Category Archives: electronic resources

More than your Grandmother’s Library…


I bet this picture is what you imagine libraries are like. You would not be alone. It’s not unusual for people to walk into our building, (newly constructed in 2006), and be shocked! It’s not just the bright, modern, physical building that amazes them. It’s our collection. It’s what a 21st century library offers. We are often  asked questions like:

  • Can you take out the DVD’s?
  • You have music? Can I take it out?
  • Can anyone use the computers?
  • Do you have WiFi?

The answer, of course is yes, yes, and yes! We have for years and it’s all free! What they don’t ask, because I suspect, they can’t even image what a 21st century library could offer is:

  • Do you circulated eBooks or Audiobooks?
  • Do you circulate eReaders?
  • Can I access Encyclopedia Britannica from home? Online? For free?
  • Do you have Music I can download from home?
  • Do you have computer and technical ebooks I can use from home?

Again, yes, yes, and YES!!! The library offers 24/7 services. Though it would be cost prohibitive to have the physical building open those hours, we do offer online services that you can access with your library card just by going to our website .

Overdrive allows you to download eBooks or audiobook – for free. You don’t need to pay Amazon prices – check us out instead.

Encyclopedia Britannica is also available for free. It’s not that black bound tomb of a book you or your parents remember either! It’s a colorful teaching-education tool! Broken down by age group and ability, Britannica Online has some pretty nifty features like illustrations you can use for projects, maps, videos, and games.

And did you say you wanted free music? Try Freegal – download music with your library card. Oh, and did we tell you get to keep the music you download? All you need is your library card!

Have you been looking for the most up-to-date computer books but don’t want to pay the $50 or more? Did you know you can access these books from Safari Books Online? Safari Books offer an “online collection of over 3,000 computer and technical ebooks, covering programming, design, desktop publishing, ecommerce, online business, hardware and more, from publishers such as O’Reilly, Wiley, Pretence Hall, and many more.” It too, is free with your library card.

We are always trying to keep up with our community needs. We offer free movie showing, author talks, writing groups, children’s programs…the truth is, I could go on and on! We recently started a baking section which includes cake pans which you can check out – again for free. So far, our circulating cake pan collection has been a great success! We understand that not everyone can afford to purchase items they may only use once. That’s why we encourage you to get and use your library card. The truth is, if you haven’t been to a library lately, you really haven’t been to a LIBRARY!


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Filed under all ages, electronic resources, library services

Downloadable Books – The Next Generation

Have you checked out audio or eBooks from the Library’s Overdrive collection? If you have, you know how difficult the process can be.  Don’t despair – the next generation of Overdrive is here!  The new interface became available on March 14, 2013. Overdrive has made it faster and easier for you to connect to the books you want to read.

You can connect to the Overdrive console via the library’s website at  Once there, select the “Books and Media” tab at the top of the page.  A drop-down menu will appear.  Choose “Overdrive e-content” from that list.  You will be re-directed to the Overdrive Media Console.  From the homepage, there are several ways to find titles to enjoy.

  1. Select a cover image from any of the lists.
  2. Click a link from the menu.
  3. Enter a search for something you want.

You can quickly tell which titles are available and which ones you can place on hold by the format icon in the top-right corner of a cover image. If a title isn’t available, the icon will be greyed out.

The Menu bar is available from any page—just click the icon to expand or collapse it.

You can drill down search results by subject, rating, language, and more.

Borrowing and reading titles is much easier. It takes only a few seconds to find a title and start reading. Accessing any borrowed title from your Bookshelf only requires a few clicks or taps.

  1. eBooks – Click Borrow then Go to Bookshelf (you may be prompted to sign in) to read the title in your browser or download. If you want additional borrowing options, select a different format from the Bookshelf on your Account page.
  2. Audiobooks – Select the title you want, click (or tap) Borrow, then download it from your Bookshelf.

From your Account page, you can view your Holds, Lists (Wish List, Rated titles, and Recommendations for you), and change your lending period(s) from the Settings page.

Click the ribbon below a title to add or remove it from your Wish List.


OverDrive Read is a new in-browser eBook reader. It works just like any eBook reading app, except you don’t need to activate or install extra software.

All you need is a computer, tablet, or mobile device with a modern web browser. If you’d like to learn more about compatibility, please check out the OverDrive Read website.

Once you’ve borrowed a title, click the Read button next to a supported eBook on your bookshelf to open it in a new tab or window.


The titles that we currently offer are available to you via the library’s membership in the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium. These titles are shared by residents of all 35 area libraries.  This can make waiting for a new title particularly frustrating, as copies can be checked out for up to 3 weeks. Next week, we will begin our subscription to OverDrive Advantage. This feature gives libraries that are members of a shared collection the ability to offer popular titles — exclusively for their patrons. The Advantage collection is integrated with the same single download website that you already use. Our subscription to OverDrive Advantage will result in:

  1. Reduced waiting lists
  2. A Custom collection – tailored to the tastes of Dracut residents
  3. Access to both the shared MVLC collection, and the Advantage collection

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Filed under all ages, electronic resources, from the director, new items

Storybook Apps

When the Academy Awards were announced in January, our attention was drawn to Moonbot, a software developer and creator of The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, an iPad app that doubles as a book (or maybe it’s a book that doubles as an iPad app), which was nominated for the Oscar for Best Animated Short.  Children’s apps for the iPhone & iPad are not new,  and yes, Storybook apps – interactive children’s books for your iPad, have been around. For example, these were the Top Ten Storybook apps according to Kirkus Reviews for 2010. Storybook apps are what’s happening now and probably will be the future of children’s publishing (in some shape or form).  If there were doubts, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore may have changed a few minds.

For those parents who feel left behind in the digital age, we  introduce you to Apps for Homeschooling an app reviewing website that is for homeschoolers by homeschoolers. There are some great children’s apps reviewed here and you don’t need to homeschool to take advantage!  If you’re in shock that a library is promoting Storybook and iPad apps, my humble opinion is if an iPad app is the best way to educate and inform then, YES, do it! With Apple selling 15.4 million iPads last quarter, the digital world will only continue to grow. We know that – but our mission to direct you to helpful resources and information will not change – even if it means pointing you in a digital direction.

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Filed under all ages, children, electronic resources

eBooks & beyond

We know what you’re looking for and we’re here to help! Did you get a Kindle, Nook or iPad? Maybe you just want to download some eAudiobooks for your iPod. Here are a couple of sites we recommend. First start here! Yes here at the library.

One-Click digital is a newly purchased resource for Dracut library card holders. It is an eAudiobook service that allows you to check out eAudiobooks from anywhere! We’ll be purchasing new material from Recorded Books on a regular basis, so the selections are always changing. What is so great about this service? It allows multiple users to listen to a book at the same time. Most people don’t realize that with other services like Overdrive, only one user at a time can use the material – which can translate to longer wait times.  We like One-Click and hope you will too!

Overdrive, available to all MVLC libraries, offers both eAudiobooks and ePublications. The plus side is that it offers ePublications not just eAudiobooks.  The downside is that you may have to go on the waiting list in order to get it. Overdrive only has a set number of copies available for use (yes, MVLC has to buy these copies!), so in the case of a wildly popular best seller, you may have a better chance of getting the actual hardcover book faster than the eAudio or ePub. If you’re not the impatient sort, then this won’t be a problem.  However, if you are technologically challenged, you may have trouble just getting started with Overdrive. If that’s the case, please call us – we don’t want you having a frustrating library experience!

It’s no surprise that publishers don’t like the idea of libraries buying an eBook and leading it to countless people free of charge. After all, publishers are in the business of selling books not giving them away. Project Gutenberg, founded in 1971 by Michael Hart,  is the oldest digital library in the world. It’s goal is to digitalized cultural works and make them available for distribution as eBooks. This is an amazing resource for everyone! From the Holy Bible to Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. It’s a wonderful resource and, with the help of volunteers digitizing works, is an ever-growing collection.

Know of any great eBook & eAudio sites we should know about? Please let us know – we’re always looking for resources to share!

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Filed under all ages, electronic resources, library services

Shopping Reviews for eReaders

Our Reference staff would like to share some eBook reader reviews for those who may be planning on buying an eReader this holiday season.  Check out the following links: eReader Comparison or eBook Reader 2012 for on line reviews. Or come in and check out the December 2011 issue of Consumer Reports (the Reference Desk has an issue you can view if the others are already checked out) or the January 2011 issue of PC World which feature reviews and articles on eReaders. Looking for information on how to download free books from Overdrive? Check out our December 8, 2012 blog post here.

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Filed under adults, electronic resources, library services, Uncategorized

Using Overdrive for your ePubs & Audiobooks

Are you getting an getting a Nook, Kindle or iPad for Christmas? Did you know that you can download material for free using your library card? Our Reference staff has put together a quick getting started guide on how to download material using Overdrive. Remember however, that prior to using your device, you must register it with your manufacture (i.e, set up an iTunes account for example if you are using an iPad), prior to attempting to download anything. If you do not have a library card, (Huh? You don’t have a library card?!) – well, you need to come and pay us a visit so we can get you started! If you do have your card and your device, use these quick tips to get started:

Go to

From the tabs at the top:

Click on Books & Media


Click on Digital Downloads

Please remember that not all books are available in Audio or E-Book format. There are usually a limited number of copies available of each title and you may need to go on a waiting list just as you do with the print format. Once you are at the

Overdrive site 

          Go to  Help/Information section (in the column along the left side)

You will need to check to see if your device or the device you are planning on purchasing is compatible   The Quick Start link will answer many of your questions.

      You may need to download free software

The My Help button will take you through the process step-by-step

When searching for material to download, be sure you click on the correct format:

          Audiobooks or eBooks

          You can limit your search to currently available titles

If you have questions on how to use your device go to the appropriate website.  Most e-reader manufacturers have excellent information on their sites.  Of course, the library staff will assist you whenever possible.

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Dracut jobs

Looking for a job in the Dracut area? We have resources that can help. allows you to search Dracut (or any city or town) for jobs by job title, keyword or company name.  JobQuest is another free site run by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts which allows you to post your resume, search for jobs and training sites, as well as alerting you to job fairs across the state.  Don’t have a computer at home? We have public computers available to use, free with your library card! Pass the word along to your friends and family – together we can all get working!

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Filed under adults, electronic resources, Find It!


Get your summer reading into Overdrive! Did you know, that with your library card, you are able to download ebooks, via Overdrive (MVLC Digital Downloads) at home for free? Compatible with eReaders as well as iPads, iPhone, iPods as well as your home PC – you can obtain a variety of titles anytime or anywhere! New to Overdrive? Click here for a step by step walk through to get you started!

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Filed under all ages, computers, electronic resources, library services

Historical maps

If you are doing genealogical research or just like looking at old, historical maps this is a link you should be looking at! It’s fun and who knows what you’ll see and discover!

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Historical Quadrangle Scanning Project (HQSP) is in the process of releasing all editions and all scales of more than 200,000 historic topographic maps of the United States dating from 1884-2006.

For more than 130 years, the USGS topographic mapping program has accurately portrayed the complex geography of our Nation. The historical topographic map collection contains all editions and all scales of USGS topographic quadrangles. Files are high resolution (600 DPI) scanned images of all maps from the USGS legacy collection.

The historical topographic map collection includes all States and U.S. territories mapped by the USGS. The HQSP creates a master catalogue and digital archive for all topographic maps and provides easy access to the public to download this historical data to accompany topographic maps that are no longer available for distribution as lithographic prints.

Historical maps are available to the public at no cost in GeoPDF format from the USGS Store. These maps are georeferenced and can be used in conjunction with the new USGS digital topographic map, the US Topo

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Filed under adults, all ages, electronic resources, Find It!

Pulitzer Prize Winner 2011

Last week, the Pulitzer Prize winners for 2011 were announced.  Among the winners are Sebastian Smee of The Boston Globe for journalistic criticism and Jennifer Egan for her fictional work “A Visit from the Goon Squad”. For a list of all the 2011 winner click on our Pulitzer Prize Link. To request any of the winner books check out our online catalog.

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Filed under adults, electronic resources