Friday, February 04, 2011

Five Things on a Friday

Next Friday I will be boarding a cruise ship and the Friday after that I will be on a cruise ship somewhere in the great blue sea. I don't promise posts then though I suppose one before boarding is possible. Talk about a field test for my Nook! But as usual, here are my five things.

  1. Yesterday, I gave a tour to a group of adult literacy learners. In addition to the challenge of learning to read, they were all also new immigrants and learning to speak English. They were not literate in their native language either. What an amazing challenge they (and their teachers) have chosen to undertake. They all got library cards and our children's librarian did a good job of demonstrating storytime (the students all had children). It was a warm, squishy, happy, this is why I became a librarian moment.

  2. A year (or more) ago we renamed our Science Fiction and Fantasy section into Speculative Fiction or SpecFic for short. The abbreviations on the spine labels remain SF, but the signs on the end of the shelves changed. This has confused some (okay lots) of our patrons, but it does seem to make it easier to justify why Lord of the Rings and I, Robot on the same shelf. Speculative fiction is that which speculates and asks a great big "What if" question. What if wizards, elves, hobbits, and assorted other magical creatures lived together in another world? What if robots could think and act like humans? What if aliens on Mars attacked us? Of course I had a patron argue (erm discuss) with me that all fiction is by its very nature is speculative and every author begins their journey with a "what if" question. True that. But let's just go with this for now.

  3. I've been really enjoying the 2011 Printz Award winner: Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi. It's sci fi (or spec fic if you will) which doesn't usually win mainstream awards. Nailer is living in a dystopian future where he has to pull apart wrecks of old ships in order to find enough usable scrap to survive. Happy to recommend this as my Friday reads because it is a page turner so far.

  4. Yesterday a kid was trying a dance move during break dance club and kicked a hole in the community room wall. He missed the mural by about 6 inches. The irony of him breaking the wall during break dance club (yes an official library sponsored event) is not lost on me. It's not amusing me, but I do see the irony.

  5. We share a parking lot with a middle school. (Have I mentioned this before?) This causes lots of discipline challenges with kids and I've been thinking (and writing but it's not share-ready) about that a lot lately. However, it also causes parking issues. Though our area of the parking lot is clearly separate from the middle school parking, you drive through their parking lot to get to it. Parts of our lot are closer to the middle school than their own lot. Thus we also have issues with their staff filling up our parking lot. See? A problem that can't be blamed on "rowdy teenagers". It's nice to remind the rest of the world that the teenagers aren't the root of all evil.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

A Librarian and Her Nook, pt. 1

Three weeks ago, I cracked and bought a nook. I'd been reading ereader reviews for months, oohing over friends who had an ereader, and endlessly contemplating it. It takes me a little time to talk myself into something like that. (Wherein something like that is defined as something costing more than $50.) Of course once I made my decision, I drove as fast as I could as soon as I could to the nearest Barnes and Noble to pick mine up.

Why did I choose a Nook?
Lately my eyes are really bothering me from spending all day at a computer screen. I knew I couldn't read off a backlit style screen so that kicked out the iPad, the NookColor and anything that wasn't eink. After a lifetime of library work, it turns out I have a pathological aversion to purchasing books at full price. (Though I'm all about used book stores and friends of the library book sales). That meant I had to have a reader which could borrow the ebooks available from my library's website and knocked the Kindle out of competition. (Though my sister has a Kindle and loves it). One nice feature of the Nook is you can walk into the Barnes and Noble store and there is a help desk right up front (like the genius bar at the Apple store) to help you with your device. Local help and support is what won me over to the Nook over the Sony ereader or Kobo. And finally since I already have an iPhone, I didn't need the ability to do 100x extra things on my ereader so I didn't need one with 3G or one with color screen so I was able to buy the cheapest one (at $149).

Buying the Nook
I went to B&N and bought it in just a few minutes on my lunch break. (Love living in Alaska and not paying sales tax.) I also chose out a cover for the Nook and picked up a screen protector. I know myself, electronics need that extra little bit of padding since I'll be tossing it and our bags/purses. There were some really cute Kate Spade covers that cost almost as much as the Nook itself. ($85 for a cover for a $149 device? Nope!) So I went with a less expensive, but still good looking black and white Jonathan Adler cover (if you care about brands).

ebooks onto the Nook
The following came pre-loaded onto my Nook: a Nook user guide, a Nook tour, Pride and Prejudice, and Little Women. I was amazed; I thought that surely these Nook people know me, those are two of my all time favorite books. Then I noticed they also gave me for free Dracula (about which I'm apathetic), and samples of Three Seconds by Anders Roslund (don't care), and Awakened: House of Night Series #8 by P. C. Cast (hate this series). So maybe not.

There are a lot of free books available; they're classics that are out of copyright. Some can be downloaded directly from the nook website or through another website such as Project Gutenberg. And of course many ebooks are available as ebooks from our library's website.

Setting up the Nook
Set up was fairly easy on the Nook end, though using library ebooks was a teensy bit more of a challenge. (Hint download Adobe Digital Editions onto your computer, delete the version on your Nook and let the ADE on your computer recognize/authorize the Nook and reinstall ADE onto it. 5 minutes of googling turned up this solution and it worked.) Also when you sideways load content into your Nook (ebooks and pdfs), you have to turn it off and back on again to see them. When you get them through, you can just do a check for new content.

The first ebook I downloaded from the library was The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. The first out of copyright ebook I got for free (from the website) was Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. The first ebook I bought was The Autobiography of Mark Twain Volume 1 edited by Harriet Elinor Smith et al. (That book cost me less that $10 as an ebook but would have cost me between $22 and $35 as a hardcover and weighed my bag down with a hefty 743 pages. Much nicer to just load it onto the Nook.) I also immediately loaded it with some knitting patterns and personalize photos for screensaver and wall paper.

As I said, I've been living with it for three weeks now and I have more opinions. However this is a part one post and is long enough already. Happy Reading be it on paper or a screen!