It's Germane

The John Jermain Library's Weblog

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Library is closed today due to weather conditions

201 Main Street is closed but library online services are always available. Get onboard and visit the library! Read or listen to a good book, browse magazines, study a language, do research and much more. Thousands of downloadable ebooks and audio books can be found at; hundreds of magazines and newspapers (current and historic) are available at Discover all of the library’s online services at
So, come on in and enjoy your virtual library.
We hope to be open tomorrow; call or check our website to be sure we are open.

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Hurricane Season is Here !

Be prepared for weather related emergencies. Find important information on any the following links:

Southampton “Be Prepared” Pocket Guide in English or Spanish — print copies available at the Library.

Prepare the Family

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Check out this useful Long Island Database is a free online directory of health and human services agencies and programs in Nassau and Suffolk counties. The categories of information include Consumer Services, Education, Health Care, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and much more.  It’s all free and available wherever you are connected to the internet.

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The E-Readers are Coming…Maybe

Books Vs. E-Books, Does One Have to Win?

Newsweek Chart: Books vs. E-Books © 2010 Newsweek, Inc

In the issue of August 9th, Newsweek published an interesting chart which they titled “Back Story: Books vs. E-Books, Does One Have to Win?”  (The image at right is a link to the original chart.)

The answer, as far as we’re concerned is no, neither one has to, or is likely to “win.” We think both traditional books and e-books have their advantages and disadvantages. And, because they do, they compliment each other, meaning that both will be around for quite some time.

Sadly, Newsweek’s chart barely mentions libraries; all it  is says is, “Walking to the library is still the most eco-friendly way to read.” True enough, but what about e-books in libraries? Is that something you’re likely to see anytime soon?

Well, as a matter of fact, e-books are already here at JJML, and e-readers may not be far behind.  Fans of e-books, probably already know that Live-brary (formerly SuffolkWave), the free download service available through JJML’s website, now offers a collection of e-books that can be downloaded to a variety of Sony e-readers, the Nook from Barnes and Noble and the Kobo from Borders. The books are available in both Adobe EPub and PDF formats, and so may also be usable on other platforms that support those formats but have not yet been tested, such as Android smart phones or PDAs. (Unfortunately, they are not usable on Amazon’s Kindle or Apple’s iPad and iPhone.) More information and specifications is available on the Live-brary site.

Your ever-adventurous JJML librarians would also like to acquire a few e-readers to loan to our patrons who don’t have their own. We think this will be helpful to many people who may be considering purchasing an e-reader, but are unsure as to whether they will find them comfortable to use. Borrowing one from the library and being able to download books to it from the Live-brary collection would be a risk-free way to experiment with these devices and find out if you find reading on them to be convenient and enjoyable.

However, as with most new technologies, there are a few bumps in the road — having to do with copyright issues and the various DRM (digital rights management) schemes that are built into the e-books to protect the copyright holders — that we most smooth out before we can make these devices available for loan.

Essentially, there are two models libraries can use when offering the loan of e-readers to their patrons. The first would be to offer the e-readers with a predetermined collection of  purchased books already installed. This seems fairly simple, but the question of whether or not this conforms with all existing copyright laws is as yet undetermined. Many libraries currently use this model, with the tacit approval of the publishers — meaning none have been told to stop. However, that could quickly change if a publisher chose to challenge one that model in court.

The second model is to loan empty e-readers to the public, and allow them to download e-books from the free Live-brary service. This too seems simple at first, but due to the nature of the DRM technologies built into the e-books, it is actually quite a bit more complicated than it seems. A detailed explanation of the issues involved is beyond the scope of this post, but I will say that we are looking at a couple of ways to make this work, and that it is likely the model we will end up using, once we have worked out all the kinks.

In summary, if you are already an e-book fan, you now have some additional resources available to you through JJML’s Live-brary website. And, for those of you who are considering giving e-books a try, if all goes well, you will soon have the ability to put one or more e-readers through their paces at no cost to you, courtesy of your local library.

What do you think of e-books/readers? Are they here to stay, or just a flash-in-the-pan? Should JJML be offering them for loan alongside traditional books? We’re anxious to hear from you, so please leave us a comment letting us know what you think.

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Join Us in Sage Commons

Libraries provide access to information and entertainment. Traditionally, this access has been in the form of books, DVDs and CDs that we loan to our patrons. However, we are very aware that the distribution model for information and entertainment is changing rapidly, and so we must change too. We have already made many things available for download through our website, and have been writing this blog since 2006, but these are only a few steps along a much longer path taking us fully into the digital age.

Beginning today, we also will be sharing useful and/or interesting information and entertainment from various online sources through our pages on Facebook, Flickr and YouTube, as well as here at It’s Germane. First up are a pair of videos from dealing with copyright and creativity — issues that are key to any library’s mission. Links to these videos can be found on our Facebook page. Please be aware that the opinions expressed in these videos are not necessarily those of the John Jermain Memorial Library. However, they are interesting, even fascinating points of view.

This process of finding and sharing information from online sources is part of a larger online effort on which we are embarking that will, over time, include many new and, we hope, innovative uses of technology that further the mission of JJML. We are dubbing this online initiative Sage Commons, in honor of Margaret Sage, the original benefactor of this library. Our plan is for Sage Commons eventually to grow into its own area on our website in addition to the various posts here and on the other social networking sites where we have a presence.

Most of all, we hope that Sage Commons, will be a two-way dialog between the library staff and the public. We are anxious to hear what you have to say about the items we share, and the issues they address, and hope you will share your thoughts in the comments area here or on Facebook. In this regard, please feel free to link to other videos or web-based articles on related topics in your comments, or on our Facebook wall.

One caveat is necessary, however. Please be aware that this blog and our Facebook, Youtube, and Flickr pages are intended to provide a limited (or designated) public forum to facilitate the sharing of ideas, opinions and information about library-related subjects and issues. Comments are moderated by library staff and the library reserves the right to remove comments that are unlawful or off topic.

Do you like this idea? Have questions, comments or suggestions? Please let us know by leaving a comment below.


New Features Added to Library Catalog

A recent upgrade to our catalog software improved the appearance of the search results and added some exciting new features to our catalog including:

  • An alternate Spanish interface — From the County Catalog, users can toggle between the English-language catalog and a new Spanish-language interface.
  • Donations — Patron can now donate to the library via an online form in the catalog. This builds on the same features that allow patrons to pay fines online.
  • Send information about items in our collection via Text Message — The display screen for each item in the catalog will offer users the opportunity to text message the location, title, and call number of an item to any cell phone capable of receiving text messages.
JJML Catlog Page Showing Text-to-Phone Feature

JJML catlog page showing text-to-phone feature.

These new features are in addition to many other recent improvements to the catalog including reader reviews and ratings, sharing via Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites, tag clouds, and more. For more information about any of these features just ask a member of the library staff next time you’re here.

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Live Online Tutoring

Library patrons in grades K-12 may now access Suffolk Homework Help for live online tutoring in all major subject areas. The service, provided by the Suffolk Cooperative Library System  is available to help students in both English and Spanish from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., seven days a week with the following exceptions:SuffolkHomework Help

  • New Year’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day

Students must have a library card from a Suffolk County library to use the service. They will, however, be asked for their first name only when communicating with a tutor. Transcripts of sessions will be available to those entering an e-mail address, as well as to Suffolk Cooperative Library System (SCLS) staff monitoring the service. SCLS Youth Services librarians will spot check transcripts and follow up on any questionable issues.