Thursday, March 13, 2014

Librarian Lisa's Favorite Apps

1) Evernote
Can also be accessed via computer.  Allows for easy organization of notes, images, and web pages.

2) Google Calendar
Another that is a computer application as well. For android users my favorite part of this is the widget that shows the users schedule for several days.  That quick reminder has saved me more than once.

3) Snapseed (and then Photo Squarer to upload to Instagram)
A great app for editing your photos before posting.  Allows users to make subtle changes or over the top changes. 

4) Duolingo
Want to learn another language? Or just want to get some basics down for traveling out of the country? Give this app a try. Combines reading, writing, listening, and speaking to help users improve their language skills.

5) Goodreads
A social network to rate and recommend books.

iPhone Screenshot 16) Bartlett Public Library
Check your account, place holds, and see what's happening.

Other Suggestions:



Use your photos to create videos.

*Please note, my personal experience with these apps is on the android (not iOS) platform and while most are available for the iPhone or iPad some may not be and some may have different capabilities.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor and Park first meet up on the school bus. Eleanor is the awkward new girl everyone on the bus has decided they are going to be mean to. Park likes to sit by himself and get lost in the music he listens to on his Walkman, but he feels sorry for Eleanor and lets her sit down by him. Soon Park notices that Eleanor is reading the comic books he brings on the bus. Soon after that he starts lending her comic books and soon after that they become friends.

Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park is a nice change from the gazillion dystopia novels that have shown up in the young adult section the last number of years. I’ve enjoyed several of the dystopia series, but it’s nice to read something not set in the future. In the case of Eleanor & Park it seems to be set in the past, perhaps the late eighties or early nineties.

The book alternates between Eleanor’s point of view and Park’s points of view. I was thoroughly charmed by the first two-thirds of Eleanor & Park, but the book’s last one-hundred or so pages seemed to drag. I think a lot of this had to do with Park’s character development. Apparently he is some combination of saint and superhero. I guess this is possible, there are certainly amazing people in the world, but reading about someone who seems to have no doubts about the relationship he is in does not make for compelling reading. It was almost as if some of the later Park sections of the book were being written by Eleanor. The book’s last third also suffers because not a whole lot happens. It’s nice that Rowell gives the sense that the reader is hanging out with the main characters but hanging out can get kind of boring. Despite these complaints, Eleanor & Park is definitely worth reading. Rowell has a fresh voice and a great knack for coming up with quirky yet believable characters. I could see Eleanor & Park becoming a young adult classic on par with The Perks of Being a Wallflower.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Ten Techie Reads

Teen Tech Week starts March 9th. 

Check out these books featuring computers, tech whizzes, and futuristic technology.

1) Feed by M.T. Anderson

In a future where most people have computer implants in their heads to control their environment, a boy meets an unusual girl who is in serious trouble.

2) iBoy by Kevin Brooks

Before the attack, Tom Harvey was just an average teen. A head-on collision with high technology has turned Tom Harvey into an actualized App. Fragments of a shattered iPhone are embedded in his brain. Now Tom knows, sees, and can do more than any normal boy ever could. But not even his mental search engine can predict the shocking outcome of iBoy's actions.

3) The Eye of Minds by James Dashner 
Michael is a gamer. And he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion and the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. But some rules were made for a reason. And recent reports claim that one gamer is holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. Yet the gamer's motives are a mystery. The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker. And they've been watching Michael.

4) Little Brother by Cory Doctorow 
Marcus, a.k.a "w1n5t0n" figures he already knows how the system works-and how to work the system. But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack. In the wrong place at the wrong time, they are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they're mercilessly interrogated for days. When finally released, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.

5) Brain Jack by Brian Falkner 
In this dystopic near-future neuro-headsets have replaced computer keyboards. Just slip on a headset, and it's the Internet at the speed of thought. For teen hacker Sam Wilson, a headset is a must. But as he becomes familiar with the new technology, he has a terrifying realization. If anything on his computer is vulnerable to a hack, what happens when his mind is linked to the system? Could consciousness itself be hijacked?

6) Don’t Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon 
Noa has been a victim of the system ever since her parents died. Now living off the grid and trusting no one, she uses her computer-hacking skills to stay safely anonymous and alone. But when she wakes up on a table in an empty warehouse with an IV in her arm and no memory of how she got there, Noa starts to wish she had someone on her side. Enter Peter Gregory. A rich kid and the leader of a hacker alliance, Peter needs people with Noa's talents on his team.

7) BZRK by Michael Grant 
On one side: Charles and Benjamin Armstrong's Nexus Humanus. On the other: a group of teen hackers who call themselves BZRK. Twenty-first-century warfare that takes place on the macro and nano level for the highest stakes: humanity's free will.

8) Insignia by SJ Kincaid 
Tom, a fourteen-year-old genius at virtual reality games, is recruited by the United States military to begin training at the Pentagon Spire as a combatant in World War III, controlling the mechanized drones that do the actual fighting off-planet.

9) A Girl Named Digit by Annabel Monaghan 
Farrah "Digit" Higgins may be going to MIT in the fall, but this high school genius has left her geek self behind in another school district so she can blend in with the popular crowd and actually enjoy her senior year. But when Farrah unknowingly cracks a terrorist group's number sequence, her laid-back senior year gets a lot more interesting. Soon she is personally investigating the case, on the run from terrorists, and faking her own kidnapping-- all while trying to convince a young, hot FBI agent to take her seriously. So much for blending in . . .

10) Twinmaker by Sean Williams
Can you really change your body just by carrying around a coded note? Sure, the d-mat booth will transport you anywhere instantly, but can it also make you taller, stronger, more beautiful? Clair's best friend, Libby, is determined to give it a try. What starts as Libby's dream turns into Clair's nightmare when Libby falls foul of a deadly trap. With the help of Jesse, the school freak, and a mysterious stranger called Q, Clair's attempt to protect Libby leads her to an unimagined world of conspiracies and cover-ups.