We do quite few tech programs here at the library. And one of the ones that I’m hosting this week is a part of our Wednesday One Hour Tech* series – it is titled STLS Digital Catalog. Now that is a very bland name from an entertainment perspective…very bland indeed; however, I assure you the Digital Catalog is both cool and exciting! And if you want to find out more about it you can come to the workshop – it is tomorrow from 2-3 PM and I’ll answer any questions you have about the catalog. And for more information right now – please read on!

The short answer to the very valid question: “What on Earth is the Digital Catalog?” is that the Digital Catalog is essentially an e-library that is open twenty four hours a day and 365 days a year. A library where patrons can go, via the Internet, and check out e-books, e-audio books, e-videos and e-music — on demand — whenever it is convenient for them; whether that time happens to be before ones 6 AM run, late into the evening after a very long day or smack dab in the middle of a week day afternoon .

So let me see if I can add some color and depth to the explanation of what that bland name “Digital Catalog” means while further illustrating why it is exciting to be able to access digital content on demand. And I’ll start by offering a brief definition of what I mean when I say “e-books, e-audio books, e-videos and e-music titles.”

E-books are the best known of the four formats mentioned and they are simply versions of print books offered for people to read on PCs, Macs, e-readers, tablets, MP3 players like the iPods and smartphones like the iPhone 5.

The term E-Audio Books refers to audio book titles that may be checked out via the Digital Catalog and downloaded and/or transferred to a PC, smartphone, tablet or other portable device. So you can listen to e-audio books on your PC, iPod, MP3 player, iPhone and most other smartphone and tablets.

E-videos are videos that may be downloaded from the Digital Catalog to a PC and then watched on that PC.

And e-music titles are albums that may be downloaded from the Digital Catalog to a PC and then listened to on that PC or transferred to supported portable devices so you can take the music on the go.

Having said that here are some scenarios that illustrate why accessing content from the Digital Catalog can be both fun and very convenient!

Regarding On Demand Library E-Books: Consider These Scenarios: E-Book Scenario 1: It has been a hectic Tuesday and it is 7 o’clock at night as you sit down ready to read. As you go to sit down in your favorite chair glass of wine or cup of favorite tea in hand, you realize you’re ten pages from the end of the mystery you’ve been reading…

 So what do you do?

You could get in your car and drive to the library to pick out another book or you could buy another e-book from Amazon or Barnes and Noble…

Or you could just go to the Digital Catalog and search for a new e-book to read without even leaving your house and be reading it in less than minute*1. You might out one of those spicy paranormal books by Lara Adrian, a new Susan Mallery book or perhaps if you’re in the mood for something really light one of the Sophie Kinsella books that you haven’t read yet. And low and behold, via the Digital Catalog, your relaxing reading evening is saved!

E-Book Scenario 2: You’re stuck in the airport in BoiseIdaho. You’re flight has been delayed for three hours and you’re bored straight out of your tree. What do you do? You might get out your Nexus 7 or Motorola Zoom tablet, open the STLS Digital Catalog app (aka OverDrive)*2 and download a new e-book to read or e-audio to listen to so you can pass the time more pleasantly. And what do you know, those three hours pass quickly!

E-Book Scenario 3: You’re on vacation at the beach, or ski lodge, and have run out of reading material. It is so nice to be able to just sit there in the sun or in the chair by the cracking fire of the ski lodge hot toddy in hand, that you don’t want to get up and go out to get a book.

So what do you do? You take your iPad out of your bag and open the STLS Digital Catalog (OverDrive) app and search for an e-book by your favorite author to read; if you’re in the mood for romantic reading perhaps a Debbie Macomber or Susan Mallery title? Or perhaps you’d like something more in a suspense vein like an e-book by John Grisham, James Patterson, Lisa Jackson or Karin Fossum? Or just perhaps you’re in the mood for a biography…You might check out Barbara Eden’s bio Jeannie Out of the Bottle, Lois Banner’s bio of Marilyn Monroe – The Passion and the Paradox…or if you’re in the mood for a more historical works you might check out Marc Seifer’s of Nikola Tesla, Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla or Wade Davis’s book Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest.

E-Book Scenario 4: It is Saturday afternoon and your fifth grader just told you he has a book report due on Monday on a biography that he hasn’t read yet. You’ve got plans for the evening and for all day Sunday so what do you do? You might access the Digital Catalog on your family’s PC*3 because you know that sports fan that your son is – if he really has to write a book report on a biography than one of the Matt Christopher sports bios for kids might be just the ticket! The Matt Christopher bios in the catalog include ones on: Tony Hawk (skate boarding), Derek Jeter (baseball) and Jeff Gordon (obviously NASCAR!). So your son picks his sports bio of choice and begins eagerly reading the e-book! He is just engrossed enough that you think he will actually finish the book and the book report by Monday!

E-Book Scenario 5: It is 6 PM and as you’re getting ready for dinner your teenage daughter, who is a voracious reader, complains that she’s read all the print books she checked out of the library earlier in the week. You suggest she hop on her laptop and check out the e-books in the Digital Catalog. She finds two new e-books by Rachel Vincent! And she sees there is an e-book edition of the Hobbit so she can read it again – this time as an e-book. She then transfers all three titles to her Nook and begins reading. So you’re tops in your daughters book! She has something new to read without either of you having to leave the house – how cool is that? Of course, you may have to do the dishes yourself but at least your daughter is happy.

Regarding On Demand Library E-Audio Books: Consider These Scenarios: Scenario 1: You’re going on a vacation and driving from the Southern Tier of New York to Maine to visit friends. It is early on a crisp fall day with a bright blue sky and not a cloud in sight. What could go wrong? The car is packed and you’re ready to go with a cup of coffee in one hand and a library CD audio book set in the other. You put your coffee cup in your cup holder and the CD in your CD player and down the road you go. And after about 20 minutes you realize you’ve already read the book you’re listening to on CD.

Major league bummer!

So what do you do?

You could turn around and go home to get another audio that you’ve already listened to or you could drive back to town and wait an hour for the library to open…

Or you might pull out your iPhone or other smartphone, open the STLS Digital Catalog (OverDrive) app and look for a new e-audio to listen to. You might check out the audio version of Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan series, book 1)by Laura Lippman since your sister has been telling you to read it; or perhaps you should try that Blaine Harden book, Escape from Camp 14, you heard about on NPR the one about the Korean prisoner who escaped from a work camp. Or you just might be in the mood to listen to the War Horse audio by Michael Morpurgo as you never got around to seeing the movie and the books are always better than the movies anyway. And if you’ve got kids with you the entire Harry Potter series is available in e-audio format and you could always listen to one or two of those audios again. So which ever e-audio you download to your phone – you should be all set as far as entertaining listening goes and you don’t have to turn the car around to go home and get another audio nor do you have to buy a new one!

Scenario 2: You’re getting ready to go out on your morning run and realize you finished the audio book you were listening to on your iPod or MP3 player, yesterday. You fire up your PC and check the Digital Catalog for newly added e-audios and find the new Ken Follett audio The Winter of the World is available; so you download the Follett e-audio book to your PC and quickly transfer it to your iPod or MP3 player and away you go! Of course, if you’re not in the mood for historical fiction you might try out one of the Hunger Games trilogy of audios, one of the E.L. James audios or perhaps something in the mystery or suspense vein by Joss Morag or James Patterson…and with the new library e-audio on your iPod you wind up so engrossed in the story that you run two extra miles for a definite fitness plus!

Scenario 3: It is 6 PM on a Wednesday and you’re dropping an item off for an elderly relative who has difficulty reading and loves audio books. It seems she’s listened to all the audio books you checked out of the library for her last week. Fortunately, she has a library card! So you fire up her laptop, go to the Digital Catalog and download three new audios for her to listen to on her laptop while she is knitting. You found her the Gone Girl audio by Gillian Flynn, a Julia Quinn romance she missed – What Happens in London and one of Leslie Meier’s Lucy Stone cozy mysteries – Chocolate Covered Murder. And needless to say you are a big hit with your relative! You made her day!

And as I’ve typed a longer blog post than I intended I’m going to leave a discussion of the exciting aspects of downloading e-videos and e-music titles for tomorrow!

And if you have any questions about the STLS Digital Catalog let us know! You can call the library at: 607-936-3713 and press extension 502 which will get you the tech savvy folks at the Reference Desk or you can send us me an email at: REIMERL@STLS.ORG

Have a great afternoon!

Linda R.

*1) You can download free library e-books directly to a number of tech devices including the iPhone, the iPad most Android tablets and most smartphones. If you have a dedicated e-book reader the process is a bit different but essentially if you have a Kindle you go online to the Digital Catalog click on an available e-book you would like to read and follow the prompts – the e-book will then be sent to your Kindle and you can read it. If on the other hand you have any of B&N’s Nooks you will have to download the e-book to your PC and then transfer it to your Nook. As the staff for details about this process!

*2) The free STLS Digital Catalog app, which once installed allows you to download e-books and some e-audio books to your iPad, other tablet or smartphone, is called OverDrive and is available from most App Stores.

*3) All the formats in the STLS Digital Catalog – e-books, e-audio books, e-videos and e-music titles can be downloaded to a PC – so you don’t need an e-reader to read e-books on! You can bring up that bio for your fifth grader on your PC and let him have at it – as the expression goes…

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