Tag Archives: Library News

Yes, You Can Do That With Your Library Card!

Do you enjoy reading ebooks?  Do you enjoy listening to e-audiobooks?  Do you enjoy downloading titles from the Library?  (You probably should…we have oodles and oodles of titles, and are eagerly adding more regularly!)

If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions…Have you met Libby?

Libby is the bright, shiny, surprisingly easy-to-use and comprehensive app designed to help you access all the fantastic e-titles available from the Library!  It (she?) was developed by the good people at Overdrive, and allow you to access all the phenomenal titles available via Overdrive in just a few easy clicks.

Check it out:

Here are some of the neat things Libby can do:

If you have a card from more than one Library system, like the Peabody Library and the Boston Public Library, you can save both your card numbers in one app for easy use.

You can keep track of your reading history to remember authors or narrators you particularly enjoyed.

Libby also allows you to read zoomable graphic novels, or a picture book with read-along audio.

And the best part is that it’s really, surprisingly easy to down-load and use…take it from me, who openly bickers with computers on a regular basis.

We have lots and lots of information on Libby and on Overdrive–just come in and ask!  And for those of you looking to get started, click the links below to get the Libby app for your phone or tablet!

Click to access the Apple App Store

Click to access via Google Play

Click to access Microsoft (for Windows 10)

Consumer Reports Now Available Online!

We here at the Library are always looking for shiny new items, services, and technology for you, our beloved patrons.  And this week, we are delighted to tell you about just one of those terrific resources: Consumer Reports!

Consumer Reports has been published since 1936 by Consumers Union, a nonprofit organization dedicated to unbiased product testing, consumer-oriented research, public education, and advocacy.  They deal in reviews and comparisons of consumer products and services based in part on reporting, but mostly on results from its in-house testing laboratory and survey research center. The magazine accepts no advertising, pays for all the products it tests, and, as a nonprofit organization has no shareholders.  So, essentially, you can count on what they say.  Take it from me.  I bought the washing machine they told me to.  I love it.

So if you, too, are looking for some product advice, here’s a quick guide to accessing Consumer Reports via the Library website.

Start at the Library’s homepage.  Click on the “eLibrary” tab, then “Articles/Databases” Note: Click on any of these pictures to enlarge them for easier viewing:

From there, navigate down the list to Consumer Reports:

The list is alphabetical

When you click on Consumer Reports, you will be redirected to a page where you will enter your Library Card number Note 1: This page will not appear if you are using a Peabody Library Computer.  Note 2: This service is only for Peabody residents with Peabody Library Cards.   Sorry about that one!

From there, click on “ConsumerReports.org”:

This will launch the Consumer Reports website.  From here, you can utilize all the resources that Consumer Reports has to offer, including a product-specific search option, articles on home improvement and DIY projects, news, and product comparisons that can help you with purchases from digital cameras to dryers, from laptops to blenders.  Click on the three little lines in the upper left-hand corner of the Consumer Reports home page to see all the super features they offer!


We truly hope this feature proves helpful to you, beloved patrons.  Feel free to give us a call, or stop in and chat with one of us at the Information Desk to see how Consumer Reports can help you, and about all the other terrific resources on offer!


Reading Without Walls

Like many of you, dear readers, I read a lot of books.  Moreover, I spend a lot of time reading things about books…indeed, some of the links on the left-hand side of this page will bring you to our favorite places on the internet for reading about books.

Some of these readings make me very happy, like the Children’s Book Council’s “Reading Without Walls” Initiative, which encourages younger readers to explore books of diverse voices, genres, and formats.  Here is the poster that the CBC produced for the challenge:

How cool is this?!  Helping readers to realize just how many options are available to them, how many voices, how many format, and how many genres, is a terrific way to foster a lifelong love of reading.  Moreover, studies have shown that reading, particularly reading fiction, helps build up empathy.  And Heavens knows that this world needs as many empathetic people as it can get.

I also really appreciate that this challenge also focuses on different formats of books.  I’ve written about my own struggles reading graphic novels, which I attribute, in large part to the fact that I didn’t realize they even existed until I was a lot older.  And as much as I hate to admit it, it is more difficult for an older brain to adapt to new stuff.  So getting readers’ minds and eyes (and ears!) adapted to as many formats as possible as early as possible ensures that they can enjoy All The Books as they continue to grow.

But the real importance of this project wasn’t driven home for me until I saw this article on BookRiot, entitled “A deep dive into Goodreads Top 100 Mysteries and Thrillers“, and discussed the diversity of the authors listed.  As you will see in the graph below, which we borrowed with respect from BookRiot, the Mysteries and Thrillers market is dominated by white men:

Now, I have a number of issues with Goodreads (much of which I blame on you, Amazon), which we can talk about in-depth later, but the gist of it is that their numbers, and especially their ratings, are seldom based on actual living-in-reality fact-based statistics.  If anyone followed the vicious, misogynistic movement to make the new Ghostbuster’s movie the lowest-rated on IMBD, you’ll know to what I am alluding here.  Indeed, Goodreads admitted this was a popularity contest, stating “every one of these books has at least a 4.0 rating from the Goodreads community.”  In order for a book to make it onto Goodreads’ radar like that, it has to be read by a lot of people (admittedly, who had to then have enjoyed their reading experiences–which is terrific.  Yay reading books you enjoy!)

But what we are actually seeing here is a reflection, not of the best books, but of market trends.  No one was asked “what is the best mystery book you ever read”.  Instead, the aggregate ratings of a website that is A) Owned by Amazon* B) Reliant on user input.  If you don’t have internet access or a Goodreads account, you can’t play this game.  More than likely, you are only going to list books read in the last decade or so.  I know that two of my favorite mysteries as a younger reader was The Westing Game and The Haunting of Cassie Palmerbut I never listed them on Goodreads because I didn’t get a Goodreads account until I was in my late 20’s, and if I tried to list all the books I had read to date at that time I’d have starved to death before I finished.

So what we have is a market that isn’t designed for people who are reading without walls.  And that’s where you come in.

Because while this survey can show us very broad changes over time–for example, that there are more authors of color on the list now than there were in 2000 (see the graph below)–it can’t show us how individual reading trends have changed.  If everyone and their mother and their father and their Aunt Rose are reading James Patterson, then the fact that Aunt Rose also went out and discovered Attica Locke’s The Cutting Season means nothing to Goodreads.  But I can guarantee you that it will mean something to Aunt Rose.  And I bet that being exposed to different cultures, different voices, different ways of telling stories, will mean something to you, too.

So come on into the Library and check out our “Reading Without Walls” Display for grown-up readers, and try something new.  I’ll be giving it a whirl, too, beloved patrons, so we can compare notes as we explore all the stories this big world (and even bigger universe!) has to offer!


*For the Record: There are aspects of Amazon that I think are terrific–namely, that they have opened the book world to millions of readers who live in book deserts, and opened an e-book market that has made reading (and writing) easier for millions more.  Amazon Smile also lets you donate to NOBLE, which is great.  However, it has also, and continues to do a lot of harm to authors, to independent bookstores, and to readers.  So while I respect the good the corporation has done, I’ll always be a wee bit skeptical of it.  

Getting MORE out of your Library

You’d be surprised the amount of terrific stuff you can find at the Library.

It’s true.

And I bet you’d be surprised by some of the neat things that you can find on our website, as well!

A few days ago, one of my favorite Circulation Staff Members asked me to help her access newspapers online with her Library card–and together, we discovered the glory of the “eLibrary”, and the magic of “more”.  And now, you can discover it, too!

From our homepage (www.peabodylibary.org), click on the “eLibrary” tab at the top of the page (underneath “information”)

This will open up a menu that gives you access to a whole bunch of features available through that Library that you can access with your Library Card.  Not only is there a link to the Library catalog and the Free For All (yay!), but you’ll also find links to Overdrive (e-books and e-audiobooks), Zinio (digital magazines), and Hoopla (streaming videos).

Even more than that, if you click on “Articles/Databases“, you’ll be taken to our menu of newspapers, magazine, academic journals, and a whole bunch of other databases, including Massachusetts driving tests, citizenship test prep, and homework help.    Though a number of these resources are available only to Peabody residents with Peabody Library cards, there are still plenty of resources here that all our patrons can access, totally free of charge.

But you know what?  It gets even better.

If you click on “More” from the “eLibrary” menu, you’ll be taken to a screen that will give you even more options for your digital delectation.  Here you’ll find Pronunciator, which can help you learn more than 80 different languages at your own pace.  You’ll find handouts for downloading material from Overdrive, and links to our YouTube page…why yes, we do have a YouTube page!

We here at the Library are always trying to keep up-to-date on the latest databases, resources, and technology to make your life easier, your learning more comprehensive, and your leisure-time more fulfilling.  So feel free to have a look through our e-resources, and be sure to click on “More”.  And let us know if you have any questions about how to use any of these resources!

A Letter To You for National Library Week

It’s National Library Week, dear readers, and blogs across the Interwebs have been celebrating in their own way.  If you want to read more about National Library Week, the American Library Association has a great little fact sheet here.  It turns out that in the 1950’s, people were concerned that other people were “spending less on books and more on radios, televisions and musical instruments”, and thus organized to promote Libraries.

Since then, as we sincerely hope you know, Libraries have grown from “a place to check out a book” to a place where you can find radio shows to hear, tv shows to watch, and sheet music to read.  And on that note…no one here begrudges you the time you spend doing anything that makes you happy.  Especially not playing music instruments (yeesh!).  We do, however, try really, really hard, to be one of those institutions at which you would like to spend your free time.

Our pals at NOBLE posted this splendiferous photo of the Lynn Library from 1946 (whoever you are with your back to the camera?  I covet your sports coat).

Courtesy of https://digitalheritage.noblenet.org/

The website ILoveLibraries.org has a whole list of ways that you can celebrate National Library Week, which you can read here.

The American Library Association also released their list of Top Challenged Books of 2016…which we will be discussing in far more detail soon, I promise.

And our pals at BookRiot, in addition to putting out a post to help you talk in (Library) code, which made me faint with nerdy delight, also put out this phenomenal post about How To Support Your Local Library, which I would be delighted for you to read.

But that post got me to thinking…and so, for this National Library Week, I thought it might be fun to make a few suggestions about How to Support Your Local Librarians–this week, and every week:

  1. Please don’t apologize for asking a question.

Truly.  It’s why I am here.  If no one asked me questions, I would be out of a job.  And then I would be sad.  Also, I can promise you that any question asked in earnest is never a stupid question.

2. Please don’t apologize for returning a book late.

I am the reigning Queen of You’re Not Getting It Back ‘Til I’ve Finished It, so I am certainly not going to be the person to chastise you for not getting your books in on time.  That you bring them back to us, so that we can loan them out again, is what matters.  We don’t want anyone to have to wait too long for their stuff, so we would ask that you think about the other patrons waiting for the book/cd/dvd/bike lock/etc., that you checked out.  But please don’t feel bad about bringing those items home to us.

3. Please tell me what you thought of the book you read

I truly cannot tell you how big a kick I get out of patrons telling me that they enjoyed a book/cd/dvd/audiobook I helped them locate, convinced them to try, happened to check out for them.  But you know what?  I enjoy hearing that you hated them, too. From a librarian standpoint, it really helps to know what you, our patrons, think of the materials you check out, as it helps us plan our purchasing for the future, as well as to assemble some good Readers’ Advisory ideas for the future.  From a personal standpoint, I love knowing that you are engaging with your Library.  I get books that I loathe, too.  Viscerally.  And I hold grudges.  Knowing that you care enough to hold a grudge, too, is great!  Granted, if it’s something like Lolita or The Picture of Dorian Gray, I’ll probably make a sad face, but I promise, I’ll get over it.

4. Please Check Out All the Things You Can Carry

Seriously, people seem to treat books like cake or french fries–like they have a portion or a serving size to which consumers must adhere.  This is an untruth.  You can check out all the books and cds you’d like from us (we do have limits on the DVDs, though….sorry about that).  And you don’t have to read/hear/see them all before you return them, if you decide you don’t want to.  Take it from someone who may very well be crushed to death if the pile of books beside me ever topples over the wrong way–you can never have too many books.  So grab as many as you’d like!  And then, see Request #3.

5. Please Tell Us What You Want

We’re your library.  If you need a book renewed, we’ll do our darndest to renew it for you, even if it involves some technical creativity.  If you need a book or other material that we don’t have, we’ll use every resource at our disposal (and our resources are considerable, let me tell you) to get that material for you.  If you want us to buy a book or other material, including computer programs or online resource, let us know!  We have forms for those sorts of things because we want you to tell us what you want.  Granted, the money tree doesn’t bloom with great frequency, so we can’t promise to grant your every wish, but we do promise that we’ll do our very best to do so.

So there you have, it, beloved patrons.  I hope these points help you in loving your Library even more.  Happy National Library Week!


The sound of your own heart beating…

I want to tell you a very, very true story.

Once upon a time, I was working in a cubicle at a job I really, really didn’t like.  It was the kind of job that induced tension headaches and stress-induced vomiting.  I tended to work through lunch, simply because, for that one shining hour, everyone left me alone.

So one day, during my lunch break, I am sitting in my cubicle, relishing the peace and quiet, when my heart stopped beating.

It didn’t last long–I estimate that from beginning to recovery, the entire episode lasted about 10 seconds.  And it wasn’t a serious medical episode–stress can make your body do a lot of strange things, including things called ectopic heartbeats.

But I will never be able to describe to you what it feels like not to hear your heart beating.

It’s a sound that we take for granted; one that is with us from the moment we’re born.  As a result, we don’t think about that reassuring, constant sound…until it stops.  Our heartbeat is a feeling throughout our body that we may notice when we’re in pain or overwhelmed, but we don’t value what that feeling really means until the sensation has stopped.  Because, for all that the heart is a concept–a thing that can soar, can be broken, can flutter, can sing–it’s also a hard-working, long suffering muscle that keeps every other piece of the body working and breathing and imagining and dancing.  And while it’s not beating, nothing else can happen.

I will never be able to describe to you how grateful I was to feel it begin beating regularly once again.  It’s a sound you don’t take for granted after that, believe me.

People say that libraries are the heart of their community.  That is a saying I treasure, because I know it means that libraries are the places that allow our imaginations, our creativity, and our basic everyday business to happen, just as Lady Pole mentioned in her post on Saturday.  But, like the heart, we are also an entity that many take for granted.  And honestly, that, too, is terrific, because if you imagine that the Library is always there, we are doing our jobs properly.

But that could stop.  Kelley’s post yesterday talked about the programs that the Library offers as a result of funding from National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS)–programs which are currently all slated for erasure.  There has been a lot of talk recently about losing PBS.  And that is scary, because a lot of us can remember a time before PBS.  We talk a lot about the loss of music and arts funding.  And that is scary because a lot of us already know what it is like to go to a school without music education, or without art classes, or without art supplies.  But we haven’t talked very much about how scary it will be to lose a library, because few of us, especially in this area of the country have had to face that reality before now.

So I would ask you today to face that reality.  Just for 10 seconds.   Think about what the Library, your Library, our Library, means to you.  What it provides, what it enables you to do.  Then think about what more your Library could do for you.  Think about a future with Libraries in them.

Then…let’s make that future happen.

From the Information Desk…

We here at the Library are constantly thinking of new ways to help you, our readers, our patrons, and our community, and novel programming to whet your intellectual appetite, or pique your crafty curiosity.  And nowhere is that more true that at the Information Desk, where we are busy cooking up a whole mess of new programs, how-tos and displays in order to do the most good for you.  Here are just a few of the neat things you can find at or behind the information desk:


New Document Scanner

Ever been sad to come into the Library and find our public scanner is in use?  Well, weep no more!  The Main Library now has a Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i document scanner available for in-library use. The automatic document feeder accepts up to 10 pages at a time, and is capable of two-sided multi-page color scanning at up to 12 pages per minute. Files scan directly to PDF, searchable PDF, JPEG, or to office applications like Word or Excel®. The ScanSnap S1300i supports wireless scanning to iPad®, iPhone®, Android™ and Kindle™ devices for convenient viewing via the mobile app ScanSnap Connect Application.  This is a perfect alternative to our public scanner, and a quick, and easy-to-use piece of technology to help you preserve your important documents
For more information, please call 978-531-0100 ext. 24.

Career Corner

Your friendly reference staff are also in the process of setting up a “Career Corner”, which will reside between the Information Desk and public computers. This space will feature announcements about career-oriented programming and training from us and local organizations, employment opportunities, and simple advice to make your job search as easy as possible.  This is a work-in-progress, but any information you would look to see–or to contribute–to this space is always welcome!  Also, be sure to check out the programming currently being offered by the North Shore Career Center.  For more information, please call 978-531-0100 ext. 24.

Introduction Classes and Open Lab

Open Lab has now become a staple of the Information Desk’s range of programming, allowing patrons and technology users in need to of help to drop by with their devices and questions.  Open Computer Lab is offered on Mondays, 2:00-4:00 p.m. and on Select Saturdays 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.  Just a note….While we have open computer lab this week, Mondays will be cancelled until late January because of staff absences and holidays.
Additionally, we will be offering a wealth of “how to” and introductory programming this winter to allow you to brush up on your skills, and try something new heading into 2017.  Check out our schedule online, or our brochures in the Library to see all the neat stuff we’ll be doing in the coming year at the branches, the Creativity Lab, and in the Tech Lab, as well–and don’t forget to sign up, in person, online, or by calling the Library!