Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Thing 59: Authors On the Web

One final day of the month, one final post. Don't worry, it's a quick one.

I highly recommend - It's one of the first book sites I found and I refer to it daily. It has something for everyone. I recommend this site for people looking for the next book by their favorite author or someone looking for new authors. It has a “Coming Attractions” feature that lists the new and upcoming books by month, and dates of paperback publication. You can also link to the AuthorYellowPages to get the web address of almost any author you can think of. and AuthorYellowPages are put together by, which also created, an online community for reading groups, and, a great place to get to know more about your favorite authors, as well as several other reading-related sites.

Discovery Exercise:
  1. Visit and some of the other TheBookReportNetwork sites.
  2. Blog about your visit. (Told you it would be quick this time!)
- Jamie, posting for Sandra Nicholls

Monday, April 21, 2008

Thing 58: Being Green

Earth Day is Tuesday, April 22 – tomorrow, if you’re reading this the day I wrote it. Maybe all libraries should adopt the motto “Save a tree – Borrow a book.”

One site of interest in Going Green Matters, a blog full of eco-friendly news, events and tips. They have everything from Ecosmart Reflection Laptop cases to information on how to reduce your pet’s carbon footprint! Going Green Matters doesn't scream or preach, and it's not a lot of scientific news that can be a struggle to read. Instead, it's nice, friendly, and enjoyable.

I’m always looking for program ideas – maybe I'll have a “green camp” this summer to share ideas! You can sign up to receive the latest green tips from Going Green Matters via email or RSS, so you’ll get some of those ideas delivered directly to you. Just remember, don't print them!

Other earth-friendly sites
Time Magazine lists 15 top environmental websites here.

Discovery Exercise:
  1. Look around Going Green Matters and/or some of the other sites.
  2. Blog about your favorite “green” idea, and share some of your favorite green tips.
  3. If you know of another great ecology-minded resource, share it with us!
— Jamie, posting for Sandy

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Thing 57: Tastespotting — Yum!

Tastespotting is a delicious and yummy site full of links to food blogs. What sets it apart from other bookmarking sites? If you go to Delicious or Digg or even Google search results, what do you see? Words, lots of lots of words.

Not at Tastespotting. At Tastespotting, you get lots and lots of hyper-linked pictures. Absolutely gorgeous pictures of inspiring, crave-worthy food and kitchen items. They’re added to Tastespotting by members who come across their lusciousness while cruising the Internet or reading RSS feeds. Click the image itself to link to the original blog post, or the small number at the bottom of the image box for a permalink to the Tastespotting post. Most point to recipes, although some are cookware or other inspiring goodies.

Food blogs are an interesting aspect of Web 2.0. They come from a whole spectrum of writers, from personal cooks to food companies. I would love to have a family recipe blog. Growing up, I enjoyed many of my grandma and great-grandma’s dishes, but several recipes were lost along the way – alas! I wish I’d written those recipes down for safekeeping, and a blog would have been a good way to do it.

I have tried several brownie recipes from Tastespotting, and they were great. If we had kitchen facilities at my branch I would certainly have a cooking adventure with my little ones who attend my programs. I have one word of caution – do not visit this site if you are really, really hungry.

P.S.: Tastespotting has a great widget to add to your own blog site so they are just a click away.

Discovery Exercise:

  1. Visit
  2. Find interesting posts, either using the search function or by browsing photos.
  3. Mark a few as favorites, using the star in the bottom right corner of the photo box.
  4. Optional: Add a favorite recipe. (First, find an online recipe with a great photograph, then think about some great, short advertising copy to go with it. Then click the fork beneath the Tastespotting logo. You will have to register, but registration is quick and easy.) Tastespotting is a curated site, so the Powers That Be must approve your post, and it may be up to 24 hours before you see it on the site. Not every post makes it to the front page! The most great posts you submit, the faster your subsequent posts will be approved and the more prominently they will be featured.
  5. Blog about your experience at Tastespotting.
— Jamie, posting for Sandra

Monday, April 7, 2008

Thing 56: Smile in a box?

Smilebox is an easy-to-use application that lets you use photos and videos to keep in touch and share your memories. Best of all, it's free! (You can upgrade for a small charge, which allows you to view your Smilebox without ads and print your creations.)

As I work with lots and lots of children, I have shared Smilebox with many parents. A lot of my parents have relocated to Charlotte and use Smilebox to keep in touch with family and friends.

It is very easy to use and I’ve had great positive feedback. I can think of several library uses, especially in promoting our upcoming summer reading program.

From the Smilebox website:

What is Smilebox?

Smilebox is a fun and engaging service that connects you with family and friends using your photos and videos. It's free, easy to use, and the results are amazing.

What can I make with Smilebox?

With Smilebox, you can create animated scrapbooks, photobooks, slideshows, postcards, and ecards for any occasion, and email them to anyone.

And a Smilebox screenshot:

Jamie's note: Here a Smilebox photobook I created.

Discovery Exercise

  1. Check out
  2. Need ideas? Read one or more of Smilebox's newsletters or the Smilebox blog for a better idea of what's possible.
  3. Blog about this site.
  1. Download and install the Smilebox application.
  2. Create a Smilebox project and email it to yourself using the program.
  3. Share the URL for your masterpiece in a blog entry. (You'll find it at the bottom of the email you receive.)

-- Jamie, posting for Sandra

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Introducing April's discovery guide

Our discovery guide for April will be the wonderful Sandra Nicholls, who describes herself as the "childrens, teen and just-about-everything person" at PLCMC's Carmel Branch. Sandy has been following Learning 2.1 right from the start, and has been an active participant on our Ning network. (She sends me great sites to investigate all the time, so I know we're in for some terrific discoveries!)