Library Services Online

In our 24/7 society, life moves pretty fast. You meant to stop by the library on your way into work, or perhaps on your way home, but…

Yeah, we’ve all been there. Too much to do and not enough time to do it. But, never fear! The Cheshire Public Library is here to help. Many library services are now available online 24/7.

That means you can renew your books while staying at home in your pajamas. You can download and watch a movie from hoopla rather than having to go out on a dark and stormy night (with a nod to Edward Bulwer-Lytton) to borrow one. You can place holds, listen to music, or download an audiobook. Research your family tree on HeritageQuest. Scope out the ratings of your next new car from the comfort of your bed by browsing Consumer Reports Online. Refresh your resume with tips from JobNow. Put up your feet and browse through your favorite magazine with RBdigital‘s online magazines.

The great thing about online resources is that they are never late! They auto-return so you never accrue fines, and in the case of digital magazines, they remain on your device for you to enjoy.

Finding these resources is easy.

All downloadable content (ebooks, audiobooks, movies, magazines, music, and comics) are available from links right on the library homepage at cheshirelibrary.com.

All databases (Consumer Reports, JobNow, HeritageQuest and many, many more) are accessed simply by clicking the eResources link on our website.

Renew your books, place holds and even pay your account balance by clicking the Your Account button at the top of our website.

So, relax! You have all day and all night, too, to get to the library.

(Image source: Anchor Point Animation)

Audiobook Picks for a Family Road Trip

If you are planning a fun family road trip this summer, or anytime really, it could involve many hours trapped in a vehicle with bored, overtired, and otherwise cranky individuals. Let’s be honest, no matter how fun the trip, there are moments in which the boredom or irritation levels rise. So, instead of fighting over radio stations and whatnot while on the road you might want to listen to an audiobook (or more) to pass the time.

I usually check out a selection of audiobooks for my children to choose from and make them take turns with said selections, before I even start the car if only to avoid arguments later. You can also download audiobooks to listen to via OneClick Digital, Overdrive or Hoopla. The good thing about the digital audiobooks is that if you finish earlier than you expected or do not enjoy the book and want a new one, you can always AIDIO1download a new one anywhere you have internet access. With the digital version you also do not have to worry about due dates or missing discs, which can be a big bonus.

If you are willing to give some family listening a try during a road trip you might need some suggestions. Here are some of my favorite reads and listens that are entertaining for the entire family.

audio3The Bad Beginning and rest of the The Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, read by Tim Curryaudio6

Fortunately, the Milk written and performed by Neil Gaiman

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke, AUDIO2read by Simon Jones

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L Konigsburg, read by Jill Clayburgh

How to Train Your Dragon (and the rest of the audio5series) by Cressida Cowell, read by Gerard Doyleaudio4

Wonder by R.J. Palacio, read by Diana Steele, Nick Podehl, and Kate Rudd

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins, read by Paul BoehmerAUDIOB1

Further suggestions include revisiting some classics like; Because of Winn Dixie, Charlotte’s Web, Alice in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass, The Wizard of Oz,Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Chronicles of Narnia, The Tale of Despereaux, audiob3Fantastic Mr. Fox, and other favorites. Some newer or unexpected but wonderful listens like; Skulduggery PleasantChasing Vermeer, Little House in the Big Woods,  Savvy, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (and the rest of the series), Nicholas St. North and the battle of the Nightmare King, The Spiderwick Chronicles, The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell, and Half Moon Investigations might also keep your vehicle full of happy listeners.

What’s All the Hoopla?

What is Hoopla?
hoopla
For those that have never explored our digital offerings, Hoopla is a free service that is available to Cheshire library card holders (just like Overdrive)! All you need to register is your library card number, and then you create your own user name and password, which you will use to sign in from your computer or mobile device. (If you are a cardholder from another library, you may have access to the service through your own library. If you are unsure check with your home library.)

hoopla Welcome Header CPLHoopla offers users digital access to videos (movies & TV), full music albums,  audiobooks, e-books & comics  and more twenty-four hours a day. While there is a limit to how many items you can borrow per month with this service (six per user per month) as long as you are not binge watching a television series, this should not cause much frustration. Many people use this service to watch movies without having to wait their turn on a holds list. I tend to use it to watch the harder to find titles like Anime or Foreign Films that are less likely to be found in our physical collection.

The varied genres and search categories Hoopla offers can make it easy to find the documentary that was recommended but you somehow never got to see, or that weird children’s movie that your kids keep asking for but your old VHS or DVD is no longer working.  My husband, who is not a big reader, has caved to the influence of myself, a coworker, and some of his favorite shows, and started reading graphic novels. What we do not hand him, he reads via Hoopla. I have since used the service for the same thing.

Want to take a moment and browse the huge collections available via Hoopla? Well, no time like the present! Take a quick gander at all the Audiobooks, Movies, Music, Comics, Ebooks, and  Television Shows at your fingertips!

Want to know some of the curious and simply interesting things I have found via Hoopla just to get you started? How hoopla3about the non-fiction mythology guide Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes, or a book with instructions and patterns for Quick & Easy Crochet Cowls. Perhaps the very first episode of the original Lone Ranger television show or the Audiobook of The Scarlet Pimpernel is more your speed? Do you want to help you children learn french with the help of cartoon dinosaurs, or maybe try a new work out from Jillian Michaels? Personally, I am currently reading the hoopla2first graphic novel of Lucifer, while my husband is pursuing a variety of titles after having finished up all the published volumes of The Walking Dead.

The variety is huge! Frankly, I am sometimes overwhelmed by the the choices and have to pace myself so that I do not hit my limit of materials before the end of any given month- simply because there are so many choices and I am too excited to read or watch something right now to hold back from clicking that borrow button.

Need some technical help with Hoopla or still have some questions? Please comment below and I will answer any questions I can, and if I do not know the answer I will get the information for you. If you do not want to wait for me to get back to a computer to answer, you can also try our information page, the official hoopla support page, or give us a call at 203-272-2245 and choose the reference desk option.

Front Row Seating

“The play’s the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.”     – Hamlet, Act 2, scene 2

Back in the 80’s, when we still had a Shakespeare Theater down in Stratford, CT, there was a performance of Shakespeare’s Macbeth that was put on for all the high schools to come and see. Of all the plays, Macbeth seemed like it would be the most interesting, with witches and murder and blood, and big velvety Elizabethan costumes. I was excited – anything for a field trip and a day out of class. Until we got there. Some idiot had decided the best way for 1,500 rowdy high school kids to understand Shakespeare was to imagine it, with a play that had no scenery and no costumes – the entire set was draped in billowing soft blue nylon fabric, like the green-screens of modern movie-making, and the actors all wore tight-fitting outfits of the same blue, as if they’d just escaped from some monochromatic ballet. That was it. It was a total disaster. The audience was so bored and riled you couldn’t hear the dialogue for the catcalls. That is NOT the way to introduce children to Shakespeare.

The good thing is, you don’t have to be a Shakespeare scholar to enjoy a good play. Whether you’ve had to suffer through drudging high school productions of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town or been dazzled on Broadway by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan performing Waiting for Godot, a play is not a bad thing. Perhaps your only exposure to waiting-for-godot-ian-mckellen-patrick-stewarttheater has been dragging yourself through Oedipus or Antigone in school, not caring a flying duck about the role of the Chorus in Greek tragedy, just glad you scraped by and passed the test. The real tragedy of teaching plays as literature is that they are meant to be performed, not just read in a monotone like a stumbling seventh-grader who has no idea how to pronounce 15th century British comedies, let alone understand them. When performed, they come alive, like listening to a good movie on the television from the next room over. Even my five year old, with occasional explanations, could follow the movie version of Romeo and Juliet.

drama-collection_FRONT_349x349-300x300So if you’re a theater lover, or just a student struggling to understand Ibsen, Cheshire Library is ready to help! Our newest precious addition is a 25-volume audiobook collection of 250 plays and dramatic adaptions by L.A. Theaterworks. You won’t just hear the play, you’ll feel it, as you were meant to. The plays aren’t just read to you, but fully performed by an all-star cast of more than 1,000 actors you are probably familiar with – George Clooney, Calista Flockhart, Dan Castellaneta, Mark Ruffalo, Richard Dreyfus, Jean Stapleton, John de Lancie (who also wrote one of the Doyle adaptions), and so many, many more. Leonard Nimoy performing War of the Worlds with fellow Star Trek actors? Yeah, that’s in there too. Neil Simon, Chekhov, O’Neill, Miller, Shakespeare, Sophocles – they’re all here, ready to keep you entertained for a solid year of performances. Listen to one or listen to them all – you’ll be glad you did.

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8 Reasons to Love Audiobooks (Or Give Them a Try)

Ever notice how your list of books to read never seems to get any shorter? For every title I cross off my list, three more appear, and at this rate it’ll take me at least 20 years to completely finish (I know because I’ve calculated it). I lose precious reading time to obligations like commuting, feeding myself, and keeping my living space somewhat clean. But I recently started listening to audiobooks, and I was able to turn those obligations into perfect opportunities to whittle down my list. I can now go through a book in one day and still get the laundry done!

We have a bunch of books on CD here at the library, but I prefer downloading audiobooks with the OverDrive app on my smartphone. I hook up my phone to my car stereo and don’t have to fumble with CDs while I’m on the highway, and I can keep listening indoors without having to drag a pile of discs with me. Another upside to downloading: no fees! Digital items disappear automatically when the loan period expires so you’ll never get hit with late charges, plus you can’t scratch them up or lose them under a car seat.

Here are some more reasons to love audio:

1) Multitask like a boss. Start up an audiobook and chores will suddenly become much more enjoyable. You can spend an afternoon reorganizing your closets while also tackling titles on your to-read list, like Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair read by Colin Firth. You may even find yourself actually seeking out more chores so you can continue listening!

2) Cut your screen time. After a long workday in front of a computer screen, do you really want to veg out in front of another glowing blue screen? Light mysteries like the books in Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone series (A is for Alibi, B is for Body, etc.) offer nice background noise without disrupting your sleep.

3) A good narrator enhances your experience of the book. Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? is a funny book, but it’s even better when you hear her narration. An adept narrator enhances humor, drama, and other emotions in ways that you can’t replicate when your eyes are zooming across the page. Augusten Burroughs’ memoir Dry had me laughing hysterically one minute, then weeping the next.

4) Long drives seem shorter. It’s tough to stay alert when you’re driving alone, at night, on a really boring road (I’m thinking of you, New Jersey interstate). Picking up something long like The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak will keep your brain engaged and will make any long drive more endurable. Similarly, long workouts on the treadmill are less arduous when you have a plot to engage your mind.

5) Audiobooks are interactive. Have you been on the waitlist for the print copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo? You can download it right now through Hoopla and experience the magic by listening to the audio – while simultaneously tidying up! I’ve also found myself talking out loud to characters in suspenseful audiobooks like Tana French’s The Secret Place.

6) Long, difficult books can be less daunting in audio. Everyone has those “I’d like to read it, but I probably will never get around to it” books. I would never realistically have finished the 917-page behemoth of Roots, but it only took me a couple weeks to reach the end of disc 24.

7) You might actually retain more. There’s a theory that you retain more information when listening because your brain doesn’t have to work as hard at creating imagery. I used to think I would have a problem remembering what happened in audiobooks, but then I remembered all the times I’d looked up from reading a printed book and realized I didn’t remember any of the last six pages. It’s just bound to happen, I think (no pun intended).

8) You’ll realize you’ve been pronouncing a word wrong your entire life. Interminable. Prerogative. Indefatigable. Cache. Aluminum has five syllables?! Oh wait, nevermind, the narrator is British.

Now here’s how to get the audiobooks mentioned:

Do you currently listen to audio books? If not, do you think you’ll give them a try?