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What’s a Tech Petting Zoo?

Patrons learn about Estherville Library’s technology options

January 31, 2014
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer , Estherville News

Normally, you'd think of pet as something warm, cuddly and maybe a little furry or with feathers or even a few scales.

Who would have thought a pet could connect you with the Web.

Well, that was exactly the case with the Tech Petting Zoo 10 a.m. to noon Monday at the Estherville Public Library.

Patrons had the chance to come in and try various electronic devices, including e-readers, tablets, digital cameras, portable media players, smart phones and more. In addition to the Estherville library staff, library employees from around the area were on hand to answer questions.

Tena Hanson, Estherville Public Library director, said the library has 16,000 digital e-books and downloadable audio books available through Wilbor. On the Zinio program, there are also just over 35 digital publications, selected by patron surveys. They can be accessed on iPads, Kindles, Blackberries, Nook browsers or on computer. The Estherville Public Library home page lists all available digital services.

Tumble Books offer children's books and the Mango program offers 41 languages that people can learn. The EBSCO program also offers databases that provide a world of information.

"There's no way we could provide what we do online in print form," said Hanson, adding that the library simply doesn't have the shelf space or budget to do so.

Learning Expresses offers free continuing education courses for adults and young people in subjects such as Excel, Microsoft Office and GED preparation.

"It's like an independent study curriculum," Hanson said.

There are also newspaper databases going back to the late 1800s which patrons are free to search.

Hanson said the Friends of the Library pays for all online services.

"That's why it's important for people to pay their dues so we can keep these things going," said Hanson.



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