Brooklyn Public Library


Learning Express Library: Filling a Need

Jun 15, 2011 1:56 PM | 0 comments

This post comes from Eric, a librarian here at Brooklyn Public Library.

One of the more difficult aspects of being a public librarian at a time when libraries are facing constant budget cuts is that we often can't order enough copies of books or provide enough classes to keep up with demand. At the Education & Job Information Center, we field dozens of requests per day for review books for the GED exam, tutoring in math and writing skills, and classes that can help build computer skills. I hate to say no to anyone, and having to say "No, we don’t have any GED books available for checkout" or "Sorry, we don’t offer classes in Microsoft Excel" to someone who is ready and willing to learn is a rotten feeling. Thankfully, Brooklyn Public Library subscribes to a terrific database called Learning Express Library:

Learning Express Library is accessible to any BPL cardholder from any computer with Internet access. It has practice tests, online courses and downloadable eBooks available 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Learning Express offers a wealth of review material for standardized tests and entrance exams, civil service exams and basic skill building (reading, writing, math and more) for adults and children. It also has an entire page of popular software tutorials, and not just for the "biggies" such as Microsoft Word and Excel, either. You can also learn more specialized programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator and Visio, among numerous others.

We’ve been demonstrating Learning Express Library more and more over the past months, and many patrons have obtained tremendous help from this easy-to-use and completely free resource. We encourage you to check it out, too.

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Digital Public Library of America Wants Your Help!

Jun 7, 2011 11:40 AM | 0 comments

This post was written by Michael, Electronic Resources Analyst at Brooklyn Public Library.

Whether it is the overtaking of the sales of hardcovers and paperbacks by
eBooks at Amazon, or the announcement by Harper Collins concerning a new model of selling eBooks to libraries, some exciting, overwhelming, or disheartening news item is recently always popping up about eBooks. Well, the latest big eBook news item is both wonderful and daunting and it concerns the development of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). We are bringing this to your attention as the people behind the DPLA are seeking your input on what a virtual nationwide library of free online resources should look like. Don’t miss this opportunity to be heard!

The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, with backing from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, has commenced a research initiative into the design, feasibility and logistical requirements necessary for the creation of the Digital Public Library of America. The initiative was launched in December and consists of a steering committee of representatives of libraries, archives and museums. 

The steering committee is seeking to bring together “the educational community, public and research libraries, cultural organizations, state and local government, publishers, authors, and private industry” to identify ways to better improve the public’s access to “comprehensive online resources.” They have scheduled some activities to draw attention to the project and to get as wide a cross section of people involved.

One of the first activities of the steering committee is a Beta Sprint, in which anyone can submit statements of interest with regards to the "ideas, models, prototypes, technical tools, user interfaces, etc. – put forth as a written statement, a visual display, code, or a combination of forms – that demonstrate how the DPLA might index and provide access to a wide range of broadly distributed content." 

Basically, they are asking how you think it should look and work. These statements are due to the steering committee by June 15. Final submissions of videos, pure code, prototypes, slide presentations, web site, etc. are due by September 1. Check out the press release for the Beta Sprint for more information.

So let your voice be heard on this important issue and add to the vision of a digital library for all the people.

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