Saturday, January 8, 2011

Second exploration: e-readers

It's 2011 and it's all about e-readers this week at the library:

How does this work?
Why can't I find my downloaded book?
Which e-reader should I buy?

Obviously patrons had a pretty electronic Christmas and are keen to use their new toys. I'm becoming very familiar with the e-library lib guide because I'm looking at it every day, and scrambling around trying to answer questions and help people with their gadgets. It's just like everything else though, nothing is quite as easy or quick as it seems like it ought to be. Luckily for me I received a Nook (slighty used) for Christmas myself and now am trying to find the time to really get familiar with the ins and outs.

Julia set it up for me, (nominally we were doing it together, sitting on the couch, but she held it in her hand - what a difference that makes to learning!!) and the first problem was actually finding a book to check out from Overdrive. Most of the titles we thought of were either not available or had hold lists. We eventually found one and proceeded - slowly - Overdrive was down (we tried and tried and eventually got a window of opportunity) - then the document went somewhere - finally found it on the Nook in "My Documents", not on my Book Shelf...... By the end of an hour of fiddling around we decided to go for a walk instead.

So the other evening (after a day of patron questions about these devices) I spent an hour and a half by myself playing with it. I think (because I haven't had an opportunity since to get back to it) 1. I have successfully purchased a e-book from B&N 2. I have borrowed something from Overdrive. Unfortunately, I couldn't actually open either of them but had quite had enough of the entire experience at that point and didn't want to call their 800 number for support. But here a couple of the pitfalls I have seen so far.

1. It's like every other electronic experience - nothing is quite as easy as it seems it might be.
2. The popular titles are all checked out, so you can't get the book that you want right now anyway.
3. Not all titles are available, so it may be that your second or third choice items might not be obtainable right now either.

Having said that - it's still really pretty (the back of my Nook is blue, and the leather cover is a lovely dark lavender shade). It's easy to read the screen - I can make the text size bigger and smaller. I can connect wirelessly and sort of search stuff. The little keyboard is challenging (I don't have a smart phone so the touch screen is new to me). The control buttons are pretty sensitive, so I seem to advance and retreat on the pages just by holding it. Maybe that's a good way to practice... So it's "just" a matter of spending the time and getting familiar with it. (Like every other new thing we do).

But - have I even thought about privacy issues? No! I can see, as we do incorporate these devices into our lives more and more that privacy and tracking and all of those big brother issues will gain in importance. But at this point I want to learn how to use my Nook so I can answer patron questions with greater authority. Frankly - I am still struggling with finding enough time to get through the stack of "real" books on my bedside table!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Finally - Project Runway is coming back!

Ok. Forget all the bad budget news, and summer ending, and all that sad stuff.
Project Runway starts again tonight and we are all ready... are you? Please participate in the poll on the right bar!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Summer Rain Crowd

What happened to hot lazy days? The library has been a zoo - smells like the hippo house, is as noisy as the small mammal house and it's just crazy, crazy, crazy. The rising damp adds another element - moulds growing and spreading - just makes me feel creepy all over. Probably will have washed my hands raw by the end of this week!

Although - our SRC kickoff was a lot of fun. Suz did a fab job of coming up with creative activities, and the kids seemed to have a lovely time.

It was interesting, at the decorate-a-crab station, which I was monitoring, watching the parents (or caregivers) and kids interacting. How many Moms controlled their impulses and let the kids do their own thing - and how many others (more nanny types in this group I think), just had to add some helpful suggestions (or worse, take the shell out of the kid's hand and print their message).

As usual it's the observing the human element that is what sticks.

Then wonderful to come home to peace and quiet and a good book.