Category Archives: Services

Say hello to Mango!

mango-logo All libraries in the Upper Hudson Library System are getting a new language learning service called Mango Languages. What is Mango Languages you ask? It’s a fun and easy-to-use language learning program that can help you learn over 70 different languages. The program allows you to go at your own pace, so you can take your time or speed through depending on your preference. There are a wide variety of languages offered, everything from common languages like Italian and Chinese to less commonly used languages such as Biblical Hebrew and Scottish Gaelic. There are also a number of specialty languages like Medical Spanish and Oktoberfest German. Mango also benefits ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) with 17 ESOL courses.

It’s easy to get started. You can create an account using your email address and start learning right away. Once you have created your account, you can select the language you would like to to start learning.

You can click the green Get Started button or mouse over the three lines in the upper left corner and click on languages. Once you choose your desired language, you will get different options depending on your language selection. For example if you chose Spanish (Latin American), you can select Mango Conversations, Legal, Text Talk, Medical Spanish, Romance, Spanish for Librarians, and a selection of films that can be used to assist with language learning.

You can exit a particular course at any time and you can pick up where you left off the next time you log in.

Mango offers pronunciation demonstrated by professional native speakers of the language. You will be able to hear words in any language at both a conversational speed and at a slowed down, easier to understand speed. In addition to learning the language, users will find cultural notes in each chapter, which help provide context for language usage.

Both understood and literal translations are available, and both translations are color coded. This helps users see how sentences are structured. In other words, Mango teaches grammar without the user ever noticing.

If you would prefer to learn on the go, Mango offers an app for Apple devices and Android devices. Once it has been downloaded, you can access the app with or without an internet connection. Before you use the app without an internet connection, make sure you have downloaded the courses you wish to access. This can be done in the app by going into My Courses, choosing the language you are learning, and selecting “Download All” from the Chapter list or choose a particular lesson you would like to download by tapping the green arrow icon.

To access the lesson you wish to download rather than continue the lesson, tap on Mango Conversations: (Whichever Language you are learning) to access the download list.

Once the lessons have been downloaded, you can access them the same way, by going into My Courses and tapping on the name of the language you are learning.

You can also opt to learn by watching foreign films with the Mango Premier feature. Please note this feature is only available via desktop learning, not on the mobile apps.

For more information, check out this video about Mango.

Ready to learn a new language? Try out Mango!

Online Registration

uhls

If you aren’t currently a member of a library in Albany or Rensselaer County, you will be able to register for a library card online beginning 1/2/2017 by following a link on the Encore Login Page or visiting http://sierra.uhls.org/selfreg.

signupscreenIn order to register, you’ll need to be a resident of Albany or Rensselaer County and have a valid email address. Once you’ve filled in the all the required fields, you will get a confirmation page with your temporary library card number. In order to get your physical library card with your permanent barcode number, you will have to visit the library with photo ID and proof of your current address (such as a recent utility bill or lease).

confscreenOnce you’ve gotten your temporary barcode, you will need to set up a PIN by clicking the link on the confirmation page, which can also be accessed here: https://sierra.uhls.org/pinreset.

pinrequest

After you have entered your temporary barcode number on the PIN Request page, you will get an email with a link that allows you to choose a PIN. The link contained in the email will only be valid for three hours.

choosepin

Choosing a PIN will allow you to request library items through the library catalog, as well as check out digital items, such as ebooks and audiobooks, through Overdrive. You will be unable to access other digital resources outside of the library until you receive your physical library card with your permanent barcode.

If you have any questions about online registration, please contact the library.

Flipster Is Here

flipsterlogo

In the past, you may have used Overdrive to check out digital versions of magazines. The library is switching over to a new service called Flipster, which is much easier to use.

flipsterhomepage

You can access Flipster by following the link on our website, or by typing in https://goo.gl/NW0iAu into the web browser on your computer or your mobile device. Once you are on the main page, you will see a list of current magazine issues, as well as a sidebar that lists various categories such as Computer, Entertainment, Sports, and more. You can also search for a specific magazine or by keyword.

To view one of the magazines featured on the front page, you can click on the magazine cover and the magazine will open in a new window in your browser. If you are browsing via category or looking for a specific magazine via search, you will get a list of results. You can click on Read this Issue under the magazine you’d like to view.

searchexample

Once you’ve accessed the magazine, you can read it directly in your browser.

Desktop Version

Once the magazine has opened in your browser, there are several ways you can navigate the issue.

flipstercomp

If you want to navigate the magazine, mousing over All Issues will bring up the Table of Contents. If there is a specific article you would like to read, you can click on the title listed there.

To search the magazine, you can type your keyword or phrase into the search box above the magazine logo on the right side of the screen. Search results will appear in a list with the search word or phrase highlighted.

In that menu, you also have the option to view back issues of that magazine. To view a back issue of the magazine, click on the issue you’d like to view under More Issues. The cover of that particular issue will come up in the upper right and from there you can click View.

compcontents

You can also navigate by mousing over Pages, which will show groups of pages in the magazine. Clicking on a particular page image will take you to that page. Clicking on the left and right arrows will turn the pages forward or back in the issue. If you would like to zoom in on a page, you will see an icon that looks like a magnifying glass with a plus sign when you mouse over the page. Clicking when you see the magnifying glass will zoom in on that area of the page. If you would like to Print, you have the option to print just the pages in view, or all pages. Mousing over Print will allow you to choose what you would like to print. Mousing over Settings will allow you to choose whether you would like to view one page at time or if you would like to Zoom Out when you turn the page. There is also an option to fit the view to your screen, based on the height or width.

Please note that there is no offline viewing option for desktop computers.  You must maintain your internet connection to read to magazine unless you are using the Flipster app for tablets and smartphones.

Mobile Version

If you are on a mobile device, there is another viewing option. The Flipster app is available to download in the Apple App Store (for iOS devices), the Google Play Store (for Android devices), and the Kindle Store (for Amazon devices). To download the app, search for Flipster in your device’s app store. Once you have downloaded the app, you can access the magazine you would like to view via your device’s web browser, and then click the three lines in the top left corner. This will bring up a menu and from there you can tap Open in App.

flipsterios

You’ll get a conformation message asking if you want to open in Flipster. Clicking on Open will open the magazine in the Flipster app. You will see a list of all the magazines you have downloaded, as well as if they expire within a certain amount of time. You can re-download the same issue once it has expired. If you are finished with the magazine, you can click the trash can icon to remove the magazine from your device. Once the magazine has finished downloading, you can tap on it to view. The gray bookmark with a percentage shows how much of the magazine you have read.

flipsterlibrary

Once you have tapped on the magazine, there are several ways you can navigate through the issue. To turn the page forward or back, you can swipe left or right. If you tap on the three line menu icon in the top right corner, a table of contents will be displayed. Tapping on any of the article names will bring you to that article.

flipstertblcontents

Another neat feature of the mobile app is that if you click on Text View in the top right, you will get a text view of that page or article with only the text of the article, minus any pictures or ads that would appear normally. To switch back to the regular view, click on page view in the top left corner. Below is the same page in regular view and text view.

flipstertextpicview

Clicking on Library in the top left corner will take you back to the home screen where all the magazines you have downloaded are displayed. Another bonus of using the mobile app is the ability to view the magazines later for offline reading, as you don’t need to be connected to WiFi to read the magazines once they’ve been downloaded. When opened in the app, the magazine will automatically open to where you left off. If you would like to download back issues of magazines to view in the app, follow the process listed above on your device’s web browser to access the back issue, and then click the three lines and Open in App to download the issue to your device.

There is no limit to the number of magazines you can download to your device or view on your computer. If a magazine downloaded to your tablet expires, it can be re-downloaded at any time. Once a title is expired, there will be an expired icon and will appeared greyed out. Certain weekly titles will expire in two days and certain monthly titles will expire in one week.

Flipster Basics

Flipster is a free service provided to you by the library. You do not need a mobile app to view a magazine. Even if you are on your mobile device, you can just view the magazine in your mobile web browser. Both the mobile version and desktop versions of Flipster website allow you to search within a magazine, however you cannot search a magazine within the mobile app. You can print from the Flipster website, but not from the mobile app.

Flipster information page

Search Flipster

If you have any questions about Flipster, please contact the library and we will be glad to help you out. Have you tried out Flipster yet? Let us know in the comments.

A Brand New Overdrive Page is Coming

mainscreen2

If you’ve ever checked out anything electronically (an eBook, a digital audiobook, a digital periodical, or a streaming movie), then you have used OverDrive. On November 9th, OverDrive will be getting a facelift, with new features and a brand new look. This post will go over the changes in the new layout.

If you’d like to check out what the Upper Hudson Library System’s new OverDrive page will look like, you can check it out here: https://uhls.overdrive.com. This link will continue to work once the site goes live. You can also go to the current OverDrive page and you will see a red bar across the bottom with a link to the preview site.

Signing In

The first change you may notice is the login screen.

login

There are two new options: using your OverDrive account to login or connecting via your Facebook account. An OverDrive account syncs your progress through titles, your saved libraries, and your bookmarks across multiple devices. Keep in mind that whichever way you sign in, you will need to enter your library card number.

Once you have logged in, you will see a drop down box appear.

myaccountdropdown

There is a new icon that looks like three books. Clicking on this icon will always take you back to your account. There is some new terminology here also. The section of your account that listed the items you currently had checked out was called Checkouts. They will now be referred to as Loans, which you can see appears first on the drop down box.

Searching and Browsing

If you are browsing the site, you can click on Subjects in the top left corner. This will bring up the entire library collection, organized by subject. Once you’ve clicked on Subjects, you also have the option of narrowing down the list by format (eBook, Audiobook, Video, or Periodicals). Clicking on Collections with bring up a drop down box that allows you to easily see things like new additions and popular titles, organized by format. You can click on the magnifying glass icon to bring up a search box. When you click on it, you’ll also get a link for the Advanced Search feature, if you want to limit your search by specific criteria. Searching directly from the search box will now use an auto complete feature.

Whether you’ve narrowed down by subject or searched by a specific keyword, you will notice changes in the way the results are shown.

statusThere will be text across the top of each book jacket picture showing the item’s availability. You will see a blue bar with Available if an item is available and can be checked out right away. There will be a blue bar with Borrowed if you currently have the item checked out. If you currently have the item on hold, On Hold will be written on a white bar. If the item currently has a waiting list, you will see Wait List across the top. If the item has Wait List shown, there are no current copies available for check out and you will need to put the item on hold if you’d like to borrow it. If you’d like to add an item to your Wish List, you can click on the little ribbon shaped icon with a plus sign. You can also see the format of the item listed under the title and author.

If you click the icon with the three dots, you’ll get three options: Read/listen to a sample of the item, View More Details (where you can view more details about the item, such as a plot summary, the available formats and more), and You May Also Like, which gives you recommendations based on that item. Clicking on the book jacket or the title will also take you to the more details page.

Checking Out an Item and Placing Holds

You can click the borrow link under the jacket picture to borrow the item. Once you’ve clicked borrow, you’ll get a blue notification bar across the top of your screen that tells you when your loan ends, as well as a link to your Loans page, where you can download the item to your device.

notificationbar

If you go to the item’s page to check an item out, you have the option of choosing the lending period. On the blue borrow button, you’ll see an arrow. Clicking on that will bring up a drop down box, allowing you to choose whether you would like to check the item out for 7, 14, or 21 days.

lendingperiod

Placing an item on hold has changed slightly. You can click the Place a Hold link under the picture of the book cover or from the item’s more details page. You’ll get a conformation popup that your hold has been placed, which lists the email address where you’ll be notified, along with a link to manage all the holds you’ve currently placed. You’ll also get recommendations that are currently available for check out based on the item you’ve just placed on hold.

holdconfirm

Your Account

There have been a few changes to the my account section of OverDrive. Once you’ve chosen which format you want to download, a little button labeled How to Return will appear under the item. This will give instructions on how to return to the item early, based on which format you’ve chosen.

loans

Holds

In the Holds section of your account, you can view the items you currently have on hold.

holds

The date the hold placed will be listed across the top. Near the bottom, you have the option to edit the email address where you’d like to be notified once the item is available, to suspend the hold to a particular date, and to delete the hold. Clicking on the three dots near the top right corner will give you the same options as we saw earlier: to read/view a sample, view details, and recommendations based on that title. You can also see what number you are on the waiting list, as well as the format of the item on hold.

Settings and Help

The option to choose whether you want to automatically check out an item is now found in settings. You can check or uncheck this option. Whenever you make any changes to your settings, they are automatically saved.

If you need help using OverDrive, there is a help link on the top right corner of each page. You can also get assistance by scrolling to the bottom of the page. Under help you’ll see FAQs, a getting started guide, a link to contact support, and more. Clicking on Get Support will give you the option of going to the OverDrive support site, which has getting started guides, videos, how-to articles, troubleshooting tips and more. You’ll also get the option to contact the library for more specific questions.

What do you think of the OverDrive’s new look? Let us know in the comments.

Text Message Notifications Have Arrived

sms icon

The Upper Hudson Library System has rolled out another new catalog feature.  Patrons can now opt in to receive SMS (text message) notifications for hold pickups, overdue reminders, and courtesy notices.  SMS notifications will not replace your current notification method (email, phone, mail), but will be an additional service.  If your cell phone carrier charges you for text messaging, standard rates will apply.

How to opt in:

  1. Go to the UHLS library catalog and sign in with your card number and PIN.  Alternatively, use the “My Account” button on the EG Library website.
  2. Click on “Edit account.”
  3. Go to the mobile settings section.  Enter your phone number.  Read the terms and conditions and check the “Opt In” box.
  4. Press “Submit.”
  5. Check your phone for text messages.  You will receive a message to confirm your subscription.  You must reply by typing “Yes” to complete the signup process.
  6. You will receive a message confirming your subscription.

To cancel:

  • Option 1:  Reply STOP, STOP ALL, END, QUIT, CANCEL, or UNSUBSCRIBE to any library SMS notification to stop receiving texts.
  • Option 2:  Ask a staff member to help you unsubscribe.

Will you be using this new service?  Let us know in the comments!

 

OverDrive Clears Up Dual Bookshelf Confusion

There has been a change in terminology in the user account section of the Upper Hudson Library System’s Digital Collection. What was formerly called Bookshelf has been changed to Checkouts. This is the section of your account where you can view all of the digital items you have currently checked out.

checkouts

If you are accessing your downloaded materials through the Overdrive app, they will be listed under the Bookshelf heading. Please note that books downloaded for use on a Kindle or in the Kindle app will not be listed on the Overdrive Bookshelf.

overdrive

 

Back By Popular Demand: New Items Lists!

newitemsWhen we moved to our new library software earlier this year, we lost the ability to provide real-time lists of new items ordered by the libraries. If you have been missing this feature, we have great news – it has been restored! Check all libraries here: http://reports.uhls.org/newitems/. See only our library here: http://reports.uhls.org/newitems/EGRN/index.html.

How Does It Work?

The first link will take you to a listing of all Upper Hudson Library System libraries.  Select a library, and you will be presented with a list of item types.  Only item types with newly items will be displayed, so some categories you might expect may not be present.  Click on an item type to see a list of titles that are linked to the catalog for easy requesting.  Check back often, as we are adding new items all the time and the lists are updated overnight.

Each library has a different time frame for “new”, which will be stated at the top of the title list.  The East Greenbush Community Library has chosen 14 days, while some other libraries chose 30 or 90 days.  Keep in mind that donated items, items ordered as replacements, and duplicate copies show up on these lists, as well.  That would account for “new” items with older publication dates.  The category that will most likely show newly released items is the “On Order” category.  While this group is not limited on a single item type or genre, it is often populated by items ordered ahead of publication date.  As soon as the record is created in the catalog, patrons can place requests.

Questions?  Please ask in the comments below or call the library for more information.

 

New Tech in the Library

upgrade

Thanks to a generous grant from the Friends of the East Greenbush Community Library, we have been able to replace some of the outdated technology in the library.

Monitors

If you have used any of our public computers in the last several years, you know that the square, analog monitors were not keeping pace with the way modern video and web content is displayed.  Some patrons also complained that the refresh rate was causing visible flickering on the screen.  We were able to replace all of the monitors at the public computers with digital, widescreen LED monitors.  In addition to improved display, these models are much more energy efficient than their predecessors.  This should save the library money in the long run.

Tech Cart in Meeting Rooms A and B

If you have recently attended a program in meeting rooms A and/or B that required A/V equipment, you may have noticed that the tech cart boasted an ancient LCD projector (for which they no longer make replacement bulbs) and a DVD/VCR combo.  The Friends helped us to purchase a new, more energy efficient DLP projector which projects a very clear image that can be seen on the wall at any lighting level.  We took this opportunity to replace the DVD/VCR with a Blu-ray player, which still supports DVDs.  Because the projector supports HDMI inputs, watching a Blu-ray using the projector is a much higher quality visual experience than watching a VHS tape with the old projector.  This should make the next movie festival much more enjoyable!

We hope you enjoy these improvements to the library.  What would you like to see next?  Let us know in the comments.

Library Software Upgrade Report

SierraencoreWelcome to my long overdue update on the software situation in the library.  Since our library system (UHLS) moved to a new library management software at the end of March, the system’s techies have been working hard to get the kinks out of the new system.  Believe it or not, there are still several modules and functions that are still being configured.  The purpose of this post is to let you know which issues are still outstanding and where to get help if you need it.

1.  Notifications

Some people are still experiencing minor issues receiving their notifications.  Most commonly, emails are not received.  Make sure to check your spam folder.  Even if you have already “rescued” a library email from your spam folder and marked the sender safe, emails can come from different library email addresses.  You may need to add several addresses to your email whitelist before the emails will stop going to junk mail.  If you are not receiving notifications and you have already checked your spam folder, please contact the library and let us know.

Some patrons have pointed out that phone notifications do not mention the library where their items are being held.  This can be an issue for power users who pick up items at multiple locations.  At this time, there is no fix for this issue.  We suggest that patrons who are unsure where their items are being held login to the online catalog and click their name in the upper right corner of the screen.  On the left menu of the next screen, select “holds.”  Any items showing “ready for pickup” under status will also list a pickup location.

2. Prompts to request specific items

In some cases, when requesting an item, a patron is prompted to request a specific copy of an item, even though all of the copies are the same.  This is a cataloging issue that all of the libraries are working to fix.  Reports of this issue are few and far between, but it still happens.

3. Blocked from placing a hold

On our previous system, patrons with outstanding charges on their library cards could place holds on items and would be prompted to pay down their fees when checking out an item.  The new system no longer allows holds for any card not in good standing.  Unfortunately, we cannot control this.  If you are blocked from placing a hold, call the Reference Desk (477-7476, option 4) and we can override this restriction and place the hold for you.

4.  Checking out an OverDrive item through the library catalog

Previously, we had two separate catalogs for our physical items (books, CDs, DVDs, etc.) and digital items (OverDrive).  While the two separate catalogs still exist, our new library catalog contains our digital items as well as physical.  You can even check out and download most digital titles without leaving the catalog!  To test this, search the catalog for a title.  In the left menu, look under “format.”  If the item is available as a downloadable audiobook or e-book, there will be options for “downloadable e-book” or “downloadable audiobook.”  You may need to click “more” to see all available formats.  format

If you are looking for a magazine or streaming video, the format categories are less helpful.  Downloadable magazines show up as “downloadable e-books” and streaming videos show up as “DVDs.”  Check the individual record for more clarification:

checkoutvideoIf you click on “Check out with OverDrive”, you will be prompted to sign in if you haven’t already.  Then a window will pop up confirming checkout:

odcheckoutAfter you select “check out”, you can immediately download the title by selecting “Get eBook” if you are using the device you would like to read/watch on.

downloadOtherwise, you can download it later by logging into your account in the OverDrive catalog.  Occasionally, an error message will display, and you will need to go to the OverDrive catalog and sign in to download, anyway.  We’re working on that, too.

error5.  New item notification

We had more direct control over our last system, which allowed UHLS to create add-ons that would use the power of our library catalog to provide extra features for patrons.  One of these add-ons was the ability to subscribe to a “New Items” feed.  This feed would notify subscribers when a new item was added to the catalog.  The popularity of this feature was made clear to us by patrons who were very frustrated when it disappeared.  UHLS knows how much patrons want this feature, and they are working to bring it back.  Because there are still some higher priority bugs to work out with the everyday functioning of the catalog, this feature may need to be on the back burner for a while.  However, it is definitely on the to-do list.

6.  Getting help

We have created several types of training resources to help you navigate our new catalog. Our Online Catalog Help page includes short videos and text instructions for common tasks, as well as a print-friendly (PDF) guide to using your library account online.  Of course, if you’d rather get assistance from a live person, our reference librarians are always happy to help.  Give us a call (518-477-7476, option 4) or stop by at your convenience.

Again, we’d like to thank all of our patrons for their patience and understanding during this time of transition.  What are your thoughts on the new catalog?  Have you discovered a bug not discussed here?  Let us know in the comments.

The New Catalog – Week 1

encore

What’s Encore?

Last week, the Upper Hudson Library System (UHLS) upgraded its catalog and patron management software.  We were unable to remain with the old software, as the vendor had stopped supporting it years ago and it was really showing its age by failing in critical ways.  Moving to a new library management software is an enormous project that takes lots of planning and configuration.  In fact, the project has several phases, and it will remain ongoing for several months.  While the new software has many exciting features for both patrons and staff, many of them are not yet available and will roll out over time.

Phase One Complete

Because this was not simply an upgrade to our current software, but changing software entirely, much of the battle here was getting the data from our current system to move successfully and meaningfully to the new system.  I won’t bore you with the details, but at times this can be like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

The priority for our first day working live in the new system was to make sure that we could check items in and out and they would attach/remove appropriately with a patron’s account.  Now we are identifying glitches that may have occurred in translation (a.k.a. stuff that got lost or broken in the move) and working to fix them.  If you believe something may be amiss with your patron account (lost requests, inability to login to your account, etc.), please let us know ASAP so we can investigate and fix the issue.

Getting Help with the New System

Another part of phase one of the project is staff and patron education.  The library staff has been trained on the new software, but it will take time for us to get used to using it.  We truly appreciate your patience, as transactions at the checkout desk and information desk may take longer than usual.  If you would like help searching the catalog or managing your account, please see our catalog help page for videos, text, and a printable guide, or our YouTube channel for videos only.  If you would prefer to walk through the new catalog with a librarian, please visit the reference desk, and we’ll be happy to show you the finer points of the new catalog and answer any questions you may have.

Phase Two Underway

The next part of the project is to integrate the new software with our other library software and turn on additional features.  Here are some examples:

  • We have integrated our online article subscriptions (databases) with the catalog, making it possible to search for digital newspaper, magazine, and journal articles right alongside our physical books, music and movies.  Unfortunately, there is still a bit of an issue getting these articles to display consistently when accessed through the catalog.  Until we work this out, you can search the databases separately from our online resources page.
  • OverDrive, our service for downloading books, audiobooks, magazines and streaming video, is currently partially integrated into the catalog.  Some, but not all, titles show up with links that will open the separate OverDrive catalog for checkout.  In the coming weeks, a feature will become available that will show all current OverDrive titles and allow you to check them out without ever leaving the main catalog!
  • Libraries that use software for managing public computers, printing, self-check machines, and point-of-sale systems (taking payments) are working to make sure that this third party software communicates effectively with the new system.  At the East Greenbush Community Library, these particular services are up and running.  Your experience may vary at other libraries.

Known Issues

Aside from the issues above, the following missing features have been brought to our attention.  Issues we may be able to fix have been submitted to UHLS support.

  • The My Account login page does not offer an option to save your barcode. This has been addressed.  There is now a check box you can click if you would like the browser to remember your barcode.
  • The New Items feed is no longer available.  We are aware of how important this feature is to our patrons, but are unsure if this can be configured as part of the new system.  It is on the list of features to explore.
  • When viewing the catalog in the Internet Explorer browser, the input fields on the login page are too short (though they do accept a full barcode), and sometimes the popup windows become transparent and don’t respond to clicks.  So far, we have only seen these issues in IE.  If you experience these issues, we recommend using an alternate browser, such as Firefox or Chrome.

We Appreciate Your Feedback

As always, your feedback on the new system is important to us.  We want to make sure your library experience is a positive one.  In the first week, we received a lot of feedback at our service desks, which helped us report issues we may not have seen otherwise.  Have questions or comments about the new system?  Please let us know in the comments below.