Stay in Bed

Stay in bed today. We’re giving you permission. (Okay, if that won’t go over with your boss, then get up and get into work!)  But for those of you who don’t feel like leaving home today, there are plenty of things ways you can still access our library. All you need is your library card and PIN.

  1. Take out audiobooks, ebooks, movies, and music with the HOOPLA app. Download it onto your phone, register your email and make a pin, and you’re ready to go. You can have up to four titles out per month, and everything you see, you can download immediately.
  2. Register for any of our programs. You can give us a call, send us an email, or just check out our latest newsletter for all the details. We’ve always got lots going on, from children’s programs, to teen activities, adult programs, and sessions for seniors.
  3. Make a donation to our Summer Literacy tutoring program. Now you can do it from home…no getting on those boots and coats. All you need is your credit card, and they’ll even provide a tax receipt for donations over $10!
  4. Check to see if any of our museum passes are available. Just click on the link, scroll to the bottom and click “Check availability” to see what’s in. While you can’t place holds on these, you can find out more about how they work, access the links to all of the websites to check on Museum hours, and download maps to get you there.
  5. Learn a language. Have you tried the Mango Languages app? It’s super cute–and it’ll help you get ready for that spring trip to Rome (or Bali, or Iceland).

Had a notice that your card is about to expire? Just give us a call and we’ll renew it over the phone after we ask you a few important questions. Want to place a book on hold? Stop by our website and log in. We’ll notify you when your item becomes available. (Hint, this is especially useful for parents who only ever seem to hit the Children’s section when they’re in.)

Happy loafing!

 

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It’s Going to Cost me HOW MUCH?

onlineresourcesThis is the first in a series we’re calling “FIND IT NOW: Online Resources at the Library”. While many people use the library catalog to reserve books, renew what they have out, or just search the collection before they come in, we’ve noticed that more and more people need information we don’t carry….and they need it right now!

Of course, our first instinct is to do a Google search, but if it is for a school project, often teachers don’t want the students to use information they find online. What about periodicals and encyclopedias, though? We don’t carry many of these resources anymore in hard copy, but now, we have them available for our patrons through our library catalog.

onlineWhen you go to our catalog, you’ll see a link on the left called “online resources”. This is where you’ll begin your search. And today, we’re going to talk about a resource that will help you with your car. It’s called the Chilton Library.

chiltonWe’ve offered this at our library in the past, but it’s never been so easy to access, especially from home. Once you click on the link, you’ll be brought to the main page. From here, you can look up information on a specific vehicle make and model. But it goes further than that. What if you need information to do some repairs yourself? What if you have an idea about how much a new part will cost, but don’t want to be blindsided by labor costs. The Chilton link allows you to research all of those things, and more. You’ll be able to go into your automotive center and feel like you have some knowledge behind you. As with anything, however, please remember that this site is providing information only, and that any differences when you have your car repaired are up to your technician. (Sort of like trying to diagnose yourself from a health website….your doctor might come up with a completely different diagnosis). This is strictly a tool.

Most people don’t think about using the library to fix their cars, but that’s exactly the type of unique service that’s available now. Aren’t libraries great?

 

 

Take a course! It starts soon!

If you’ve ever thought about going back to school but don’t have the time (or the funds), there are many great FREE online sites that offer university level courses. One such site is Coursera! Many of their courses start right now (or have already started this week), so check out the website if you’re interested so that you don’t get too far behind. Once you register, your course will consist of videos that you’ll watch, course assignments and interaction with other students.  You’ll be required to post your work online for others to comment on, but the good thing is, you’ll get to do a bit of critiquing yourself.

coursera

The courses range anywhere from 4 weeks or more and there are so many different topics, you’re bound to find something that will interest you. How about Exploring Quantum Physics, or The Beginner’s Guide to Irrational Behavior, or Climate Change?  Of course, there are plenty of literature courses as well. In fact, I found this website after reading a great blog by a woman who took an online poetry course. You can read about her experiences here.

Why not start this year by expanding your brain? It might not get you a better job, but you’ll probably be glad you did it anyway.

I want to “unlike”. Sometimes.

In the age of Facebook and Twitter and other forms of social media, there seems to be too much positivity going around, especially when it comes to book reviews.  I know that this seems contrary to what most people think. After all, the web allows anyone to have an opinion, and a lot of people seem to find fault with, well, everything. There are people who will comment on blogs or websites just to stir things up.  They enjoy being devilish, I think.

Of course, I’m being very general here. But the simple fact is that, in the book world, people are too positive. Aside from published book reviewers, a lot of people who review books online tend to be overly positive.  It’s like they’re afraid of saying anything negative.  This is especially true of hopeful writers who use sites like Goodreads or their personal blogs to review books by their peers.  Maybe they’re afraid a bad review for a book will cast a dark shadow on their book once it is released. Maybe they just want to be seen as an ever-positive, friendlier-than-anyone-else writer. Whatever the reasons, I’m tired of it. (There are great book wanna-be author/reviewers out there, too! You just have to find the ones you trust.)

I’ve read a few great books recently. I’ve also closed my share of “bad” books after the first 25 pages or so. And yes, many of these books were given such glowing reviews, I was swayed into reading them.  But what if I just wasn’t as wowed by a book as everyone else?  What if it was just okay? What can I do about it? (Yes, I know many reviewers on Goodreads really DO post negative reviews. Sometimes too negative. I’m talking about balance.)

We’re able to “friend” people, to “like” posts and pages, to “follow”.  Sometimes, I just want to say…“Meh, it was okay.”  Sometimes I just want to “hate” a post, or “agree” with a comment, or “stalk for a short time to see if I’m really interested or not”. Why don’t we have those choices?  Why can’t we be totally honest about how we feel? I guess  social media is just that…social.  If we had choices to be negative in any way, it would be anti-social media, right? And for the most part, the positivity is good. But sometimes, I just want to say I didn’t like it. Nothing more than that.

When the new J. K. Rowling book comes out, I’m sure there will be an inordinate amount of negative reviews, simply because people will want to dislike her book. Any author with such unprecedented success would have trouble living up to that standard, even if the next book is fantastic. Rowling will have an even harder time, I’m afraid, because her book is aimed at adults rather than children. Just another hurdle to overcome. (We see the same thing with “adult” authors who start writing for YA or middle grade–they’re judged by a different standard at that point.  Fair?  Not in the least, but that’s the way life works, I guess.)

So, the next time you feel underwhelmed by something, don’t be afraid to say it.  You don’t have to spout negativity from the rooftops, but a simple “I didn’t love it” will get the point across just fine. A better online balance would emerge, rather than a skew toward something unattainable. Try it. See what happens.

Get ready for Camp!

Yes, it’s that time of year again. Time to get the duffel bag packed and slather on the bug spray and sunscreen.  It’s camp time!  But this year, it’s for ADULTS, and it’s all about writing that novel you never have time for.

If you read this blog on a regular basis, you’ll know that come November, many would-be writers lock their doors, ignore the laundry piling up and get their laptops charged for some serious writing sessions. NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) takes place for 30 days, and in that time, people challenge themselves to write at least 50,000 words…the length of the average novel.  It doesn’t have to be an award winner (although many great novels have been born of NaNoWriMo, including Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus) and everything you write remains yours.  This is just a fun way to get yourself motivated and be accountable to your goals for thirty days.

So…the idea of Camp NaNoWriMo sounds like fun! It runs during two separate months during the summer, June and August (maybe you’ll even get TWO novels finished) and allows people who register the option of treating it just like camp.  No, there won’t be any swimming lessons or campfire songs, but you can select to be in a “cabin” with specific writer friends, or go wild and take the random cabin option. Each group of 4 – 6 campers will be combined based on age or genre that you write, or you can be a rebel and opt out of a cabin completely.  Keep in mind, your fellow campers are going through the same struggle you are and they’ll be along to support you all month, and you can do the same for them.  If the going gets tough and you’re not meeting your word requirements, get out those pep talks and see how your cabin mates are doing it!

The best part of Camp NaNoWriMo?  It’s free!  And even if you sign up and don’t get very far, it’ll be lots of fun.  They send out great weekly letters to keep everyone motived and give people ideas.  Sound impossible?  Why not try something different this summer and write that novel you’ve always wanted to write.  It just might change your life!