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Life of the Library

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Guess the New Tool Coming to PPL!

posted: , by Samantha Soucy
tags: About the Library | Library Collections | Programs & Events | Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | Science & Technology

In anticipation of the Library’s maker fair happening later this month, our staff have been hard at work getting together an arsenal of tools to unveil. While a few of them will stay complete surprises, we can’t contain our excitement over our newest tool. It is currently living in the IT department, getting polished and prepped so it can be wheeled out into the community on April 25th.

Here are a few clues about this new piece of our technology collection. Read the clues below to try and figure out what we’ll be introducing,

  • The ink for this machine is known as filament
  • The creation of a raft is a necessary step before your project really begins with this tool
  • The first commercially available model of this tool was called Cupcake
  • File format .STL is the most compatible format with this tool
  • Different tools vary slightly on the process for utilization, PPL’s new tool uses fused deposition modeling

If you think you correctly guessed the new tool using these facts, email: soucy@portlandpubliclibrary.org to verify, and then come to the maker fair on 4/25 to claim your prize!


Printing in the Second Dimension

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

Back in November, the Library upgraded its public printing system to include a slew of services… never before seen at PPL. By way of late introduction, we would like to share a little more about what that looks like for our patrons.Where we once offered a simple black and white printer, and a single-function copier, we’ve installed something a little snazzier, higher functioning, and of the twenty-first century. It’s the Lexmark X790, it’s here to help, and we are here to help to you use it.

Never fear, the new machine is capable of the same basic tasks as our old ones. We’re assisting patrons who need to print and copy everything from asylum applications and résumés, to guitar tabs and holiday cookie recipes—not much has changed in that department. The main features that are newly available are: color printing, faxing, wireless printing, and scanning.

First up, at twenty-five cents a pop, you can now print and copy in color at the library. Whether you want to print out your favorite digital photos or spruce up your event poster to catch a few more eyes, you can graduate from gray scale for half the price of a postage stamp. We are also pleased to be able to provide faxing capabilities to library users. You can print your document and fax it out in one fell swoop. The first page costs a dollar, and each page after that is an additional twenty-five cents. It’s a quick and user-friendly process that the staff on desk are glad to walk you through.

Wireless printing is also a newcomer on the Public Computing scene. As more and more people are hooked up to their own tablets, laptops, and smartphones, it can be a hassle to print documents from one of the library’s public desktops. It is now possible to cut out the middleman by sending files from your personal device right to the printer.

Finally, behold: the power of scanning! The world is increasingly turning to scanning over faxing, and with good reason. Scanning is an efficient way to digitize and store important documents in one convenient, portable location that makes sharing easy, and best of all, it’s free. Our new machine allows you to scan directly to—and also print directly from—your own flash drive. Don’t have one? We have some for sale ($7) at the Public Computing desk, as well as a few for patrons to borrow in house.

And if all this new equipment is just a little too flashy for your taste, the old black and white copier is safe and well upstairs in the Portland Room, while its twin still reigns supreme in the Reference area on the Lower Level. To learn more about any of these options, check out this page for more information.

-Hazel


Librarians <3 Neutrality

posted: , by Samantha Soucy
tags: About the Library | Library Collections | Online Services | Adults | Teens | Seniors | Government | News | Science & Technology

There is one word that makes a librarian especially happy, and yesterday it was said again and again. “Neutrality” was the word of the day, as the Federal Communications Commission agreed to recognize Internet infrastructure as a public utility. This is exciting news. It has been an issue for over 10 years, starting in 2005 when the FCC voted to reclassify DSL broadband service, away from being an “information service” to instead be called a “telecommunications service,” effectively allowing Internet service providers to hide their infrastructure allowing it to be riddled with unfair practices.

But yesterday’s decision ensures that access to the Internet will be based on fair and equitable practices. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says: “the landmark open-Internet protections that we adopted today should reassure consumers, innovators and financial markets about the broadband future of our nation.”

So, next time you access Netflix, Twitter, Google, or one of Portland Public Library’s own digital resources, rest assured you’ll be connecting to each of these sites with the same network speeds available—not faster tiered levels of service (with companies paying for higher speeds) that prioritize network traffic to ensure streaming services are better quality and pages load faster.

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