Stream the music you want. When you want it. No ads. No charge.
Who wouldn’t like the concept?
It didn’t take patrons of the Kansas City Public Library long to discover — and take advantage of — the upgraded offerings of Freegal Music. Its catalog of some 7 million songs was made available via online streaming in February 2014. By the end of that month, nearly 13,000 tracks had been accessed by Library card-holders.
The streaming is unlimited, available 24-7, and more flexible than other services that allow users to specify genres of music but not particular songs. With Freegal, patrons can create personal playlists. Or they can listen to an entire album of their choosing.
“To use an appropriate term, it’s a hit,” says Joel Jones, the Library’s deputy director of branch and library services. “Freegal’s downloads have always been popular – they’re yours to keep – but there are limits.
“There’s no ceiling on streaming. You can listen to as much as you want for as long as you want. I use it on my (smart) phone at the YMCA. Before I climb on the treadmill, I just go to the ’80s classic rock selections or whatever else I’m in the mood for and pick a playlist. It’s so easy.”
The Library has offered Freegal’s downloaded music since late 2012, recently raising its limit on downloads from three to five songs a week.
Free subscriptions to your favorite magazines? It sounds too good to be true, but patrons of the Library now have full access to the “online newsstand” Zinio.
“Zinio provides free magazines in digital format to our patrons, either in the library on our PCs, or on their personal computers at home, or on their mobile devices,” explains Joel Jones, the Library’s director of branches and outreach services.
“This isn’t a text-only thing,” Jones says. “It’s the actual magazine as you buy it on the newsstand. You get the layouts, the photos … it’s as if you had a physical copy of the magazine in your hand.”
Among the 110 magazines currently available through Zinio is a broad selection of mainstream and special-interest publications like Forbes, Utne Reader, Rolling Stone, Seventeen, Us Weekly, Smithsonian, Newsweek, The Economist, Car and Driver, Billboard, Field & Stream, Mother Jones, and The Nation. Magazines in Spanish are offered as well, such as the Spanish-language versions of Seventeen and Cosmopolitan.
Magazines downloaded to an individual’s devices remain there until deleted.
“Almost anything you’ll find on a normal newsstand you’ll find on Zinio,” Jones says. “And we’re taking suggestions for additional publications to add to the service.”
After two years of study and implementation, the Kansas City Public Library’s new on-line catalog – known as Enterprise – hits the Internet this month.
Digital Branch manager David LaCrone, the man in charge of implementing the new system, says that while patrons will notice some new bells and whistles, most of the changes aren’t obvious – except that they make searches of the catalog more accessible and easier.
Q. Lots of us users feel that the current online catalog works fine. Why change it?
LaCrone: “From a purely technical standpoint, our current catalog has been so heavily customized over the years that we just could no longer update it effectively.
“It also bears noting that our current software isn‘t compatible with newer Internet Explorer browsers. If you are using Windows 7 or 8, major portions of our catalog are ‘broken.’ You can’t use them properly. That certainly doesn’t make us look very good. We needed to go to a next-generation platform that would serve the future, not just the present.”
Q. What about new bells and whistles?
Bob Walkenhorst’s regular gig at the Record Bar in Westport is usually standing room only. And in Norway he’s revered as a rock god. But you don’t have to stand in line, pay a cover charge, or fly to Scandinavia to get an earful of fresh Walkenhorst: He's coming to the Library.
The joys of reading ebooks are not restricted to those who own Kindles, Nooks, or other ereaders. If you have a smartphone or tablet, you too can enjoy ebooks checked out from the Library or downloaded from a retailer like Amazon or a free-ebook site like Project Gutenberg.
The list below outlines some of the more popular ereading apps, including ones you’ll need if you do plan to check out ebooks from the Kansas City Public Library.
So read on, and be sure to post a comment if you use an app that’s not on the list.
I. Apps that work with the Kansas City Public Library’s ebooks collection.
Want to check out one of our e-books for your mobile device? You’ll need these apps.
It’s Sunday night and your research paper on Hadrian’s Villa ain’t gonna write itself. You need fast, easy-to-digest, and reliable reference information, but the library is closed and you’ve already mined Wikipedia and Google for all they’re worth.
What if you could use your computer to search inside every book inside your local library? Then, once you’d found the information you wanted, download the article for your ereader, listen to it as an MP3, or email it to a friend, all without leaving home?
That’s exactly what you can do with the nonfiction reference ebooks available in the Kansas City Public Library’s newest database.
The Gale Virtual Reference Library consists of more than 200 nonfiction ebooks in the humanities. Search them instantly for handy articles that you can save, print, and download to an ereader such as a Nook or a Kindle or an MP3 player such as an iPod.
It’s 100 percent free, and you can access it from home with your Kansas City Public Library Card and PIN.
Let’s take that Roman history example.
If you’re an online news junkie, chances are the Gray Lady’s paywall is your bête noire. For the past year, The New York Times has been allowing readers limited access. But now, the Library is providing digitized microfilm of the Times and the Wall Street Journal for free, and from home, too.
In March 2011, the New York Times announced it would be imposing a paywall between its readers and all that wonderful content they’d previously been enjoying for free. With the new paywall, readers could view only 20 nytimes.com articles per month without a digital subscription.
Then, a year later in March 2012 the paper declared success on the paywall model and got even stricter, shrinking the number of free articles to 10. Subscriptions now range from $15 to $35 a month, which is kind of pricey when you’re used to getting all the news that's fit to print for free.
Area high school students and their families receive an eyeful and an earful about design careers at the 2012 Design Futures/High School Program on Saturday, March 3, 2012 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.
We’ve got a strict policy at the Kansas City Public Library: No matter how old you look, we’ll card you. But we don’t want to see your driver’s license or ID. If you haven’t seen your card since the Clinton era, now is the perfect time to get a brand-new, shiny, redesigned Library card.
Through the end of February 2012, come into any branch and get a new Library card free of charge. (After February 29, a $1 replacement fee will apply.) The new cards come in two designs: blue for adults and orange for children and teens.
Why bother getting a new card? Here are three good reasons.
If you come into the Library to use a public computer but don’t have your card handy (or your number memorized), our circulation staff will be happy to write your account number and PIN on a piece of paper for you.
Then, when you accidentally leave that scrap of paper lying around, a miscreant or ne’er-do-well (likely from out of the district), will be happy to check out books to your account. And never return them.
Skipping the lines at the circ desk is easy with a Library card. Simply scan the card’s barcode into one of our self-checkout machines and follow the directions to check out your materials.
In Chinese zodiac lore, the dragon is stately, proud, fiery, and passionate. And if you’re turning 12, 24, 36, 48 (or another multiple of 12) this year, congratulations, noble dragon, 2012 is all you! Here are some ideas for how you can celebrate the Chinese New Year on January 23 in Kansas City.
1. Join Winter Reading
Our annual Adult Winter Reading program began on January 9, and if you haven’t signed up yet, this is the perfect way to get started on your New Year’s resolution to read more great literature – and celebrate the Chinese New Year in one swoop. The theme this year is Destination: Anywhere!, and the reading list will take you to far-flung places, including, of course, China. Start off with Pearl S. Buck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of pre-revolutionary China, The Good Earth, or delve into Jung Chang’s multigenerational family history, Wild Swans. Get more suggested readings and sign up for Winter Reading here.
2. Attend the Greater Kansas City Chinese New Year Celebration
Since launching the Kansas City Public Library mobile app a couple of months ago, we’ve been hearing stories of how people are using the app in interesting ways. This doesn’t surprise us. Library patrons, after all, are the smartest people on the planet.
Now, if you don’t yet have the app, it’s available as a fast, free download for just about every smart phone and tablet PC. Search your device’s app store for kc library, or go to the device’s browser and type in kcpl.boopsie.com to download the app directly to your device.
Here are five ways our customers are using the app to enhance their Library experience.
Our friend John finds himself pulling out the app whenever he visits the bookstore. As a self-described “test driver” who uses the Library to try books before he buys 'em, John searches the Library catalog through the app and places a hold on the book to check it out later. Don't worry, bookstore owners of Kansas City: if he ends up liking the book enough to buy it, he'll be back. (Tip: You can also do this with DVDs you’re thinking about buying, such as highly coveted TV-on-DVD collections, which we check out for free.)