start of 2020, Flipster’s circulation decreased, an obvious red flag during an explosion of digital access and use. For these reasons, Flipster is the weakest link and a redundancy with both Overdrive and hoopla available to patrons.

Some patrons may take issue with the passing of trusty old Flipster, and we should be prepared. We would recommend citing some of the reasons above, particularly accessibility and latest-/back-issue access. We have found two effective methods:

  1. Citing public libraries’ limited resources (pretty hard for folks to argue with this one)
  2. Redirecting patrons to our remaining services (hoopla and Overdrive)

Two other important things to note: we will be making a separate announcement for the public later this quarter, and if any library has a direct link to Flipster on their website, please add a notice after October 1 that the service will be discontinued after Dec 31, 2022.

If you have any issues, concerns, complaints, or pretty pictures to send to the DRC, you can direct them to the co-chairs of the DRC: Hilary Lewis at lewislacknerh@carnegielibrary.org or Richelle Klug at klugr@sewickleylibrary.org or if you have any questions about this specific article/email, email me at smithc2@coopersiegelcommunitylibrary.org.

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Back to School – First Day Confidence

Starting school can be nerve wracking for any age, but it’s especially hard for the littles. Hoopla has put together a wonderful collection to help your kiddos start school with courage and poise. Below are some of my favorites to read in storytime! So grab your library card, a reading device and cuddle up on the couch for wonderful read-aloud books!

Back to school with Confidence

Gabi – Robinson Library

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Back to School with Consumer Reports

With the school year right around the corner, back-to-school shopping is in full swing! Consumer Reports is a go-to resource to equip people with the credible, trustworthy information they needed to make informed choices. Not only does CR provide reviews, they also have helpful articles on finding the best deals, health advice and so much more. Check out some of the reviews, recommendations and articles they have to help students of all ages have a successful school year!

-Leigha Lamont, Wilkinsburg Library and Eastridge Branch

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