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  • March 2019
    M T W T F S S
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The link between rhythm and reading

Image c.o. freedigitalimages.net, by imagerymajestic.

Image by imagerymajestic, via freedigitalimages.net

This just in from the Journal of Neuroscience: researchers have discovered that learning to keep a steady beat can enhance your language skills and make you a better reader.

A recent study tested the rhythmic abilities of a group of Chicago high-schoolers to establish a link between beat-keeping mastery and language aptitude. As it turns out, both of these abilities are managed by the same part of our brains. Moving in time with a beat trains the brain to listen carefully and pick out subtle auditory cues.

Human language is inherently musical– we don’t talk like robots, but let our words rise and fall with emphasis on certain syllables. Our normal speech patterns move with a sense of rhythm, so it makes sense that practicing music may improve the ability to use and interpret language, too. And since reading requires us to understand and anticipate the way that language moves, exercising your rhythm skills can also help to build your reading skills.

Whether you dance, sing, practice an instrument, or just drum your fingers along with the beat, this new info is an awesome reason to keep listening to (and making) music.

You can find musical masterpieces of every genre at the library, or check out Freegal, which allows you to download 3 new songs a week using your CLP library card.

And of course, we’ve got you covered on books, too. Listen to music — > become a better reader —> read cool books about music:

Beats, Rhymes, & Life: What We Love and Hate About Hip HopNick & Norah's Infinite Playlist



Learn to Speak Music




Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetic of Hip Hop    The Vinyl Princess


(Follow us on Instagram: clpteens.)

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Main

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

Fresh Resources for Black History Month

Although I don’t have direct access to the lesson plans of middle- and high-school teachers in Pittsburgh, every February brings students into the library looking for information on African-American history–especially biographical information on famous historical figures.  If you, too, have some research to do in this area, let me suggest some online options to supplement our books and encyclopedias:

The Library of Congress on Flickr

Here we have Cab Calloway, famous Jazz Musician. His photo is part of the Gottleib Jazz Photos set that the LOC has generously uploaded to Flickr.  Most everything (as far as I can tell) from their photostream has no known copyright restrictions, which means you can download the photos and use them in any reports or presentations you might need to do.

Or go over to the photostream of the U.S. National Archives and take a look around.

Interested in World War II and African-American history?  Here’s a photo of an all-black Air Force fighter squadron:

What does the 13th Amendment look like? Here it is:

It says that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

African American Experience

This database will provide you with information for your history research project when the books you need have been checked out (or even if they haven’t).  And you can access it from the comfort of your own home, if you have a home computer.

It is organized by “Era”, starting in the year 500, and going up to the present day.  There’s A LOT of information there, including photos. Dive in. (You can click the words “African American Experience” above to go to where it is on the CLP website).

American Song



Maybe you need some music to make history come alive. In that case, explore American Song, a streaming-music database.  You can listen to some Cab Calloway tunes, or listen to Leadbelly, or Tampa Red accompany Ma Rainey, or All That:

And much more, including liner notes and the ability to send songs to your cell phone.

Library of Congress: American Memory Project

This is where you can hear African-American slaves talk about their lives, read Frederick Douglass’s personal papers, or read a history of breaking the color line in baseball (featuring Jackie Robinson).

There’s lots to explore–that’s what the other 11 months of the year are also for. Don’t stop at February 28th! And if you need help searching, don’t hesitate to ask a librarian.


Excellent Science Resources

Need a current event in science? Check out this site: Science Daily. It summarizes (usually in a mere page or two) cutting edge science research from peer-reviewed journal articles. Not only will you be able to easily understand it and write a quick summary or report; Science Daily articles cover diverse areas such as biology, medicine, physics, chemistry, climate science and more. You are sure to find something interesting to write about, even if you think you’re not really all that into science.

And for those who are really into science (and thinking about pursuing a science degree in college), check out PLOS Biology (an awesome open access, peer-reviewed biology journal) and Stanford University’s Highwire Press (which partners with independent scholarly journals and university presses to provide access to abstracts and many free, full-text articles). If you’re planning on majoring in science, you’re going to be reading a lot of these complex journal articles, so you may as well get some practice. Both sites host free full-text science articles, and Highwire even hosts articles from other academic disciplines).

Check out these books for more help writing about science and writing research reports in general:


Sara Dora, CLP-Hazelwood

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