If you don’t use your local public library yet, here are 5 steps to start using it right now without even leaving your chair.
1. Apply Online for a Library Card
Both regional libraries in Cape Breton offer online card applications which are quick and easy to complete.
If you have previously had a library card before at any branch call the library first before filling out an application. They may be able to retrieve your card information and renew your membership over the phone.
If you live in Richmond or Inverness county you’ll be registering for Eastern Counties Regional Library here: http://ecrl.library.ns.ca/registration
If you live in Cape Breton or Victoria County you’ll be registering for Cape Breton Regional Library here: http://cbrl.ca/services/Register.htm
Your new library card will arrive through old fashioned snail mail in a couple of days.
2. Search the Catalogue.
While you wait for the card to arrive you can see what the library has to offer. Whatever your interests are the library is sure to have something for you!
Here’s a tip. Use the Power Search option to refine your search. You may, for example, want to limit your selection to children’s books available in Ingonish. Or DVDs on farming. Spend a few minutes experimenting with the Power Search feature and see what you can find.
3. Placing Holds
Has your library card arrived yet? Good. Now it’s time to place holds. What is a hold? “Hold” is library lingo for putting your name on a waiting list to get a book. You can use holds to request books that are currently checked out, or to request books from a distant branch and have them sent to your neighborhood branch. Even if a book is on the shelf at your branch put a hold on it. This saves you from having to find it on the shelf.
When you visit the library catalogue you will see a spot in the upper right hand corner of the page to log-in to your account. Use your library card number and PIN (usually the last four digits of your phone number) to log-in here. When you find an item you want click on Place Hold. You may need to first click on the Details button to bring you into a detailed view of the item before the Place Hold button appears.
Here’s another helpful link on how to place holds: http://cbrl.ca/services/cardhowto.asp
The library will phone you when your hold is available to pick at the branch you selected. While you wait for the phone call, you can…
4. Search for Digital Downloads
The library has access to thousands of ebooks and audiobooks for you to download and enjoy right on your computer or on the go with your mobile device.
Ebooks can be enjoyed on popular E-Readers such as Kobo and Sony eReader, on tablets such as iPads and Playbook, or on your Mac or PC.
Audiobooks are great for listening to on your mp3 player, smart phone, or burning to a CD.
http://digitalmedia.ns.library.ca will take you to the catalogue for these downloads.
You can search for a specific book or author, or you can browse through books based on genre and subject.
Tip: Right underneath the search box there’s a checkbox for “only show titles with available copies”. Check this to find titles you can download instantly. Similar to physical books you will have to place holds on titles which are already check-out by other patrons.
If you find a few books you want to borrow you can select add to digital bookbag, log-in to your account and check out the books. Before you download them, though, you will have to…
5.Download Software for viewing/listening to audiobooks and ebooks
You do not have to leave your chair for this activity but you may need your reading glasses. Depending on your computer knowledge it may take a few minutes and some reading of help pages to figure out how to download the software and use it to transfer books to your reading/listening device.
CBRL has developed some nice help pages to get you started http://www.cbrl.ca/Overdrive/OverdriveResources.asp
OK! By now you should have a whole list of books, DVDs, audiobook, and ebooks to check-out. I hope you found some great stuff!
Remember to call or e-mail your library with any questions you may have. Library staff are usually quite friendly and helpful.
About Erin the Librarian: Erin Phillips has been interviewed on Dream Big Cape Breton, along with her partner Brian Dean, a luthier. She is a Whitney Pier resident and currently on maternity leave from her position as Victoria County Libraries Supervisor for the Cape Breton Regional Library. (Note: her views and opinions as expressed in the blog do not represent the views of CBRL.) You can read the first two “Erin the Librarian” columns here.