Stars and Thumbs!

March 31st, 2009

We want your stars and thumbs!  Do you see something on our site that you’ve read, viewed or listened to?  If so, we want your opinion.  Your thoughts and ideas are important to us and to our website users.  Plus, they’re fun to read!

Way back when, we’d watch TV every week to see Siskel and Ebert match wits and thumbs as they critiqued current film offerings.  They would summarize with “two thumbs up” if they both loved a film.  Often as not, they disagreed – both civilly and passionately – with one thumb up and one thumb down.  So where does all this thumb business come from anyway?

This is your librarian speaking, so you are going to find out.  Webster’s Dictionary says simply thumbs-down was first documented in usage around 1889 as a gesture of rejection, disapproval or condemnation.  Thumbs-up is a gesture of approval or encouragement dating back in usage to around 1922.  It took 33 years for the old folks to see the bright side.

Wikipedia – the born-digital equivalent of the Encyclopedia Britannica, the World Almanac and every goofy theory you ever heard all rolled into one – shows us an actual picture of a thumbs up and delves into a discussion of “opposable thumbs”.  The theory may be that our progenitors were just happy they had thumbs – so thumbs up to that!

And that raises another question – did Siskel and Ebert really trademark “two thumbs up”?  According to Wikipedia, the phrase was trademarked in 1989 to protect it from fraudulent use.

Ok – so all we really want is your humble opinion about books, CD books and DVDs in the library.  We think people’s rating are interesting and helpful and that you will too!  And so as not to infringe or fraudulently misuse “thumbs up,” we give you the opportunity to rate in stars instead.  The more stars the better.  Set your own standard.  Find something you love or hate or even feel middling about and dole out those stars.  The magic comes from a built in database that will average the stars based on the number of raters and the number of stars.  Just hover over the stars by each title and click.  You get one rating per item so that the results won’t be skewed.

If clicking stars doesn’t come close to expressing your opinion, you have the option of getting your other fingers in gear and typing a short comment.  Your words let everyone know how you really feel!  Your comments will be reviewed and shared for all to see… and rate… and comment on.  It’s the Web 2.0 way.

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Welcome to the new website for Cecil County Public Library!

March 16th, 2009

Can you imagine how new web technology could open the doors to our library and all of the ideas, knowledge, books, digital info and fun the library possesses?  Couldn’t Web 2.0 help our library to connect our community like never before?  It could be awesome!

That is just what we at Cecil County Public Library set out to do when our old web site began to stumble and groan.  Its old 20th Century technology came to the end of its life cycle.  We knew we needed a new website.  And, we knew our community deserved to have the advantages of this new web technology in their library.

So, our Board and staff from throughout the county worked hard to imagine and develop ways to allow different types of library users – whether children, adults, teens, or even our small business community – to customize their approach to our web site and the information they get.  We wanted to use the new technology to open up the library’s terrific and interesting books, audio books, digital library, and DVD collections for browsing.  We wanted to cater to all our different library site users, and to provide lots more of one of the things we get asked for most – recommendations from our librarians.  And now, you can comment and share information and recommendations with friends – even send e-mails to friends via the library site.  You can sign up for programs online or get RSS feed of the library classes, events and programs that interest you!  You can also get RSS feed to update you each time we add a new blog post.  This new CCPL website is almost like opening a special new 24/7 web library for the whole county.

A web site is never finished.  But the Cecil County Public Library site is now ready for you to explore.

Although visiting a new version of a familiar web site is sometimes unsettling – like waking up in the middle of the night and finding out someone has rearranged your home’s furniture while you were sleeping – you can rest assured that we included all our tried and true web features like the catalog search, program information, and the ability to find, reserve or renew library material.  There’s also a wealth of new resources, materials and information, such as the best of Cecil County blogs, lists of community and informational links and helpful FAQs.  After a few minutes of exploration, you will find all the old features and discover all the new possibilities.

Explore all the special pages for kids, teens, adults, parents and small businesses.  Let us know what you think of those books we recommend (and the whole site. We are still working!).  And have fun, educational experiences on the new website for your 21st Century Cecil County Public Library.

Denise Davis


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