DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!

September 2017

Sep 28 2017

Take the Internet Home with You

by DCPLive

mobilehotspotwebDeKalb County Public Library is offering a new service, funded by the DeKalb Library Foundation, that gives library cardholders 18 and older access to the internet free of charge. Available for check out are mobile hotspots which are portable, rechargeable devices that can be connected to laptops, smartphones, or tablets to access the internet through the device’s wireless signal. Hotspots are available for check out for 21 days at the following branches – Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Flat Shoals, and Stonecrest.

Let’s face it, most of our lives are touched by the need to access the internet on a daily basis. However, not everyone is fortunate enough to have that access at home. Libraries across the nation offer internet access, but now DeKalb County Public Library provides a service which allows patrons to take the internet home with them.

Since the launch of the hotspot service, the devices have been checked out more than 585 times. Patrons wait in the library for them to be returned. Users complete a survey when they return the devices, and most indicate they generally access the internet at either the library or on their cell phone. Based on this information, we believe the program provides a valuable service to our patrons.

To learn more about how this service assists our patrons, we interviewed Yolanda C. who checked out a device so her children could access the internet at home to complete homework.

DLF: Why did you check out the mobile hotspot?

YC: I am a single mother of two teenagers in high school. On my salary, I cannot afford to have WiFi at home. My children have assigned homework on a regular basis that requires research on the internet. Having the mobile hotspot allowed me to be home preparing dinner while the children were getting their assignments done. Otherwise, we would be out past dinner time using the WiFi at the library, which disrupts the evening and they get to bed too late.

DLF: How did you use it?

YC: As I mentioned above, homework was the biggest reason for us to have it. I used it as a backup phone system with the Hang Out app, reducing the need to use the limited minutes on my cell phone for communication. I also often need to download legal and other documents and need WiFi to do so.

DLF: How often do you need to access the internet?

YC: Especially during the school year, every day.

DLF: Do you have other devices to use to access the internet?

YC: I have a tablet and a smart phone with very limited minutes. It is too expensive to use on a regular basis.

DLF: Describe your overall experience and feedback about the mobile hotspot program.

YC: It was great! I loved it! It made a substantial difference in the quality of life as a single, low-income parent. It provided a resource that I would not have been able to afford.

DLF: Would you check it out again?

YC: Yes! As often as possible!

DLF: What was your experience checking the device out?

YC: It is very easy to check out. The only problem is the demand is so high, it is hit or miss when they come in and are available for check-out.

Many of our survey comments echo Yolanda’s experience.

Here are a few quotes from those surveys:

  • I used it for a job search.
  • This was great for me to have internet access while I am currently unable to afford internet access at home. This was great!
  • Great, as a mom without enough income for internet at home.
  • My internet is down so the hotspot was very timely.
  • This is an incredible asset to the community for parents who cannot afford internet access.
  • This is a great service to patrons. Thank you.

The demand for the hotspot devices and the comments from the user surveys indicate this is a worthy service to provide our patrons. The DeKalb Library Foundation plans to seek additional funding to expand the “Take the Internet Home with You” program across the library system in the coming year. If you are interested in helping us meet this basic need, please consider donating by visiting dekalblibraryfoundation.org.

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Sep 22 2017

Coloring For Adults

by Camille B

MuralAs a child growing up, one of my favorite pastimes was coloring. I couldn’t get enough of it. Coloring books, colored pencils, the works.

Even as I grew older the fascination remained, and every once in a while I’d still find myself picking up a page or two because I found it so relaxing. Of course I kept this to myself for fear that I’d find myself on a psychiatrist’s couch somewhere pouring my heart out.

Turns out my fears were unfounded, because little did I know that while I was secretly having the crush of the crayons, coloring had become quite the craze, and a very popular form of relaxation among adults. Great! No more coloring in secret.

I finally shared my love of coloring with a co-worker who quickly brought me up to speed with all that was out there in the world of adult coloring. Until that point, I had no idea they even made coloring books for adults! I was still buying the basic ones at the dollar store.

It was amazing to see the wide variety of coloring books out there, from simple designs to very intricate mandala prints; some of them so widely popular they actually made it onto bestsellers’ lists. The Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book made it onto Amazon’s bestseller lists in both the U.S. and Toronto, alongside books like Girl on a Train and All the Light We Cannot See.

There are also entire websites dedicated to coloring, like The Color.com and Online-coloring.com where you can color online as well as print the pages, and countless apps  for your phone and tablets  dedicated to your coloring experience. One of my favorites is Teazel Ltd which provides over 500 pictures from which to choose.

There are giant, table-size coloring sheets that can be done as a family or group effort, and which can probably be used Muralas murals afterwards. There are elaborate wine and coloring parties and now even a National coloring book day dedicated to this latest trend.

So what makes such a childlike pastime so appealing? Coloring can be therapeutic. It helps to calm the amygdala, the part of the brain that controls the way we react to certain stimuli or emotion that causes us angst. The amygdala can lessen the effect of these negative emotions while you engage in a coloring exercise

According to clinical psychologist Dr. Scot Bea, when thoughts are focused on a simple activity, your brain tends to relax. We are not disturbed by our own thoughts and appraisals. “It has everything to do with refocusing our attention,” he says. “Adult coloring requires modest attention focused outside of self-awareness. It is a simple activity that takes us outside ourselves in the same way cutting the lawn, knitting, or taking a Sunday drive can all be relaxing.”

Even cancer patients are now turning to coloring as a way to manage the stress of their treatments, admitting that it makes the hours go by faster and relaxes their mind and body when they concentrate on just that one task.

Many public libraries are now hosting coloring events as well, including DCPL. You can visit our participating branches: Chamblee, Covington, Doraville, Redan, Stone Mountain and Wesley Chapel to attend upcoming events like: Coffee and Coloring, Color Me Relaxed, Art Expressions and much more. Click here for further details.

And maybe coloring just isn’t your cup of tea, here are some other suggestions for hobbies and interests you might also find relaxing and appealing:

Get a Hobby! : 101 all-consuming diversions for any lifestyle– Tina Barseghian

Practical course in drawing and painting– Martin Roig

52 more scrapbooking challenges– Elizabeth Kartchner

Stylish sewing: 35 patterns and instructions  for clothes, toys and home accessories– Laura Wilheim

Contemporary quilting: exciting techniques and quilts  from award winning quilters– Cindy Walter

The beginner’s guide to growing heirloom vegetables– Marie Iannotti

 

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