By the end of this week, you may find yourself with some brand new gizmos and gadgets that you're not quite sure how to operate. Thankfully, you will not have to wait long for help!
On Saturday, December 26th, from 1 to 2 p.m., we will present “Getting a Grip on Gadget Gifts."
It’s not surprising that the majority of “Top Ten Most Popular Holiday Gifts” lists are heavily populated with technology-heavy items. Digital cameras, digital video cameras, GPS systems, smart phones, and MP3 players were some of the most sought-after gifts this holiday season. Not surprisingly, these gifts often pose the most challenging post-holiday questions. To answer that challenge (and all of your questions), our tech-savvy Gadget Masters will be available on Main Street, located just inside the Library's main entrance. (These are a few of the people that we personally turn to when we experience our own tech-terror!) The Gadget Masters will offer assistance on items such as the Kindle and Kindle 2, the Nook, iPhones and iPod Touches, as well as digital cameras and digital video cameras, smart phones, and MP3 players.
Also, during that time, we will discuss and demonstrate the electronic devices that the Library has available for circulation. These items include a GPS system, MP3 players, Kindles, and Mino HD cameras. There will also be a demonstration on how to access the Library’s downloadable books and audiobooks.
See you on Saturday!
The old holiday song, "All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth," has been replaced with a new tune--as in ITunes, iPods, and all things electronic. On a recent train ride into New York City, I observed almost every passenger within view holding some sort of electronic device. It's not surprising, then, that electronic gadgets top many holiday lists this year. But with so many to choose from, how does one decide? Luckily, there are many online holiday buying guides available to help you sort out what to buy this holiday season.
Here are my top picks:
And, for those of you who prefer to browse in print, take a look at these articles, all of which are available in the Library's Magazine Reading Room on the second floor:
Just in time for the holidays when extra money is in short supply, the Darien Library is pleased to announce a new, free downloadable audiobooks service available through the Connecticut State Library. A component of iCONN, the State Library's re-search engine, this new resource is made possible by a PEGPETIA grant from the Department of Public Utilities. Provided by Ingram Digital Group, the service includes over 1300 digital audiobook titles. You'll find fiction and non-fiction, classics and newer titles, as well.
To search the database, open an internet browser and go to:
In order to place holds or check out titles, you will need a a valid, unexpired Connecticut public library card number. If you've lost your library card, or it's expired, just stop by the Welcome Desk on your next visit to the Library, and we'll take care of it for you. Each title checks out for 2 weeks and you can check out a maximum of 2 titles at a time.
You can download titles to either a PC or a MAC, but before downloading any audiobooks, you will need to download and install a small piece of software called Ingram Media Manager. Once you've done that, you can download any titles and listen to them on your computer or sync them to your MP3 player (iPods, included).
If you'd like to try out this new service but prefer not to "go it alone" at first, call the Help Desk at 203-669-5238 and we'll set up an appointment to work with you. Once you're comfortable, the Help Desk staff will be here if you have any questions.
The results have been announced! Round Two of America's Star Libraries. Five (more) Stars!
Once again, Darien Library was named a Five Star library by Library Journal (LJ), which used four objective measures (visits, circulation, program attendance and internet computer use per capita) to compare the level of services libraries provide to their communities. Darien Library was ranked second in the nation(!) among public libraries with budgets between $1 million and $5 million.
The LJ 2/15/09 issue reported the first star library ratings based on the LJ Index. Less than a year later, they are back with the second round, thanks to a dramatic improvement in data timeliness achieved by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in its annual census of U.S. public libraries. Data for 2006 were released in November 2008, while data for 2007 were released in May 2009—a six-month turnaround. Planned as an annual event, the LJ Index will continue to be published as soon as possible after each year's data become available
Ready or not, the holidays are fast approaching. And with them come a multitude of family and social events. Whether it's the homecoming game, holiday pageant, or Thanksgiving dinner with the folks, you'll want to record the goings-on for posterity. Don't have a video camcorder or don't have the time to figure out how to use the one you have? No problem. The Darien Library just added four new Flip Video MinoHD camcorders to its supply of circulating technology. Like the older point and shoot camcorders that we've circulated for the last three years, the new Mino cameras are fun and easy to use. Here's a summary of their key features:
Compatible with both PC and MAC computers, the MinoHDs come with FlipShare software that allows you to browse, play, and share your videos with ease. You can watch your videos instantly by connecting the Mino to your TV, or view them on your computer using Windows Media Player, QuickTime Player, or iTunes. And, if you want to share your work with the world at large, you can burn them to DVDs or upload your videos to YouTube or another favorite web site.
The Library will begin circulating the MinoHD camcorders on Monday, November 2. They will circulate for two weeks, and will be renewable once if no one is waiting. For more information or to reserve a Mino, call the Help Desk at 203-669-5238.
It's been less than a year, but memories of our old library building are starting to fade, and we're already taking all of the new features and better qualities of this building for granted. One of the most popular new features has been private study rooms...just take a look at these "before" and "after" pictures to see the difference!
Our private study rooms are situated throughout the Library and can accommodate between one and eight people. There are two in the Power Library on the Lower Level, one on the Second Floor, and four on the Mezzanine. All are free and available either by reservation or walk-in request. Full details are here, and advance reservations (if you live or work in Darien, or are a Friend of the Library at the $300 level or higher) can be made here. Make our study rooms your home-away-from-home today!
When our new web site was launched on Labor Day 2008, one major change was quickly apparent. In order to access your library account information online from home, you needed to create an account, with a username, a password, and a unique email address. It was this last requirement that caused some difficulty for our many families with younger members who have their own library cards, but do not yet have their own email accounts. We know this has been a stumbling block for many of you and we are happy to announce that, effective immediately, it is no longer necessary to have a unique email address in order to set up an account on the Library’s web site. When you click on the Log In button on our web site, you will see that it now says : ”Username, e-mail, or library card #.” You still need to remember your password, but that’s just a fact of life in this post-Millennium age!
We've seen a dramatic (and welcome) change of weather recently, going from overcoats and umbrellas to shorts and sandals in just the past few weeks. That means it's finally time to start thinking about summer activities like Little League, camping, boating and swimming, golf, tennis and horseback riding, even just taking a leisurely walk around the neighborhood after dinner.
You'll find all of our books about outdoor activies - whether you're a spectator or participant - in the non-fiction section called Play. We've taken our books on coaching youth teams, the history of the World Series, college football, and other sports-related topics and created a browsing area, or "glade." We also tucked biographies of notable athletes and coaches, and hobbies (such as stamp collecting and crossword puzzles), on the Play shelves as well, so it's all within easy reach. Just follow the Dewey decimal numbers once you've found the glade!
The two Knowledge & Learning Services librarians who oversee Play are Blanche Parker (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Janet Davis (email@example.com). And although they rarely miss a hot new sports title, your suggestions are always welcome. Good sports can always be found in the Play glade at Darien Library.
John Blyberg, Assistant Director – Innovation and UX (User Experience) here at Darien Library, is the 2009 recipient of the LITA/Brett Butler Entrepreneurship Award for his development of the Social OPAC application suite. The LITA/Brett Butler Entrepreneurship Award, established in 2004, is given to recognize exemplary entrepreneurship by providing an innovative product or service designed to meet the needs of the library world through the skillful and practical application of information technology. Social OPAC (http://thesocialopac.net), also known as SOPAC (for Social Online Public Access Catalog), is a suite of open source software (OSS) tools that brings the power of social computing and Web 2.0 to library catalogs.
John planned and designed the Darien Library’s new website, which launched in September 2008. The new design and software he created has integrated our website with its online catalog to improve the experience for users and to allow them to participate in the social aspects of the catalog by tagging, writing reviews, and managing their own accounts.
“SOPAC 2.0 was created in response to requests from other libraries for a package that would easily enable them to implement social computing functions in their [catalogs],” John said when notified that he’d won the award. “I’m honored to have been selected for this award, and to have been of service to the library community.”
“We are very proud of John for this achievement,” Library Director Louise Berry said. “He has made a really significant contribution to the library world.”
The award will be presented at the LITA President’s Program in July at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, IL. LITA (Library and Information Technology Association) is a division of the American Library Association.
We've Been Named a Five Star Library by Library Journal!
Darien Library received a signal honor this month when named a Five Star library by Library Journal, which used four objective measures (visits, circulation, program attendance and internet computer use per capita) to compare the level of services libraries provide to their communities.
Darien Library was ranked third among the 1,126 public libraries with budgets between $1 million and $5 million, becoming one of ten Five Star Libraries in this category, and one of 85 Five Star libraries in the country, among more than 7,000 libraries in the study.
The Library Journal Five Star award, together with the HAPLR Top Ten rating, which Darien has received for the past eight years, mark Darien Library as one of the highest performing libraries in the country. Darien Library also received the CT State Library/CT Library Association Award for Excellence in 2003.
Library Director Louise Berry said, “The Library Journal Five Star award in a sense recognizes the quality of the staff, collection and programs here at Darien Library, and, because it is based on how actively the Library is used, is a direct measure of the community’s support for the Library. We’re all very pleased to have received this recognition.”
Darien Library was one of six libraries in Connecticut to receive a rating in the Library Journal survey. Greenwich Library was the other local library to receive a Five Star rating. More information can be found by visiting Library Journal.