Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Fun Stuff for Your Time Off During the Holidays

The holiday season usually offers many of us more leisure time than we typically have. Also, given the icy weather we've been having, perhaps you are spending a little more time at home.

If you find yourself bored over the holidays or got lucky enough to get a new computer for Christmas that you want to use, here are a few suggestions for some online fun.


If you are an art fan, give the Smithsonian American Art Museum a try online at The Collections & Exhibitions tab on this page opens to a multitude of possible areas to explore. I found much of historical interest & visual delight under the Online Exhibitions link. I particularly enjoyed the American Impressionism & Scenes of American exhibits. Music

Although I remain a fan of what Pandora ( can do, I like what Deezer can do even more. Like Pandora, Deezer does not allow downloading of songs. But, Deezer allows a user to pick individual songs or individual artists, allowing a user to created individualized playlists.

Complete albums can be added to your Deezer account. So, if you really like Pink Floyd's The Wall, but don't own it, just create a Deezer account & add it to your playlists. Warning to true music nerds: songs on albums are not in the original album sequencing, so you might want to check All Music.Com to re-sequence an album.

Lastly, many artists entire catalog of songs can be found on Deezer. I have, for example, almost all Beatles songs I want in my Beatles playlist. However, other artists, such as U2 have almost no songs freely available. So, finding what you want can be hit or miss, but this is still a good & fun resource to give a look -- or listen. Online Games

A quick & fun game you might like to try is Guess-The-Google. This game is a simple web application that uses Google's image search to generate a large gridded montage of images based on keywords (search terms) entered by the user. Guess-the-google reverses this process by picking the keywords for you, the player must then guess what keyword made up the image - it's surprisingly addictive. Okay, that explanation makes it seem like less fun than it is. Give Guess-The-Google at

ArcaPlay ( is a good directory for quick & easy games covering a variety of game types: puzzle, action & adventure, & sport . One game under the Puzzle category that I like is Numbers, maybe because I was on the math team in high school. Yeah, I was really popular. Another unique game under Action & Adventure is called Wire Skeleton. The sound is out on the computer I'm working so I can't exactly tell what's going on ... but it looks very cool whatever it is.

One ( features post of one-sentence long stories. The site is equal parts weird, fun, funny, subversive, sad, & disturbing. And this is a good thing. Make sure to checkout the all-time best of the site (

If feeling slightly more ambitious, check out 400 Words. com ( The site collects true stories by ordinary people on assigned themes, asking people for the documentation of everyday life by saying a lot while only saying a little. The site stands pretty firm on its own as a literary community, but it also offers recommendations of dozens of other intriguing sites.


If you get bored in the coming months or get confined to your home due to bad weather (if this is what late fall is like, we may be in for a rough winter), give some of these fun online sites a try. Maybe you'll find one to be exactly what you've been looking for or maybe one will lead you to finding or remembering something else.

If you have suggestions for others about sites you like, please feel welcome to share them on this blog.

If you have questions or comments you'd like to direct only to me, you may email me at or phone me at 207-947-8336 x127.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


That's right we are rapidly approaching January '08 and our annual community read. The selection for Penobscot Reads 2008 is Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair the first book in the Thursday Next Series. Take a look at the PR08's website where you will find a calender of events, games, links to Fforde's website, and links to all the libraries participating in this years Penobscot Reads. Some of the sites features are still being added so make sure to keep checking back. A few of this years events include: book discussions, lectures on fantasy writing, jeopardy tournaments, and much more.

Jim Riordan

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

We've Added a Blogroll

Our blogroll (a list of featured web sites) is devoted to other Maine Library blogs. This will let you see what's happening at libraries all over the state. You can find it in the sidebar under the archive. If you are a Maine Library and have a blog you would like to see listed let me know and I'll add you.

Jim Riordan

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Search The Catalog From Our Web Site

We've just added an URSUS search window directly to our site. You can now search the catalog from any of the Bangor Public Library's web pages. It is preset to search the whole URSUS catalog (The University of Maine System, Maine State and Bangor Public) so if you want to narrow it to just the Bangor Public Library click on the URSUS icon and it will take you to the main URSUS page. Once there you can select just Bangor Public. If you are using one of our public access computers make sure you erase any text in the search box before you leave to preserve your privacy. And as always let us know what you think.

Jim Riordan

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

New Feature For IM Reference

As many of you are aware the Bangor Public Library provides Instant Messaging (IM) Reference through Yahoo, AOL, MSN and Google. There are many advantages to this. For example if you are at your computer working on a paper and can't remember how to cite a magazine article you can have a response usually in less than a minute. One of the down sides though is that not everyone subscribes to one of those four IM service.

We are now providing a service (through on our Ask A Librarian Web Page
that lets you send an Instant Message directly from the web site. Just type your question in the space labeled "Type Here and Hit Enter..." Usually you will get a response in a minute or less. However, the IM Librarian also has to answer the phone and help patrons in the library so if you don't get a response right away please be patient. Someone is usually online Tuesday through Friday 9:00 to 5:00 and on Monday from 12:00 to 8:00. Schedules do fluctuate though so check to make sure we are online. When you send a question the Instant Messenger will list you meebo [number]. This is a default setting and you can type in your own name where is says "edit nickname" if you choose. If you look to the left I've changed it to BPL Patron.

We are still working out the bugs on this (trying it on different operating systems, browsers, ISPs, etc.) If you run into any problems please let us know so we can try to fix them. And we will keep answering IM questions from Yahoo, AOL (BangorPubLib), Google (bplpublib) and MSN (

Jim Riordan

Bangor Public Library

Bangor Public Library
Bangor Public Library,
145 Harlow Street,
Bangor ME 04401