Friday, July 22, 2011

A New Fresh Franklin

Wow! Just had a sneak peek inside the soon-to-be completed remodel of the Franklin Avenue Library and it is quite impressive. There’s an expansive new walkway on the southeast corner of the building. Upon entering the building, my first impression was of how warm and inviting the colors are. Much of the shelving is in place already and some of the furniture has been delivered.

Almost double the size of the old building, it’s challenging to remember where things were before. The Circ Desk is roughly in the same place and there’s an expanded area for additional checkout stations. There’s a small conference room and study rooms! The meeting room is on the southwest corner and it’s beautiful, equipped with new AV and a colorful carpet.

There’s a whole new Teen area with spaces for homework and lots of plug-ins for laptops and Wi-Fi users. Adults are going to love the extra lounge seating and the fireplace near the north wall. The librarians are creating neighborhood collections of popular subjects like politics, green living, cooking for those patrons that love to browse the collection. The cherry wood furniture is sure to complement all the books. And the colorful lighting fixtures sprinkled throughout the building are just delightful. It’s like they have blended retro with futuristic.

But wait till you see the Kids area! Colors have blossomed across the walls, the floors, and along the counters. The circular story room, with its two-story windows, sky light, and bench seating is the perfect spot for parents to sit with youngsters just learning to read. There’s even a “chair and a half” designed for lap-reading. Toddlers can play peek-a-boo through the interior windows of the story room and there are kid-sized counters for craft activities.

The move begins next week. Staff members are excited to re-claim the building and fill it with more than 108,000 books and materials. The wait is almost over. (And I haven’t even mentioned all the green features. More on that in another blog.)

See you at the ribbon-cutting on Sunday, August 21 at 3:00 PM!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Skype's the Limit

The DMPL is offering a free program about how to use Skype™ next Tuesday, July 26 at 6:30 PM at the Central Library. So this past weekend, I decided to get a little head start by downloading a Skype app onto my Galaxy Tablet™. And it was simple to do! I signed up for an account. And that was simple too!

Then I decided to test it out with my Oregonian daughter. I called her Skype number and she immediately answered, which was very cool! We could hear each other, but she couldn’t see me and I couldn’t see her. So I tried pushing buttons, and looking at the settings, and my daughter kept insisting that I should just click on the change settings button next to her picture.

She is a pretty typical twenty-something, sarcastically offering the suggestion to get her little sister to fix it for me! I felt like a Luddite—but after several attempts with increasingly exasperated comments from my daughter, I did a little research via Google and discovered—lo and behold--visual communication doesn’t work on the tablet__yet! (Wouldn’t it have been nice if they had mentioned that when I downloaded the app?)

So then I fired up our laptop computer and I wasn’t a Luddite after all! It worked like a charm and we had a delightful face-to-face conversation. It takes a little while to get used to keeping your face aligned with the computer’s camera but it is well worth the effort. I wish I would have tried it sooner. The best line of Sunday’s conversation was when I moved the laptop and my daughter remarked, “Gee Dad, you’ve lost a lot of weight—oh sorry, I guess I am looking at the lamp!”

We also discovered that it can drive your pets crazy to talk to them via Skype, especially when you have dogs on both ends barking and running around looking for the other pet at the other end of the line!

If you have family or friends across the country that you’d enjoy “seeing” while you talk with them, I’d like to encourage you to sign up for a free Skype account. If you’d like to learn more about Skyping, join us at a free workshop called The Skype’s the Limit on Tuesday, July 26 at 6:30 PM in the Central Library Meeting Room. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Brave New World of Mobile Apps

If someone had told me ten years ago, that I would spend much of my day "chatting, skyping, posting, tweeting, and eBooking," I probably would have wondered what language they were speaking! But sure enough, here it is 2011 and indeed, I am spending a good portion of every day doing just that.

With each app that I add to my cell phone or tablet, I take another baby step forward in this brave new world of technology. We recently started adding QR codes to our posters! But then I learn about something called "augmented reality" and am told that "QR codes" may be short lived. I read about web sites that you can create with information to be used after you die! I still haven't quite figured out how to "skype" with my long-distance" kids but it's definitely on my to do list. And although I am not a "gamer," I can see where Fruit Ninja, could be addictive.

I think that one of the best uses of recent technology has to be free eBooks from the DMPL. They are relatively easy to download, don't cost a thing, and are a wonderfully handy way to always have a book at hand whenever you have a spare moment to read! (BTW, I discovered that my tablet equipped with an eBook offers a great way to survive a "middle of the night hot flash!" You don't have to turn on a light. Just open up your tablet, set on nighttime mode, toss off the blanket to cool off, read for a bit, and then close your tablet to snuggle back down once you've returned to a normal temp!)

Wondering what I'm reading? Enjoying tremendously Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys audio book read by an amazing actor named Lenny Henry. Also, 3/4 of the way through an interesting ARC called, The Submission, by Amy Waldman. It's a fascinating fictional account about a propsed 9/11 memorial at Ground Zero that supporters discover was designed by a Muslim. Interesting social dilemna.

However, my real reason for writing this blog was to highlight an upcoming program we will be offering at the Central Library on Tuesday evening at 6:30 PM, called Mobile Apps 4 Anyone. Hopefully, Shayne Huston, the presenter, will inspire me to take a few more "baby-steps" into the ever-expanding world of technology! Hope to see you there!