Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Getting From Here to There: Mapping Websites

Hi All,

Just a quickie post today about mapping and direction (how-to-get-there) type websites.

Some quality sites that have good maps, easy-to-read directions and a few that have some extra 'perks' include:

Google Maps
Users can enter the address of where they are leaving from and the address of there destination. Users can click on the 'Direction' icon and a menu will appear when users can enter the starting point and the destination.   Once that information is entered a map appears and the route is traced in blue.  Trip length - both in time and distance (miles) appears on the screen.   The actual turn-by-turn directions are included as well.  Users can scroll in on the map to get a more detailed view of the trip.  Users can also scroll out on the map to get a more general - larger - view of the trip.  And, of course, the map can be printed so that you can use it when you are on the trip.   With Google Maps users can get an actual street view of that the street looks like.  Users can also get a satellite view of the map they are looking at.

A new feature that Google Maps has is the option to choose a travel route by mode of transportation. For example, users can see how to get from A to B by car, walking, bicycle or by bus.

Users can share maps, embed maps in documents, change search settings and save map search history for the future.

Mapquest is a competitor to Google Maps.  Some folks think it is better than Google Maps.  Others don't.  Take your pick.  But....Mapquest enables users to find charging stations for cards, lodging, restaurants, travel services, shopping, and more.  There is a MapQuest app available - just click the option 'App' and then enter your mobile phone number and the app will be sent to your phone.  Like Google Maps, users can print, email or link the map as well as scroll in and out of the map (once generated) to get the 'bigger' or 'smaller' picture of the map. Once a map is generated, estimate fuel cost is available.  Alternate routes are given as possible options for the user.  Live traffic can be seen by clicking on the Live Traffic option.  Also, traffic cameras are identified along a particular route.

So there ya have it...now there is no reason for you to be late or to get lost when you visit anybody, anywhere, anytime.

Hope the maps work well for you!


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Banned Books Week

Hi All,

This week librarians all around the country are celebrating something very near and dear to our hearts!  Yes, you guessed it.  Banned Books Week.  Click on this link from the ALA - American Library Association - to learn more about Banned Books Week. The week is described by the ALA as 'celebrating the freedom to read'!

So, when does Banned Books Week actually take place?  From September 21-27, 2014. 

Did you know that....
1. Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read?

2. Usually it is held during the last week in September.

3. It highlights the value of free and open access to information - not just books!

4. Banned Books Week brings together the whole book community - which includes librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers and of course, readers of all types - in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas - even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

5. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention tot he harms of censorship!

Click on this list of frequently challenged books!  Click on this formal site for Banned Books Week 2014.  There is information about censorship, events, a virtual read-out, videos+, resources and how to support Banned Books Week.

Enjoy the links! And read a great book on the list of banned books!  Or from this list of Banned Books - from CNN.

Regards and happy reading!,

Monday, September 22, 2014

Poems, Poetry and More....

Hi All,

So what got me thinking about poetry you ask?  I was going through my folder of sites to write about for the blog when I found this link - from the New York Times.   The article title is 'Is Poetry Dead? Not if 45 Official Laureates Are Any Indication.'  The article describes the increase in the number of poet laureates and poets' various responses to the increase.  Interesting article. 

The article led me to finding another poetry related site that I had in my computer bookmarks...which follows.  Just found this site about Poets' Graves....the site bills itself as being 'Serious about Poets and Poetry'. 

What makes the site so interesting you ask?  Well, with links like Who's Buried Where?, Mini Biographies, a Poetry forum, Poetry Resources and Classic Poems...readers are bound to find something of interest.  Links are in blue - as usual.  The site is easy to get around and has high quality poetry links!   Especially interesting are the Poetry Resources - there are links to Poetry Archives, a Poetry Library, Poetry Magazines and a site called The Poetry Kit.

For readers who want to take another step into the world of poetry it would behoove you to visit the Poetry Foundation website - which is the publisher of Poetry magazine - and as it bills itself, 'is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. 

Also...readers might want to visit Poetry.com - which is the world's largest and most vibrant poetry community.  Amateur poets wanted!  The site uses 'Achievement  Badges' to get the poetry community involved in writing, critiquing and evaluation poems that other folks publish...enjoy the links and get ready to post and write and partake in lots of discussions!!!

And finally, click on this link to find books with the word 'poetry' in the title that we have in the Farmingdale Public Library.  You'll be happy that you did - our collection is extensive, high-quality, cutting edge and filled with classics!

Enjoy the links!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Traffic Cameras in Nassau County

Hi All,

You might have heard - or might not have - heard about traffic cameras being installed in a whole bunch of new locations; particularly schools in Nassau County. 

Click on this link from Newsday to see a current article about this.  The title of the article is 'Speed Cameras come to 5 New Long Island School Districts'.   Click on this article from July 2014 titled 'Speed Cameras Begin Operation in Nassau School Zones'.  This is the original article that set off the great debate....

Click on this link - from the veritable AAA-New York - titled 'School Speed Cameras'.  Basically this is a map of the location of all speed cameras in school zones in Nassau County. Thank you AAA!!!  The map is very easy to manipulate, use and understand!!!!

Finally, click on this link CopBlock.org - for an article titled, 'How to Beat a Photo Enforced Speeding Ticket or a Red Light Ticket?'.  The link is from CopBlock.org.

And while we are on the topic of traffic tickets, click on this link from Nolo Press for an article titled, 'Fighting a Red Light Camera Traffic Ticket'.

I hope you never have to use these sites, but if you do...they are here for your research.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Hi All, 

Good morning.  Today is the first day of the second full week of school for school kids in and around the Farmingdale area.  Some might have started later or earlier making this not exactly the first day of the second full week of school...but close enough.

Anyway, with school in session, brains are starting to go into overdrive and hum with reading, writing and arithmetic. Yep - the fall semester is underway and getting into full swing.

With that all said, I found an interesting website to help get those brain waves moving and jumping and hopping - all in the hopes that school will be easier. 

Introducing...Mental Floss...so, you ask...what exactly is Mental Floss?  Great question. The site bills itself as "an intelligent read, but not too intelligent. We're the sort of intelligent that you hang out with for a while, enjoy our company, laugh a little, smile a lot and then we part ways. Great times. And you only realize how much you learned from us after a little while. Like a couple days later when you're impressing your friends with all these intriguing facts and things you picked up from us, and they ask you how you know so much, and you think back on that great afternoon you spent with us and you smile."

If you really, really want to learn more about Mental Floss, click on this link which takes you to the 'About Us' page on the site. 

That all said, there are 5 links that appear on the top banner of the page.
1. Amazing Facts - the Amazing Fact generator generates, well, amazing facts...fun stuff. In a flash card sort of way.  

2. Big Questions - answer the 'big questions' in life like 'Why Do Shells Sound Like the Ocean?' and 'Why Are Baseball Seasons 162 Games Long?' and more...

3. Videos - lots of videos hosted by John Green...as the site proclaims, 'Join host John Green as he makes a rapid trek through everything you really need to know about science, pop culture, and history.  Check back every Wednesday for a new episode of the Mental Floss List Show!'

4. Lists - list for every occasion. Examples of lists include '30 of the Best Parents in Literature',

5. Quizzes - again, a quiz for every occasion.  Examples of quizzes include 'A Simpsons Guest Star Quiz', 'Ikea or Cheese?' or 'The Name Behind the Initial'.

So there you have it...a fun, tongue-in-cheek entertaining, pseudo-educational website.  Did I mention that Mental Floss is fun?   

Enjoy the site!


Friday, September 12, 2014

Taking Pictures of Your Kids

Hi All,

Now that summer is 'officially' over, school has started and the Fall is right around the corner.  With all that happening, there are sure to be lots of chances to take wonderful pictures of your kids (think soccer games, playgrounds, Halloween, playing in the backyard in a pile of leaves - yep...there are lots of different opportunities to take great photos). 

Click on the following links to take more awesome pictures of the little ones, young ones, toddlers, teens and more!

Cut the Cheese -  5 Tips For Photographing Kids - Digital Photography School
Photographing Children - Composition - Digital Photography School
Ten Way to Take Better Photos of Your Child - Lexar (esp suggestion #1, #5 and #7)
Tips From a Pro: How to Take Better Photos of Your Kids - PopPhoto.com
Three Tips for Taking Photos of Kids - Olympus
8 Tips for Photographing Uncooperative Children - ClickinMoms.com

So there ya have it...anybody can take even better pictures of their kids!  And now you know how to do it - without having to take hundreds of pictures in the hopes of getting 3-4 good pictures in the bunch!