FREE Driver’s Ed Practice Tests!

Are you…

  • A new driver studying for your learner’s permit?
  • Planning to get a motorcycle?
  • Studying for your CDL license?

If you fit any of these categories, then you’ll definitely want to know about our partnership with Driving-Tests.org to offer you free practice tests for cars, motorcycles, and the CDL license.

DDS

You will also find an FAQ and PDF editions of the GA Driver’s Handbook, GA Moto Handbook, and the GA CDL Handbook.

If you’re ready to take your test or if you need to renew your license, you can locate the GA DDS office nearest you by going to their website: http://www.dds.ga.gov/

Tor (Re)reads for Sci-fi/Fantasy lovers

If you’re a fan of any of the big sci-fi/fantasy series and you’d like to dig in deeper, Tor.com has a series of regular columns that delve into these books (and movies/television series) called Tor Rereads.

You’ll find entries on Harry Potter, Wheel of Time, Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones on HBO), Brandon Sanderson, Doctor Who, and more.

If horror is your genre, check out the Reread of H. P. Lovecraft.

With 5 pages worth of subjects, take a look and see if you find something for your fandom!

Construction Codes

If you’re a local developer, property owner, or curious citizen, did you know that you can view most of the mandatory building codes online? The International Code Council has made the various International Codes (also referred to as I-Codes) available through their Online Library.

The National Electric Code is available from the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA)

The State determines which editions of the Building Codes local developers must follow and issues any local amendments to these codes. Information about which codes are being used is available from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

Cherokee, Gilmer, and Pickens County have local departments to contact about building permits and related information:

Hiking into Fall (Savvy Sources)

What better time of year to go for a hike? The leaves are beginning to turn, and the weather is a bit cooler on some days. So, why not take the kids, take a friend, and go hiking and enjoy the autumn leaves?

The good news is that you don’t have to go far to get to some really great hiking (most of it is within 2 hours of Canton).

The best way to plan which trails to hit is to hear from someone who’s been on them. We’ve got a few Georgia hiking guides in some of our branches, but there is an ever-growing number of websites that review hiking trails much like one would review a book–what was good, what was bad, and what you should expect. (All that with no spoilers!)

  • AtlantaTrails.com is a gorgeous website for finding trails in the area. The photos are excellent and the reviews are well-written. There’s no detailed information about trail length and estimated time, but you can use the menus at the bottom of the main page to find trails. You can view trails by Feature, Distance, Trail System, or Difficulty. Definitely start here if you’re just starting to explore what trails are in our area, you can then venture to one of the other sites for more specific information.
  • Trails.com gives information on hiking, backpacking, and cycling trails. You can also browse by features such as waterfalls, climbing, birding, campgrounds. There’s also information about scenic drives. When you pick a trail, you will see reviews and stats on how long and how difficult it is. Start off by searching by zip code or check out the Georgia page. [There are no results for waterfalls in Georgia, but there are actually quite a few.]
  • Campnpost.com has a great list of trails that are near Canton (as well as other trails in the Southeast). Each trail review has length, location, and directions along with a descriptive review of the trail. Good information can also be found in some of the comments. Other areas of the site include information on rivers and campgrounds.
  • Tripleblaze.com has ranked their Top 100 Trails in Georgia. This site includes information on caves in the U.S.

Aren’t we supposed to be encouraging you to check out a book to read? Well, we still want you to (of course) but save the books for when the winter chill sets in and you need a fireside read! Nature is a book of its own sort.

The book of living nature
is unlike other books in this respect:
One can read it over and over,
and always find new meanings.
It is a book that goes to press every night,
and comes forth fresh every morning.
John Burroughs

Five Recommended Reads for Book Clubs

One of the best things about being in a book club is reading a variety of genres that you wouldn’t usually pick up.  This makes reading more exciting and introduces you to some great books that may even become your favorites.  Below is a selection of books we have in our library system that make for excellent book club reads and will provide lots of discussion points.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand 940.547 HIL

This nonfiction book about a WWII POW’s life will engage even the most anti-nonfiction reader.  The tale of Louis Zamperini’s life takes readers across America, to the Olympics, and right into the middle of the WWII.  It is heart-wrenching and beautiful at the same time.  Hillenbrand’s writing style is easy to read as her narrative weaves Zamperini’s memories with historical facts and diary entries from the time.

Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson FIC WAT

This fast, suspenseful book will keep readers from sleep as they stay awake all night to find out what happens to the main character, Christine.  Due to an incident, she suffers from short-term memory loss and awakens each day unaware of the previous.  Despite having no recent memories Christine knows something is wrong, but who can she trust to help her find the truth?

 Room by Emma Donoghue FIC DON

Readers will be intrigued and disgusted by the premise of this fictional tale that mirrors the real life events of children/women kidnapped and held prisoner for most of their life; however, this one is told from the perspective of a 5-year-old born into this life who does not understand his and his mother’s situation and thus adds a more innocent tone to the story.

 Wonder by R. J. Palacio J PAL

This juvenile chapter book is a great way for your book club to mix things up.  It is a touching and relevant read that you’ll want to recommend to everyone you know.  The book is told in multiple perspectives by and about Auggie, a 5th grade boy who is smart, funny, and kind but who also has extreme facial deformations.  This one makes for great discussions about the way we treat others and view our society’s values.

 A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness FIC HAR

This unexpected book club favorite comes in on the longer side of book club reads but is well worth it.  Harkness ties in mythology, history, magic, and supernatural elements with a romantic journey that will make readers want to finish the trilogy.  It follows the witch scholar Diana and vampire geneticist Matthew as they flee for their safety after make a historical discovery that could change their supernatural world.

Getting started with Pronunciator

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Click above to register!

We are very pleased to announce a new addition to our 24/7 library services–Pronunciator!

Pronunciator is a language-learning service that offers over 80 languages to learn at home, in the library, or on the go.

Mobile apps are available for:

There are also many ESL options if you know someone who would like to improve their English! Continue reading

Training the “Bi-literate” Brain

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A recent Washington Post article discusses the effects on-line and screen reading has on our leisure and more serious reading endeavors.  Our brains are adapting to scanning screens, skimming for information, and moving quickly from one topic to the next due to increased computer, smartphone, television, text, and e-mail use.  This can leave even the best of readers feeling sluggish or frustrated when trying to read or listen to an actual book.  While the effects on children are still being studied, it is thought that their deep reading skills can be stunted due to the use of electronic devices.  In today’s world we may not be able to leave our devices behind, but we can train our brains to be “bi-literate” by ensuring that we not only use our devices but that we also make an active effort to read traditionally from books.

Epistolary Novels

The publishing world is of course full of traditionally written books to help keep our brains in check; however, epistolary novels have always been common and popular.  These novels are written in the form of letters, diary entries, and other non-traditional methods.  In more recent years, this style of book has been written in formats that modern readers are used to, including e-mails, texts, tweets, and blog posts.  While there is no specific research, these books may help ease frustrated readers back into traditional reading.

Check the short list below of more “modern” epistolary novels and let us know your thoughts on this topic.

  • The Internet Girls (ttyl, ttfnand l8r, g8r)* by Lauren Myracle is a young adult series written in instant messages.

LoveVirtually

Aliceintumblrland

Chopsticks

  • Chopsticks* by Jessica Anthony is a young adult story told exclusively in pictures, texts, drawings, video links, and other modern devices.
  • S.* by Doug Dorst is a longer book but unique in the way the reader interacts with it and requires reading the margins and using a collection of documents to understand the story

*These titles are available within the Sequoyah Regional Library System.

 

Social Cataloging for Book Lovers (Savvy Sources)

There are some great and fun sites that are perfect for book lovers to keep track of what they read and want to read, to catalog their collections, and to connect with fellow readers.  The following sites offer a variety of ways to document one’s reading life in as much or little detail as they choose.

Goodreads (Free)

Goodreads

Established in 2007, Goodreads has 25 million members and offers users a way to keep track of what they are reading, what they have read, and what they want to read.  The site even has a recommendation feature that is personalized to each account as well as forums for every genre and topic.  Another nice feature is that users can add their local library’s catalog to their account which will then add a link to each book page so that users can see if a book is available for checkout from their preferred library system.  Goodreads does of course have its faults.  There is currently no re-read feature to allow for multiple read dates and the mobile apps have multiple bugs and can be too frustrating for users to enjoy.  Despite these, Goodreads is a great way for users to keep track of their reading habits, connect with other readers, and find their next favorite book.

LibraryThing (Free for the first 200 books)

LibraryThing

Since 2006 LibraryThing has been the top site for cataloging one’s personal book collection.  While cataloging books is the site’s main focus, it does have a thriving community for reviews and forums and allows users to keep track of the books they are reading, have read, and want to read.  Browsing other users’ public catalogs is a great way to find books on a specific topic as well as for users to collaborate and share book themes, ideas, and recommendations.  LibraryThing’s main shortcomings are that the site is only free for users cataloging 200 books or less ($10 a year or $25 lifetime for 201+ books) and that the owner and staff can be rude in their management and enforcement of site policies.  Those faults aside, LibraryThing is perfect for in-depth cataloging of one’s book collection.

BookLikes (Free)

booklikes

BookLikes is an up-and-comer to the on-line reading community.  This site focuses more on the social aspects of reading by combining the look and feel of a blog or a Tumblr page.  Users are encouraged to add their books and reviews as well as “like” and “reblog” those of others.  The site is less about cataloging than about documenting the user’s reading life.  Due to the newness of the site, staff is receptive and fast in attending to complaints or requests.  This is a major appeal for new users as it offers them a say in how the site operates and grows.

Also check out:

Shelfari • TheReadingRoom • Bookish • Riffle

Thanks to these wonderful book sites there is sure to be a good fit for each reader depending on the features they are looking for.  Are you ready to start your on-line reading catalog?  If so, which site do you prefer or which site have you been using?

New form for Interlibrary Loans

ILL Button

We’re rolling out a new form for Interlibrary Loans!

Due to an increased amount of spam, we are moving to an updated form for requesting Interlibrary Loans. If you have the old form bookmarked on your computer, make sure to update it to the new form.

Small Business Resources

Small Business Resource Directory

Small businesses comprise 99 percent of Georgia companies. No small part of the state’s economic lifeblood, small businesses reflect Georgia’s entrepreneurial spirit and fuel job growth, as well as personal pride.

from Georgia.org’s Small Business Resource Directory

There’s a lot to know before you start a business. You can get some general ideas and suggestions from books, many of which we have here in the library (check out the 658s). But, there’s also the nitty-gritty details about licenses and regulations that are state-specific.

Georgia.org is a great place to go to get some of that information. Their Small Business Resource Directory is where you can find out about important things like:

  • Starting a business
  • Financial assistance
  • Tax credits and exemptions
  • Government regulations
  • Tools and forms
  • and much more…

If you’ve already done some of the beginning research, take a look at the Start-Up Basics PDF (from UGA’s Small Business Development Center).

Other Resources

KSU Coles College of Business – Small Business Development Center

Cherokee Office of Economic Development — Small Business

Gilmer County Government Official Site

Pickens County Business Licenses

Dead or Alive? (Find out!)

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Sometimes we just want to know if that celebrity or author we haven’t heard about in years is dead or alive. Wikipedia is often a good place to go for this sort of information but sometimes the biographical information is overwhelming.

Dead or Alive? is a great site to check out if you just want to know if a famous (or semi-famous) person is still alive and kicking–or not!

The first page shows a list of people who have died in the last 6 months (most recently, Tom Clancy at age 66). But, you can also search by date, cause of death, lived to 100, and more.

This may lead to another question: where are they buried? Find A Grave is the site you will want to visit to find that out.

Find A Grave

Find A Grave has two databases: one for locating famous graves, the other for locating ancestor’s graves.

Check out the list of famous people buried in Georgia.

The non-famous grave database is a huge help for anyone interested in genealogy or local history research. You can search for names if you are looking for where a specific person is buried.

Or, if you are wondering who’s buried in the cemetery across the street (or in the middle of a field somewhere) odds are you can locate the cemetery here and see the names of all those buried there.

Who knows, with the ability for people to add pictures, you just may find pictures of ancestors that you had never seen before!

October Activity: Plan a trip to a local cemetery or go ancestor hunting and enjoy the good weather.
TIP: Older city cemeteries often have a variety of interesting monuments and styles.

The National Science Digital Library (Savvy Sources)

nsdlThe National Science Digital Library is a great, free resource if you’re working on a science report or project for school. The NSDL

provides high quality online educational resources for teaching and learning, with current emphasis on the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines—both formal and informal, institutional and individual, in local, state, national, and international educational settings.

Think of it like a search engine for the STEM disciplines. And, like all search engines, it begins with the search box:

nsdlsearchYou will really want to make use of the three search modifiers to limit your search. The Educational Level lets you limit the resources based on the intended audience (there’s something for everyone, from pre-K through working professionals). Resource Type is where you can limit your search to resources based on the type of information you need–audio/visual, lesson plans, experiments, etc. This menu is more in-depth if you pull it up after you run a search:

nsdlsample

When you add restrictions to your search, it will show you how many resources of that type are available. This will help you determine if you need to change your search terms. Also note that some resource types include subcategories (HINT: Experiments and activities are under Instructional Material.)

Not everything is going to be flashy, but take a look at De-Twinkling The Stars for an example of some of the fun things you can find!

Get it together with Google Drive (Savvy Sources)

If you’re a long-time computer user, you may remember saving a school project or resume on one of these guys . . .

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First came floppy…

Or, if you’re a bit newer to the computer scene, one of these?

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Then came flash…

Flash drives are great for keeping important documents close at hand for easy access (as long as you keep up with them!) And, they are still the best way to send copies of your resume to prospective employers since you can’t save files to our library computers.

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Now the cloud??? (LINK)

But, if you just need a way to create, save, and print documents on the go, Google Drive is definitely worth looking into. In fact, if you have a Gmail email address you already have access to Google Drive! If you don’t have a Gmail/Google account it is really easy to register for one. Note: a mobile phone number is NOT required.

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It’s time to drive!

What is it? And what can I do with it?

Upload photos, videos, documents, and other files that are important to you to Google Drive. Get going with up to 15GB of storage. Free.

Google Drive is a cloud-based product that you can use to create documents, slides, and spreadsheets similar to what you can create using Microsoft Office. One of the best reasons to use Google Drive here in the library is that it saves your work as you go so you don’t have to worry about losing all of your work!

Over on their blog, the Google Drive team has shared some ways that students (and teachers) can use Google Drive in the classroom. Students can:

  • Collaborate on group projects
  • Create slideshows for class presentations
  • Create forms to collect and organize information.

Another resource: Many of the public school are offering a Cloud-based portal for students to store and save files for their schoolwork and you can check with your school to find out if this is available.

The best way to get started with Google Drive is to just log on and play around. Create a resume, start a novel, whatever you’d like to do just give it a shot and see where it takes you. Google Drive is also available as an app for most smartphones and you can create and share things on the go as well!

Adult Summer Reading – 7/31 The last day for reviews*

Tomorrow is the last day to submit your Adult Summer Reading book reviews!

This year’s Adult Summer Reading program has gone very well. We have had over 400 book reviews submitted–and that’s just counting those submitted online.

Don’t miss out on your chance to win the Prize Bag for your branch!

Submit your reviews soon!

*Online reviews must be submitted by 5:45PM on Wednesday, 7/31.