Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Ask Alice

Holidays over, now we can read!
Now that all the relatives are gone and the holidays are over, people ask themselves,
'What should I read in the new year?'
Who better to ask than your local library staff?
And so I asked Alice who works in the Circulation Department of the library, challenging her to list a few good books with a one sentence annotation. Alice recommends the following books that she has read in the last couple of months:
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, "fascinating magic realism on a familiar topic."
Moonglow by Michael Chabon, "a 'fake' memoir of Chabon's grandfather - clever and funny as well as moving."
Napoleon's Last Island by Thomas Keneally, "good historical fiction on a less-known topic."
Out of Bounds by Val McDermid, "well written detective story that keeps you turning pages."
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden,
"Absolutely delightful fantasy based on Russian fairy tales."
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi,  " The African-American experience from two very different view points."

Thanks, Alice!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Should You Moderate Your Blog's Comments?

Our blog moderates comments. Below are some comments that went right to the Blogger spam folder, for obvious reasons you will see. Other comments which are not so obviously spammy are sent by Blogger software to the Reference Department email to moderate.  We love comments about our posts, about books, about library services, about Children's programs, about our databases and down-loadables, about what you are reading, about what we are reading. But, we do not want to be a venue for commercial advertising. Thanks, but libraries are non-profit and cannot promote one product over another. Isn't that nice that there is one place on the internet that does not advertise or take sides? For details, see our blog policy, which is posted right here on our home page. So, if you are a blogger and want to know whether to moderate comments or not, I have no idea what you should do, but be prepared for some pretty irrelevant (at best) comments if you just leave that commenting option wide open.

Thanks for the comments! (The end of each comment refers to the post they tried to 'comment' on. You can see that the comments are completely irrelevant to the topic. Nice try, though!)

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Apps for the Amateur

Apps we liked this year: ( I use an iPhone and iPad, but probably most of these have Android apps too.)

FingerDraw: free, you can draw on photos you have taken. I used this app in a post I made a few weeks ago to illustrate a point about memos. It was easy to take a picture with the iPad, then doodle on the picture with FingerDraw, then upload that saved picture to the blog, using the Blogger app, never leaving my iPad the whole time! 
Using FingerDraw app
Notice old technology: clipboards should never be underestimated for how official they make something seem.

Using PhotoCollage app for the Blog
PhotoCollage: free, you can turn a bunch of your photos into a collage, more is better than one.

Evernote: do you keep thinking you could be organized if only you found a good system? Evernote is the ultimate Getting Things Done (GTD) and Getting Organized app. There is a free version and a fee version. The free version has so many options, I have not used them all yet. You can make Notebooks into which you can place virtual clippings from the web, you can keep lists and notes, you can share your stuff with other people. I use one notebook to file research articles on a topic I am following so I can refer to them easily. This works better than just bookmarking the articles in a browser as it keeps them all in one file.

WhatsApp: for texting on your phone from outside the U.S. I am told by my traveling daughter that this app only works in wifi so that you won't get charged huge out of country fees by your phone service.

Social media like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Wordpress and, yes, our very own Blogger here (This blog is on Blogger), have apps so you can use them on your phone or tablet. The library is on many of these social media platforms and we use the apps on an iPad and also the desktop versions. Take a look at our homepage and click on the app logos to see the library's posts on FB, Twitter and Pinterest. We are not on Instagram.

Chatbooks is a photo book making app that promises to be fast and to make design decisions easy. I used this over the holidays and sure enough, it was so simple, I actually made three photobooks in time to be shipped for Christmas. Usually I get so hung up in all the choices and styles of the other photo book apps that I have unfinished books littered around cyberspace, I think. There are lots of good photo book apps out there, but for the cheap and indecisive, this was the one for me. I could even connect it to my Facebook account and Instagram account, but let's not get too ambitious here.

Finally, many of the Berkeley Heights Public Library's databases and downloadable services have apps: go to our All Things E page to try  our FREE downloadable and streaming apps.
Rosetta Stone languages
Hoopla - streaming TV, movies, books and music
eLibraryNJ (Overdrive) - ebooks and audiobooks
Flipster - magazines
OneClickDigital and Zinio and Atomic Training all from RB Digital which is coming out with a new app this spring.

P.S: the library has its own app which we made using Boopsie.

Related posts on this blog about apps:
There's an app for that
the library app
more apps

The article that clued me into making fast photo books, from USA Today, (I read actual newsprint papers, enjoying them while they still exist, but here is the digital article) Make photo books faster on a phone app

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Movies Shown at the Library in 2016

The Berkeley Heights Public Library shows movies every third Thursday of the month at 7:30 pm in the library meeting room. The library  also offers a foreign film festival weekly during the summer.
For details, go to our online calendar or Events for Adults page on the website. You can sign up for a monthly email alert about our movie showings. Ask at the Circulation Desk for a form to sign up for the movie email list or email us at reference at bhplnj dot org. In 2016 we showed the following movies which are available to borrow from the library.

The Walk (English)

Human Capital (Italian)

Jimmy’s Hall (English)

Keeping Mum (English)

East Side Sushi (English, Spanish)

Marie’s Story (French)

Lady in the Van (English)

Son of Saul (Hungarian)

Samba (French)

The Second Mother (Brazilian Portuguese)

Coming Home (Mandarin)

Labyrinth of Lies (German)

Hail, Caesar! (English)

The Man Who Knew Infinity (English)

Theeb (Arabic)

Indignation (English)