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  • May 2018
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Free Music And So Much More!

Did you know you can download FREE music from the Library?


It’s true! Freegal, which stands for free and legal, is a music download service that is available with your CLP Library Card. You can download up to 3 free songs every week! There is a huge catalog of music plus plenty of new releases.

Available via web and mobile app.


And if you like Apps… We even have our own CLP App where you can search the catalog, view your account, check for hours/locations, and so much more! Available for iOS and Android!

oh thats nice

You can get it right here! And check out a list of Apps We Love!


Have you seen the CLP-Teen Instagram or Facebook?


If you haven’t, then check us out on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumbr, and YouTube!

Even your neighborhood libraries are on Facebook! Check out Woods Run, West End, Hazelwood, and Beechview to start!

Michael B. (Hazelwood)

Music Streaming With Spotify

I first met my friend Dan in fifth grade homeroom. Starting Middle School was a stressful time–students from two elementary schools came together which meant a lot of new kids were in my grade. We were also in a new building (a much larger building) and we had lockers for the first time. All of this combined to make me extra anxious about the transition.

That’s why, when I saw Dan had the cassette tape of a band I liked on his desk in front of me, I hoped we’d become friends. Because we were shy that didn’t really happen for a couple more years, but it did eventually and we’ve been friends ever since.

Fast forward a bunch of years and, later this year, Dan’s getting married. I’m proud to say that I’m going to be in the wedding party as a groomsman. In preparation for the wedding, Dan has asked me to help create some playlists for the wedding reception using Spotify, the streaming music service. You probably already know Spotify, but, if not, just check out the video below for a quick briefing on the service:

If you haven’t yet used it, Spotify is a service that legally streams music from thousands of artists. Most all of the music you’re looking for will be on Spotify*and it won’t take up any room on your hard-drive. You can stream music from Spotify through your mobile phone or computer and share it with friends through Facebook as well as through shared playlists.

Dan lives in New York and I’m here in Pittsburgh, but we can still share our playlists through Spotify. Our friendship was largely formed around our taste in music–Dan had a tape I thought was cool and, later, I got him into bands he hadn’t heard of yet. It went on that way through the rest of Middle School and High School and even on into college. Now, in the months leading up to his wedding, we continue to connect through music. What a cool service Spotify is!

– Corey, Digital Learning Librarian

P.S. If you’re interested in listening to one of the wedding reception playlists as it’s put together, click here.

*Spotify is a Digital Rights Management service, which means that all of the music available through the service is streamed legally, though access is limited based on copyright law. You can freely access tons of music through Spotify, but some groups (e.g. The Beatles) have agreements with other services (iTunes in the case of The Beatles) which further limit legal availability of their music.

Facebook News and Birthdays

So, today’s blog post is a two-parter. One has nothing to do with the other– but I was equally interested in both, so I thought I’d share both.

Part 1:
Facebook is all about sharing information. For the most part, we share it about ourselves. What we’re doing– where we’re going– who we’re with, etc. Most of the time, we end up oversharing. I know that no one cares if I’m watching American Horror Story or cooking a pot roast for dinner– yet I still find myself throwing up pointless status updates.  Nevertheless, Facebook has become a channel for people to also share stuff that really interests or touches them.

Whether it is informational, funny, poignant, etc., the Facebook news feed has become one of my go-to sources of information. Where did I first find out Michael Jackson had died? Facebook. That the shaking I just felt was an earthquake? Facebook.  Most recently, I first heard about the Penn State scandal from where? Oh, that’s right, Facebook.

Facebook has recognized how influential it has become in sharing information by releasing its list of top 40 “stories” that were shared on Facebook in 2011. The most popular news stories include posts that we would expect to see, such as satellite images from Japan after the earthquake and tsunami, outrage over the Facebook redesign, and Steve Jobs’ death. But, the list also contains some obscure stories that I’ve never seen before, like one involving a giant crocodile and the most typical face on the planet.

Here is the full list, and I’ve added some of the videos from the list to this post just because I think they’re awesome.


Did you happen to post any of these stories on your Facebook page this year?

Part 2
Today is my birthday! In honor of that, I wanted to share this neat page I just found called Birthday Calculator. You put in the day, month, and year of your birth and it brings up all kinds of cool information that I bet you didn’t know before– such as, did you know that I share my birthday with Britney Spears (I actually knew that…), Lucy Liu, and Gianni Versace? Also, that my age is the equivalent of a dog that is 3.71624266144814 years old– and my lucky day is Thursday! Check out Birthday Calendar and see what you find.

Have a great weekend everyone!

-Julie, CLP Beechview

Social Media Revolution 2011

How many times have you heard the complaint that teenagers these days have no communication skills?  That you spend your whole day with your head buried in a cell phone checking people’s status updates? That you’re too concerned with what Kim Kardashian is tweeting about rather than wondering why US troops are still hanging out in the Middle East? How you could want to partake in an environment where there is no privacy and everyone’s business becomes your business?

In the library, I have had a HUGE number of adults come to me concerned with teens being incapable of communicating with each other or adults properly because they primarily talk via text messages and social networking sites.  They tell me that it is shameful that The Oxford English Dictionary is adding words like OMG and LOL to their lists. How do I react? Dumbfounded.

Truthfully, I think I have an easier time talking to the teens in my library than I do the adults! And maybe that’s because I am totally guilty of this. To be honest, I hate talking on the phone. Phoneaphobia– literally, I avoid it at all costs. If I can send a text or write an email, I will. Face to face and phone conversations are a last resort. But does that mean I’m any less capable of face to face or over the phone communication? I don’t think so.  When I do have to make that dreadful phone call, it seems to go basically the same that an email or text would– it’s just not my style.

This 2009 poll shows that 50% of users think that technology hinders social skills– that “technology replaces face-to-face experiences critical for developing social skills with human-to-machine interactions.  The author of this article uses the example that men who hide behind social networking sites and text messages can’t talk to women face to face or they “screw up.”  Well, at least in my case, talking to someone that you find attractive can be intimidating and often does not run smoothly, especially in person, whether you Tweet on a regular basis or not… Is this a generational divide? Will this number shrink as more adults begin using these social media tools? Either way, the world of social networking is upon us and adults and teens alike should embrace what it has to offer rather than shun it for its apparent downfalls. Check out this video, I think you’ll be surprised at just big of an impact social media has on the world…

Did you know that Facebook actually has a lot to offer it users? Not only does it give me the chance to cyberstalk that boy I had a crush on in freshmen comp, but, because I use Facebook, I am significantly more likely to trust people than non-Facebook and non-internet users are. We Facebookers are also more likely to have close confidents with whom we can discuss important matters.  Not to mention that there is no other force driving global awareness like social networking. I have never been so aware of what is happening in the world as I am at 9 AM every morning when I check Facebook for the first time. We are past the point where social networking is a hindrance– social media no longer takes the places of human interaction but rather amplifies it.  So kids, I say, embrace your status update feed, tweet like there’s no tomorrow, and pepper your English papers with LOLs and OMGs because well, they’re in the dictionary and so they must be real words, right?… (okay, maybe not that last one).

Here are some books in the CLP catalog on the social media revolution. Its only going to get bigger, so read up now and stay ahead of the game…

-Julie, CLP Beechview

Someone’s watching

I use Facebook.  The teen specialists and librarians here at CLP use Facebook.    It is probably a little unrealistic to tell anyone to not use Facebook, because it has many fine and fun uses.  But there are some things to consider when you’re using Facebook.  They have to do with P R I V A C Y.

photo by flickr user rishibando

 Julie from Carrick has already written about the reasons that Facebook can be fun to use, and the ambivalence two of her teen customers had towards being part of it.  You may or may not have the same ambivalence.  You may not think at all about where your status updates go once you’ve pressed the Share button.  But you should!

Check out Matt McKeon’s pie graph showing how the information on Facebook has gotten less and less private over the last five years: click here.

 Unless you customize your privacy settings on Facebook, anyone can see them.  Why does this matter? Is anyone looking?  Don’t they just disappear into the internet ether? 

1. It matters because it can affect your life.  Facebooking while out sick has gotten people fired from jobs.  A death threat on Facebook got a student expelled from school.  Someone complained about their boss on Facebook and he saw it (warning, contains foul language.)

2. Yes, people other than your friends are or can be reading  your status updates.  In fact, there’s a whole website devoted to making people’s status updates searchable: youropenbook.org  Even what seems like a harmless search for “Pittsburgh” turned up T.M.I. on someone’s brother’s arrest and someone’s personal update on their celibacy.

3. No, your status updates do not disappear into the internet ether.  They are saved.  Even if your account is deactivated, the information is saved.  A company named Skull Security even compiled a list of user data (names, email addresses, etc.) and made it easily available for anyone who wanted to use it.

But I’m not here to try to be a scare-mongerer.  Just to tell you to take the time to go to Facebook’s Privacy Settings page and customize your profile a little bit.  (They made it a little easier to navigate after criticism of their changes.Make a friends list so you’re only posting your updates to a limited number of people (this is why my updates are not available on Youropenbook.org).  Think before you post. 

The old advice about counting to ten before you speak in anger?   That still applies on Facebook.  And if you really feel a need to be dramatic, do like Erin Schrode and Hannah Grosman, two teens who are writing a novel that unfolds on Twitter and (fake) Facebook accounts.

Songs That Saved Your Life (Teen Music Discussion Group) # 4

Songs That Saved Your Life

The next meeting of ‘Songs That Saved Your Life’ (CLP Main Teen’s Music Discussion Group) is coming up on Tuesday, April 1st at 4:00 PM. If you’re interested in joining up please go here to register. Once that’s done, please feel free to join the Facebook group I’ve created here. Below is some info about the next meeting and our new mix. I hope you can make it!

The new mix is in the works. I should have it in your hands by early next week. I’ve had a bit of a hard time pinning down the theme, it’s true, but I think I’ve got it now. The idea of a metal mix was first mentioned, but that morphed into a general hard rock mix. From there, we said it would be cool if the mix included any music that was considered to be shocking or groundbreaking when it was first released. For instance, when Elvis first appeared on the Ed Sullivan show they didn’t film him from the waist down for fear that his hip-swiveling would incense the youngsters; ridiculous, right? But it’s true.In the same vein, most mutations of Jazz music were originally met with skepticism and even fear. The Nazis banned swing music; back in the U.S.S.R. listening to rock music could get you in some serious trouble. “You don’t know how lucky you are, boy.” Basically, all the good stuff was challenged when it first came out; big surprise, right? There’s always someone out there prepared to tell you what’s appropriate, and make decisions for you. Who are they to decide? Let’s follow that  general statement of rebellion and see what we can come up with. I’d like to call the mix “For Those Who Have Already Rocked, We Salute You!”

Once again, it’s a pretty broad mix, but let’s see where it takes us. Remember to bring in a song (or more) that you can present to the group. No pressure – I just think it would be cool if we played a little show-and-tell with music. Just try to make it fit in with the theme.

– corey

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