Monday, September 26, 2011

Finally - The Kindle

As my coworker David wrote about previously, the moment many
have been waiting for has arrived. The Kindle works with the Overdrive
MyMediaMall. The long awaited collaboration with
the library ebook offering is
now in sync with the ebook device
that started the explosion of ereading.

Quite frankly I'm impressed. The process of gettng a free
library ebook
onto the Kindle device is pretty simple, and
Kindle users are used to simple and
seamless. If you already own
a Kindle, try the service by going to
MyMediaMall.net and choose
a Kindle title. If you don't own a Kindle and you are
the purchase of a device, there's no reason to ignore this one.

All of us in public libraries have been scorning the giant online bookseller
for years for keeping Kindle proprietary. We hate to say no to patrons,
and as Kindle users
came to the library we had to turn many away when
it came to borrowing a library ebook.
Maybe Jeff Bezos, the chief of Amazon,
couldn't bear our wrath any longer.

Well, that's probably not the case. More likely Amazon sees
a benefit, at this point,
to giving it away for free. The library product directs
the user to Amazon.com where
the ebook is loaded onto the Kindle
through the Kindle owner's account. Pretty
smart marketing, but Amazon
didn't get to be Amazon by accident.

But what does all this mean for libraries? I think great things.
This new development makes the conversation about libraries
and downloadable media louder. The big huge

for-profit giant is giving a great big nod to information access,
sharing, borrowing and
giving it away for free --
the mission of the not-for-profit public library.

Friday, September 23, 2011

They're here

People have been asking when they will be able to download library books to their Kindle eReader for a while now. Before this week we've had ebooks available for the iPad, Nook, Sony Reader and a number of other devices. The wait is over. Ebooks for Amazon's Kindle eReader are now available.

Ebooks are checked out and downloaded online through MyMediaMall. They get checked out for 14-days and at the end of the 14 days, they just stop working. There is no need to return anything (You might want to delete them off your device). There are currently over 4000 titles available for the Kindle and other eReaders.

MyMediaMall also has eAudiobooks to listen to using your iPod, or MP3 player.

There are a few steps involved getting your eReader set up. We can help you with that. We offer the MyMediaMall Open Lab on most Thursdays this fall (just drop in, no registration needed).

People really love their readers. They are light, easy to use and can hold numerous books. You can enlarge the print too, making them ideal for large-print users. If you would like to try using an e-reader we have a limited number available for checkout. We have both Sony Readers and Nooks. They are preloaded with a number of popular titles. Stop by the Readers' Services desk on the 3rd floor for more information (847-376-2840).

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A poem as lovely as a tree...

Mysterious paper sculptures

Each year, libraries worldwide receive countless millions of donated books from people showing support for their communities. This is the story of some truly unique books donated anonymously to libraries around Edinburgh, Scotland earlier this year. The first paper sculpture, pictured above, was left on a table at the Scottish Poetry Library. This "poetree" had a tag addressed to the library's Twitter account reading:
It started with your name @byleaveswelive and became a tree…We know that a library is so much more than a building full of books…a book is so much more than pages full of words...This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas…a gesture (poetic maybe?)
Then, in June, the National Library of Scotland received a similar piece. Made from a copy of Ian Rankin's Exit Music,this sculpture was also left anonymously.

Mysterious paper sculptures

Later that month, the Filmhouse received this altered book:
Mysterious paper sculptures

And the Scottish Storytelling Centre found this dragon nesting in a window in early July.
Mysterious paper sculptures

The tag on this last gift read:
For @scotstorycenter - A gift in support of libraries, books, works, ideas...Once upon a time there was a book and in the book was a nest and in the nest was an egg and in the egg was a dragon and in the dragon was a story.
Making a donation to your local library is a wonderful way to support the countless programs they have available. Here in Des Plaines, the Friends of the Library give generously of their time and effort, working to turn donated books into opportunities like summer reading club prizes and magnifiers for the visually impaired, to name only a few. If those delicate little masterpieces in Scotland inspire more of us to support our community libraries, they are magical gifts indeed.

To see more photographs and learn more about the amazing works of art in Edinburgh click on Mysterious Paper Sculptures posted to Central Station by chrisdonia, and brought to us by our own Roberta Johnson (and Neil Gaiman).

Friday, September 16, 2011

Heavy Books and Hispanic Heritage Month

If you took a college literature class in the 1960s or later, you likely remember The Norton Anthology of English Literature. If not, check with your back and arms, which may have more painful memories of the book. Weighing in at 4.3 pounds, the 1st volume of the 2006 edition is over 3,000 pages and currently weighing down the backpack of a college student near you.

That said, there's more to the Norton Anthology than English literature these days. Last fall, the series published The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature, a work that embodies the theme of National Hispanic Heritage Month this year: “Many Backgrounds, Many Stories . . . One American Spirit.”

In the words of Booklist writer Donna Seaman, the editors "have gathered a glorious chorus of 201 voices spanning five centuries and diverse traditions." Among those voices are contemporary writers like Julia Alvarez and Junot Diaz as well as many other well-known and lesser-known Chicano, Cuban-American, Puerto-Rican, and Dominican-American writers past and present. Fiction, poems, essays, letters, drama and diaries all have a place in this ambitious volume, which illuminates, educates and at its best, enchants.

National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15th to October 15th, began in 1968 with Hispanic Heritage Week and was expanded to a month in 1988. It's a time to celebrate the contributions of American citizens of Spanish, Mexican, Caribbean, and Central and South American descent.

To learn more about National Hispanic Heritage Month visit this website hosted by the Library of Congress, where you'll find audio and video clips of Hispanic veterans and much more.

To experience Spanish dance live here at the library, sign up for Spain's Dancing Rhythms performed by Chicago's own Ensemble EspaƱol on Sunday, September 25th at 2 p.m. Register online here or at the 1st floor information desk.

Friday, September 2, 2011

" ... in this, the Marvel Age of Comics!"

I suppose it started when I inherited my brother's old Spiderman sleeping bag to use as a blanket during camping trips and it was augmented by my Incredible Hulk figurine that I used to destroy my carefully-constructed Lego castles (it was made out of die-cast metal: sometimes I wonder how I survived my own childhood). As the years passed, I became one of the many millions of people who have been enraptured by the stories and action within the pages of Marvel Comics.

Despite the fact that the majority of Marvel Comic content can generally be found in Young Adult sections of libraries, there are timeless qualities of justice and realism projecting from the colorful panels that can be appreciated by anyone. Marvel characters were among the first to have flaws, to worry about real-life issues like jobs and illness. The cornerstone of Marvel Comics' success continues to be larger-than-life personalities encountering everyday problems (with supervillains liberally mixed in, of course) as it celebrates its 50th birthday. Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, and others began their incredible run in 1961 with the Fantastic Four and their universe has blossomed ever since.

You don't buy it? Read the Stan Lee volume of Marvel Visionaries here at the library. It contains a cross section of the best of his best: Thor, Submariner, Fantastic Four, Dr. Strange, Spiderman, et. al. I challenge you to try not to enjoy it!

PS. This summer Marvel-inspired blockbusters are coming out on DVD later this year. Click on the movie to place your holds now!