September 29, 2009

Another First for Twitter

Social network site and Internet darling Twitter achieved another milestone "first" when it broadcast the launch of the new Troy Public Library website -- -- just after midnight on September 29.

The tweet hear 'round the world, penned by Technology librarian John Robertson, is below:

Visit and let us know what you think.

To read more about our new site's features, take a Sneak Peek at the Library's New Website.

On Twitter? Follow John @jrr1234, or The Tech Desk @tpltechnology.

September 28, 2009

How to Use

Our new website goes live tomorrow, September 29. Check out some of the new features on our site tutorial video.

September 25, 2009

Save the Library! Now on Facebook

In case you missed the news from earlier this week, the City of Troy is facing a projected $22.6 million budget deficit over the next six years.

As a result, the Troy City Council is considering several options, among them to close the Troy Public Library.

In response, Zach Kilgore, a Troy High School student, started a Save the Library! Facebook group. There are already over 300 members. [Update: As of 10 am, September 28, there are over 1,090 members!]

If you are a Facebook user, take a look. The site contains great information about an upcoming City Council meeting, where this issue will be discussed.

Thanks for getting the word out, Zach!

September 20, 2009

FCC to Propose Internet Neutrality Rules

On September 21, Julius Genachowski, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, plans to propose Internet neutrality rules. The goal of these rules is to prevent Internet Service Providers from blocking or interfering with the transmission of free content that may compete with any of their paid services.

Proponents of the net neutrality rules argue that this will ensure consumers have uninhibited access to free legal content on the Internet. Service providers contend that the net neutrality rules would negatively impact their quality of service because some applications require a large amount of bandwidth, and this could slow down Internet access to its other users.

September 19, 2009

Find Locally-Grown Produce in Your Neighborhood on Veggie Trader

Gardeners, do you wish you could turn your excess tomatoes into apples, or maybe even a little cash? Or, if you are a non-gardener, are you looking for fresh, locally-grown food right in your neighborhood?

You might take a look at Veggie Trader. The site was started by neighborhood gardeners from Portland, Oregon, and New York, who believe eating locally is less expensive, more sustainable, and a better way to live. Veggie Trader is about community, finding local food, strengthening local economies, and getting to know your neighbors.

Veggie Trader is free, easy, and works like a classified advertisement. You post a listing describing the excess produce you have and what you'd like in return, and then you wait for a response. Or, if you're looking for local produce, just enter your zip code and see what your neighbors have available. You can also post specific produce for which you are looking in the Wanted section and see which of your neighbors answers your request.

Currently, Veggie Trader has over 7,000 members. Though biggest on the East and West Coasts, there were a few traders Michigan. But the creators hope that, in time, the site will grow and prove to be an important source for locally-grown produce and sustainable economics.

Make a Healthy Choice about Household Products Using

Concerned about whether your everyday household goods contain toxic chemicals? You can now visit to find out. contains test results on 900 common items, from toys to school supplies to women’s handbags. The testing – done by the nonprofit, Ann Arbor-based, environmental organization, the Ecology Center – analyzed products for lead, cadmium, mercury, bromine, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and arsenic. These chemicals, which build up over time in the body, have been linked to liver toxicity, thyroid disorders, learning disabilities, cancer, developmental disabilities, reproductive disorders, and other health issues.

Among the findings was the presence of “chemicals of concern” in most of the more than 60 common back-to-school supplies (e.g., backpacks, lunch boxes, pencil cases, binders) tested. Nearly 90% contained one or more toxins, 22% contained detectable levels of lead, and “far too many” were made of polyvinyl chloride.

Among pet products – including chew toys, beds, leashes, and collars – which are not regulated by the government, 25% had detectable levels of lead. Of these, 7% had levels greater than 300 parts per million (ppm), the current standard for lead in children’s products set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

A surprising finding was the amount of lead in women’s handbags. Of the 100 handbags tested, 64% contained more than 300 ppm lead, and 50% topped 1,000 ppm lead.

The Ecology Center hopes that consumers use the information on this site to make healthy choices and purchases. The site so invites consumers to take action and urge government officials and manufacturers to phase out lead, arsenic, and other hazardous substances from consumer products.

September 17, 2009

2009 National Book Festival

Bibliophiles take note! The 2009 National Book Festival will be held on Saturday, September 26, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The festival is free and open to the public.

Best selling authors James Patterson, Judy Blume, John Grisham, John Irving, Jodi Picoult, Nicholas Sparks, Kate DiCamillo, and Shannon Hale will be among the writers and illustrators scheduled to attend the festival.

For more information about this year’s National Book Festival, visit

Blu-ray Comes to Troy Public Library

You asked for it. We listened:

The Troy Public Library is happy to announce that we now offer Blu-ray format movies available for check out.

Like our DVD offerings, the latest Blu-ray titles marked "Feature" will cost $2 for a week. Older titles are free for the same period of time. Some current titles available include
Batman Begins, Slumdog Millionaire, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Looking for reviews of Blu-rays? Look here.

Stop by the Library and take a look at the collection. And don't forget to put in a request if you don't see it on the shelves.

September 16, 2009

Danny Glover to Star in Movie about Struggle to Save Library

Actor Danny Glover will star in a movie, titled Highland Park, that could help revive the shuttered McGregor Library in that city. The story line will mirror the ongoing struggle to reopen the Library, which closed in March 2002 because the city could not afford to keep it open. Highland Park Mayor Hubert Yopp told the Detroit Free Press the library will undergo significant restoration and the movie will be a "steppingstone" to its reopening.

[via PositiveDetroit]

September 15, 2009

OverDrive Media Console Now Available for Windows Mobile

Do you like OverDrive audiobooks, available from the Troy Public Library, but wish that you could download them directly to your mobile device? Now you can, if you own a device using Windows Mobile.

OverDrive has released a version of its Media Console for Windows Mobile devices. Using this version of the Console, a user can download OverDrive audiobooks and video wirelessly directly to her or his device. In addition, according to the company press release, this application "sets the stage for future support on additional platforms including iPhone(TM) and BlackBerry®
." You can download the OverDrive Media Console for Windows Mobile here. Go here to view OverDrive items available from the Troy Library.

If you have a Windows Mobile device, give it a try and let us know what you think!

September 13, 2009

Michigan Makes It Easier to Search for State Jobs

Looking for a job in Michigan State government?

On September 14, the State will implement a new online employment application and selection system hosted by NEOGOV. Michigan government will become one of the more than 400 public sector clients, including several states, which are using NEOGOV for recruitment and hiring.

As the State implements NEOGOV, the existing job vacancy posting site will no longer be available. Applicants will find a link to the new site in the same location as the current posting site, on the Michigan Civil Service Commission website. Included on the site will be applicant resource materials including a First Time User Guide, Returning User Guide, and NEOGOV Applicant FAQs.

Among the many benefits of the new system, it allows applicants to save and store multiple applications and keep transcripts and other relevant documentation in one place. This eliminates the need for applicants to repeatedly upload and attach the same materials for each vacancy. Additionally, applicants will receive automated responses regarding their applications, reducing the need to contact the agencies to confirm receipt.

New Search Engine Geared toward Muslim Web Users

A new search engine called aims to "create a safe and clean environment for Muslims who search the Web" by filtering out content that is haraam or forbidden by faith. The site will warn people if they enter a search query which might result in explicit content. There is a three layer filter. Words like porn and rape are given a rating of three and are blocked completely. Terms such as beer and pork are given a rating of one so that the user can continue their search if they feel that the results will be appropriate.

Mainstream search engines have come in for criticism in many parts of the world for displaying content that is offensive to local culture, or even against local laws. This site, launched earlier in September, has received over 400,000 unique visitors so far, according the the creators.

Read the complete story from ABC News

September 8, 2009

Be Prepared for Your Job Interview

One of the hardest parts of job searching is the interview. You have only a few minutes to make a great impression, show you can handle the job, be knowledgeable about your prospective employer, and have a personable and pleasant attitude. For even the seasoned veteran, the job interview often causes sweaty palms, nervousness, and anxiety.

Here, from, are 20 Excellent Tips to Help You Crack That Dreaded Job Interview. Though this is geared toward new graduates with little experience, the tips -- among them, do research to get to know the employer, practice your answers, and be prepared to ask questions -- are good things to keep in mind no matter if this is your first or five-hundredth interview.

Search Colleges and Universities with

Know a high school student who is deciding where to attend college?

You might want to point him or her to This site has a section called College MatchMaker, which allows the student to search nearly 4,000 colleges and universities, based on various criteria, such as location, major, size, cost, sports programs, and several other categories.

Once the student has created a list a prospective schools matching the search criteria, he or she can see if he or she is on-track to be admitted to the school (based on high school classes), and how the student stacks up against other students at the school (based on standardized test scores, grades, and standing in high school.)

Just go to, and click on Find Your Match to get started.

September 4, 2009

Fun Friday: The Librarian Song

[Thanks to David Conklin, Shelby Township Library]

The Future, They Believe, is Digital

"There are rolling hills and ivy-covered brick buildings. There are small classrooms, high-tech labs, and well-manicured fields. There’s even a clock tower with a massive bell that rings for special events.

Cushing Academy has all the hallmarks of a New England prep school, with one exception.

This year, after having amassed a collection of more than 20,000 books, officials at the pristine campus about 90 minutes west of Boston have decided the 144-year-old school no longer needs a traditional library. The academy’s administrators have decided to discard all their books and have given away half of what stocked their sprawling stacks -- the classics, novels, poetry, biographies, tomes on every subject from the humanities to the sciences. The future, they believe, is digital."

Read the entire article Welcome to the library. Say goodbye to the books.


Libraries, With or Without Books

Libraries are no longer just quiet places to read and borrow books. In a world where information is more online and digitized, librarians are changing to meet the needs of their patrons. They are called on to give technical support as well as deal with reference questions and assist patrons with online catalogs and social networking.

Physical books and electronic books are here to stay, but the role of the library will continue to change and develop. Read more about it at

"Think of the changes as a Library 2.0 revolution--a mirror of what's happened on the Web."

September 1, 2009

Key Milestones in the Development of the Internet

Many of us may think that the concept of the Internet is relatively new, but actually its beginnings go as far back as 1969. Check out some fun and interesting facts about the origins and growth of the Internet in Key Milestones in the Development of the Internet. Some facts you may have already known, but some may surprise you.