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Our Public Library is Awesome!

Having a library card today provides a wealth of information and services. My favorite is checking out free eBooks for my Kindle and having them automatically downloaded to read for up to 21 days.

Gail Haar, Director of the Marin County Library Services, will soon be featured on NPAT (). If you have not visited the lately, you are in for an awesome experience!

Going to the local Novato Library and obtaining a library card will open the doors to a new way of accessing information, reading material, and learning new things.  No longer is the library just a place to check out printed books, as you can now check out eBook readers, movies, and much, much more. 

Using the county’s website, you can check out free eBooks for your Kindle and other eBook readers and have them for up to 21 days to read.  There are over 2,000 eBooks in their collection.  Since talking to Gail, I have already read through two eBooks that I checked out from the library and were downloaded directly to my Kindle. The first time through is a bit challenging, and not all of the librarians are totally versed in the procedure, but I am sure that they soon will be.  If you already have your library card, you might follow the instructions here.

Learning a foreign language is available with a free program called Mango, which Gail says is quite comparable to Rosetta Stone. Some of the 38 languages on the program are Czech, Farsi, Korean, Slovak and Thai as well as the most common ones such as French, German, Italian and Spanish.  With speakers, you can hear the words said at the same time they are viewed on the screen. All that is needed is that library card! After having paid quite a sum for a Rosetta Stone that now only works on my old laptop, I truly appreciate Mango, which is free and always there online.

My NPAT interview with Gail Haar was produced by club members of Soroptimist International of Novato. This blog is a preview of the program that is yet to be edited, but most likely will be shown on Wednesday evening at 7 or 7:30 p.m. and repeated on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. within the next two weeks.  NPAT is our local Channel 26.

For more information about Marin County’s Library check www.marinlibrary.org. For more information about the Soroptimist organization, check www.soropnovato.org.  NPAT's programming can be viewed at www.npat.org/.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Barbara Madrid January 22, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Thanks for highlighting the Library, Carole! Yes, this is not your grandmother's library- those of us who are regular users know of the vast amount of entertainment, including programs and speakers offered all year 'round, great kids' programming and activities designed to instill a love of reading/learning, and it's all FREE. And, support the library by shopping for books around the corner at Book Place, 1608 Grant- all proceeds fund these critical library programs.
Carole Bennett January 22, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Thanks for adding all the additional library "extras," Barbara, that I did not mention! I also love the Book Place, as I felt as though I got such a fabulous bargain when I walked away with a grocery bag full of books for $20! The Book Place on Grant Avenue is a wonder support financially for the public library. Thanks to all who support it!
Vicki Campbell January 22, 2012 at 06:48 PM
I haven't been to the library for awhile because I use e-books. But then I discovered from reading the comments here that they have e-books to loan! That's awesome! Thanks for posting this blog.
Heather Ophir January 22, 2012 at 06:51 PM
And what the library offers to children, pre-teens and teens is superlative. Both the children's librarian Carla, and the teen librarian (also, coincidentally, Carla) have devised clever ways to keep kids engaged in reading, language, and activities that go beyond the printed page. Hats off to these two invaluable Novato assets.
Patricia Hess January 22, 2012 at 09:05 PM
I like the South Novato branch library, too. Lots going on over there in Hamilton!
Lou Judson January 24, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Are their eboks Mac friendly? The aduibooks online are not!
Amanda Jacobs Foust January 25, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Yes. MCFL ebooks are Mac-friendly. The complete collection of diigital books can be found here: overdrive.marinet.info// MCFL does have a small collection of MP3 audiobooks that are Mac-friendly but because publishers often limit their releases to the PC-friendly WMA format, we are limited to what is available for purchase. The MP3 audiobooks can be found here: http://overdrive.marinet.info/72C9490A-FDD2-4612-9DA9-131949F4CD05/10/867/en/SearchResults.htm?SearchID=818214s&SortBy=CollDate. Both the Novato and South Novato Library routinely offer workshops on ebooks and related devices. Check the calendar of events here: http://www.marinlibrary.org/events-and-programs.
Jerome Stein January 27, 2012 at 03:05 AM
You are right about not all librarians being versed in ebooks. I have visited a couple of libraries and have been unable to find a librarian who seemed to completely understand how it works. Also, each time I visit the library, I hear librarians complaining about the workplace. Morale seems pretty low there.
Lou Judson January 27, 2012 at 03:11 AM
Jerome, are you talking about Novato? Not my experience! The employees all are very friendly, happy and helpful. The only better library is Mill Valley, in my opinion. But I grew up in MV and it was my hometown for 30 years. Novato is great, though.
Edwin Drake January 27, 2012 at 10:22 AM
Novato has some fabulous librarians, but the administration leaves something to be desired. Like most everywhere the bureaucrats hinder the people who actually do the work.
Edwin Drake January 27, 2012 at 10:24 AM
It's possible to play WMA on a Mac, you just need the proper software. Google 'WMA mac' and you'll see plenty of stuff. It's pretty easy.
Lou Judson January 27, 2012 at 03:01 PM
It wasn't the format (WMA) that was the problem, it was the proprietary overdrive commercial software that was un-mac-friendly - I'm a professional audio engineer and couldn't get it to work!. Much easier to get CD audiobooks and add them to ipod. Maybe I'll try it again some day but the host software is a commercial barrier to the public library!
M. Smith January 28, 2012 at 02:51 AM
I have also had some not so great success getting help with ebooks at Novato, but the librarians, as they always do, gave me their full attention and 100% effort. I understand why people make these comments, a few years ago I saw the manager at Novato yell at her staff at a public service desk. I was so disgusted, I actually stopped going to the library for awhile after that.
Janet Doerge February 02, 2012 at 01:33 AM
There’s a new branch manager in town (me!) and it’s great to hear all your wonderful compliments about the Novato library. We do indeed have a great staff and offer so many services and collections; we’re especially excited about E-books! They’ve been a learning curve for some of us too, but we’re all getting up to speed and are eager to share what we know. And if you haven’t taken the plunge to buy an e-reader for yourself yet, consider taking home one of our Nooks that come pre-loaded with many popular titles. Take it for a test run!
Edwin Drake February 03, 2012 at 07:50 AM
Typical of public employee management that the new manager, Janet Doerge, just ignores the unhappy comments about the library. I guess it's "personal matters" so not open for discussion. All I know is that the circulation desk and Carla are GREAT! The Reference Desk staff leaves a lot to be desired, seemingly unable to do more than confirm that it's hard to find a particular book or piece of information. It seems that Reference relies on the internet but doesn't really understand how to do research searches or operate the computers. Janet, any comments?

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