Shaler North Hills Library Book-A-Librarian program offers 1-on-1 help

| Wednesday, July 2, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

When Jayne Conley needed help navigating her new Kindle Fire device, she contacted the Shaler North Hills Library to take advantage of a new program.

The Book-A-Librarian program, which started in February, enables patrons to make an appointment to work one-on-one with a reference librarian on a variety of topics.

During many Book-A-Librarian appointments, reference librarians said they help patrons with everything from filling out job applications or setting up a resume to learning how to use programs like Excel or new devices like electronic readers.

“I do computers but this Kindle was entirely different,” said Conley, who wanted to learn how to use her Kindle as an e-reader when she set up her Book-A-Librarian appointment.

The librarian “showed me how to get around the Shaler (library) site through my Kindle. I went up two or three times before I got it and could do it right.”

The Book-A-Librarian program replaces monthly, themed computer classes that were taught at the library. Already, reference librarians have helped close to 100 people, averaging 20 appointments per month.

“We were finding our classes weren't working out because people had different devices and what they wanted to use them for,” said Sharon McRae, library director. “So we decided to do more one-on-one with the computer questions.”

Patrons can call the library to make a one-hour appointment during the week, when two reference librarians are scheduled. There also are Book-A-Librarian computer classes in the computer lab on Wednesdays, to help patrons at any level.

“I think we're reaching more people, a diverse group of people,” reference librarian Carolyn Cunningham said. “It's a great role for us to have to impart our knowledge on others.”

Suzanne Raymond of Shaler Township said that while she attended computer classes led by Apple employees after purchasing her iPad 2 device, she took advantage of Book-A-Librarian for more direction on how to use the OverDrive platform to borrow library books on her device.

“After you search for hours at home (for the answer), it's wonderful to be able to drive up here to these nice ladies,” Raymond said. “I'm very comfortable here.”

Library patrons interested in setting up a Book-A-Librarian appointment can contact the library at 412-486-0211.

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or

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