How Does That Work? Your Next Great Read/Watch…

So you’ve just finished the last episode of Game of Thrones or the latest installment from Robert Jordan, Janet Evanovich or James Patterson and you’re looking for something else to borrow from the library.  How do you find something when you don’t know what you’re looking for?  There are some great links that us library staff use when trying to suggest books, TV series or movies for our customers and I’ll list them below so you can use them to find your next great read or viewing.

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Fantastic Fiction is a brilliant fiction database for people trying to follow an author through their bibliography or get a series in the correct order.  Containing bibliographies for over 40,000 authors and information about 500,000 books means you should find what you’re looking for.  Get a complete list of titles by the author with book cover illustrations, information about the authors and author recommendations. Fantastic Fiction

Internet Movie Database is a huge database, bursting at the seams with information, links, videos and images of movies, TV series, animations, actors/actresses, directors and more.  Watched a series recently and thought you recognised an actress? Search the movie on here and you’ll get a list of characters/actors that are linked to their own biographies on the site.  It can get a bit like falling down the rabbit hole when one links leads to another and another and so on.  You can join the community to add reviews to movies and find lists of other community members recommendations to watch.  Check out when movies are set to hit the cinema or be released onto DVD or BluRay.  IMDB

Which Book Selector is a nifty little website that gives you options to set parameters then it’ll give you recommendations based on your input. Keep changing your settings and scroll through the lists to find something that piques your interest.  You can look through the created lists the website give as well.

And you can always check out the Gawler Library’s online catalogue for new book suggestions which scroll along under the search area and our blog here has many suggestions for non-fiction books from our What’s Your Dewey series.

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Tech Savvy: A-Z Apps Series – Recycling

Did you know that here in the library we have a few great recycling incentives you can use?  When you change over the batteries in your remote control, where do you put the old ones?  What about when you upgrade you mobile phone to the new exciting model, where does your old phone go?  Do you buy a bottle of water every time you go out?  The next time you pop in to visit us, bring your old batteries, mobile phones and refillable drink bottle and help out your planet!  Would you like to know more about how you can recycle with your mobile phone?  We’re now up to R in our Tech Savvy A-Z of Apps list and we’ve got some great apps listed below that might be helpful if you would like to improve your efforts to reduce your footprint on the earth.

Recycling

Ever wondered if your scraps could be better used somewhere else in your community?  This app; Share Waste can help you locate if there are people around your local area that would appreciate your scraps for their gardens, compost, worm farms or chooks.  Or maybe you’re looking for some scraps for your new worm farm?  This app will link you with those in your area who have some for you.

Share Waste app

We all want to recycle smarter, but how do we do that?  This app, appropriately called Recycle Smart will help make sense of all the confusion that sometimes stops us from doing our bit to help alleviate the waste problem.  Created by Planet Ark they have made it easy for you to search a product and the correct way to dispose of it.

RecycleSmart App

Think your appliances might be guzzling more than their fair share of power at your place?  Would you like some energy insight the next time you’re shopping for a new appliance?  The Energy Rating and Lightbulb Saver apps are produced by the Department of the Environment gives the ability to make a more energy efficient choice when purchasing your next appliance hopefully saving you hundreds of dollars in the long run with more energy efficient devices.

energy rating app

 

There are so many options out there for more humane choices when we buy cosmetics, personal cleansers and household cleaning products, but how do you do that and what should you look out for?  The Choose Cruelty Free app is a comprehensive list of products you can check for companies that don’t test on animals.  Two lists to choose from for Cruelty Free and Vegan choices.  The app is updated twice a year to keep up to date with changes in products and company practices.

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Ever stood in the aisle looking for eggs wondering what the cartons mean when they say free range or caged or barn raised?  Wonder no more with the CluckAR app from Choice! Created using Augmented Reality to scan your choices on the shelf at the supermarket and using data collected on farming practices by Choice to give the eggs a rating on whether the eggs pass or fail the free range test. With a list and map functions included, you’re sure to find a better choice on the shelf.

CluckAR app

 

Are you a big shopper?  Do you love to buy something fabulous for that special occasion? Using the Good On You app you can make your fabulous choices more eco-friendly.  Using this app will help you make fashion choices at the shops that will minimise your impact on the Earth.  The app rates over 1000 brands for their ethical and environmental impact.  You can discover new brands that are making great ethical choices from design to manufacture to store and possibly grab a deal. Love a brand already, but wish they’d do better?  There’s an area in the app where you can encourage brands to join in.

Good On You Eco App

So round up those old batteries, phones and bring them in.  Fill your drink bottle while you’re here and have a look at our Home Energy Toolkit.  You can borrow it, give your home an audit and if you need something new, check out the app list above for assistance in making better choices for our environment.

 

How Does That Work? Micro:bit

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The Micro:bit has arrived at the Gawler Public Library!  We started our new Digital Literacy programmes last year with our Tech Savvy 1on1 Digital Help Sessions and now we’ve added to that with the Micro:bit Club.  I hear you ask; ‘What on earth is a Micro:bit?”.  Well, get comfortable and I’ll explain.  In the image above you’ll see the Micro:bit device held in front of a Surface PRO computer.  It’s not very big, but there is a lot packed into this little device.

Microbit front back labelled

After doing some investigations to find something we could use for a robotics or coding programme here at the library, we discovered this popular little wonder developed by the BBC in the UK.  It seemed like the perfect device to inspire the young people in our community to get creative and coding without requiring all the expensive equipment.  As you can see from the image above, it has so many features and is ready to help you create whatever your mind can invent.  The BBC created it in collaboration with many prominent tech companies to provide young people with an inexpensive way to get more experience with coding and the application of these computer skills.  They actually gave every year seven student in the UK a free Micro:bit!

An accelerometer, compass, temperature sensor, Bluetooth, radio emitter and LED array gives plenty of options for so many ideas.  The Micro:bit website has all the information you need to pick up the device and get coding.  You can even use your smart mobile device with an app to interact and use your Micro:bit on the go.  It uses the Bluetooth to transfer the files between your smartphone or tablet computer to the Micro:bit.  Need inspiration?  They have that covered at Micro:bit with their long list of projects which detail the physical creation and code for each one.

We purchased our kit for the library Micro:bit Sessions from an online company called; Small Devices, but there are many stockists online.

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We had our first Micro:bit sessions on Wednesday 24th January and we’ve included some images of this event here. We had lots of fun coding our Micro:bits with code so they could play a simple ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ game against each other.  After we had done that, we had a look at an ‘Operation game’ project our Digital Literacy Officer made to inspire some ideas from our participants.

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These were our introductory sessions, to give participants a taste of what we’ll be doing in our new Micro:bit Club for 2018.  It’ll run for an entire term, every fortnight on Thursday afternoons 3:45-4:45, at the Evanston Gardens Library beginning on the 8th February.  If you’re interested in joining us, you’ll need to book in as places are limited and you’ll need to commit to every session for the term you book into, there are five in total.  Check out this great video or this video from the BBC for more information about the Micro:bit.GPL - Microbit branding

 

 

 

 

Tech Savvy: A-Z Apps Series – Questions & Reference

So it’s school holidays and you’re trying to keep the kids amused, especially during the heat of our summer.  Kids have curious minds and you want to be able to foster that inquisitive sense, but where do you find your answers?  We’ve got a few apps below that may be able to answer those day to day questions and possibly help you win that obscure trivia question the next time you join the pub trivia team.

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Wikipedia – a FREE smartphone app that gives you access to the worlds most used reference site. Whether the facts are reliable not, that’s a different debate, the app provides quick and simple access for inquiring minds on the go.  There are featured articles and pictures that you can read through or save for later in a SAVED tab. You can search for articles via keyword, name or using the PLACES for locations on the map.

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Goodreads – Are you an avid reader?  Do you like to keep a note of what you’ve read; good, bad or otherwise?  Goodreads is a great social app that can help keep track of your have-reads, to-be-read and currently-reading on virtual bookshelves in the app. Read reviews, make friends, join groups to discuss books and search for your next great read!

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RealEstate.com – Thinking of buying a new house, need to get into a better rental or just sticky beaking into that house for sale down the road?  RealEstate.com app has you covered.  Look for properties to Buy, Rent or that has Sold using suburbs or the map functionality. Narrow down your search by choosing price, property size, number of bedrooms etc. Create an account and have notifications of new properties matching your search criteria emailed to you and save properties in a tab so you can look through later.

Real Estate.com app

Laundry Day –  This is an app that will cost you $1.49, but it does take the confusion out of the day to day hieroglyphics translation that takes place in the laundry when trying to wash without ruining your new shirt.   Scan your tag and let the app do the work for you or just search through the list of icons until you find the corresponding picture and importantly the explanation!

Laundry Care – Another laundry app for translating those strange icons.  This is a FREE app with no bells or whistles so you just have a list of icons and explanations then you can successfully wade through the washing. 

Washing Machine

IMDb – It’s another hot, Australian summer’s day, you’re stuck inside sheltering in the air conditioning watching a movie and trying to figure out where you’ve seen that actor before. Here is IMDb to your rescue. This database is available just by using your browser but if you’re using a smartphone there is an easier way to navigate through all the interesting facts and faces with the app. Find a movie, actor/actress, director, song, television series and more. Just like falling down the rabbit hole, each new find will reveal something else interesting about the movie, actress/actor and TV series to click onto. You can even watch trailers and find cinema screenings in your area for the latest release movies.

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Food Switch – Do you have an allergy or are you trying to cut down your sugar or fat intake?  This is a great app to have at your fingertips while you’re at the supermarket doing your shopping.  There are five tabs to help you get better acquainted with what’s hiding in the products on the supermarket shelves.  There is a ‘How it works’ area with a tutorial so you can get stuck into using the app quickly and get immediate, easy-to-understand nutritional information about the packaged food products you’re looking at. You can scan the item’s barcode, get the nutritional information and get other options that have less; fat, sugar, salt, energy or gluten allergens.

Food Switch

And if all that doesn’t get some of those questions answered, then come visit us at the library we’ve got plenty to do and read to keep busy minds active during the school holidays. Check out the Library’s calendar of events here.

How Does That Work? Magazines – RBdigital

RBdigital is the name of our digital magazine collection. Available 24/7 on your computer, tablet or smartphone devices. You can download the apps and access the webpage to sign up here.

Digital magazines are simple and great to use when you’re travelling around this time of year.  Load up your tablet with the latest issue, all the back issues and you’ve got interesting articles to read for hours! There are so many categories to choose from and many titles within them.  Here’s a quick run through of how you can get started with RBdigital…RBdigital logo

  • Go to the website through our link to Register New Account with your email and library barcode.
  • Once you’ve created your account, log in now or at checkout when you’ve selected your magazines.
  • Find titles by using the Search button.
  • When you’ve found what you’re looking for, click Checkout.
  • You can continue to read online or keep browsing the collection.  Many articles can be read as is or as text only.
  • You can get help by clicking on the ? on any page footer.
  • Download the app applicable to your device and you can browse, checkout and read magazines using your library account from anywhere at all.

Adult reading ebook

If you’re requiring any further assistance, have a quick look through our RBdigital Magazines FAQ or come into the library with your device and we may be able to answer any questions for you.