Want to unplug over the holidays?

In the technology-filled world that we live in, it is easy to get swept up in obsessing over the latest gadget or getting glued to the screen, especially during the holiday shopping season.  At the same time, the holidays are a time when families are together unwinding.  As such, they present a good opportunity for the whole family to disconnect from devices and go tech-free for a while!  
Here are some recommended picture books to read with your child that illustrate the joys of unplugging.

A child seeks a way to communicate with parents and a brother who are busy with their electronic devices.

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Chloe Bunny lives with her big family of ten older brothers and sisters and ten younger brothers and sisters, but it is only Chloe who is able to compete with the new television set that Dad brings home one evening.

Upset that her family is so focused on the screens on their various electronic devices that they no longer talk, laugh, and play games together, Ella takes all of their chargers and small devices.
When a busy family’s activities come to a halt because of a blackout, they find they enjoy spending time together and not being too busy for once.

Doug the robot discovers that cities are much more than downloaded facts when he unplugs from the computer feed and explores one first-hand.

A boy and a robot strike up a friendship despite their differences.
Do you have any children’s book recommendations regarding technology you’d like to share?  Post in the comments below!

*Thanks to Kathy Kleckner of Dakota County Libraries for the recommendations at the Minnesota Library Association Conference 2013- “Early Literacy and Screen Time.”

 

Sarah Hawkins, Branch Librarian, Chisago Lakes Area Library

Website et al restored

The server that provides web and e-mail service is online and it appears everything is back to normal.

Thanks for your patience. Thank you to Andy for finding the server, arranging to get it here, and installing it correctly the first time. And thanks also to FedEx, although I doubt that they’re reading this.

Website down

The website for East Central Regional Library is down . ECRL library staff are also not able to receive E-mail. The server that provides web and E-mail services went down yesterday. A rush order was placed yesterday, and the new server arrived at 10:15 this morning. Andy and Frank have locked themselves in the server room to install the server. We have good backup tapes and expect that nothing will be lost.

In the meantime — access the library catalog here: ECRL library catalog

The magazine databases are at — http://www.elm4you.org

Watch this blog for updates. Please call us if you have questions or need assistance. 763-689-7390.

Barbara Misselt, ECRL Director

Learning new technologies

My favorite thing about summer is fair season (must go back to my years as a 4-H kid). My favorite part of the fair is the food, and the world-famous Minnesota State Fair’s everything-edible-on-a-stick is just about as good as it gets. So it was not surprising that the Minnesota multitype regions chose 23 Things on a Stick as the name to promote their project for indulging in 23 library 2.0 activities.

The project is a self-guided experiential tour of interactive technologies that are part of the social computing scene. Most have potential use for enhanced interaction with our library customers. All 23 Things are based on free utilities available on the Internet. Over 1,000 library staff and board members across Minnesota signed up for the project and followed the 23 Things step by step as prescribed by the 23thingsonastick blog. Participants documented their progress on their own blogs. Those who finished all 23 things by April 16th received a flashstick as a prize.

Lots of people in ECRL signed up and have completed some of the Things (including yours truly). The program remains open for us to plod along in our own time. I have heard that there will be another round of the program and possible addition of even more Things.

6 ECRL super-achievers finished all 23 Things by April 16th and deserve congratulations. The 6 ECRL folks who have finished the 23 Things on a Stick are:
Katherine Morrow, Mille Lacs Lake
Maria Gruener, Wyoming
Penny Olson, McGregor
Robin Suhsen, Princeton
Wendy Prokosch, Mora

The real prize is the knowledge gained by everyone who has been digging into new technologies through the Things program. I’m proud of everyone who’s trying, and looking to them as ECRL’s emerging technologies leaders in our branches and communities.

The 23 Things are:
1. Setting up a blog and adding an avatar.
2. What is Web 2.0 and why should I care? Reading and writing about the perspectives.
3. Setting up an RSS aggregator account.
4. Photosharing and editing.
5. Using Flickr tools (mashups, etc.).
6. Using an online image generator.
7. Using Web 2.0 tools for library communication.
8. Sharing slide decks, photos, and presentation slides.
9. Collaborating with others with Web 2.0 tools.
10. Contributing to a wiki.
11. Tagging and using del.icio.us.
12. Social media sites and rating and recommending articles.
13. Using online productivity tools.
14. Using LibraryThing and cataloging collections.
15. Exploring online games.
16. Using Assignment Calculator and Research Project Calculator.
17. Implementing ELM productivity tools.
18. Using YouTube.
19. Producing and listing to Podcasts.
20. Participating in Facebook and MySpace.
21. Finding and joining other social networks.
22. Keeping on learning.
23. Evaluating and blogging the overall 23 Things experience.

Barbara Misselt, ECRL Director