Chatham University's JKM Library

May 21, 2015
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App review: OverDrive

Overdrive logo

For us voracious readers, any place is a good place to check back in with our latest read: on the bus, in line at the coffee shop, maybe even during those lulls in conversation with our friends. And for those of us who find physical books sometimes burdensome to carry around (A Game of Thrones is 835 pages!), e-readers are a must-have. But did you know that you can check out digital titles for your e-reader or phone from your local public library?

Overdrive bookshelf

OverDrive Bookshelf

OverDrive is a free app which, through access to your local library’s collection, allows you to check out and download digital copies of their works. The downloaded file will self-delete when the borrowing period has expired; no physical return is needed, so no late fees will be incurred!

The vast menu of options has featured collections (such as Award-Winning Young Adult Titles), but can also be browsed by genre or searched by keyword. The app allows you to place titles that interest you into a wish list for later, which is convenient for titles that are not immediately available, though you can also place those titles on hold and secure yourself a place on the waitlist.

Overdrive audiobook interface

OverDrive Audiobook Interface

Highlights:

  • The app is compatible with Kindle software, so many OverDrive titles can be downloaded directly into your Kindle account, and be read on a Kindle, the Kindle Cloud Reader, or a Kindle app on any device. However, you don’t need to use Kindle technology to enjoy OverDrive: the app comes with its own reader interface.
  • If you download a title to a Kindle app, the app also syncs across your different devices. The Kindle cloud ensures that you will be able to access the title on whatever device you are using—it will even find the last page you read! (The OverDrive app does not sync across devices, but most titles can be downloaded more than once, and to more than one device.)
  • OverDrive makes accessible tons of audio content, including audio books, comedy and drama performances, and foreign language learning exercises. The app has a listening interface built into it on which to play your audio downloads. Many titles can also be transferred to mp3 players and some can even be burned to CD, though the digital rights vary from work to work.
Overdrive reading interface

OverDrive Reading Interface

Problems:

  • The interface can be a little fussy on a very small screen (e.g. a smartphone). It might be more worth your while to load your account up with books on a computer, and then pull the books from your account into your phone and tinier devices.
  • Popular titles can have long waitlists. (Silver lining: if the title you know you want is not available, you can browse the collection and find something you didn’t know you wanted!)

Requirements:

  • A compatible device. The app is available on iPhones and iPads, Androids, Windows phones, the Chromebook, Kindle Fires, Nooks, and, of course, your computer.
  • A user account with Carnegie Public Library. If you already have a CPL account, find their OverDrive page here. Click here if you would like to open an account.
  • Your hometown library may also participate with OverDrive. Check the full list of participating libraries here.

May 14, 2015
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UPDATED: May 18 Upgrade = Off-Campus Access to Library Resources Restored

alertUpdate 5/18/2015 2:10pm: The upgrade is complete, and off-campus access to library databases is now working. If you have any difficulties, please do not hesitate to contact us by phone: 412-365-1670, by email: jkmref@chatham.edu, or by IMing us on our website here: http://library.chatham.edu/.


 

On Monday, May 18th, we will be upgrading EZproxy, which is the tool that allows you to access our library databases from off-campus. This will mean that access to the databases from off-campus will be spotty at best and possibly down all day.

If you normally have to log-in using your Chatham username and password while on-campus (this often happens for computers connecting to the wireless, as well as the occasional desktop computer), that access will be affected as well.

We hope to have the upgrade completed in as timely a manner as possible. Thank you in advance for your patience.

May 11, 2015
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App Review: CP HAPPS from City Paper

CP HAPPS logo, © Pittsburgh City Paper

CP HAPPS logo, © Pittsburgh City Paper

Trying to keep up with what’s going on in and around the city this summer? For warm-weather events and year-round happenings, check out CP HAPPS. Brought to you by the folks who publish the independent weekly Pittsburgh City Paper, CP HAPPS is billed as “Pittsburgh City Paper’s Event & Entertainment Guide.” It works as an interactive expansion of the paper’s event listings, so you can check out what’s happening throughout the city while you’re on the go.

There are several different ways to browse for events within the app. The first is a list view that lets you choose by type of event. Following the catch-all “CP Listings,” categories include “Live Music” (with a separate category for “Classical, Jazz & Blues”), “DJ’s,” “Theater & Performance,” “Discount Tickets,” “Comedy,” “Art,” “Food & Drink,” “Sports,” and “Trivia.” You can browse by specific dates, or just take a look through the upcoming listings. If there is sponsored content it will float to the top of the list, which can be irksome when it consists solely of sponsored happy hours; be sure to scroll past to view the list of suggested events arranged in chronological order.

“Pittsburgh Fireworks” by Julia Wolf on Flickr, made available under a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license

Pittsburgh Fireworks” by Julia Wolf on Flickr, made available under a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license

If you’re looking to see what’s going on nearby, the map view is even more useful. This view will default to the current day, but make sure to tap individual events to check the date—ongoing events that list dates in the description only (I’m looking at you, trivia nights) will always appear on the map! Regardless of this little glitch, this view may be extra useful if you’re new to the Pittsburgh area or are in an unfamiliar neighborhood. Because the map function relies on your current location, you can even get GPS directions right to event locations.

Throughout the app you can select events to get more information and bookmark them for the future. The Activity tab lets you look at your bookmarks, as well as any notifications you’ve received. The Groups tab brings a social component to the app, allowing you to notify and chat with friends about cool things that are coming up on the calendar.

A criticism of the app is that it requires users to create an account or log in with Facebook. Remember, also, that in order to use the map and group functions, you will have to allow the app to access your location and/or contacts.

Overall, though, the CP HAPPS app is a good mobile addition to the already indispensable City Paper listings. Don’t forget to click the More tab for headlines, contests, and more!

CP HAPPS is available for iOS and Android.

April 20, 2015
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Extended 24/7 Space!

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Room 103

As of April 13, the 24×7 lab will be extended to include rooms 103, LCC1, and the large lab (101) during the hours the library is closed. This provides you with a variety of open tables and computer access as well as group study and individual spaces.

We’re sure many of you are thinking “Great! But where’s the bathroom?” For your comfort and convenience, the Eddy Theatre lobby will be open. The Eddy doors nearest the Library will remain unlocked as well as the wheelchair accessible entrance on the other side of the building.

Please note that during the summer, there will not be an expansion – only the original 24×7 room will be available. The doors to Eddy will remain open, however.

[Note: Updated 5/11/2015 to state that the expansion will not happen during summer]

April 18, 2015
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Explore Pittsburgh this summer!

Get out and explore the city this summer with inspiration from one of the books displayed on the First Floor.

Whether you’re interested in art, architecture, or the culture of Pittsburgh, you’ll find a helpful guide to your summer adventures. Dates to the biggest festivals and events around the city will be posted in the Lobby for your convenience.

Find something that peaked your interest? Make sure to ask a librarian about how you can find more books about the Steel City!

April 18, 2015
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Gardening Resources

Whether you’re planning a vegetable or rain garden, JKM Library has the resources you need!

Stop in to the First Floor and check out books on a variety of garden styles and the plants you’ll need.

Don’t have a green thumb but find inspiration in being outside? Check out either of Jamaica Kincaid’s books on how she finds peace and happiness in the natural world. 

April 12, 2015
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Meet the JKM Library Staff: Molly Tighe

Molly Tighe:

Molly at the Castillo San Felipe del Morro in San Juan

Molly at the Castillo San Felipe del Morro in San Juan

  • likes classical music
  • has a history of sneaking into libraries
  • is in favor of having a library cat

What do you do here at The Jennie King Mellon Library?

I’m the Archivist & Public Services Librarian, so there are two aspects to my role in the library.  As Archivist, I manage all aspects university Archives and Special Collections including acquiring, cataloging, and preserving documentation of the university with long-term historical and cultural value.  As Public Services Librarian, I work with students and faculty to ensure that their research and educational needs are met.

What made you choose your current profession?

In many ways, a career in Archives is a logical choice for a former history major and I’ve found it to be a wonderful way to explore how the past has shaped the present.  I was also inspired to choose career in the library field after spending many hours in the Harold Acton Library in Florence, Italy while I was a nanny for an Italian family. I would sneak into this then-private library, which is housed on three floors of a 16th century palazzo, and tip toe down a spiral staircase to the literature section, where I would relax into the ease of my native tongue.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A Las Vegas Chorus Girl. I love glitter.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

It’s always a pleasure to be contacted by an alumnae about their time at Chatham or to work with Alumni Affairs to help former students and faculty reconnect to their time here. Since I’m fairly new to Chatham, I’m doing a bit of research on the history of the university and I’m enjoying learning about all the amazing men and women who have played a role in the development of our school.  I also really enjoy helping students learn about the resources available to the library to further their academic and research goals.

If you could do one thing to change/improve the JKM Library, with no worries about time or expense, what would you do?

This is totally impractical, but it would be great to have a resident cat.  On a practical level, I’d love a cold storage environment to help preserve our film and photograph collections.

What do you like to do on your days off?

I’m a classical music fan, so I attend Pittsburgh Symphony concerts pretty regularly.  I love to practice yoga and the weekends are great time to take classes with Pittsburgh’s many fantastic teachers or with a visiting “yoga-lebrity.” I like to go hiking with my husband and we often make road trips to small historical societies or history sites.

What’s the last thing you checked out?

The Martian by Andy WeirThis science fiction thriller is as heavy on the science, as it is on the thrills. It is being made into a feature film starring Kate Mara, Jessica Chastain, and Matt Damon due in theaters in November.

What book do you think everyone should read? Why?

Whichever book I’m reading so that we can talk about it!

What’s your favorite thing about living in Pittsburgh?

I love the geography and exploring all the neighborhoods tucked into the hollows and the runs.  The cultural amenities, restaurants, and all the friendly people are also high on my list of favorite things about Pittsburgh.

What’s one thing you think everyone should do while they live in the city?

Go to a Pirates game!  See the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra!  Rent a kayak downtown (especially nice on hot summer days)!  Buy cheese at Penn Mac!

Tell us some surprising things about yourself:

  • I did a cultural exchange with Norway when I was a teenager and lived in Trondheim for a month.  It is an amazingly beautiful country.
  • I catalogued a Christmas card sent from John Lennon and May Pang to Andy Warhol when I worked in the Archives of the Warhol Museum.
  • I take gift wrapping very seriously.

April 6, 2015
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App Review: POETRY from The Poetry Foundation

April is National Poetry Month! Why not take a selection of poems with you everywhere with the help of an app? POETRY, the appropriately-titled but obnoxiously capitalized app from The Poetry Foundation (publishers of Poetry magazine), can help you search for and save your favorite poems. You can also find new poems to love with the help of the “Discover Poetry” feature, which caused me to happily while away a good amount of time while writing this review.

“Poetry Library” by John Zacherle on Flickr

Poetry Library” by John Zacherle on Flickr, made available under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license

The app opens and presents you with a curious button: “Spin.” Hitting this button starts a scrolling rainbow of options which eventually settles on a mood and a subject. On my first try I got “Humor & Youth,” which displayed 25 poems beneath the header. Dragging the colored bar displaying the mood, I was delighted to find that you can search by any combination of mood and subject and the app will display poems that are tagged with both. From gloomy combinations such as “Boredom & Love” to the more colorful “Joy & Celebrations,” this approach allows for an interactive and engaging discovery process. My one complaint is that this view displays only the title of the poem and not the author, so I ended up selecting a number of titles that I would have otherwise avoided. On the other hand, perhaps this allows for serendipitous discovery and destruction of literary comfort zones, or at least the element of surprise.

If you’re looking for poems by a specific author, or trying to locate a poem by title or by a line or phrase, there is also a “Find Poetry” search feature. This may be more useful for poems you have encountered while using the Poetry Foundation website or the POETRY app, as the collection is necessarily somewhat limited. The mobile collection does not include all of the poems available on the Poetry Foundation website, probably due to the issues inherent in obtaining the correct permissions. What the app does contain are poems from Poetry magazine, poems in the public domain, and those poems for which the app creators have secured mobile permissions. New poems are added on a monthly basis.

There is a sharing function which allows you to integrate your Twitter, Facebook, and/or email account. Otherwise, there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of integration between the app and the website proper, so your favorites appear to be accessible only within the app interface. The only other distracting element of the app is its (understandable) struggle to represent poetic structure, so line breaks and irregular spacing may not be reproduced faithfully.

I will admit that I downloaded this app in order to review it, but I’m not giving it up. I will be celebrating throughout April and beyond by browsing through its collection while on the bus, waiting in line, and probably in many other places throughout Pittsburgh. (Don’t worry, Twitter app, I still love you. But it’s National Poetry Month.)

POETRY is available for iOS and Android.

April 2, 2015
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Prizewinning Edible Books!

Yesterday’s celebration of the International Edible Books Festival was a rousing success! Thanks to everyone who participated. IMG_4809

Thank you also to our three wonderful judges for their hard work in selecting the prizewinning edible books:

  • Dr. Heather McNaugher, Associate Professor of English & Creative Writing
  • Malik Hamilton, Food Studies student
  • Amy Lee Heinlen, Librarian and Poet
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Serious deliberation was required to select the prizewinners.

And a big congratulations, of course, to our fantastic prizewinners:

Most Creative Literary Interpretation:
Molly Tighe for Tender is the NightMost Creative Ingredients / Use of Ingredients:
Shuai Lu for Ancient Egypt: The Land and its Legacy
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Most Sustainable:
Breanne Healey for The Very Hungry Caterpillar
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Most Popular Vote:
Rachel Geffrey for Curious George
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Grand Prize:
Tiffany Waltenbaugh, Teresa Scibilia, & Lorraine Yanjtovich for The Very Hungry Caterpillar
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March 19, 2015
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Meet Gesina Phillips, Reference Associate!

GesinaIsAwkwardGesina Phillips:

  • wanted to be a marine biologist when she grew up
  • DJ at WRCT-FM, Carnegie Mellon’s radio station
  • is a Reference Associate here at the JKM Library!

What do you do here at The Jennie King Mellon Library?

I’m a Reference Associate, which means I’m one of the people you might talk to if you contact Ask a Librarian or email/call/stop by the Reference Desk at the library.

What made you choose your current profession?

I’m still studying for my Master’s in Library Science at the University of Pittsburgh, but I’ve chosen to become a librarian because I love teaching and learning. Collaborating with people to find answers to their questions is fulfilling for me both as a people person and a researcher. Plus, my previous degrees are in English literature, so it sure is nice to be surrounded by books all the time.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A marine biologist. I grew out of that sometime during high school biology, but I still really like whales.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I really enjoy helping people through the research process. It’s great to be able to point people toward new resources or search strategies so that they’ll be better equipped to find things in the future. I also love the range of research topics that I encounter—I always learn something new!

If you could do one thing to change/improve the JKM Library- with no worries about time or expense, what would you do?

I would love to put in a cozy and inviting space for collaboration, like a cafe or a commons, and fill it with tons of supplies (whiteboards, interactive technologies) and leisure reading materials (magazines, newspapers). The library has a lot of these things already, but I would love to combine them all in a more casual open space.

What do you like to do on your days off?

When I’m not at the library I enjoy reading, getting out & exploring the city, finding new music to listen to & revisiting old favorites, playing video games, and making baked goods.

What’s the last thing you checked out?

The last book I checked out–and I’ll be honest–was Volume 3 of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy (a compilation which includes The Conqueror Worm and Strange Places). Mignola’s use of shadows is gorgeous, and who doesn’t love a good comic book halfway through the semester? I got it from CLP Main, which has a great collection of comics, graphic novels, and even zines!

What book do you think everyone should read? Why?

I think everyone should really read Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s funny, it’s important, and it’s light enough sci-fi to be a potential gateway to some really nerdy stuff.

What’s your favorite thing about living in Pittsburgh?

I’ve heard it described as “the biggest small town” and I tend to agree. People love living in Pittsburgh, talking about Pittsburgh, and getting excited about all things related to Pittsburgh. I think that energy is great and above all quite infectious.

What’s one thing you think everyone should do while they live in the city?

Everyone will tell you to take the Incline, but they’re right! It’s a great thing to do because a) it’s part of the transit system, which is weird, and b) you end up with a lovely view of the city. Also make sure to take advantage of both the world-class venues and the little hole-in-the-wall spaces in the city that cater to art, music, and more.

Tell us some surprising things about yourself:

  • I’m a DJ at WRCT-FM, Carnegie Mellon’s radio station.
  • I’ve been cited in an academic publication…for talking about Viking Metal.
  • I’m on a constant search for the best burger in Pittsburgh.