July 27th, 2015

A Reluctant e-Reader

Breakfast with a tabletI love technology. If there’s a gadget, I want it. Despite that, it took me a long time to warm up to the idea of reading a book on a device. I was too attached to the idea of feeling the rustle of pages under my fingers, of flipping to the end to see what happens, of smelling that old book smell.

A few different things motivated me to make the switch. The first was George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. The most recent book in the series, A Dance with Dragons, is 1,152 pages long, and it is no exaggeration to say that I had to be careful how I read that book, lest the sheer weight of it hurt my hands. At that point, I thought, reading on a tablet might just help my health! Also, reading on a device allows me to use the Fictionary, which is an e-book dictionary that keeps track of fictional characters and places. When I just can’t remember who that minor character is, I can tap the name, and the Fictionary will remind me. The Fictionary is not available for all books, but there are several options available for fantasy, science fiction, young adult, and classic novels.

One of my favorite things about reading on my tablet is its ability to customize. Want to read white text on a black screen, as I often do at night? Fine! Need a bigger font or more space between the lines? Easy! The app for OverDrive, which the library uses to provide eBooks and e-audiobooks, even includes the OpenDyslexic font, which is designed to make reading easier for people who have dyslexia. (To learn more about the OpenDyslexic font, and to see how to change your font in OverDrive, check out their blog post.)

Have you ever finished your book and realized that you can’t get another because the library is closed? With digital devices, the library is never closed. You can find a book on OverDrive or OneClickDigital and be reading again in seconds. You can also download a magazine from Zinio or an audiobook from Hoopla—no lines, no fines. I’ve found that audiobooks are not just for my commute. I listen to them while I’m weeding my garden, while I’m doing dishes, or while I’m putting away laundry. My audiobooks make mindless tasks a little less boring.

At this time of year, digital devices are perfect for vacations. I used to need a separate bag for all the books I wanted to bring for a trip. When I went on vacation with my family last month, I took a few minutes before we left to download some books onto my tablet, and then I was ready to go. I’d also downloaded a movie or two from Hoopla, in case my daughter got bored during the drive.

Don’t worry—I haven’t gone completely to the Dark Side. I still love my paper books, especially for cooking and crafts. Now that I’ve started using reading, listening, and watching on my tablet, though, I have to admit that I wish I had started all this just a little sooner. Check out what you can put on your device on our devices and downloads page, or ask at your favorite branch.

 


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April 27th, 2015

CCPL’s Digital Services

android-logged-in-account

Recently, I was browsing the magazines at the Elkton Central Library, and a magazine cover advertising “quick weeknight dinners” caught my eye. I was all set to check it out when I saw the red star on the cover, indicating that it was the current issue and needed to stay in the branch for others to view. Fortunately, I was able to check it out using Zinio, which provides access to full magazine issues through CCPL’s website. You can check out as many as you want, and there are no late fees.

Now, you only need one account to access the magazines. Just create an account using your library card number – the link is at the top right of the screen – and you can be reading a magazine right away. We have magazines for everybody: cooking, gardening, science, sports, crafts, and travel.

If you want to read on the go, you can use the new Zinio for Libraries app (available for iPad and Android). For other devices, the commercial Zinio app, which requires two accounts , is available.

Of course, you can do more than read magazines on the go. Check out our devices and downloads page for links to Hoopla (movies, TV shows, audiobooks, and music), OverDrive (ebooks and audiobooks), OneClickDigital (audiobooks), and BookMyne (Android version shown above), which allows easy access to the CCPL library catalog and lets you place holds, renew items, or just see what you have checked out, all from your smartphone or tablet.

If all this sounds a little overwhelming, don’t despair. You can get one-on-one help with your smartphones, e-readers, or tablets at our Smart Device Helper program at the North East Branch Library at 1 PM on Wednesday, April 29 and Wednesday, May 27. Register by clicking the dates or by calling 410-996-6269. If you can’t make those dates, try Is This Thing On: A Friendly Guide to Everything Digital for Newbies, Technophobes, and the Kicking & Screaming, or try asking a librarian for help.

How many CCPL digital services have you tried?


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