Archive for 2014

10 New Year’s Tech Resolutions

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

Clean your machine
Perform electronic housekeeping regularly with a PC optimization program such as CCleaner, available both as a free download and a premium tool with more advanced features. Your computer will run faster and be more secure online. Find more info and download links at http://www.piriform.com

De-clutter your desktop
A clear desktop reduces distraction and improves productivity. Remove shortcuts, put files into folders organized in your Documents and delete unused icons. Then upload a new wallpaper for the desktop background.

Update your softwarecalvin-and-hobbes-New-Years-Resolution

Whether it is your Windows OS, Java, Adobe or your anti-virus program, it is critical to keep each updated. Many programs can be configured to update automatically, but some will require manual installation depending on your settings. When in doubt as to the validity of that nagging message popping up on your desktop with an update reminder, use ya search engine to find the company offering the update and check their website for update news.

Install an anti-virus
Simply stated, no computer should go online without anti-virus protection — period. There are so many options ranging from free to affordable (considering the consequences). For comparative info on the major programs available, see the article from PC magazine: http://www.pcmag.com

Achieve zero in-box
Stay sane with an in-box that is empty. Impossible, you say? Not so. With determination and tips from Mashable you can achieve inbox nirvana: http://mashable.com

Delete old accounts
It’s hard to know how many online accounts and services each of us has created by now, but it’s probably somewhere in the neighborhood of “too many.” It would be great to cut the clutter by just deleting the ones you don’t use. But companies don’t make it easy, burying the account deactivation pages from view and requiring a litany of frustrating steps to get there. Check out this website for assistance: http://justdelete.me

Use a password manager
Keepass, a free password manager, can be installed locally on your computer to store passwords, generate new passwords and even easily transfer passwords via drag-n-drop. No more excuses to not use unique, strong and different passwords for each of your accounts.  http://keepass.info

Back it up
Computers don’t last forever, and we don’t realize that until our PC or laptop breaks and we lose some important data. To avoid that, make a habit out of backing up your hard drive manually, or using the many free back-up tools online: http://www.consumerreports.org

Install tracking devices on your gadgets
How often have you lost your keys, misplaced your phone or had your laptop swiped while your back was turned? With advances in GPS, Bluetooth and other technologies, more and more devices that help you find lost or misplaced items are coming to market. For a list of some of the more popular tracker-based solutions, go to http://www.pcmag.com

Disconnect
A Swedish study reported in Forbes Magazine concluded that “Regularly using a computer late at night is associated not only with sleep disorders but also with stress and depressive symptoms in both men and women.” So make the effort to turn your devices off and read a book! http://www.forbes.com

 


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Holiday Closing — New Year’s Day

Monday, December 29th, 2014

Kent District Library will be closed Thursday, January 1 for the New Year’s holiday. In addition, all branches will close at 5:00 PM on Wednesday, December 31 (New Year’s Eve). We will resume normal operating hours on Friday, January 2. For additional 2015 holiday closing information, please view our holiday closings page.

We appreciate your patronage and wish you a Happy New Year!
Happy New Year

 

 


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Early Lit Bits: Games & Activities

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

Mom, I’m Bored!

Traveling over the holidays? Kids bored because of too many snow days in a row?

Print some fun scavenger hunt cards from our PLAY-GROW-READ! website. Use them on the road, outdoors or inside the house on a cold winter day.

Make these fun felt socks. Keep them in a zippered plastic bag in your carry-on luggage or purse and play a fun matching game if you get stuck at the airport over the holidays.


This article originally appeared in our Early Lit Bits eNewsletter. Read the most recent issue online or sign up to receive this monthly update highlighting early literacy tips and resources for parents and caregivers.


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New Adult Booklists

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

The holidays are approaching and winter seems to be here. Sounds like a good time to find a new read from the latest KDL booklists. Check out the links below:

To see these booklists as well as many other recommended reads, be sure to check out the KDL Recommends section on our website.
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KDL Gives Back: WOW!

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

vetsdonationOur delivery last week of two vehicles filled with some 750 hygiene items, snacks and other goodies to the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans — plus $457 through our staff jean days and 500 letters to vets written by adults and children — marked the end of our 18-month KDL Gives Back initiative to reach out to agencies in Kent County that need help.

Here’s a breakdown of the total impact of that effort:

Thank you to our employees and to our patrons who participated!

 


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Gaming Tournaments: Sign Up Today!

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

mario-kart-wii-1Get your gaming skills ready and join us for some intense action! Many will enter, only the best will be crowned champions.

Mario Kart Tournament for Kids and Teens

Join us for a Wii gaming tournament for grades K-12 featuring Mario Kart, prizes and snacks. Champions will be crowned in two separate divisions. Sponsored by the Friends of the Kentwood Library. Pre-registration is required. 
Saturday, December 27, 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Kentwood (Richard L. Root) Branch

 

Teen Halo Tournament
Calling all teens! Think you have what it takes to compete in our Halo 4 multiplayer tournament? Sign up with a partner and battle the best of the best in this first-person shooter competition. The last team standing wins the prize! Pre-registration is required.
Saturday, February 14, 1:00 – 4:00 PM, Cascade Township Branch

 


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Early Childhood Essentials: Register Now

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

ECE classesParents and caregivers of children are invited to participate in free Early Childhood Essentials classes at KDL this spring. If you have young children or work in child care and need professional development hours, this series is for you. All of the presenters are certified and vetted through Great Start. The classes are for adults, and child care is not provided. Sponsored by Great Start to Quality.

Pre-registration is required. Sign up today by clicking on the links below or calling our Patron Services Department at 616-784-2007.

 

Schedule:

Communicating with Parents

Monday, January 12, 6:30 – 7:30 PM, Wyoming Branch
Thursday, February 26, 6:30 – 7:30 PM, Caledonia Twp. Branch

Setting the Stage

Saturday, January 17, 10:00 – 11:00 AM, Cascade Twp. Branch
Monday, January 19, 6:30 – 7:30 PM, Krause Memorial (Rockford) Branch
Thursday, January 22, 6:30 – 7:30 PM, Byron Twp. Branch

 So Much to Do, So Little Time

Saturday, January 24, 10:00 – 11:00 AM, Kentwood (Richard L. Root) Branch
Monday, February 9, 6:30 – 7:30 PM, Wyoming Branch
Thursday, February 12, 6:30 – 7:30 PM, Caledonia Twp. Branch

 Diversity

Saturday, January 24, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM, Kentwood (Richard L. Root) Branch
Monday, February 16, 6:30 – 7:30 PM, Krause Memorial (Rockford) Branch
Thursday, February 19, 6:30 – 7:30 PM, Caledonia Twp. Branch

Journaling with Young Children

Saturday, January 31, 10:00 – 11:30 AM, East Grand Rapid BranchCANCELLED

Keeping Kids Safe

Monday, February 2, 6:30 – 7:30 PM, Krause Memorial (Rockford) Branch
Saturday, February 7, 10:00 – 11:00 AM, Cascade Twp. Branch
Thursday, February 19, 6:30 – 7:30 PM, Byron Twp. Branch


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Holiday Closing — Christmas Eve & Day

Friday, December 19th, 2014

The Kent District Library will be closed for the Christmas holidays Wednesday & Thursday December 24–25. We will resume normal operating hours on Friday, December 26. For additional 2015 holiday closing information, please view our holiday closings page.

 

We appreciate your patronage and wish you Happy Holidays!

 

Happy Holidays


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Children’s Author Norman Bridwell Died Last Friday

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

normanbridwell

The well-loved children’s author and illustrator, Norman Bridwell, has died at the age of 86. Of course, Norman Bridwell’s most memorable character is Clifford the Big Red Dog. Clifford was introduced in 1963 and has over 150 titles as well as an animated television series.

There will be two new titles released in 2015, Clifford Goes to Kindergarten and Clifford Celebrates Hanukkah.

 


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Teen Fiction and the New Fairy Tale

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Fairy tales are still around for a reason. They provide us with excellent heroes and heroines, exciting adventure, mystical magic, dastardly villains and maybe a little romance. Plenty of teen fiction writers are up to the challenge of keeping the genre fresh, giving the traditional tale a tempting twist.

Stitching SnowEverybody knows the story of Snow White, but you probably haven’t heard it like this before. R.C. Lewis’ Stitching Snow takes place on the planet Thanda, where the temperatures are always sub-zero. Princess Snow is missing, and the kingdom is near war. Essie, our heroine, is a programmer who controls seven loyal drones that work the local mines, and she’s about to get much closer to the war than she ever thought possible. When a ship crash lands near the mines, questions begin to pile up. Essie’s decisions could lead to peace or tragedy; and it may start with the decision to find her true home.

Cruel BeautyThe twists continue as we head into the ever-popular Beauty and the Beast (a personal favorite). Our beauty in Rosamund Hodge’s Cruel Beauty is not your typical “Belle.” For one, Nyx’s father is far from a friend. Nyx has been betrothed to the evil lord Ignifex since birth, a bad bargain by the hands of her father. But she isn’t going down easily. Sure, she’ll marry him—with the goal of ultimately assassinating him. Cruel Beauty flips good and evil on its head. Nyx must kill her Beast in order to save her people, but what of her charming enemy’s secrets? The enchanted castle will claim another victim.

Stolen SongbirdFairy tales also give us wonderful creatures, even if they happen to have human-like qualities. Think you know about trolls? Think again. In Danielle L. Jensen’s Stolen Songbird, the strong-willed Cecile is kidnapped, brought under the mountains and sold to the troll king. To break the curse that a witch placed long ago, Cecile must marry the prince.  When the wedding fails to break the curse, Cecile is stuck in their dreary world, but entranced by their knowledge and the prince’s treasonous plans. Magic and politics collide, and we get a new take on the monster beneath the mountain.

Poisoned AppliesIf you’re looking for a quick fix for your fairy tales, try Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann. This collection takes the fairy tales you know and puts them alongside the life of the modern teenage girl. Much like Grimm’s original tales, it may not be so happily ever after. However, each poignant poem looks at the beauty and the beast: how girls are taught to think about themselves. From funny to dead serious, these bite-sized tales are reminiscent of Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins.

Fairy tales are being rewritten over and over because we love them. There are plenty more literature remixes than listed here, offering dozens of stories from classic to science fiction. Take a fresh look at where your favorite princes and princess stand. Whether good or evil, the magic of the fairy tale has never been more charming.


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