poreformAmy Mielke (Ennead Architects) and Caitlin Taylor (Centerbrook Architects), winners of the 2014 Holcim Award North American Gold Medal will present their invention of a water absorptive surface and subterranean basin, called Poreform. Their system is capable of rapid saturation and slow release, and reframes water as a valuable resource rather than a liability.

The Holcim Awards is an international competition that recognizes innovative projects and future-oriented concepts on regional and global levels. A total of $2 million in prize money is awarded in each three-year cycle. The Gold Medal winners receive $100,000.

The competition seeks projects that demonstrate an ability to stretch conventional notions about sustainable building and also balance environmental, social and economic performance – while also exemplifying architectural excellence and a high degree of transferability. Their project was featured in­­­ January’s issue of Metropolis Magazine as a ‘game changer’ in sustainable design and engineering.

Friday, January 16th at 7 p.m. at the Essex Library  33 West Ave. Essex, CT 06426

monkey1-150x150Thursday, May 1st, 7 p.m. at Essex Town Hall
What domains of knowledge are unique to the human mind? Given that human infants and non-human primates both lack language, what similarities and differences do we see in the expression of non-linguistic domains of knowledge? (Hint; we’re more alike than you might think!). Dr Lori Santos, research from Yale’s Comparative Cognition Laboratory will talk about her research into human/primate decision-making using capuchin monkeys.


Essex Library Association Director– and this year’s Connecticut Library Association President, Richard Conroy, (far right) attended Governor Malloy’s ceremonial signing of Bill HB 5614: An Act Concerning Ebooks…yesterday. The bill authorizes a study of the availability of electronic books to Connecticut public library users. It’s a step in the process of helping ebook publishers set fair prices for libraries who want to offer ebooks to their patrons. Also in attendance are Carl Antonucci–co-chair of the Connecticut Library Association Legislative Committee and Director of Central Connecticut State University Library (far Left),  and Connecticut State Librarian Ken Wiggin (second from left).

Thursday, March 21st at 7 p.m. at the Essex Town Hall

Can an artificial intelligence be created that can learn, reason, and formulate original ideas? Dr Chengyo Cao of the University of Connecticut’s Mechanical Engineering Department is doing research funded by NASA and Pratt & Whitney focused on unmanned systems, like clusters of drones that interact with their environment and each other to better reconnoiter an area. His talk will highlight breakthroughs in this exciting and dynamic field.

See our Adults’ Featured Events page for more Science For Everyone programs.

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.

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.

Library patrons have been awaiting the ability to borrow ebooks to read on their Kindles. It was hinted earlier this summer that downloads to the Kindle would go live in September. That day is here, if you are a patron of the Seattle Public Library or the King County Library System.  These libraries have been selected for the beta testing and it seems to be going well so far. There is still no information as to when Overdrive ebooks will be available for Kindle users nationwide.

What we can tell you is that the ebooks will be available for all Kindle models as well as Kindle apps for other devices and the Kindle Cloud Reader. You’ll have to download via WI-FI or connect your Kindle to a computer with a USB cable as the 3G wireless service is not supported.  When you check out your books you’ll be redirected to the Amazon website to login to your Amazon account (or create one if you don’t have one already) and then provide your library card number. As expected, Amazon will be including some offers for you to buy books during the process. Amazon’s “Whispersync” technology will also preserve your digital notes and bookmarks in case you buy the book from Amazon later or check it out a second time. The service is only available in the U.S.

Stay tuned for updates as to when Kindle compatibility will arrive for LION library patrons.

We’ve been predicting for a while now that Amazon would eventually concede to the pressure to allow its Kindle users to download books for free from the OverDrive eBook lending services offered by public libraries…and that day has come. Last week Amazon announced that they signed an agreement with OverDrive with the service to be launched for Kindle users at an unspecified date later this year. This is great news for Kindle owners who’ve, up to now, been turned away from Libraries offering the OverDrive service.

Currently, the OverDrive eBooks can be downloaded to many devices including the Barnes & Noble Nook, Borders’ Kobo, Sony eReaders, Apple devices and many, many others. To see the complete list, click here.  Service to Kindle owners will maintain the same lending rules–lending periods and number of downloads allowed as delineated by your local Library. The Essex Library allows patrons to check out up to 4 eBooks each with a lending period of 14 days.

Here’s a statement from Amazon with details regarding the new deal:

SEATTLE—April 20, 2011—(NASDAQ: AMZN)— Amazon today announced Kindle Library Lending, a new feature launching later this year that will allow Kindle customers to borrow Kindle books from over 11,000 libraries in the United States. Kindle Library Lending will be available for all generations of Kindle devices and free Kindle reading apps.

“We’re excited that millions of Kindle customers will be able to borrow Kindle books from their local libraries,” said Jay Marine, Director, Amazon Kindle. “Customers tell us they love Kindle for its Pearl e-ink display that is easy to read even in bright sunlight, up to a month of battery life, and Whispersync technology that synchronizes notes, highlights and last page read between their Kindle and free Kindle apps.”

Customers will be able to check out a Kindle book from their local library and start reading on any Kindle device or free Kindle app for Android, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, PC, Mac, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone. If a Kindle book is checked out again or that book is purchased from Amazon, all of a customer’s annotations and bookmarks will be preserved.

“We’re doing a little something extra here,” Marine continued. “Normally, making margin notes in library books is a big no-no. But we’re extending our Whispersync technology so that you can highlight and add margin notes to Kindle books you check out from your local library. Your notes will not show up when the next patron checks out the book. But if you check out the book again, or subsequently buy it, your notes will be there just as you left them, perfectly Whispersynced.”

Once upon a time. For all us librarians wondering how the fairy tale of e-books might play out, we’re seeing it become  a horror story instead. DRM (digital rights management is the term for technologies used to restrict/limit how digital materials are accessed) is the poisoned apple being used by publishers to kill a library’s ability to make e-books available to its  patrons. Prior to February 24th, Overdrive– a national vendor of digital materials to libraries, could offer customers e-book downloads on an unlimited basis. Harper Collins has just mandated a limit of 26 check-outs of its e-books through their vendors and distributors to libraries, including Overdrive. Even more troubling, Harper Collins wants to limit which patrons a library lends its digital materials to. But that’s another blog post.

Libraries are at an important crossroads regarding access to digital materials. We want to provide the services and materials our patrons want–in the formats they want. Those of us too small, read: too poor, to contemplate an Overdrive service on our own, purchase through a consortium. In the case of the Essex Library, we purchase Overdrive services through the LION Libraries consortium. With a limit of 26 check-outs on any given e-book—and you can anticipate other publishers will be climbing onto Harper Collins’ restrictive bandwagon, LION’s 365,000 patrons will find their ability to access Overdrive’s e-books so severely diminished as to be useless. Already there are publishers, including two of the largest, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster– who don’t allow any library circulation of their e-books.

What can libraries do to keep e-book patrons happy?

Author Cory Doctorow advocates a library boycott of all DRM-protected materials. Librarians across the country are disgusted, discouraged and angry. You can follow their comments on Twitter at the #hcod hashtag. None of this can be resolved until publishers come up with a viable business model for digital books. It won’t serve them well to distance their authors from potential readers, digital or print. The publishing industry as a whole is in trouble and alienating libraries who serve millions of readers by spending billions of dollars on materials just doesn’t seem productive. A call to arms, in the guise of library consortia joining together, collaborating and using their combined buying power to persuade publishers to loosen, or just plain lose, the restrictions on digital materials has been issued by librarian Matthew D. Hamilton.

We need a happy ending here for everyone…authors, publishers, vendors and readers.  Anybody got any great ideas?