CPL Blog Home
Teens@CPL Blog




Categories
RSS Feed icon Keep up to date with RSS:
  • Entries
  • Comments
  • See all CPL RSS feeds
  • Subscribe by Email


Chelmsford Library Blog is powered by WordPress


Archive for Category: Computer
« Previous Entries

Library Offers Array Of Electronic Services

   Friday, March 7th, 2014 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

The following article appeared in this past Thursday's issue of the Chelmsford Independent. It should become available on the Independent's website on Sunday.


Digital World - Library offers array of electronic services
Chelmsford Independent (MA) - Thursday, March 6, 2014
Author: Molly Loughman mloughman@wickedlocal.com

Despite rapid technological advancements, public libraries across the country haven’t stopped safeguarding one of America’s fundamental ways of life: freedom of information.

As Chelmsford Public Library creeps into the 21st century, investments continue to be made toward connecting locals with resources and ideas, not just through yesterday’s bookshelves, but also via today’s limitless realms of electronic content (e-content). This is available to all Chelmsford residents who are members of the library.

Using eight service vendors, the library’s current e-content is available through its website. This includes online databases, educational resources, audio content, images, music, video content, e-books, business web support, along with a multitude of digital references and publications. New services are Hoopla, Zinio, MA eBook Project and Freegal.

“Offering all these resources, it’s not that it’s a fad or something new we want to try. It’s an easy way to supplement our collection. We could never afford the floor space or the shelf space to offer this much stuff as we can electronically,” said Chelmsford Library Head of Reference Brian Herzog. “Electronically is much more convenient for people. They can do it 24 hours a day and they don’t have to come in the library… I think Chelmsford has a reputation of being proactive and being willing to try things.”

Knowledge is power

One of the library’s four newly released services is Hoopla. This offers a wide array of streaming videos, including movies and television shows. Although it may not always boast the latest blockbusters, Hoopla, with a user-friendly interface, provides a wealth of educational documentaries.

“Everything they have can also be downloaded… When you stream it, you have three days to watch it without the library being charged again,” said Herzog. “When you download music there, you download an entire album at a time.”

The library began with popular fiction and non-fiction e-books and audio books provider Overdrive several years ago, according to Herzog. The service is said to have a catalogue of around 5,000 downloadable e-books.

“A lot of our patrons are familiar with that because up until very recently, that was the only thing people had access too,” said Herzog.

Chelmsford residents can also use Safari Books Online, streaming computer and business e-books.

“Which works well for business books and computer books… you can just go into Safari, look it up, figure it out and move on with your project. It’s not something you’d put on a kindle, it’s just a different kind of resource people have access to,” said Herzog.

Offering animated and read-aloud e-books for children is Tumblebooks, which can be streamed on any computer, explained Herzog, adding it also has streaming videos. The picture books highlight words, helping to guide young readers through each page.

Another new service is Zinio for Libraries, which gives readers full color digital copies of popular magazines. The material is automatically sent to subscribers once published.

“Another problem with e-books services is a lot of the publishers don’t want to sell e-books to libraries because we loan them for free. They want to sell things to people,” said Herzog, explaining the library doesn’t always receive newly released movies or bestseller books.

However, Zinio Libraries gives Chelmsford Library members access to major magazines, for example: Businessweek, Bloomberg, Discover, The Economist, Gardening & Outdoor Living, Inked, Macworld, NEWS, National Geographic, Newsweek, Oprah Magazine, Rolling Stone, Seventeen, Smithsonian and more.

“It’s just like having the magazine in front of you. It’s full color, full spread and you can click on an article to read the whole thing,” said Herzog, noting some outlets attach videos to articles. “It’s a pretty neat tool. It’s such an easy way to get information, especially for commuters- [Zinio] has been pretty popular with people.”

New and different from other e-content services is the MA eBook Project. This is an effort driven and funded by the state government for the MA eBook Project, made possible through the Massachusetts Library System (MLS) and its partnership with Ebook Library (EBL).

Chelmsford Public Library is one of 50 pilot libraries in the state offering its patrons more than 170,000 titles until the end of June. Streamed or downloaded, the MA eBook Project offers content for all academic and professional subject areas.

“Because it’s a state product, they want it to appeal to everyone… It’s a really broad collection,” said Herzog. “But its is a good project because it’s something the state is doing directly to offer more electronic resources to patrons.”

New and available for download with no expiration is Freegal, which offers music at three downloads per week before they can be kept forever. Also available at the library is the Online Newsstand, which streams easy to reach magazines and newspaper articles.

Supported by the library, but not a vendor, Chelmsford TeleMedia is available to all, streaming local television and video recordings of popular school, library and around town happenings. The library welcomes additional ideas for other e-content vendors.

“The libraries don’t create any of this, we had to wait for the vendors to catch up… Now they’re finally coming out with projects that make it easy enough for libraries to be able to offer this to patrons,” said Herzog, admitting he would have loved this to happen years ago. Computer classes to navigate the services are also available to all at the Chelmsford Public Library.

“I would say Chelmsford patrons have a wider variety of electronic resources at their local library than most other towns’ residents... Using library resources has never been easier.”

For more information, visit www.chelmsfordlibrary.org/econtent

If you have any questions about the library's electronic resources, please contact the Reference Staff.

   Posted in Computer, Library Information, Resources | No Comments »




Sign up for One-on-One Computer Training Sessions

   Tuesday, February 19th, 2013 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

Computers with tutorsThe program from last year that funded one-on-one computer instruction at the library has been extended, and we're happy to offer this service again! Sessions start on February 19th and will run for about nine months.

Sessions are being scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday mornings (10am and 11am) and evenings (6pm and 7pm) - contact the Reference Desk at 978-256-5521 x211 to schedule an appointment. Any technology topic is fair game - using a computer, downloading ebooks, getting an email account, learning software like Excel, installing software, or even just a quick refresher.

These instructional sessions are made possible through the BTOP program at UMass-Lowell, focused on improving digital literacy.

For more information, contact the Reference Desk at askus@mvlc.org or 978-256-5521 x211.

   Posted in Computer, Programs | No Comments »




New Library Catalog Design Launches Oct 1st, 2012

   Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

New CatalogThe entire MVLC catalog will be getting a new look starting Monday, October 1st. Chelmsford has been testing it for the last few weeks, so you may have already seen it, and maybe even suggested ways to make it better.

The new catalog will be an improvement over the previous catalog. One very noticeable thing should be an improvement in the speed of the catalog, and also fewer "empty pages" (when all you see is a blank page and have to reload it).

Many new features will be introduced, including:

  1. A cleaner, easier-to-navigate interface
  2. The ability to view item details (call number, availability status, etc) on the search results screen by clicking on the “Show More Details” button
  3. The ability to configure which e-mail notifications you wish to receive from your library
  4. Text messaging will be available for holds notification, and to quickly send a call number to your phone (instead of writing it on scrap paper)
  5. You can set a preferred “Pickup Location” for requested materials for your patron account
  6. You can choose to record your check out and holds history in your patron account
  7. Enhanced functionality to bookbags (no called My Lists)
  8. You can choose to stay logged into the catalog when logging in from home, instead of getting kicked out after a little while
  9. More information on using these new features is also available

We've had a lot of great feedback so far from patrons who've tested the new catalog, so we're excited to launch the new design and features. If you notice any glitches after Monday, or have any questions whatsoever, please contact the Reference Desk.

   Posted in Computer, Library Information | No Comments »




The Library Catalog Is Getting A New Look!

   Saturday, August 11th, 2012 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

New CatalogThe library catalog for the Merrimack Valley is in the process of getting both a new look and some new features. Chelmsford is one of the libraries that will be testing out the new catalog - and we'd like to hear what you think.

Try Out the New Catalog

Some of the new features are:

  • Cleaner look & faster loading
  • Better search options
  • Keep track of items you've checked out
  • More bookbags options (now called My Lists)
  • Stay logged in at home

Read about how to use some of the new features in this version of the catalog.

We'll be testing the new version of the catalog until September, when it will go live for all the area libraries. In the meantime, our old catalog is still available.

Love it or hate it, please submit your feedback through the "Patron Catalog Survey" link in the top right corner of the new catalog! Or, talk to any library staff person - and ask us questions, too!

   Posted in Computer, Library Information | No Comments »




Position on Hold List Now Available - Finally!

   Tuesday, August 9th, 2011 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

Since launching with our new Evergreen catalog in May, the single biggest request from patrons has been this:

How do I see what number I am on the wait list for an item I have on request?

Previously, patrons had to contact the library and have staff look this up. But now this feature has been added to the My Account screen, so patrons can log in and see this information themselves.

To view this, use your barcode and PIN combination to log into your My Account. Next, click the "Items on Hold" tab, which will list everything you have on hold. And now, as seen in the image below, the "Status" column will tell you the number you are on the wait list, how long the wait list is total, and also the number of "potential items" that can fill this hold:

Catalog wait list position

There are a couple things to note with this listing:

  • The "potential items" means the number of copies of that item (at all MVLC libraries) that are available to fill the hold (this automatically ignores copies that are lost, missing, library-use only, or any other item that can't fill the hold)
  • Your number is your position in the whole holds queue, regardless of where other people in line are going to pick up their item. Your wait might actually be shorter than expected, because the only people who are really "ahead" of you in line are the people who are also picking up their item at the same library as you.

    So, if you're #42 on a list of 156, but only 3 other patrons want to pick up the item in the same library as you, then you're really only #4. And Evergreen will fill all holds at one library before moving on to the next, so if the item ends up at your pickup location, you'll get it before the other 155 people on the list

Filling holds can be complicated, so if you have any questions about what your Status column means, or the particulars of how the catalog works, please see a library staff person.

Also, this new feature marks another feature made possible by consortium developers. One main reason this catalog was chosen was that we can add to it - if you have any other suggestions, please contact Brian Herzog, Head of Reference, at bherzog@mvlc.org or 978-256-5521 x211.

   Posted in Computer, Library Information | No Comments »




« Previous Entries