Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Goodbye, BHPL App. Hello, BHPL Mobile Web Site

The Berkeley Heights Public Library launched its own app back in late 2011.  Back then our catalog was not easy to use on a smartphone, and neither was our web site.  After six years, the app is in need of technological updates, but upgrading doesn't make sense now that both the library's web site and its catalog have a mobile version that is designed to be displayed on small screens.

Old BHPL app

As of October 15, the Berkeley Heights Public Library app will not be useful anymore.  We wish it would self-destruct, but it won't - feel free to delete the BHPL app from your phone or tablet.  We can help you with that if you stop by the reference desk with your device. Or, you can just ignore BHPL app if you prefer.

So how do you search the library's holdings, renew your books & DVDs and check out our hours, upcoming events, etc. when you're not near a computer?  Open up your phone or tablet's browser (for example, on my iPhone I would use Safari) and navigate to the library's web site at http://bhplnj.org. This is what you will see:



If you'd like to make an icon for the library's web page on your iPhone or iPad, tap the blue square with an arrow coming out of the top (I've circled in red, above). Then tap Add to Home Screen.  Voila - you can pretend it's a library app.

If you liked checking out ebooks and e-audiobooks using the BHPL app, your best bet is to download the Libby app in the app store.  It's easier to get started with than the old Overdrive app, and it lets you check out ebooks and e-audiobooks, plus read them, all within the same app.

Libby app

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Climbing Over the NY Times Paywall. Also: Newspaper Sticks

Are you tired of getting the message that you've reached your limit of 10 NYTimes.com articles this month? The Berkeley Heights Public Library now offers one-day passes to the New York Times web site.

To get your free access, go to the BHPL web site and click All Things E, then click the link to the New York Times.  You will need your library card's barcode number, and you will also need to have a login for the New York Times web site.  I had one from back when the New York Times was free as long as you logged in, but if you don't have a login, just click Register.

Of course you may also read the New York Times or another newspaper here at the library in one of our comfortable chairs.


The New York Times Book Review is kept on a stick. Fun newspaper stick fact: you are allowed to take the publication off the stick while you read it. Fun newspaper stick fact 2: our library regulars are evenly divided between those who leave the stick on and those who take the newspaper off. Which side are you on?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Cataloging: or why librarians love Melville Dewey


Melville Dewey
Okay, librarians have a reputation for following rules.  How else would we be able to find books, DVDs or audio books?  The public doesn’t understand that Mr. Dewey and his cataloging system takes us only so far and then we start bargaining and, on rare occasions, arguing.  Mr. Dewey would frown on the amount of creativity that sometimes creeps into cataloging.  Here are several examples that may never be decided to everyone’s satisfaction or comfort level:


Books on famous gardens appear in both the 700’s (art and architecture) and the 900’s (travel) –be happy they aren’t also in the 600’s (gardening, pets, cooking, etc.)  


Should a book detailing the London known by Dickens be on the shelf next to a London travel guide? Where would you place a memoir of a year living in a foreign country?  Biography or travel literature? 

       
Due to the 200th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, those books appear in both the travel section and a more specific U.S. history classification.


There is not enough space on any blog to describe the various ways to catalog Shakespeare and confuse everyone searching for a regular version, annotated version, graphic version, or a version plus criticism


If an author has written 57 mysteries, should his one novel sit alone and forgotten on the fiction shelves? Perhaps this non-mystery shares the same characters as the mysteries.


What makes a book a mystery?  Does it require a dead body or just a puzzle to be solved?


Science fiction vs. fantasy vs. dystopian? Please...


The 920’s are the place where collective biographies go to be ignored and forgotten.


Although I could continue this list of the vagaries of cataloging, the answer is fairly easy.  The books should be placed where the public expects to find them.  If you think that clarifies the issue, guess again.

- S. Bakos
Where's That Book?

  
             

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Art Books at the Library Have Their Own Room

What Does This Sign Mean?
Art books, or as we in the library biz call them in Dewey Decimal-ese, the 700's, have their very own room at Berkeley Heights Public Library. If you are browsing in the non-fiction stacks and have wandered from the 010's (Bibliography, not to be confused with Biographies), through the 100's (Philosophy and Psychology) and so on through the 600's, ending up in the 690's (Buildings), you will jump right into the 800's (Literature.) So we put up a sign explaining where in the world the 700's are. See photo. But you might wonder what a 'Circ Desk' is. Again with the Library Land Lingo. Circ is short for Circulation which refers to the library department whose intrepid staff members are the front line in library customer service; they check books in and out all day, put books on hold for patrons, create library cards, shelve new materials, find lost books, send out overdue notices, create book displays, and collect fines :-( among many, many other responsibilities. The closest I can describe working at the Circ Desk is that it is a cross between working retail and being a bartender, but without the fun of serving beer. We take your fines, but you do not get beer. We do listen to whatever stories you may have while we wipe down the counter with seltzer, or at least we wipe down the computer monitors with anti-static cloths.
So anyway, BHPL has a terrific collection of art books, craft books, books on knitting, holiday crafts, hobbies and collecting of all kinds and at the end of the 700's are books on photography, music, sports and games. So come on in and browse in the 700's room which is the room behind the big glass window near your friendly library Circulation Staff.

Related websites:
The Dewey Decimal System explained 

Library Terminology Glossary  

Do you like those quizzes on Facebook? Do you like libraries? Try these fun library quizzes.


Staff Picks or What to Read Next

The library staff has an ongoing display of our favorite books for readers to choose from, because finding the next good book to read is always a challenge and a familiar question at the library. In fact, when librarians go anywhere and admit to being a librarian, that is among the first questions we get.
"Can you recommend a good book?"
To which we answer, "it depends, what do you like to read?"
The other common question is, "I thought libraries and librarians were unnecessary now that everything is on the internet."
The answer to that is, "Why, no, we're still here."

My favorites from the shelves above are 'The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid' by Bill Bryson, the author's really funny memoir of growing up in Des Moines, Iowa. We recommend this title often and almost everyone reports back that they loved it. 'The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry' by Gabrielle Zevin is a short, sweet love story about a bookstore owner. Each chapter begins with a quote from a short story which will lead you to more good authors to read.  Spencer Quinn's series about Chet the Dog are excellent for dog lovers and mystery lover and are very funny, as told by the dog Chet. Follow Chet on Facebook for more canine hijinks and fun.
In this shot above, my pick is 'Merry Hall' by Beverley Nichols, a 1950's memoir by an avid English gardener who buys an old manor house and revives its garden with the help of his skilled, but opinionated gardener. Lovers of P.G. Wodehouse will like the whole series.
'Packing for Mars' by Mary Roach is the very funny and determined science writer's research into what it will take to put a person on Mars. Ms. Roach tries the zero-gravity experience at NASA with predictably nauseating results and stores her own urine in the frig to her husband's disgust. She discusses the realities of what a body must endure for such a long space voyage. 'Pompeii' by Robert Harris is a terrific book of historical fiction about the destruction of Pompeii by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. You will notice another Bill Bryson book: 'A Walk in the Woods.' This is laugh-out-loud funny and the audio version is terrific. Be prepared to be caught laughing while you commute and listen to it. Speaking of humor, but of a slightly more farcical, hyperbolic (I'm trying not to say raunchier) type, Carl Hiaasen is a friend of Dave Barry, enough said if you like the really crazy humor coming from Florida's journalists-turned-novel-writers, which I do. And you will notice another book about a bookstore owner, 'Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore' for fans of 'A.J. Fikry' (see above) but with a slightly techy/fantasy/futuristic plot twist.
Happy Reading.