Cardboard: Virtual Reality for Your Phone

May 22nd, 2017

Google CardboardAt Cecil County Public Library, we’ve experimented with virtual reality in our programs, teaching enthusiastic teens about this up-and-coming technology. These days, virtual reality is accessible for everyone and we’ll help you learn how.

The Google Cardboard Virtual Reality Headset is inexpensive (about $20) and comes in a variety of styles. To find the best “cardboard” device that will fit your phone (whether Android or iOS), try the following site:

Once you’ve picked a Cardboard Headset, it’s time to get some great apps from the Google Play or iTunes Store. The following is a list of our staff’s top recommendations for free VR apps. (Please note that older phones may have trouble using some of these apps.)

Cardboard: This app is your stepping-stone into virtual reality. Google takes you through the basics of navigating inside a Virtual Reality space with your new Cardboard Headset. Once you’ve tackled the basics, try a virtual tour of the Palace of Versailles. (Google Play link) (iTunes link)

Google Arts & Culture: Download this app to go on virtual tours of many of the world’s museums and galleries. Select from over 100 exhibits such as George Washington’s Mt. Vernon home or the wonders of Machu Picchu. (Google Play link) (iTunes link)

New York Times VR: One minute you can be up close and personal with American Bison, the next you can visit Mecca or go on a deep sea dive. Also impressive are some book tie-in presentations such as “Lincoln in the Bardo” by George Saunders, which may inspire you to check out the book. (Google Play link) (iTunes link)

Discovery VR: Chock-full of science, this great app by the Discovery Channel takes you back to that childhood feeling when you visited the aquarium. (Google Play link) (iTunes link)

Within: Heavily influenced by TV and the movies, this app brings higher-end cinematic experiences to your phone. (Google Play link) (iTunes link)

Once you’ve explored the universe through virtual reality, you may be inspired to keep learning. We embrace your curiosity and our materials and resources can connect you to just about any topic – from outer space, to national parks; international cuisine to backyard gardening. Our materials connect with interests for all ages as well. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for or have questions, our professional librarians are here to assist.

If you want to learn more about creating virtual reality, visit our on-demand video learning service, Discover what to consider when shooting immersive video and photography in “VR Video and Photography with Paul Taggart” or try “3D Content Creation for Virtual Reality” with Craig Barr.

If you have questions about our online learning services or other virtual reality questions, don’t hesitate to talk with our staff at the library, by phone (410) 996-5600 or email

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A Maryland Road Trip for Foodies

January 23rd, 2017

If tasting new foods and discovering Maryland’s diverse landscape is on your to-do list this year, try this 340 mile restaurant road trip.

We are starting out west — Patrick’s Pub in Cumberland. This place is clean, hip, and welcoming. The large windows lighten up the décor of green accents and pitch black wooden furniture. This is your American/Irish place for wings, burgers, sports, and friendly, knowledgeable bartenders. Their Yelp score speaks for itself.

92 miles east we are at Black Hog BBQ in Frederick. If you’re a history fan, check out Harpers Ferry which isn’t more than a 30-minute drive from here. Black Hog is a BBQ-lovers dream. Ribs, brisket, pulled pork, beer. Enough said. Come with an empty stomach.

32 miles from Black Hog BBQ is La Brasa Latin Cuisine in Rockville, wedged between Bethesda and Gaithersburg. This is an award-winning place, featured in several blogs and magazines as being a top restaurant for multi-cultural dishes, including food from Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, and Peru. Please try this place. The owner is from Salvador, and this deceptively small place has a more than competent cook staff.

Drive a half an hour northeast and we’re eating pizza. Oh, yes. Three Brothers Italian Restaurant in Colombia is that simple, family-friendly place so many Maryland towns have. Dine-in booths, pastas, pizzas, and calzones. Praise falls upon their lasagna like rain. For a quick Friday night pizza, there is certainly some flavor and good price to be found here.

Seventeen miles later we are in Baltimore City. Where you really want to go is Faidley’s Seafood. Family owned and operated since 1886, this place has fresh raw clams, oysters, and scallops, and has the best crab cakes in the city. “Coastal Living” said “Hands down, Faidley’s is where you should head for a crab cake if you have only one day in Baltimore.” You don’t last over 120 years in business for nothing.

Our second to last stop is in Aberdeen, MD. Georgia’s Carry-Out is the smallest “mom and pop shop” on the list but it’s full of heart. Nothing comes out of this Greek kitchen without love from the married couple running the place. They are both there, all day, piling mounds of fresh cut fries in their baskets of fried fish sandwiches and gyros. Georgia gives you a free sample of her soup-of-the-day if you dine-in. This is like having a wonderful aunt or mother cooking for you. It’s incredibly affordable and the tzatziki is extraordinary. It’s a grab-and-go place with Styrofoam containers and plastic utensils, and yet I recommend going there monthly… forever. I’m telling you, their fried jumbo fish sandwich has a myriad of unique spices. Move over salmon. I have a new favorite fish.

Lastly, 145 miles from Aberdeen, MD we come to our final foodie pit-stop. But at this stop I encourage you to stay a few days. Guido’s Burritos is a restaurant and bar that I accidentally discovered the year they opened. That was the last time you could easily get a table. Located right on the boardwalk in Ocean City, MD, if you like burritos stuffed with rice, meat, and cheese, and want a margarita as big as your head, come float your afternoon away at Guido’s. When the beach begins to cool in the early evening, nothing is better than a mixed drink, some spicy food, and a walk on the boards.

If you are inspired to take a road trip, check out these books and more!

Backroads & Byways of Maryland

Backroads & byways of Maryland : drives, day trips & weekend excursions
By Leslie Atkins

Maryland has so much to offer travelers and residents alike: indulge in exquisite seafood, enjoy recreational and spectator sports, search the beaches for shark’s teeth, trace Civil War troop movements, track the heyday of the railroads, and visit lighthouses that have guided countless boaters through the Chesapeake Bay. All you have to do is jump in the car–and take this book along! Ideas and options are clearly presented for short-trip itineraries to please everybody in your party. Destinations will appeal to foodies, history buffs, families with kids, couples, adventurers, hikers, bikers–in short, everyone.


Country roads of Maryland and Delaware : drives, day trips, and weekend excursions
By Lynn Seldon

Ramble through America’s rural heartland on winding back roads that lead to an endless variety of out-in-the-country attractions. Each title explores 10 or more meandering weekend tours, as authors share their intimate knowledge of people, places, and country life.





Fun with the Family : Maryland : hundreds of ideas for day trips with the kids.
By Karen Nitkin

From the round-the-clock hokeyness of Ocean City to the bucolic charms of Deep Creek Lake, the Old Line State packs in hundreds of kids activities and attractions in its compact 10,460 square miles. And this book describes practically all of them including mountains, hiking trails, beaches, amusement parks, cities, zoos and aquariums, parks, children’s museums, farms, festivals, and a wealth of history.”




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