2016-05-11 / Front Page

Internet In Bloom For The Layperson

By Ted J. Bloom

Ted Bloom, MLS., MSEd., CPL.,CKMI., NP has been a published columnist in New York since 1999. A librarian and professor with two graduate degrees, some of his credentials include, creating and running a career preparation computer lab for at-risk youth through the U.S. Department of Labor, as well as being a NYS Notary Public, SUNY Communications Instructor, a YMCA Director and a Certified Krav Maga Instructor.  His first book The Librarian's Guide to Employment in the Information Age is now available on Amazon.com.Ted Bloom, MLS., MSEd., CPL.,CKMI., NP has been a published columnist in New York since 1999. A librarian and professor with two graduate degrees, some of his credentials include, creating and running a career preparation computer lab for at-risk youth through the U.S. Department of Labor, as well as being a NYS Notary Public, SUNY Communications Instructor, a YMCA Director and a Certified Krav Maga Instructor. His first book The Librarian's Guide to Employment in the Information Age is now available on Amazon.com.Can you recall a more nerve-racking, unpredictable, media circus, clown-car of candidates and pundits, violent, presidential race?  I sure can't.  Surprisingly Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have yet to be indicted, but, as the infamous New York Yankee Catcher, Yogi Berra said: "It ain't over 'till it's over." Be it the stagnant economy, escalating subway slashings, national police crimes against innocents, climate change or the 24/7 news cycle media circus, tripping over themselves to cover the most sensationalist mudslinging spewed, more of us will be voting this November than ever before in history. Even Pope Francis has endorsed Democratic Candidate Bernie Sanders.  When was the last time a Pope got involved in a US primary and got global news coverage? 

Consequently, the Internet can make voting easier with www.vote.org.  Vote.org allows users to quickly and easily: register to vote, check your registration and get an absentee ballot.  It only requires you enter some contact data about yourself in a short template.  Compared to the NYC Board of Elections website, www.elections.ny.gov, it is much more user friendly and quicker. 

Moreover, speaking of Internet conveniences, supposed I told you there is an app for both android and iPhone cellphone formats that will enable you to have a free second US phone number with perks such as: texting, number porting, custom voicemail and caller ID, notifications and ringtones?  Cool huh: www.sideline.com offers all of the above for details.  You may also find sideline on Google Play: https://play.google.com to download the app involved.

Funny, I have heard people say the Internet will replace libraries.  What I notice most, now that libraries have access to the Internet, is more printing by all.  More printing means more printers, staff and space required for the additional printers, paper, printouts and service for the resulting increase in computer networks to better enable Internet access.  One example, of how the Internet has improved library efficiency and convenience is with public library apps that enable the user to:  search library holdings, borrow, reserve or renew and item, locate branches, hours and staff, call or text librarians, etc.  The Queens and Brooklyn Borough Public Libraries (QBPL and BPL) have these apps ready to download on their websites, if you have a library card.  Visit  www.queenslibrary.org and www.bklynlibrary.org.  At present, for the QBPL you are best to do a search for "QBPL mobile app" using their blank search filed at the top right of their home page.  The BPL is a little more technically hip with an actual BPL mobile app hyperlink on the left side of their homepage. To get your initial card you have to visit a branch in person.  The largest NYC public library with 92 branches, the New York Public Library (NYPL), has yet to offer their mobile app download.  However, I was told it is in progress as you read this column. The public library is one of the most rewarding, cost effective services offered.  Where else can you get shelter from the elements, while educating yourself or having a staff of professional researchers help you: write a resume, complete a school assignment, research your family genealogy, brush up on community events, use the Internet to find a job or even, dare I say, a mate, borrow media, explore all of the world's knowledge in organized classifications and more?  I have spent some of the most enjoyable hours of my life in libraries.  A library card is well worth the time it takes to get one.  Please keep in mind the above website data is subject to change.

 

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