Using Your Databases

Many of the databases that the Seattle Public Library subscribes to for you offers information found nowhere on the Web, and most can be accessed from any computer with Internet access. Here’s how:

  1. Go to the SPL homepage at  www.spl.org
  2. Click on the Databases and Websites link in the middle of the page under the word “Browse”  (or click here).  You will see several categories of databases and websites which you can browse.
  3. For an alphabetical  list of the the databases, click on the link in the green sidebar that says  “Databases A-Z.” Click on that link or click here.
  4. You will see a list of databases with a small blue or gold logo beside the name. The blue logo means that you can access that database from anywhere with  your SPL card number and PIN. The gold logo with the little roof over the card image means those databases can only be accessed from inside the library. Companies providing databases set their licensing rules; we  comply in order to provide the resource to you.
  5.  When you click on the name of a database, you’ll be given a screen that asks you to type in your SPL library card number and PIN.  Once you do, you’ll be taken to the database you chose.

That’s it! The world is your oyster and Bob’s your uncle!

~posted by Carol L.

TV Terror: Feb. 17, 2009?

I was part of the TV panic.  I heard the warnings that my TV would not work in 2009.  Patrons called and asked the same question.  Do we have to throw our televisions in the trash and buy a new one?  Don’t panic! The truth is that you will be able to use your analog TV in 2009 with a digital-to-analog converter box available from electronics stores and major retailers.   What is more, the U.S. Government is currently subsidizing the cost of converter boxes by issuing coupons to applicants. (All households are eligible at this time.)

To make TV transmissions more efficient and free up frequencies for services such as emergency services and new digital data services, Congress ordered the elimination of analog TV channels.  In 2009, television stations will broadcast in digital from a different part of the spectrum.  The spectrum occupied by analog TV signals will be auctioned off.

At this time, the converter boxes are necessary for the 16 million Americans who watch free TV with an antenna and are not needed for satellite and cable subscribers because those services convert the signals.

For a more thorough explanation and information on the voucher program, check out this article.

Book Group Inspiration

My book group recently had a discussion of the books that led to our best – and most memorable – discussions ever. It was nice not only to reflect on the many books we’ve read and discussed together, but also look at what makes a “good book club book.”

About five or six titles stood out, most notably The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff, a novel that would be a nice companion with Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (another one of our favorites). Two other all-time favorites happen to be part of Seattle Reads: The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. (My book club friends will be quick to point out that we read these before they were selected by Seattle Reads. And we read Middlesex before Oprah discovered it. We like to point out things like that.) A Very Long Engagement by Sebastien Japrisot and The Awakening by Kate Chopin are two we keep going back to. Memorable evenings together Continue reading “Book Group Inspiration”

Healing the Mind

Stroke. Brain Damage. Strong words we hear more of these days, with an aging population and engagement in a difficult war with injured soldiers returning to everyday life. Words that call up terrifying images of darkness and loss, for both the injured and their loved ones. Images of diving into the healthcare system like entering a second level of reality, cocooned from the outside world, caught up in the processes of treatment and healing. Once one has stepped into it, a fascination takes hold, a seeking for ways to understand the experience. If you have recently gone through such an experience, or know others going through it, two recent compelling first hand accounts can be found in the library collection.

Never Give Up: My Stroke, My Recovery & My Return to the NFL by Tedy Bruschi with Michael Holley would never be called high literature, but it is a sincere heartfelt account of Bruschi’s unusual stroke-he was a healthy linebacker in his 3o’s when he woke up in the middle of the night with numbness in his left arm and leg and a wicked headache. Thinking he had slept on his arm wrong, he stumbled back to bed and tried to fall asleep-even as he Continue reading “Healing the Mind”

His time has (finally) come?

Millard Fillmore!There’s something in the air this President’s Day. Call it Millard Fillmania. You’ve probably all seen the recent car commercial offering a soap-on-a-rope effigy of the forgotten statesman touted to be the first to take a bath in the White House. (This oft-repeated “fact” was actually a sly hoax perpetrated by H.L. Mencken, by the way).

Then there’s John Blumenthal’s oddball romance, Millard Filmore, Mon Amour, which tells of a deeply neurotic millionaire working on a massive biography of the man. In addition to being a close runner-up among eye-catching presidential titles to Lydia Millet’s George Bush: Dark Prince of Love, it surely has one of the most improbable subject headings in history: Fillmore, Millard, 1800-1874 — Influence — Fiction. But the real tipping point for the Millard Fillmore revival has to be George Pendle’s delightfully daft The Remarkable Millard Fillmore: The Unbelievable Life of a Forgotten President. Taking Mencken’s antic impulse and running with it, Pendle brings forth little-known aspects of our nation’s 13th president, such as his piratical origins, his minstrel show days, his curious disguise during the battle for the Alamo, and his invention of the T-Shirt, all culled from Fillmore’s recently rediscovered “napkin doodles.” Not since Forrest Gump has one man done so much for an ungrateful world.  And surely it isn’t just my being a librarian that has me in stitches over the index, with its helpful entries for “Clothes – eating of, 7-8. -refusal to wear, 14. Commas 1-243. Conclusions – jumped to, 34. – leapt to, 189.” etc.

A quick update for President’s Day: Fillmore Fever continues to sweep the nation. Check out this cool Waiting-for-Guffmanesque Millard Fillmore Musical, The Accidental President, on Youtube, including such numbers as No One Will Remember Me, How Lonesome This World Is, Out There, and my personal favorite, It Has to Have a Window Seat!

~posted by David W.