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Monday, June 27, 2011

Blog Away by Hannah

Whether you're interested in gardening tips, recipes, or witty anecdotes about the lives of other people, there's likely to be at least one blog among millions to suit your interests. Do you like funny pictures of cats? Fashion? Monologues about peanuts, or pictures of home d├ęcor? Then surely, there is a blog out there for you- and if you really can't find it, why not start your own?
Thousands of sites offer free web space and easy setups- from BlogSpot to Tumblr to Wordpress, there's likely a blog somewhere to suit your needs, style, or level of internet knowledge- and make it as easy as possible for you to blog for the world, or just your friends if you toggle with the privacy settings a bit! Some of my favorite blogs include Librarianista and PrettyBooks. They’re both constantly updated with library-driven humor, images of libraries, or pictures of pretty, lovely books! Of course, I’m also an avid reader of the single most important blog any of us will probably ever read- the Stillwater Public Library Shelf!

Though the first two blogs I mentioned are what most would consider personal blogs (those that contain content simply devoted to the whim of the blogger), more and more companies and businesses are now promoting themselves with Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and (you guessed it!) blogs. Blogs are a great way to quickly update clients- current and potential- of what’s going on, what’s changing, or what’s new. A quick Google search offers hundreds of choices for starting a free blog- and most have easy click-by-click setups, and easy ways to update. In general, blogs are fully customizable- meaning they can reflect you or your promoted business with ease, style, and flair. Of course, if you’re using these blogs for business, make sure you check out the Terms of Service first- just to make sure they don’t require you to upgrade to a paid blog.

And to make it even easier- the Stillwater Public Library offers some good reads to help get you started- and keep the ball rolling! 

The Corporate Blogging Book: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know to Get it Right by Debbie Weil is a great guide to blogging about or for your business. And if that doesn’t give you what you’re looking for, you may just find it in Marketing To The Social Web: How Digital Customer Communities Build Your Business by Larry Weber.

The collaboration User-Generated Content is a helpful resource for learning the do's and don'ts of navigating the internet world- from blogging to vlogging (a term for video blogs) to podcasts (think of it as audio-only blogging). The book also shares some of the pro's and cons of each of these popular internet phenomena. User-Generated Content also features articles on the way users create their internet environment through sites such as Wikipedia (or blogs!)- and why this could be both genius and harmful to the way we store, search, and retrieve information in the digital age.

Of course, maybe you're simply interested in the details behind blogging- how it started, what it is, or why it has any impact or importance at all. We've Got Blog: How Weblogs Are Changing Our Culture is a series of articles by various authors about the way blogs shape the way we see our world, how we use it, and what it tells us about our culture. The Stillwater Public Library also offers Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What it's Becoming, and Why it Matters (edited Scott Rosenberg) for checkout. Say Everything's title is pretty self-explanatory, but much like We've Got Blog, features articles by a plethora of different authors that show their opinions about Blogging's impact, and also explains its formation and rise to popularity.

Andrew Keen's The Cult of Amateur: How Today's Internet is Killing Our Culture focuses mostly on the downfalls of the internet- and offers a disappointed view of the ease in which users (no matter how ill-informed or bad intentioned they may be) can join the information on the internet- and change, alter and offer it freely without the restraints and limitations in place prior to the Web Revolution. Though I don't agree entirely with Keen's view that the internet and blogging are bad- he does raise a few good points about being wary of what you come across on the internet. I like to think of it as a what-not-to-do guide.

So, whether you're starting a blog (for business or personal use) or simply surfing the internet or taking an interest in what all the fuss is about, the Stillwater Public Library has numerous resources for helping you start and maintain your own chronicle on the web. You can even come in and use our computers with free internet access to get it set up, kept up, or just spend some time making it all the more lovely!

Monday, June 20, 2011

What did THAT mean? by Stacy

I once had a dream I was dressed in a hollowed out watermelon at my parents’ workplace.  I’ve also found myself cutting the cap off someone’s head and shoving paperwork into the person’s cranium.  There have also been the many, many times five tornadoes or more were circling me as I ran for my life. The meaning of some of these dreams is obvious, but many leave me perplexed.  On Thursday, June 29 at 7 p.m., I intend to find out what those confusing dreams mean when the Oklahoma City School of Metaphysics visits the Stillwater Public Library to show us how to interpret our dreams. 

Before then, you might want to check out some of our library books that tell you more about your dreams.  Many of the books are encyclopedia-like and give short meanings for the subject of your dreams such as “Zolar’s Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Dreams” (135 ZOLAR).  Others, like “Dream Therapy: interpretations and insights into the power of dreams” by Rosalind Powell (154.63) give readers insight into why we dream and the process of figuring out how to analyze your dreams.

Of course, no investigation into the world of dreams is complete without “The Interpretation of Dreams” by Sigmund Freud (135.3) which not only discusses your dreams, but also the bigger picture of your psychological makeup.  Interested reader’s can also find out if God is communicating through their dreams with books like “Dream Talk” by Katrina Wilson (248.2).

Whatever your dreams, good or bad, figure out what they mean with books and our June 29 Dream Interpretation program.  Until then, be sure to check out section 616.8 to find out how to get a good night’s sleep.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Ready for a Zombie Attack? by Stacy

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control released information on its blog about how to prepare for zombies.  Interestingly, preparation for a zombie attack is very similar to how you prepare for other disasters.  That’s good to know, because in my mind, the efficacy of hand to hand combat versus a ranged assault against an influx of the undead just hasn’t been sufficiently established yet.  So, at the very least, I know that I can grab the same kit in a zombie attack as I would after a tornado.  If you need to bone up on the key points of general disaster preparedness, then I’d recommend checking out these books:

Simply Essential Disaster Preparation Kit” by Catherine Stuart (613.6) is short, sweet and to the point.  It provides lists for creating disaster kits and what to do during each stage of several different disasters.  An accompanying cd let’s you modify and print out check-lists for your own home.  Preparedness Now!” by Aton Edwards (613.6) is a lengthier version of Stuart’s book but covers way more long-term and complex issues like building latrines, chemical warfare, and infectious diseases (this section could be handy during a zombie disaster since I’m pretty sure that’s zombies are pretty germy).

Getting prepared for even the most obscure disasters can be super fun with books like “The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook” by Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht (613.69).  A meatier and more realistic version is National Geographic’s “Complete Survival Manual” (613.69 SWEENEY).

Items for special groups are also available.  If you have a group of folks to educate, consider checking out the DVD, “Emergency Preparedness” (DVD 613.6).  People with businesses might want to consider making plans with the help of “Prepare for the Worst, Plan for the Best” by Donna Childs (658.4) which covers many approaches to preventing and minimizing damage to your business during and after a disaster.  Prepare little ones for the fear they may feel during disasters like storms with some children’s books, including “Walter was Worried” by Laura Seeger and “Molly and the Storm” by Christine Leeson.

Walter was Worried
Whatever the disaster may be--tornadoes, floods, or even zombies---get prepared.  Your preparation starts at the library!


Friday, June 3, 2011

Library of Congress Online Treasures by Stacy

With the Library of Congress Traveling Museum dropping by the library June 7-8, I’ve been rediscovering many of the Library of Congress fabulous, online resources.  My two favorite are the American Memory Historical Collection and the National Jukebox

With American Memory, the Library of Congress has digitized the photos, maps, posters, films, speeches and other items that make up America’s history.  You can find things like the posters designedby WPA artists for National Parks and public services; a collection of panoramic maps for Oklahoma towns in the 1800s (Stillwater unfortunately is not included); sheet music from the Civil War era; magazines from the 1800s; thousands of photos on any architectural subject imaginable—and that just cracks the surface.  American Memory is my very favorite site for old images and photos.

The National Jukebox is a Library of Congress website that has full-length historical recordings.  It includes more than 10,000 old Victor record recordings from 1901 to 1925.  There are many wonderful ragtime, jazz, and blues numbers along with comedy performances, speeches, and opera.  All of them have that awesome scratchy record sound.  For years, we couldn’t wait to get rid of those scratchy sounds, but now that the scratches have been eliminated with digital recordings, it is nice to be able to hear them again.  

Some highlights include “Casey at Bat” and a large collection of the Sousa Band. I also had not heard Theodore Roosevelt’s voice before, but on the National Jukebox I was able to hear his voice for the first time (and he did not AT ALL sound like how I imagined he would).

So next week, drop by the library to see exhibits on some of our national library’s treasures, and then browse through all of their treasures online.

WorldCat Local at Stillwater Public Library by Jay

WorldCat Local is a search engine much like Google, but just for library items and library patrons. This is available to anybody with an internet connection, and it let’s you search for items to read, listen to or watch.

The search can be set for just Stillwater Public Library items or things from all the libraries in the world. There are also ways to refine your searches just for music, or books, or articles in Spanish or DVD’s, and much more.  It will also tell you the call number and location of the item and let you do an Interlibrary Loan request.

Worldcat Local also lets you search for reading lists, most of which have been created by library professionals.  To see some of the lists created just for SPL users, choose “Search for Lists” at the top of the page and enter “Stillwater Public Library.”  You’ll find 3 lists in special topics: Indie Rock, great modern Nonfiction Writing, and Natural History.

Gimme Indie Rock

Great Modern Nonfiction @ SPL

Natural History @ SPL

Our “Gimmie Indie Rock” list has all the 426 albums and books our library has that deal with the subject of indie rock.  You can sort by date, author, title, or the date we added it to the list.  So if you are looking for our library’s newest indie albums or something new and local, this list is a great place to start.

Why use Worldcat Local instead of something like to check for titles?  Because the advanced search is significantly more powerful, resulting in a better search and you can see the libraries that own the item, so you can borrow instead of buy.  It all starts WorldCat Local.