Monthly Archives: May 2012

Fort Valley Climate Day Banner

Fort Valley, Virginia United States
Photo by Jack Evans

On Saturday, May 5 a group of Fort Valley residents participated in Climate Impacts Day as part of the Library’s “Spring Fling” event. Following a presentation by Fort Valley Library volunteer Katharine Layton the group made a banner showing images of climate change and renewable energy sources. You can view a photo of the Fort Valley banner and others from around the world at the Flickr page.

I Want My (Streaming) Music Video Apps …To Actually Work

Every once in awhile, I miss my old school MTV.  Remember that?  The one that had actual music videos that were sandwiched between some commercials and anecdotes from VJs like Martha Quinn and J.J. Jackson?  I miss that.  Well flip forward about 30 years and now, surprise, there’s an app or three trying to get me back into the music video feel.  But which one?

First up, when thinking streaming video on the Internet, the mind should think YouTube.  One can always find lots music videos on YouTube.  You can also find cringe-worthy covers, lip dubs, unofficial low quality copies, uninspired slideshows, parodies, and maybe, just maybe, the actual video released by the artist.  Navigating and finding the right video can take awhile.  Worse still, the YouTube App on my device requires high quality streaming (sounds nice) through my slow bandwidth internet connection at home (well, it sounded nice).  Unfortunately, my home connection allows me to mostly get to see the first five seconds before my iPad or iPhone gives up.  I avoid the YouTube App as much as possible for this reason.

Side Note:  If you MUST watch a video on YouTube on a mobile device, use their mobile website ( ) instead of launching an App.  Their website actually lets you turn down the video quality which prevents the stuttering and stops that a low bandwidth connection causes.  Once you find a video you want to watch, just tap the “HD” icon.

You’d think that MTV would be able to create an App that would give you that MTV experience.  They didn’t think.  Just as MTV cannot be defined easily as Music Television anymore, they chose to not just define one App.  Instead, they’ve created a swarm of MTV branded apps that have narrow focuses on TV shows like Jersey Shore, News, or Beavis and Butthead.  Nothing is clear cut to provide a video watching experience.  Most are just meant to augment their programming.  If MTV is a must, get the MTV News and “MTV Watch With.  Skip the rest unless you’re a fan of a specific show.

While other apps I’ve looked into are very niche to a particular artist or album, a reoccurring company kept popping up…VEVO.  VEVO is a partnership of media companies Sony, Universal, and Abu Dhabi.  They also also license content from other media companies.  While you get a lot of artists to select from, be warned that a few may not be in available.  VEVO also makes their own App.  Using a minimal and elegant interface you can quickly hone in on a particular video or artist of interest.  Music videos will begin buffering in the background as trivia snippets or a quick advertisement appears.  Even on my slow connection speed, I was able to get very high quality streams on my iPad with no skips and stops like Youtube’s built-in app; Quick response, great quality, perfect playback.  You can also find tour dates, interviews, and making of videos.

And that’s that…download Vevo.  Use YouTube’s mobile site for anything not on VEVO.  And rely on MTV’s Apps only if you must.

New Library Databases

We are proud to announce three new additions to the Shenandoah County Library’s online resources.  For the auto mechanic in all of us, Chilton Library provides access to all of the great material found in Chilton Manuals, such as wiring diagrams and step-by-step repair instructions, with the added benefit of video tutorials.  Whether you’re looking to repair your car or maintain its performance, the information available via Chilton Library can help.  You can test drive the database herePlease note:  If you’re accessing any of these new databases from home, your library card number will serve as your password. 

If you have a need for Virginia legal forms, then our second new database is the place to start:  LegalForms.  Represented topics include divorce and bankruptcy proceedings, real estate transactions, powers of attorney, and much more.  The database doesn’t offer legal advice, but it does include a legal dictionary and attorney directory, should you need additional information.  Access LegalForms by clicking here.

Finally, the library now offers Testing and Education Reference Center (TERC), a terrific resource for students, career-changers, and job seekers.  TERC is loaded with information on colleges, technical schools, practice entrance exams, certification and professional license exams, and much more.  The database’s Résumé Builder and Virtual Career Library make Testing and Education Reference Center the perfect choice if you’re looking for specific writing examples and tips for conducting job searches.  Explore what TERC has to offer by clicking here.

We hope you find these new databases useful. Please give us a call at 540-984-8200 if you have any questions or comments.

Zoo Animals Have Arrived at County Library!

As one of the first 40 libraries in Virginia to receive an Early Learning Literacy Center, County Library has hosted bugs, dinosaurs, pets, and now zoo animals. Themed materials are “switched” between participating libraries statewide twice per year during the Virginia Library Directors Association meetings.

To introduce young patrons to the latest newly-arrived theme, Miss Diane, Children’s Librarian, prepared Preschool Storytimes on May 8 and 9 featuring “A Trip to the Zoo” and the letter Z. Following books, songs, action rhymes, sign language, and a monkey sack puppet craft, the children played independently or in small groups within the Activity Room. Later the Center was moved to the Children’s Area, where it now resides.

Stacking, sorting, and other activities help hosting facilities to meet the Library of Virginia’s basic goals of providing a welcoming environment for young patrons while enhancing early literacy and reading skills. The contents of each Center were carefully selected, educational in purpose, and brightly colored to engage children and encourage creativity.

Parents and caregivers have the opportunity to interact with the children as they explore the many parts of each Center. Centers are currently located at the Basye-Orkney Springs, Ft. Valley, and Strasburg Community Libraries, as well as the New Market Area Library. Mt. Jackson Community Library is also slated to receive a unit from the Library of Virginia later this year.

The Centers are funded through a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant administered by the Library of Virginia.

Library Director named President-Elect of Virginia Public Library Directors

Shenandoah County Library Director Sandy Whitesides was selected Vice-President /President-Elect of the Virginia Public Library Directors at their annual spring meeting at Graves Mountain in Syria, Virginia.  Scott Firestine, director of Appomattox Regional Library System, will succeed Carol Vincent, director of Eastern Shore Public Library, as President for 2012-13.  The association is comprised of 91 directors of county, city, town, and regional public libraries in the state of Virginia who gather twice a year to share ideas, and work with Library of Virginia staff on statewide issues. The group also supports the efforts of the Virginia Library Association and its various committees. Whitesides characterized the directors as “a great group of people to work with” and looks forward to planning the association’s 2014 annual spring meeting.

The Henkel Physicians in New Market

Have you stopped by to see our  exhibition about the Henkel family physicians? The Henkels were a prominent family in New Market during the 19th century with a legacy still alive today. Through the end of the month, the library system is hosting this exhibition made possible by the National Library of Medicine. The panels focus on the correspondence of Casper Coiner Henkel, owner of the still-standing C.C. Henkel House in New Market and physician in Stonewall Jackson’s brigade during the Civil War. The letters are available online at the National Library of Medicine’s website, and even more information is available in 1861: Life in the Shenandoah Valley by Henkel descendants Janet Ramsey and Elsie Newcomer.

The exhibition is in Edinburg through May 17, and will be in New Market from May 18 through the end of the month. Stop by either location and take a look. Want to know even more about the Henkels? Take a few minutes to watch a video introduction to the exhibition by local historian Dr. Betty Karol Wilson.

Connect with the Library

Do you own a smartphone or tablet computer? Would you like to use it to access library information and services? If so, do we have an download for you: Boopsie for Libraries. Boopsie is a free application that allows you to log in to your library account, search the library’s online catalog, renew items or place holds, and checkout eBooks and audiobooks. Simply navigate to using your device’s Web browser, and you will be directed automatically to the appropriate download site. Installation is a breeze, but if you’d like some help, we’ve developed a how-to guide here. Once you’ve installed the app, be sure to locate “Find It Virginia” from the list of available libraries to access Shenandoah County Library.  As always, if you have questions or comments, please give us a call at 540-984-8200.  We’d love to hear what you think.

Our Library System Runs on Volunteer Power

Do you realize the valuable service volunteers bring to library system each week? The five community libraries in the system rely on volunteers to run their circulation desks. This amounts to 168 volunteer hours weekly, not mention time contributed to ordering materials, presenting programs and other administrative tasks. There are currently over 100 volunteers providing service throughout the library system.

Volunteers at the County library provide close to 40 hours a week shelving materials, shelf reading, assisting with programs and providing services in the Shenandoah Room. One county volunteer selects and delivers books in conjunction with the Wheels on Meals program each week.

A reception was recently held at the County Library to honor the Volunteer of the Year from each library. Every one of our volunteers is to be commended for their devotion and service to keep our libraries up and running.

Chances are if you have a library item in your hands today it has passed through the hands of a dedicated volunteer. Please take time to thank them the next time you visit.