You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Mobile tools’ category.

News from the Vermont Department of Libraries and e-Vermont Community Broadband:

FREE 30 min Webinar:
Your Library Presents: Information 24/7

Find out how your library offers resources for job seeking & career exploration, lifelong learning, genealogy, and small business development. All available to you 24/7 from any computer with Internet access!

This webinar is easy to participate in wherever high speed Internet access is available.
Please log in 5 min. before the session begins and turn on your computer’s sound/speakers.

Tuesday November 8th, 12:00 – 12:30 pm or
Thursday November 10th , 6:00 – 6:30 pm or
Tuesday, November 15th, 12:00 – 12:30 pm

No registration required. Go to the webinar link at

…and Hermit Thrushes, and Downy Woodpeckers, and Hooded Mergansers…

Vermont eBird is the hub for all bird-related data, a place for birders to record their observations for use by scientists and the birding community.   eBird is a “vast and powerful database co-sponsored by Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon,” and the Vermont section is sponsored by an ecological hall of fame team that includes the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, North Branch Nature Center, Birds of Vermont Museum, Vermont Audubon, and VINS.  Don’t miss the Resources list, which includes links to the BirdsEye phone app and eBird Rare Bird Google Gadget.  Who knew? 

Enjoy the music!


During National Library Week (April 10-16), Reference Librarian Jeanne Walsh & friends will pack up the laptop and venture into café society to show off the Library’s online resources.  So mark your calendar for a coffee (or tea or cider) break at one of these wonderful Brattleboro cafes:

The Works Bakery Cafe, 118 Main St., Wednesday, April 13th, 10:00-11:30


The Blue Moose, 29 High St., Thursday, April 14th, 10:00-11:30 (with special guest: Christine Friese, Vermont’s Assistant State Librarian!)

Mocha Joe’s, 82 Main St., Friday, April 15th, 10:00-11:30

(Mocha Joe’s painting by Linda Marcille)





Reference books can be heavy in every sense of the word.   The best are written by subject experts and are the culmination of years of research and painstaking editorial revision.  They are beautifully designed and have detailed indexes.  They also weigh a lot, and are not are easily transported, even if we let you borrow them, which we usually don’t.

Online reference sources are more portable, of course, and they’re becoming more so all the time.  But not every app carries the authoritative weight of a library reference book—not to mention Google and its gazillion slightly-relevant websites.  What’s a mobile scholar to do?

This is where the Library comes in, filling its traditional role of providing access to recorded knowledge.  “Access,” in this sense, is more than just a password for a restricted website: Libraries gather and organize material to make it easy for researchers to find what they need, no matter what the subject. 

With that in mind, Brooks Memorial recently acquired a core collection of e-reference books in the areas of science, history, religion, law, economics, popular culture, and more.  They can be searched all at once, which is a nice step forward in reference service, and they are accessible either through the Library’s website (Resources > Reference > Gale Virtual Reference Library) or through the Gale app, a free download for the iPhone and the Droid.  The app is nifty because the covers are displayed on virtual shelves, giving a visual idea of the diversity of this collection.

Some of the gems on this virtual shelf:

  • International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (William A. Darity, editor in chief, Macmillan, 2008)
  • Encyclopedia of Religion, winner of the Dartmouth Medal in its original edition and revised in 2005, (Lindsay Jones, editor in chief, Macmillan)
  • Grzimek’s Animal Encyclopedia, scholarly and detailed but accessible to young students, with terrific illustrations (Gale, 20003)
  • The Gale Encyclopedia of Law, which is just hitting the print and virtual shelves in January of 2011

And there are more, so download the app or bookmark the site on your web browser for easy access to these weightless, weighty reference sources.


Janet told me that there was once a snake on the Library mezzanine; she found it while shelving.  I like snakes, but I’m glad we haven’t seen one on the mezzanine in a good long time.  Yesterday, though, a gray squirrel was hanging out in theology (211) and was heading toward the existential philosophers, especially Jean-Paul Sartre (194).   Our cataloger thought she might need some guidance.  In hopes of guiding her right out the door, we got help from a veterinarian patron who grabbed a library shopping basket and headed for the stacks.  Moments later, a gray blur was streaking across the floor downstairs and patrons were on their feet.  Happily, with a library full of readers to cheer her on, the squirrel found her way into the office, sprinted through the doughnut box, and exited out the window.

The Gale Encyclopedia of Science, accessible online through the Library’s website, tells us that “There are about 55 species of tree squirrels in the genus Sciurus that occur in Asia, Europe, North America, and South America.”  Our squirrel did not “utter a loud barking chatter when alarmed,” but we did note the “long, bushy tail, used as a rudder when…airborne while leaping from branch to branch” (or shelf to shelf).  We hope that, after her anxiety-provoking adventure, she did use her tail as “a comfy wrap-around when… sleeping.”

For more information about the gray squirrel and her cousins the chipmunks, marmots, and prairie dogs, click on the Resources button at the Library’s website and choose Reference > Gale Virtual Reference Library.  If you’re searching from home, the system will prompt you for your library card number.  Or download the Gale public library app for your iPhone.  It works whenever you’re in range of a public library with Gale online reference products.

Bored with the flying sheep game and the app that reminds you to drink water?  Try these, readers:

Worldcat Mobile to search for books, DVDs, etc. in libraries all over the U.S. and beyond.  For more about Worldcat, check my post from 2008.

Library of Congress Virtual Tour for an awe-inspiring look at some of our national treasures.


About this blog



Brooks Memorial Library Reference Department:

Jeanne Walsh, Therese Marcy, Sharon Reidt, Jess Weitz, and sometimes Jerry