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Announcing the Call for Presenters: Makers @ PPL

posted: , by Samantha Soucy
tags: Programs & Events | Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | Art & Culture | Business | Portland History | Science & Technology

The Portland Public Library is thrilled to announce Makers @ PPL—the first Maker Fair event to take place in Portland, Maine. It will take place on Saturday, April 25 from 11 am to 4 pm.  In true maker spirit, we’re opening up the event to public contribution, asking: what skill have YOU got that you can teach to others? We know Portland is brimming with creative energy, technical expertise, and unique crafters, and it is time to come together to share these skills, pick up some new ideas, and walk away with a tool belt full of new ways to engage with the community.

Everyone has a hobby. Some people make cat beds from old computer monitors, while other people can make mini battle robots!

If you have a passion for creation, and can boil it down into a workshop style presentation (hands on encouraged!) we’d love for you to fill out this form to be a part of the event.

The event is themed like a conference, so participants can take part in a specific track (Entrepreneurship, Creative Arts, Science & Technology, Local History, and Food & Drink). There will be an exhibit hall in the auditorium for people to display and present creative endeavors that are not suited to workshop style presentation. Special programs for children and teens will happen too.

Get you application to present in by January 15, and be a part of the Presentation Team putting on this exciting event. Fill out the form here to submit an application. You’ll be notified by February 1 if you’ve been selected. The Library will be unveiling some cool new tools that we’re adding to our collection…so stay tuned!


Your Privacy and Library eBooks

posted: , by Samantha Soucy
tags: About the Library | Library Collections | Adults | Seniors | Science & Technology

Earlier this fall, it was discovered that Adobe Digital Editions 4.0 (a crucial piece of software for accessing library eBooks) was transferring data back to Adobe about the user’s reading choices in plain text. Not only was this confidential information accessible to anyone with a bit of technical savvy, but Adobe was also gathering data about other eBooks and materials on user’s devices. The Electronic Frontier Foundation was of the opinion that sending the data over plain text “undermines decades of efforts by libraries and bookstores to protect the privacy of their patrons and customers” even if Adobe’s practice was a mistake.

The Library responded to this situation in a blog post in October as did many other libraries around the country, and we are pleased to report that the situation has since improved.

There is now a patch in place with ADE version 4.0.1., and patrons should feel confident that their privacy is protected and secure with this update. The American Library Association commended Adobe for taking this action to make users’ information secure, but ALA continues to be wary “about the amount of data collected and retained by all vendors within the eBook ecosystem.”

As librarians, we have made a commitment to work together to pressure vendors to adhere to the highest standards of privacy the Library has long represented. In addition, librarians are working together to develop technical expertise to verify that privacy is respected at the digital programmatic level—something often invisible to both users and librarians—but often conspicuous to anyone with basic hacking skills seeking this information.

Please ensure your version of Adobe Digital Editions is updated to ADE 4.0.1 to incorporate the changes that will keep your personal information safe. If you need assistance with this, you can contact the Public Computing desk—871-1700 x 708.


Online Learning and Technology Offerings at PPL

posted: , by Samantha Soucy
tags: Online Services | Adults | Teens | Seniors | Science & Technology

Did you know that the Library has resources for learning online?

Lynda.com is an online learning site that helps people to learn a variety of skills, from software development to business marketing. It has a library of over 1,000 courses, appropriate for all levels of experience. The site contains video instruction on topics like SEO, flash photography, cloud computing, accounting, business intelligence, and DSLR video. The courses cover technical skills, creative techniques, business strategies, and more. Users are granted a 2 week pass to the website to follow as many courses as desired within that time frame, and you can renew your subscription to complete a course by signing up for another pass. To gain access, please fill out this form on the Maine State Library website.

Another option for users is the resources on the Learning Express Library. This resource has information on basic computer and Internet skills, as well as more college prep courses—SAT, ACT, PSAT, and admissions essay assistance. There is an adult learning center to help improve math, reading, and grammatical skills; a career center for occupational exam preparation and job skill assessment; a college center for math, reading, science and writing; information in Spanish, and much more.

In addition to these online tools, the Public Computing department has resumed Friday tutoring hours, for individual assistance with computer issues. You can call to make a half hour appointment, 207-871-1700, extension 708. Basic computing, and intermediate computer skills classes will return in January 2015.

 

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