Mobile Technology and Libraries: Using Your Smart Phone

This article is a series on assistive technology in the library that I did for a college assignment for a Library and Information Technology Certificate. It's good information, so I'm publishing here on my book blog.

Mobile technology has come a long way to helping users in the library, sometimes without having to set foot inside it. Looking for more info on an author? Want to reserve the latest mystery you’ve been hearing about through a mobile app? Need to ask a research question in person but it’s after hours? All of these questions are examples of what can be done using your smart phone.

According to the latest PEW research, mobile phone ownership is growing with no signs it’s going down: in 2018 95% of adults polled had a cellphone, with 77% having a smart phone. Smart phones are more than taking pictures and texting friends, they can also help you when you’re at the library. 


Smart phone with a digital QR code. Image via Pexels.com.

Using QR Codes for More Information 


QR codes are the little square boxes with information linked to a website. You scan it with your phone, and it brings up more information about whatever it is you’re scanning. Libraries use QR codes4 in a number of ways, such as finding where a section is on the stacks or instructional videos on how to use a printer. Some school libraries have implemented QR codes as a way to teach students how to use library services or become acquainted with the library stacks. Cerny and Holcomb of Virginia Libraries note by encouraging teens to join a library scavenger hunt to search the library in a fun, self directed way, it can help bridge the digital divide:

Engaging teens via this fun, interactive platform seems like a great way to promote library services to them, but there are other reasons why smartphone programming fits the mission of the public library. It has been suggested that smartphone proliferation could help bridge the digital divide between affluent and lower-income patrons and between white and racial minority groups. (Virginia Libraries)

Access to Research Librarians 


Have a question but have no way to get to a library? Lots of public libraries have a real time chat feature on their websites that can be accessed via a smart phone. For example, Arlington Public Library offers live help via online chat during normal business hours. Some college libraries have a round the clock manned eDesk with real research librarians that can answer questions. UC Santa Cruz university library has a 24/7 Ask a Librarian feature that puts you in touch with either a UCSC librarian or a librarian from another library, making it easy to get research questions answered no matter the time of day (or night).

Person holding a smart phone. Image via Pexels.com.

Library Mobile Apps 


Libraries have invested in technology making an app an extension of their physical and online presence. San Diego city library system has several apps that can be downloaded via the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Users can manage their accounts online, find locations of the branch nearest them, search for books and place holds on them, search and download eBooks and eAudiobooks, and even access research databases all from their smart phones

With the growing use of smart phones, more libraries will take advantage of mobile technology creating a wider circle of use, and making public and school libraries an even more valuable community resource.


Enjoy,

Renee Shelton
Succotash Reviews
:)
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Renee Shelton - Sand and Succotash Blog
Twitter: @121degreesC

Assistive Technology and Libraries: Assistive Technology for the Visually Impaired

This article is a series on assistive technology in the library that I did for a college assignment for a Library and Information Technology Certificate. It's good information, so I'm publishing here on my book blog.

The American Library Association describes assistive technologies as “electronic solutions that enable people with disabilities to live independently.” (ALA, 2015). These assistive technologies help adults with vision loss in many ways, from reading what’s on a computer screen to translating a text document to a Braille one.

What is Vision Loss? 


Vision loss is a broad term and doesn’t just mean that a person is blind. The American Foundation for the Blind defines a person with vision loss as anyone who has trouble seeing while glasses or contacts to those who cannot see at all. It is estimated that over 26 million American adults currently experience vision loss (AFB, 2019). With so many individuals experiencing different levels of vision loss, the need for assistive technology becomes very important.

Public Libraries and Assistive Technologies 


Blind and visually impaired patrons at public libraries have many options to help them research, print documents, and read articles. With a library card, they can have access to books and periodicals and have those documents read to them there, or print off to read at home.

There are many technology tools that visually impaired library patrons can find at a library. Here is a little more about three important and popular visually assistive technology tools, along with how visually impaired individuals and those with vision loss use them.

JAWS Screen Readers

JAWS stands for Job Access With Speech, and is a screen reader. A screen reader allows a person to hear what a webpage displays on a screen. Licenses for JAWS can be purchased for home or professional use, but through public libraries, a user can use the software for free. A screen reader reads the headings, the paragraph text, and if the images on a web pages has alternate text it will read those, too.


 


ZoomText Keyboards and Magnifier Software 

ZoomText does what its name says: it provides a way to make text larger on the computer screen making it easier for the visually impaired to read the screen. The text can be zoomed in and out, the background can be changed to make the text stand out better, and the curser can be made larger and in different colors to track it easier on the screen. All tools that make reading a screen much easier.


 


Braille Printer 

Braille is system of raised dots arranged in a rectangle, with two rows of three dots. Those combination of six dots or spaces and dots create letters, contractions, and punctuation that create a touchable text to read with the fingers. A Braille printer translates text into Braille dots, turning whatever is inputted into the printer into a document that can be read in Braille. The dots are embossed on the paper, and this printer is also called Braille embosser.


   


Sources:

Assistive technology: What you need to know library (n.d.). In Association of Specialized, Government and Cooperative Library Agencies. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/asgcla/resources/tipsheets/assistive-technology

Facts and figures on adults with vision loss (2019, March). In American Foundation for the Blind. Retrieved from https://www.afb.org/research-and-initiatives/statistics/adults

JAWS(R) (n.d.). In Freedom Scientific. Retrieved from https://www.freedomscientific.com/products/software/jaws/

What is braille? (n.d.). In Braille Works. Retrieved from https://brailleworks.com/braille-resources/what-is-braille/


Enjoy,

Renee Shelton
Succotash Reviews
:)
------------------------------------
Renee Shelton - Sand and Succotash Blog
Twitter: @121degreesC

Libraries and the Digital Divide: Public Libraries Role in Public Internet Access

This article is a series on assistive technology in the library that I did for a college assignment for a Library and Information Technology Certificate. It's good information, so I'm publishing here on my book blog.

Broadband digital internet access gives a way for people to access education at home, purchase household goods and medicine, find new jobs and advance current careers, and provides a way for families to connect. According to the Digital Literacy Initiative, part of the Department of Commerce and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, certain demographic groups in the United States are far behind other groups in home broadband use. (Digital Literacy). A digital divide then occurs, which is the uneven access to, or use of, technology between different groups.

Computer stations at Lafayette College. Photo courtesy Wikimedia via a public domain license.

One reason for households not having internet access is the cost of service. Public libraries play an important role in bridging this digital divide for groups without technology access. In neighborhoods where access to the internet is low because of cost, public libraries can help greatly.

Most libraries provide access to computer workstations with just a library card, along with different software programs and printer use. Patrons can even plan ahead and reserve a computer ahead of time. Some libraries offer reservations for computer use in their neighborhoods by signing up for technology slots. For example, the New York Public Library has Reservation and Print Management Stations at all library locations.


Public libraries provide free WiFi to its patrons. Photo courtesy Unsplash.com via a public domain license.

For those individuals that have a laptop but no home WiFi, public libraries offer free WiFi so that personal devices can be used (although most public networks are not secure). Libraries providing free computer access or WiFi service to individuals is a big step to narrowing the digital divide in many communities.

Sources:

Digital literacy initiative fact sheet (n.d.). In Digital Literacy.
Retrieved from https://digitalliteracy.gov/sites/digitalliteracy.gov/files/Digital_Literacy_Fact_Sheet_051311.pdf

Reserving a computer (n.d.). In New York Public Library. Retrieved from https://www.nypl.org/help/computers-internet-and-wireless-access/reserving-computer


Enjoy,

Renee Shelton
Succotash Reviews
:)
------------------------------------
Renee Shelton - Sand and Succotash Blog
Twitter: @121degreesC

Library Lovers Month - February


It's Library Lovers Month in February. Want some ideas on how to support your local library? The Friends & Foundations of California Libraries has listed four great ways to do that.

Contribute

  • Contribute to your local library - Gifting your library with a magazine subscription, donating books, supporting the library by way of estate planning or donating to your library's Friends group, thinking about your library when charitable giving comes up.

Be a Friend

  • "Be a Friend" of the Friends of the Library - Donating time, books, or funds for the Friends of the Library group at your library. If there is no group, think about starting one up.

Volunteer

  • Volunteer to Help - Volunteer your time for shelving and library maintenance, be there to help after an emergency, consider being a Library Docent or even a reading tutor.

Promote

  • Promote Your Library - Social media obviously comes to mind first, but also support your local library issues when elections come up and attend local planning and government meetings to make sure the library's best interest is at heart.


Enjoy,

Renee Shelton
Succotash Reviews
:)
------------------------------------
Renee Shelton - Sand and Succotash Blog
Twitter: @121degreesC

Lobster at Home by Jasper White

I posted a cookbook review on Dana Point Fish Company - Lobster at Home by Jasper White. Great info solely on this one seafood.


There are 7 chapters in Lobster at Home with an introduction and mail order source guide. Amazingly enough, of all the suppliers he recommends 21 years ago when this book came out, only 2 look to be out of business or don't have a web presence at all.
The chapters include: The Lobster Primer; Basic Cooking Techniques; Soups, Broths, Chowders, and a Bisque; Hot Appetizers and Small Dishes; Lobster Salads, Sandwiches, Cold Plates and Composed Salads; Classic Main Courses; and Great Lobsters from Great Chefs.
In the first two chapters you'll get a good grasp on Maine lobster fishing, how and when to buy lobsters, lobster anatomy, and basic techniques for boiling, steaming, microwaving (steaming), and grilling lobsters, as well as how to cut up a live lobster and remove meat from a cooked lobster.

The recipes inside Lobster at Home are solid (which is why I snapped it up at a used book store, score!!) but if you are looking for a cookbook with lots of fancy colored pictures for each dish, this is not one of them. There are a few pictures tucked in the middle of the book, though, and all the illustrations of techniques are clear and precise.

White's stories and notes throughout the cookbook add a helping hand to the reader, and also makes for great reading. As for the last chapter, you'll find recipes from other notable chefs with a little history about them and their dish. Rick Bayless, Wolfgang Puck, Joel Robuchon, Daniel Boulud, Larry Forgione, and Emeril Lagasse are just some of them and each recipe brings an international touch to the cookbook.
 All in all, Lobster at Home is a great cookbook devoted to the Maine lobster. Below is book information and a selected recipe adapted from the cookbook.
Read the full review here: Lobster at Home by Jasper White, and try one of the recipes from the book, too.

Book Info:
Disclosure: This book came from my personal collection, and any opinions are my own. Any affiliate links help to support the site, (thank you).



Enjoy,

Renee Shelton
Succotash Reviews
:)
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Twitter: @121degreesC

Pairing Books with Starbucks Holiday Cups

Drinking from a Starbucks holiday cup? The Bustle has a lovely book pairing for the four holiday cups from Starbucks that will give some ideas for your next #bookstagram post.

Book pairing from The Bustle.
Enjoy reading and flipping through all of them here:

4 Book Covers To Match Your Starbucks Holiday Cup So You Can Take The Perfect #Bookstagram


Enjoy,

Renee Shelton
Succotash Reviews
:)
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+Renee Shelton
Twitter: @121degreesC

Adult Summertime Book Reading Based on Favorite Childrens Books

Bustle has listed several great reads for adults based on their childhood counterparts or themes. You'll never be longing for a tale to read with this list:
  • Charlotte's Web - Fruit of the Drunken Tree (Unlikely friendship set in 1990s Columbia)
  • Where the Wild Things Are - The Pisces (Merman lovestory)
  • Rainbow Fish - Fat Girl on a Plane (Be yourself)
  • Cat in the Hat - Final Draft ("Step beyond your comfort zone)
  • If You Give a Mouse a Cookie - Well, That Escalated Quickly (Memoirs and mistakes of an accidental activist)
  • Madeline - The Electric Woman (A memoir in death-defying acts)
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs - All That I Can Fix (Bizarre events happen in a town)
  • Velveteen Rabbit - Summer Salt (A little magic)
  • Stellaluna - The Girl Who Smiled Beads (Refugee story)

For the full list, with book cover art and where to buy, visit The New Book You Need To Read This Summer, Based On Your Favorite Childhood Classic. Fun read!

Enjoy,

Renee Shelton
Succotash Reviews
:)
------------------------------------
+Renee Shelton
Twitter: @121degreesC
Sandandsuccotash.com

Cook Lively by Laura-Jane Koers





Blurb:

Eating clean this summer by getting dismayed because of high-maintenance recipes? Save time in your busy life by skipping trips to the specialty store and using the ingredients you already have in your kitchen. There's no need for fresh passion fruit juice and celeriac when almonds, bananas, and carrots are on hand.

If you're looking for a vegan raw and limited cooking book, but with recipes using everyday ingredients, try Cook Lively!
Everyday pantry ingredients can be mixed to create something wonderfully good for you. Vegan and raw cooking hasn’t been this simple for a long time, making almost every recipe “no excuses” to try it out.
I've reviewed it for Sand and Succotash, and shared the recipe for Orange Creamsicle Ice Cream Cake, too. Yum!

Enjoy,

Renee Shelton
Succotash Reviews
:)
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 +Renee Shelton
Twitter: @121degreesC

Kitchen Matters by Pamela Salzman





A approachable healthy cooking book using good foods and beginning with a well stocked pantry.

A really great book for busy families wanting to cook healthier without worrying about trying to follow a ‘diet.’ Salzman’s step-by-step approach to good cooking makes eating better accessible to everyone.
 Read the Kitchen Matters review on Sand and Succotash, and try a recipe from the book: Skillet Chicken with Asparagus.



+Renee Shelton
Twitter: @121degreesC

The Harvard Medical School Guide to Yoga





If you’ve never started yoga, the breathing techniques, meditations, and poses can be intimidating. The Harvard Medical School Guide to Yoga gives all that’s needed to begin yoga, including a streamlined, 8-week program with pose illustrations and safety precautions to ensure a successful journey.

Read the review on Sand and Succotash: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Yoga: 8 Weeks to Strength, Awareness, and Flexibility by Marlynn Wei, MD, JD, and James E. Groves, MD.



+Renee Shelton
Twitter: @121degreesC

The Sweet Potato Diet by Michael Morelli


The Sweet Potato Diet: The Super Carb-Cycling Program - Lose up to 12 pounds in 2 weeks.

Morelli’s story is written from the heart, and he really brings you into his kitchen by sharing his journey. He wasn’t always fit, wasn’t always ‘together’, and soon realized that all those fad diets he was putting himself through weren’t working. Getting healthy starts on the inside, what you put into your body, and Morelli devotes much of the book with educating the reader about basic nutrition. And about carb cycling, and the benefits of the sweet potato.

A great book for anyone wanting to try carb cycling but needed someone to hold your hand through it. Morelli includes three different cycles and shows you how to portion food effectively.
 A full review of this diet and cookbook is up on Sand and Succotash blog: The Sweet Potato Diet by Michael Morelli.

 
+Renee Shelton
Twitter: @121degreesC

Skinny Liver by Kristin Kirkpatrick with Ibrahim Hanouneh




Combating fatty liver disease - with menus, diet plans, and recipes. This book was reviewed on Sand and Succotash blog.
With liver disease indeed being a silent epidemic, the more you know about preventing or reversing this disease the longer you’ll be around to enjoy life.
Read the full review and try a recipe from the book, Tuna Patties. Skinny Liver: A Proven Program to Prevent and Reverse the New Silent Epidemic Fatty Liver Disease – Review. 



+Renee Shelton
Twitter: @121degreesC

Yours to Tell: Dialogues on the Art and Practice of Writing by Steve Rasnic Tem and Melanie Tem

Blurb:
Steve Rasnic Tem and Melanie Tem are no strangers to the writing business. Between the two of them, they have published more than 600 short stories, 20 novels, and 10 short story collections. Not to mention numerous articles, essays, poems, and plays. They've won the World Fantasy Award, British Fantasy Award, and Bram Stoker Award.

In this book they go over everything from the mechanics of writing, to how to find the time to write, to dealing with all the paper writers tend to collect. They discuss plot, point of view, setting, characterization, and more, all in an informal tone that invites you to become part of their conversation. Learn how to find your stories because they are Yours to Tell.
Yours to Tell is a writing craft book that goes over everything from the mechanics of plot and characterization to the occupational hazards of writing (i.e. being buried in paper) and a writer's schedule. Yours to Tell is conversational in nature with each chapter beginning with a prompt, and both Melanie and Steve talking and giving ideas or solutions for it. Different writers will identify with many of the things they talk about, especially when one writer is a saver and a book collector, and the other writer prefers an electronic life.

There are so many things a writer could get hung up on when writing becomes a business. But focusing on the art of simply writing is important. From the book:

"Writers write, whether they're making money or not, whether they're even publishing or not."

Everyone has a story to tell, and each story will have a new and different perspective. And fiction is especially interesting because readers have to believe in that writer's reality to become part of the book. The chapter on Engaging the Reader was probably most important to me as it goes into the relationship the writer has with the reader, providing great examples and ways authors can engage readers.

Overall, a great book on the craft of writing.


Book Info (Amazon):
Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher and any opinions are my own. Affiliate links help support the site. Thanks. :)



 
+Renee Shelton
Twitter: @121degreesC

Pretty Tough Plants by Plant Select


Blurb:

There’s a growing demand for dependably hardy plants that require less maintenance and less water, but look no less beautiful in the garden. Plant Select—the leading purveyor of plants designed to thrive in difficult climates—meets this need by promoting plants that allow gardeners everywhere to have stunning, environmentally-friendly gardens that use fewer resources. Pretty Tough Plants highlights 135 of Plant Select’s top plant picks. Each profile features a color photograph and specific details about the plant’s size, best features, and bloom season, along with cultural needs, landscape features, and design ideas. The plant list includes perennials and annuals, groundcovers, grasses, shrubs, and trees. A chart at the end of the book makes it easy to choose the right plants for specific conditions and needs.

A great book for gardeners looking for water-wise plants in tough to grow gardens. Read the full review for Pretty Tough Plants on Cultivate to Plate, and check out the page set up with a sample page layout of the book.


Book Info:
Note: This book was provided by the publisher and any opinions are my own. Affiliate links help support the site. Thanks. :)



+Renee Shelton
Twitter: @121degreesC

Field Guide to Coastal Fishes


Blurb:

From the Arctic waters of Alaska to the southern tip of California, this fully illustrated guide captures the stunning diversity of fishes along the western coastlines of the United States and Canada. The combined work of renowned marine science illustrator Val Kells and distinguished ichthyologists Luiz A. Rocha and Larry G. Allen, A Field Guide to Coastal Fishes: From Alaska to California is this region’s most current and thorough fish identification guide.
Whether you are an angler, scuba diver, naturalist, student, or teacher, you will find every fish you’re trying to identify, each shown in lifelike detail. The book’s coverage extends from shallow, brackish waters to depths of about 200 meters.
Key features include· Over 950 illustrations of adults, juveniles, and color variants · Descriptions of 157 fish families and almost 700 species· Text presented adjacent to the illustrations· Concise details about the biology, range, and distribution of each species 
Poised to become your go-to reference, this guide will find a welcome spot on your boat, in your backpack, or on your bookshelf.   
Great compact book focusing on the coastal intertidal fishes ranging from Alaska to California. The full review for Field Guide to Coastal Fishes is on Dana Point Fish Company.

Book Info (Amazon):
Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher, and any opinions are my own. Affiliate links help to support the site. Thanks. :)



+Renee Shelton
Twitter: @121degreesC