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  • April 2011
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Free Stuff Friday: WIN WIN WIN…it’s easy

Friday means Free Stuff at CLPTeensburgh–all you have to do is be the first teen to post a comment on any CLPTeesnburgh blog post. The winner gets their choice of  a $10 gift card from either Target, Barnes & Noble, or Eat n’ Park. Better act now!

Last Typewriter Factory Closes: Ode to an Old Machine With a Lesson on Research

I’m the Digital Learning Librarian for Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, so maybe you wouldn’t expect it, but I’ve always been fond of typewriters. I admit, it’s more aesthetic than functional–computers are faster and there’s always the “<–Backspace” key and spellchecker for mistakes–but, as a teenager, I still collected them.

That’s why I was quite sad this week to hear that the last remaining typewriter factory has closed! India’s Godrej and Boyce typewriter factory has been diligently churning out typewriters even though demand has dwindled:

“We are not getting many orders now,” Milind Dukle, Godrej and Boyce’s general manager, told the paper. “From the early 2000s onwards, computers started dominating. All the manufacturers of office typewriters stopped production, except us. ‘Till 2009, we used to produce 10,000 to 12,000 machines a year. But this might be the last chance for typewriter lovers. Now, our primary market is among the defence agencies, courts and government offices.” (“Last Typewriter Factory in the World Shuts Its Doors”)

I saw it coming. So much so that, at first, I didn’t even think to double-check the source. 2011, with iPads taking over, made sense as the year typewriters would finally bite the dust. Good thing I checked to see what old reliable National Public Radio had to say about the story:

Well, we certainly should have known. The Daily Mail focused on the end of typewriter production by India’s Godrej and Boyce. But as this Two-Way post from July 2009 shows, New Jersey’s Swintec has been doing a very good business in typewriters for quite a few years now. Convicts and cops are among their best customers.

And you don’t have to look too far on the Web to find other typewriters, from companies such as Brother International.

Where the Daily Mail may be right, though we haven’t been able to confirm as of yet, is that Godrej and Boyce was producing manual typewriters… (“Has The Last Typewriter Factory Closed? Not Really”)

So, it’s manual typewriters then. Alas! The best ones! I still maintain that, in nature, there exist few sounds more comforting than the CLACK CLACK of a typebar striking a page. Something about analog mechanics just comforts me: typewriters, pneumatic tubes, Polaroid cameras, and record players; all of these lovely inventions marry form and function in a superb way.

London’s Daily Mail now has the proverbial egg on its face. That could have been helped by better research. I feel a shameless library plug coming on. If you need help with research or just want to peruse some very cool tools like our databases, language help, and  library subject guide, you can–online even! Discover more HERE.

Do you have a typewriter? Would you like the get one? Well, since they’re harder  and harder to buy new, you might want to check out the books the library has on typewriter maintenance and repair. Or, if I’ve piqued your interest, try these books on typewriter history. And if you’ve never seen Atonement (based on Ian McEwan’s novel) you should–it features some awesome typewriter-as-percussion in the soundtrack.

Of course, I’ve embraced smart phones, laptops, and iPods like everyone else, but I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the decorative heavy elegance of the manual typewriter. Adios, amigo–if you’re truly gone, you will be missed! I’ll see you in my dreams…and in my apartment, because I still have a few. : )

Corey, CLP-Main

Games of Thrones

I just started reading the George R.R. Martin series A Song of Fire and IceThis is the series upon which HBO based their Game of Thrones miniseries.  I haven’t read a whole lot of ‘fantasy‘ books because I always thought they were filled with elves and fairies and things like that.  But I thought I’d give this a try since I’ve been hearing so much about it, and now I’m totally hooked.  The political intrigue is fascinating and the dynamic between the characters is riveting.  I just finished the second book and am waiting to start the third.  Has anyone else read the series?  What do you think of it?  Are there any other series or books that you would recommend to readers of the Game of Thrones series?

Jim, CLP-West End

Spring Eating

I don’t know about you, but this warm Spring-ish weather has me thinking about food.   Like most people I look forward to each new season for lots of reasons, but this year the one thing that has me most excited is all the new ingredients that will be popping up soon in the grocery store and farmers’ markets.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the heavy soups, stews and casseroles we eat to keep us going through the tough Pittsburgh winters; but I for one am ready for the fresh vegetables and fruits that’ll be coming our way soon.

As a kid I spent a lot of time in my Grandma’s kitchen.  I watched her make the most memorable dishes of my life, and together we made many, many cookies.  But after I hit about 14 my idea of a fun time changed and I spent less time cooking and soon forgot most of the cooking skills I did have.  For years I didn’t cook more than a box of Macaroni and Cheese.  Now I regret all the time and practice I lost.

These days I’m trying to make up for lost time by cooking as much as I can.   Cook books are obviously a terrific resource… see some highlighted by Kim a few weeks ago here.

Plus a few of my favorites…

But I must say, my biggest cooking inspiration comes from the amazing community of food bloggers out there.   You can find exotic, ethnic dishes to experiment with or simple American classics.  The variety is almost endless, most food bloggers have no professional training, and many are teens!  Food blogs put great recipes and a really fun and rewarding hobby within everyone’s reach.

Check out a few of my favorite food blogs in no particular order…bonus points for post your favorite food blog in the comments!

17 and Baking

The Sophisticated Gormet

Matt Bites

The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Smitten Kitchen


Celiac Teen: Let go of the gluten

Happy eating!


Teen review: Fallen Angel by Heather Terrell

My name is Jenna. I go to a high school where I’m part of the marching band and the cheerleading squad. I’m pretty busy, but I always find time to read. I’m also very creative and I like doing little crafts out of random things I find.

Fallen Angel by Heather Terrell

This book is amazing. Terrell takes the point of view of Ellie, whose real name is Ellspeth. For the first fifteen years of her life, she was just a normal girl who traveled a ton with her parents. She had a best friend named Ruth who she shared EVERYTHING with, and she never had a serious boyfriend.

But now, she’s sixteen years old, and her whole life is changing. She has dreams every night of her flying, but she never thought much of them. A new boy comes to town and he instantly takes interest in Ellie. His name is Michael. Ellie and Michael become really close and as they are becoming closer, they learn more about each other.

Michael made Ellie realize that the flying wasn’t just a dream, that she truly CAN fly, and so can he. He admitted to having powers just like her and told Ellie that they are different from everyone else.

He was right. The two teenagers uncover a story that they would have never imagined, and everything that they thought they knew about their life previously, is wrong.

This book also ties in with Bible stories and the novel is so good that it makes you almost believe that the story of Michael and Ellie is true. I was interested in this book from the very first page and it was really easy to understand. I definitely recommend this novel!

Bring Obama to Pittsburgh CAPA

It’s your turn to weigh in on the six Commencement Challenge finalists! Watch the three-minute video and read the short essay from each of the six high school finalists, then give each school a rating of 1-5 (a rating of 1 is the lowest and 5 is the highest). Learn more about the rating system and criteria.

That’s right, President Obama is going to speak at a High School commencement next month. But where? Well, Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12, School For Creative and Performing Arts is one of the six finalists–and you can help them win! Just VOTE HERE!

Read all about the program and CAPA’s story in this article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

But be quick–there are only two days left to vote in the Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge.

Corey, CLP-Main

Teaser Tuesday

It’s time again for Teaser Tuesday.  What’s Teaser Tuesday?  It’s a game.  (Based on pageturnsblog.)  How do we play?  I try to convince you to pick up and read the book I’m currently reading by posting two “teaser” sentences.  You in turn try to convince me to pick up the book you are reading by posting two teaser sentences from your book.  Here are the rules:

  • Pick up what you’re reading.
  • Open to a random page.
  • Post two sentences from somewhere on the page.  (Don’t choose sentences that will give away too much, you don’t want to ruin it for others.)
  • Include the Title and Author so that others can start reading it.

My teaser this month is:

  Need by Carrie Jones

Everybody has fears, right?  I collect fears like other people collect stamps, which makes me sound like more of a freak than I actually am.

Now, it’s your turn.  Post two sentences along with the Title and Author of the book.


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