February 20th, 2017

Devices and downloads

Based on the widely-publicized recall of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, you may find yourself wondering, could my phone or device ever be fire hazard? Apart from the Samsung recall (which has been linked to a manufacturing defect) reports of exploding and fire-catching devices are very rare. However, the vast majority of modern devices use lithium-ion batteries, which do contain flammable liquids that can catch fire or even explode under certain extreme conditions.

In today’s world, it’s easy to fall asleep with a charging device by your side. Or perhaps you charge your laptop on a soft chair at your bedside. Devices get fairly hot while charging and these conditions can be unsafe and overheat the device, potentially leading to a fire. We consulted with a local fire fighter who confirmed he has put out several fires that started from devices left on soft surfaces. He advised that one of the key dangers to watch out for is that the device doesn’t end up sandwiched in-between flammable items like pillows and bedding. The best spot for your device (particularly when it’s charging) is on a hard surface, free of flammable clutter such as paper or clothes.

A few other tips from our staff: don’t leave a device plugged in after it has fully charged, as that can cause heat to build up. If you lose the charging cable that came with the device, invest in a quality, name-brand charging cable to replace it. Certainly, if your charging cable shows signs of wear such as exposed wires, get a new one. We pay a lot of money for our devices, so it makes sense to invest a little money in charging them safely. Finally, don’t charge your device in the extreme cold (below 32) or high heat (above 100) — it can cause damage to the battery.

While we’re on the subject, we have lots to offer for your device at Cecil County Public Library. To learn another language, you can use the Rosetta Stone app, free with your library card. Hoopla gives you access to movies, TV shows, music and audiobooks. Try out our OverDrive service for a great selection of eBooks and audiobooks and use Zinio to browse and download magazines. Want to do more on your device using library tools, resources and services? Our librarians and staff are ready to help you at any of our seven branches.

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January 30th, 2017

The Best Way to Read to Your Child

What is one of the best things you can do for your young child? Reading out loud! It stimulates early brain development and promotes the development of language and social skills. Sounds pretty awesome, right? Does it matter if a child reads from a tablet, a laptop, a PC, a smartphone, or a regular book? Drumroll, please…it actually does not matter, as long as you provide a balance of print books and eBooks and remember to combine media use with human interaction. Reading using technology can be an enjoyable and valuable experience. Research tells us when children read eBooks, it is essential that there be adult interaction to ensure best results. Fancy, glowing touch-screens are no substitute for comforting, genuine face-to-face interactions. However, you can use the same techniques of asking your child questions about the story, counting or finding things in the pictures and modeling pronunciation whether you are reading a paper book or an eBook together. CCPL has always had an extensive collection of physical books and now a large selection of eBooks can be found on the newly designed OverDrive page on the library’s website. https://maryland.overdrive.com/library/kids

“Screen-time” has now been replaced by “media use” and is the term experts use to describe the amount of time a person looks at/uses media. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ recent findings for healthy media use does not support a one size fits all approach, but does emphasize the importance of being aware of your purpose when using media, whether for education or for entertainment. For help with making decisions about your family’s use of media, there is a new, highly recommended, easy-to-use online tool which assists parents in the creation of a media use plan for families with children ages 18 mos. – 18 yrs. This powerful tool can help families successfully monitor screen-time and develop effective uses for your family through various customizations.

While parenting in a media-centric world can be overwhelming, today’s devices are another tool for children, just like regular books, blocks, toys, and outside play. With thoughtful planning, interacting with your child using today’s latest technology can be a rewarding and educational experience for the entire family.

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