Learning how to use, or better use, computers can make life a whole lot easier and better. Watch the video below to see how libraries are making a difference in their communities with free computer instruction.

At the Essex Library, you can reserve time for a FREE one-on-one, how-to lesson on basic computer skills, creating an e-mail account, searching and placing holds on the LION catalog, downloading books using our OverDrive service, searching and placing holds on reQuest-the state catalog and conducting research on iCONN-the online databases provided by the state. To Book-A-Librarian please call the Library (860-767-1560).

This fall we’ll be offering programs in the Library for job seekers that include building interview skills, resume help and more. Until then, make use of our online JobNow service: Live, anytime, anywhere job assistance, including up-to-date nation-wide and local job search engines, professional resume critique and proven interview techniques. Experience personalized career center seamlessly integrated with advanced virtual technology to help job seekers of diverse backgrounds and needs.

Frustrated by not being able to download new releases in eBooks from your Library? Sign the petition here.

Richard Conroy, Director of the Essex Library and President of the LION consortium (25 academic, public and school libraries located in southern and ventral Connecticut), has sent a letter to Random House notifying the publisher that the 25-library consortium will boycott purchasing Random House eBooks due to their price hike on March 1. The price hike doubled or nearly tripled the price Random House is charging libraries for their eBooks.

According to Conroy, Random House’s pricing of an eBook that would have cost the LION consortium $35 to lease through their OverDrive service on February 29, now costs them $105. “A private individual can purchase the ebook edition of that same book through Amazon for $17.99, which LION consortium members felt made Random House’s decision to raise prices for libraries both discriminatory and totally arbitrary,” Conroy said in a statement emailed to Library Journal.

“The LION consortium feels strongly that it is important for libraries to take a stand against this unfair practice and its disproportionate impact on library users,” says Richard Conroy. The South Shore Public Libraries in Nova Scotia are also boycotting Random House.

HBO’s Game Of Thrones season 1 videos are a big hit at the Essex Library.  The books by George R R Martin are going like hotcakes too. We think one of the reasons for the popularity–beyond all the broad sword battles and porn, is the screenplay by David Benioff. Benioff, as you may recall, is the screenplay writer for other hits such as Brothers, The Kite Runner, Troy and 25th Hour (from his first novel, The 25th Hour) directed by Spike Lee. More importantly, we think, he is also the author of one of our favorite books: City Of Thieves.

City Of Thieves was published to wide acclaim in May, 2008. World War II’s siege of Leningrad provides the background for the story as two Russians, one a young soldier, the other a civilian teen, thrown together by chance, must find a dozen eggs in order to avoid being executed by a Russian colonel. The desperate search takes them out of the dangers of Leningrad and into the surrounding countryside where the two must learn to survive and the villagers aren’t much friendlier than the Germans– who will shoot them on sight. City Of Thieves is a terrific page-turner full of suspense, memorable characters, dark humor and a revelation at the end that will keep you humble for years to come. The audio version, read by Ron Perlman, is highly recommended.

So why hasn’t City Of Thieves been made into a movie yet?

Sebastian Barry’s wonderful novel, The Secret Scripture, (nominated for the 2008 Man Booker Prize) was released with an audio version gorgeously narrated by Wanda McCaddon. We heartily recommend it as it’s one of the best audiobooks we’ve heard. The audio version is available on our Overdrive downloadable service as well as on CD in the Library.
Plot summary: Roseanne McNulty, once one of the most beautiful and beguiling girls in County Sligo, Ireland, is now an elderly patient at Roscommon Regional Mental Hospital. As her hundredth year draws near, she decides to record the events of her life, hiding the manuscript beneath the floorboards. Meanwhile, the hospital is preparing to close and is evaluating its patients to determine whether they can return to society. Dr. Grene, Roseanne’s caretaker, takes a special interest in her case. In his research, he discovers a document written by a local priest that tells a very different story of Roseanne’s life than what she recalls. As doctor and patient attempt to understand each other, they begin to uncover long-buried secrets about themselves.

Barry has written additional novels following the McNulty family members and has a recently published novel, On Canaan’s Side that has also enjoyed rave reviews and garnered a nomination for the 2011 Man Booker Prize.

Essex Library patrons–as part of the LION Library system’s Overdrive service, may now download eBooks to their Kindles. The announcement last spring that Kindle compatibility would take place sometime in 2011, followed by the hint this summer that this would happen in September, has proved to be true.

We have put together a few screenshots to walk you through the process. As always, if you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at the Library.

Overdrive has kept the download process simple: browse the catalog for a book*,

click “Add to Cart” for your selection

then click “Proceed to Checkout”.

After clicking “Confirm Check Out”,

select “Get for Kindle”.

This will redirect you to the Amazon website where you will see the “Get Library Book” button along with a window to select which Kindle device or app you will use for the download.

Next, after dutifully browsing Amazon’s commercial offerings, click “Download Now”.

You can download the book directly using a WI-FI signal depending on your device/app or connect your Kindle to your computer using a USB cable. If using the latter, when prompted, use the “Save As” option and click OK.

Open your Kindle file on your computer and drag and drop the book into the Documents folder. It will appear on your Kindle immediately.

*It should be noted that the Overdrive service is very popular and many, if not most, of the popular titles will be checked out at any given time. Simply put the book on hold by clicking Request/Hold and you’ll be notified by email when it’s available.