April EREC training session

Mark your calendars for the next EREC training sessions to be held at the Cooper-Siegel Community Library in Fox Chapel on Wednesday, April 25. The focus will be on job and career training databases and resources. A representative from Pa CareerLinks will speak as will Wes Roberts from Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Job and Career Education Center.

The first session will be held from 10:00 to 12:00 and the same session will be presented from 1:00-3:00.

The registration link and more information will be posted on einlibs in the next few days.

Debi Ryder


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OverDrive offers LEAP program for library users with print disabilities

Great news for libraries helping users who have disabilities: OverDrive is taking action to alleviate the problems that library users with disabilities encounter when using eBooks.  To get an idea of the problems these patrons face,  you may want to read this article, “Mainstream Access to E-Books–What Works, What Doesn’t, and What is Still Unclear”  from The Braille Monitor.

OverDrive’s LEAP (Library eBook Accessibility Program) connects library users with print disabilities to content in accessible digital formats.  OverDrive is working in partnership with Bookshare (www.bookshare.org), a non-profit agency that provides eBook access for these users.  Those who qualify for LEAP can download up to 20 eBooks every month for a year at no cost.  Bookshare hosts popular digital books, textbooks, magazines and newspapers. 

Bookshare eBooks are in accessible formats which include DAISY, BRF, and HTML,  and can be used with free downloadable software like Read: OutLoud and Victor Reader.  The eBooks can be read using computers, assistive reading devices, Braille printers and MP3 players.

Using software such as Read:OutLoud (above), patrons with print disabilities can access eBooks from OverDrive's collection of more than 125,000 titles

Library users can register for LEAP on the OverDrive page by clicking on the “Accessible eBooks for the print-impaired” link on the left side of the page. They then enter their library card number and they will see information about Bookshare.  As part of the process of qualifying for LEAP, they will be asked to provide proof of their disability which must be certified by a qualified professional.  For details about qualifying disabilities, click here.

Here’s a link to a brochure you can print for library users:   http://overdrive.com/Files/LEAP.pdf

These resources for the print-disabled can attract new library users and help libraries that don’t have large budgets to serve these users. If you have any experience with LEAP, Bookshare or any other eBook resource for people with print disabilities, please feel free to share your experience with other Virtual Lexicon readers.

Cooper-Siegel Community Library

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Help Is Always Good

I probably shouldn’t admit this, but when it comes to just about anything computer-related I can use all the assistance, explication and insight I can find. So you can imagine how happy I was (and how happy your customers will be) to see that the folks at OverDrive have significantly improved their help pages.

Just to be clear, I’m not talking about the equally useful help page we’ve created that you can get to by clicking on Need Help??  (Though it is great to know that there’s all kinds of help available, up to and including a friendly voice on the phone.)

To get to the updated OverDrive Help you’ll need to go to click on Digital Media Help which appears in two places on the OverDrive page, under “Getting Started” on the left and as one of the tabs in the upper right quadrant of the screen.

The six buttons on the help page offer a variety of avenues to users looking for assistance in downloading e-resources. Breaking the information into these six categories makes it much easier to focus in on a specific problem.  And the pages that open up are easier to search which means that finding help is easier too.

The first option, OverDrive Help  provides a wide overview from relevant topics to particular devices to most popular articles.   The second link, MyHelp, takes users to the customized information about how to read, listen to or watch each specific format.

From button number three, Device Resource Center users are taken to an almost dizzying array of the devices on which e-resources can be accessed.  The option of narrowing one’s quest for information by both device and format makes it much easier to sort through all the information and arrive at a better understanding of how things work.

Digital Books Tour the next option on the list, is perfect for aural and visual learners.  Brief video tutorials review basics like how to install the necessary software as well as explanations of how to search for titles and place holds.

Next comes Library Lending Policies which links back to our guidelines on how many items can be borrowed at one time, how to cancel holds in our system, and what to do if you get a new library card.

And last but not least comes Support which offers the opportunity to pose specific questions to our staff via email.

So even if you don’t need help yourself, take a tour of the new and improved help offered by OverDrive.  Your patrons are going to love it—which means you’re going to love it too.

Lisa, Coordinator of Children’s Collection (CLP)

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Opposing Viewpoints in Context

Last year an 8th grader came to me asking for Opposing Viewpoints book to use for her teen pregnancy project.  My response of “We no longer have that series of books” was quickly followed by the students saying, “My teacher said I have to use an Opposing Viewpoints book!”

At which point, I probably gave a too-detailed explanation of Gale’s Opposing Viewpoints database.  But, there is so much to say about it!

For Students:

For Teachers:
  • A rotating banner of current events related to possible research topics!

-Kelly R, Sewickley Public Library of the Quaker Valley School District

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