3D Printer Upgrade

St. Thomas Public Library has two brand new 3D Printers! Come in and check out our new Lulzbots. These models are an upgrade from our previous Cube models: You will find them easier to use, they can print using many different filament materials, and more colour options are available. You can even bring in your own filament and 3D print for free! (Prints normally cost 10 cents per gram).

What have people been up to on the new printers? Right now the trend is fidget spinners. Print a cap and a shell and then add your own weights for a custom spinner that no one else will have! You can find hundreds of designs like these ones on Thingiverse:

Also exciting: You can watch what people are printing live on our new Twitch channel! The channel switches between our two printers so you can watch a 3D print in progress. See if you can guess what each print will be!

To learn how to use our Lulzbots, join one of our 3D Printing Certification Sessions. Check our online calendar  for session dates. You can register online with your library card, or drop by the Adult Information Desk to sign up. If you can’t make a Certification Session, we now have the option of booking a One on One Session. Ask at the Adult Information Desk and we’ll find a time for a staff member to assist you!

Stay tuned for more changes to Creators’ Community. We’re currently working on a Creators’ Corner, a welcoming work space to accommodate new classes and allow better access to our resources!

Reason #62: We Loan Free Video Games!

Reason #62 - We loan free video games It’s the summer. To some kids, this means parking their bottoms in front of the television and playing hours upon hours of video games. Purchasing new games, or even USED ones, can become expensive. (Many new games are about $55 each!) Some people think video game play is something that should be traded for fresh air, exercise, or reading. While we at the library discourage endless hours of video game play, we do think that they have something to offer. We also think that they can be a good form of entertainment and education for children and teens. (Things that everyone needs!) We also think that they should be available to everyone. For over two years, St. Thomas Public Library has been loaning video games for XBOX 360, PS3, Wii, and Nintendo DS. Why does the library loan free video games? (My mother used to say that they rot your brain.) There’s an easy answer! They can be great at teaching youth at a broad range of age and ability many skills. Mind you, every game is different and therefore offers different skills. It’s a very sneaky kind of learning! For example, many video games have text boxes that pop onto the screen (sometimes without an audio companion), so children are encouraged to read. Not enough? How about this – gaming teaches:

  • Critical thinking (including “Thinking outside the box” and finding multiple solutions to a problem.)
  • Teamwork
  • Time management
  • Money management
  • Multitasking
  • Organizational skills
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Map reading skills (which comes in handy when the GPS fails)
  • Encouragement for exploration
  • Geographical orientation and map reading
  • Learning from your mistakes
  • Music appreciation (have you ever listened to some of the musical scores created for a video game? Where else are kids these days exposed to classical music?)

Can a book do all of that? And this list goes on and on! But these are just the opinions of one person. Tell us what YOU think! Rules for Video Game Loan:

  • 7 day loan period
  • 2 maximum renews (if no holds)
  • $1/day per item overdue fine

All games are rated either “E” for Everyone or “E 10+” for everyone aged 10 and older, and “T” for teens (found in the Teen Lounge.) While the games are located in the Children’s and Teens’ Department, that doesn’t mean adults can’t enjoy them! Check the library’s online catalogue for game titles. (Click “Power Search” and in the “Location” drop-down menu, select “Video Games.” Click “Search.” You do not need to type in anything else.)

What’cha-ma-gizmo?

WhatchamagizmoFriday, January 17, 2014

We’re offering TWO FREE SESSIONS!

10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. & 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Carnegie Room, lower level, St. Thomas Public Library

 

We’ll help you understand the basic operation of your device and get you up and running.

 

Drop by this workshop and bring your:

  • tablet
  • phone
  • eReader
  • laptop
  • or other electronic gizmo.

 

It’s FREE! Just remember to bring any cables or equipment that go with your device.

Video Games Available!

St. Thomas Public Library has officially added video games to the library catalogue for three game systems. If you own a PS3, Xbox 360, or a Wii, stop by the library’s Children’s & Teens’ Department on the lower level to check out the selection!

There are special rules with video game loans (much like the Express Read loans.) You can check one video game out for one week, with no renewals. There is an overdue fine of $1.00 per day.

All games are rated either E for Everyone or E 10+ for Everyone aged 10 and older. While the games are rated E and located in the Children’s and Teens’ Department, that doesn’t mean adults can’t enjoy them! Check the library’s online catalogue for game titles. (Click “Power Search” and in the “Location” drop-down menu, select “Video Games.” Click “Search.” You do not need to type in anything else.)

Now, a few people are torn on the idea of video games being offered in a public library. (Please note: I’m biased on the issue. I’m in favour of video games being loaned from public libraries.)  The “negative”  is video games keep children inside, parked in front of the television screen.. “There is more value in books.”

 

That can be true and I highly encourage everyone to read! However, there are many benefits to gaming. Mind you, every game is different and therefore offers different skills. It’s a very sneaky kind of learning! For example, many video games have text boxes that pop onto the screen (sometimes without an audio companion), so children are encouraged to read. Not enough? How about this: gaming teaches:

  • Critical thinking (including “Thinking outside the box” and finding multiple solutions to a problem.)
  • Teamwork
  • Time management
  • Money management
  • Multi-tasking
  • Organizational skills
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Map reading skills (which come in handy when the GPS fails)
  • Encouragement for exploration
  • Learning from your mistakes
  • Music appreciation (have you ever listened to some of the musical scores created for a video game? Where else are kids these days exposed to classical music?)

Can a book do all of that? And this list goes on and on! But these are just the opinions of one person. Tell us what YOU think!

St. Thomas Public Library does plan on purchasing more games to expand the Children’s and Teens’ video game collection, so check back often.

Making the Move – Technology Update

As you’ve probably heard by now, we’ve closed our mall locations and have moved back to Curtis St. We really enjoyed our time at the mall but we’re glad to be going home too.

 

Though all of our books and equipment have made the move, we don’t open until January 16th so that we can get everything back where it…well, not necessarily where it was, but where it’s going in the new layout.

 

Possibly the most complex part of our move is the technology.

 

Many of the public computers are being replaced with systems running the latest Windows 7 software. Once they’re set up, they all have to be configured to work with our network and, once they have Internet connectivity, they’ll need all kinds of updates. That’s usually not complicated but it sure takes a lot of time. We’ve seen a computer require as many as 68 updates in 4 sets of downloads as the unit gets caught up on what it’s been missing since it was boxed up at the factory.

 

The old public computers have all been updated and cleaned up thanks to volunteer help, but it still took 3 days! They’ll be going downstairs in our new computer lab, which requires a whole new set of networking. (The public computer stations will have completely new machines!)

 

The lab is a new feature that we’ve added in the renovations. We know how important the digital world is, whether for job hunters, local business people, researchers or people staying in touch with family and friends. With this in mind, we hope to offering public training in the lab this year, as well as having a terrific facility that local organizations can take advantage of. Please note – the computer lab will not be “up and running” by the time of opening. It is the temporary home to all computer and technology while we’re setting up the library. The public will have the opportunity to see it a week or two after the library reopens. (Sorry for the inconvenience!)

 

Then there are all the staff computers that have to be set up, along with the accompanying printers and our very popular wireless network. We also have computers assigned to specific duties, such as managing public printing or making reservations for our public Internet access computers. In most cases this is simply a matter of getting the same setup in place again but we also have some new systems that will need to learn how to work together.

 

And that’s the easy stuff.

 

Our security gates and book scanners are notoriously finicky but have to be up and running before we can really consider ourselves operational. Our Circulation Desks (which we will be calling “Service Desks,”) also have printers and debit machines that have their own configurations. And our self check-out unit needs to be ready to play a bigger role in 2012 as our customers get more familiar with its capabilities.

 

It’s a lot of work but it’s also a great opportunity. We get to do some of the basic maintenance that can sometimes get bumped down the to-do list and we’re looking forward to getting our new toys set up.

 

And we’re really looking forward to welcoming our customers back to the building to share the work that ‘s been done with them . See you on the 16th!

-PA