December 28th, 2015

10 Free Things to Try on Our Website

Did you give or get a new device this holiday? Or maybe you’re just looking to save a little after spending a lot? With just your library card and a few quick clicks, you can access a wealth of online, streaming, or downloadable content for free through Cecil County Public Library. No fines, no fees, and often, no holds.

duckandgoose _ overdrive _ resized1. EBOOKS – We’re excited to announce that eBooks are now downloadable through our catalog, so it’s easier than ever to find and get the eBooks you want.  It’s also incredibly convenient to transport your books with you — all on your device!

2. AUDIOBOOKS – If you like listening to your books, we’ve got lots of options.  You can find and download eAudiobooks in our catalog, or you can search and access them directly via OneClickdigital or Hoopla.

3. MOVIES – Our Hoopla service offers you 8 movies or TV episodes per month, all for free. You can stream or do a temporary download (a starwars _ hoopla _ resizedgreat option for taking a movie on a plane or on a WiFi only device!)

4. MUSIC Hoopla’s digital music selection has most albums listed on Billboard magazine’s top 100 lists, often on the day the album is released.  It’s a great way to try before you buy or to broaden your musical horizons.

5. MAGAZINES – Use your library card to check out as many digital magazines as you like through Zinio, titles like Car and Driver, Discover, Glamour, OK! Magazine, National Geographic, Saveur, and more.

6. TEST PREP – need help preparing for the SAT, GED, GRE, PRAXIS, or other tests? We have lots of free online tools that can help you build up your skills and prepare for the exam.

caranddriver _ zinio _ resized7. ONLINE COURSESGale Courses are free, six-week, online courses taught by expert instructors.  Learn at your own pace, risk free.  Choose from hundreds of topics, including computers, health care, finance, business, teaching and more.  Sessions begin every month and there’s no limit to how many courses you can take.

8. PERSONALIZED READING SUGGESTIONSBookMate is a personalized service where you fill out a quick survey about your reading interests, then our skilled librarians match you with interesting reads compatible with your tastes.  Try it out!  You’ll never run out of books to read again.

9. GREAT INFORMATION – When you need top-notch information, try our Online Resources.  With your library card, you get access to biographies, demographics, business plans, encyclopedias, investment data, practice tests, Heritage Quest (great for genealogy buffs!), magazines and journals, and so much more.

10. 24/7 HELP – Use AskUsNow! to get 24-hour, live online help from skilled librarians.  They are research experts and can provide assistance with all kinds of questions, even when our branches are closed.

There’s so much to discover at Cecil County Public Library!  What new service will you be trying first?


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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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