There is a new way for kids to learn at home and at the library! Playaway Launchpads are kid-friendly tablets preloaded with educational (and ad-free) apps, books, and games, available for ages 3-5 and 5-7 for two-week checkout periods. The apps enhance skills in math, science, language learning, English language arts, critical thinking, and creativity. Launchpads are 100% safe and secure. They do not connect to wifi or request personal information. There is even a screen for an adult to check up on what a child has been playing and see which skills have been tested. Kids can score Discovery Points in each activity. With their points, they can "purchase" accessories for their own avatars.
If you have a health concern and are not able to come into the library to pick up your materials, there is a solution to your problem. Contact the Assistive Services department to let us know about your temporary or chronic health issue so we can set up a Books-by-Mail account for you. Once you have a Books-by-Mail account any materials—including books, videos, magazines, and CDs—that you request are sent to the Assistive Services department where they will be mailed to your home.
Area residents have a new way to learn the strength of that last wind gust or how much rain fell during a recent downpour. The Central Rappahannock Regional Library system has a weather station located at its Howell branch in Stafford County! Anyone can view current temperature and humidity on the Howell branch page or get historical weather data for the past week or months by clicking through to the wunderground.com page for our location. Information is also shared with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as part of their Citizen Weather Observer Program for use in their weather prediction models.
You may have noticed that eBooks and eReaders are catching on with people. With reports of ridiculously large sales numbers around the holidays, such as the one million Kindles sold each week of the 2011 holiday season, one gets the feeling that these gadgets might just have some staying power.
At the Central Rappahannock Regional Library we have been delighted to offer the public free eBooks to check out through services like EBSCOhost and OverDrive.
Overall, the public seems to be equally delighted with the service as our circulation statistics for eBooks continues to climb.
EBooks from the library have a number of advantages:
- No late fees, period!
Now, we have heard from numerous patrons that eBooks they check out will, through one technical hiccup or another, remain on their devices past the check-out period and concerns have been raised that overdue fees will be assessed because of this. Have no fear: if you’ve experienced this difficulty, it does not change the fact that your eBook is indeed available for other patrons to check out, and you will not be fined one cent.
- 24-hour service: our digital offerings are available for you to check out any time, any day, regardless of whether the library is open. You want to read a Sookie Stackhouse book at 2 AM on a Sunday morning? You can do that on OverDrive! Or, maybe you’re working at the last minute on a big paper for school and you need some serious non-fiction to help your research, but the library is closed. Well, head over to EBSCOhost; with book titles as diverse as “Higher Education and Democracy: Essays on Service-learning and Civic Engagement” and “Entangled Geographies: Empire and Technopolitics in the Global Cold War,” I’m pretty sure EBSCOhost has your back when it comes to research.
(Photo of eReaders by The Daring Librarian)
- There are practically no limits on your checkouts.
Now, I do say practically. Technically, OverDrive limits you to seven checkouts at a time, but you can return your books quite easily to free up space in your checkout queue for another title. This can be done through the Amazon.com if you checked the book out on a Kindle, through Adobe Digital Editions if you’re reading it on a Nook or Sony, or through the OverDrive Media Console app if you’re using a tablet computer. And while EBSCOhost does not yet allow books to be returned early, you can have up to fifty titles checked out at once; we hope that will be enough.