I found the topic for the beginning of today’s article by being a friend of the Clark County Public Library on Facebook. If you have not done that yet, take a few moments to do so the next time you’re in your Facebook account. It will enhance your geek status and help your learn a lot that’s very interesting.Case in point: Reference librarian Jeff Gurnee (one of our Facebook mavens) recently posted a link to a Forbes magazine article describing how anyone can take free online courses from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. For the past decade, about 2100 free classes have been available to anyone who accesses MIT’s OpenCourseWare site. All you have to do is go to the site, select the class you’d like to view, log-in and learn.
Even more exciting is the news that this spring MIT is going to start another online learning platform called MITx. This platform will allow students to not only view educational media, but will also offer interactive participation with teachers and other students, and allow participants to earn an official certificate of completion of course material from MIT.
That article also directs readers to two other free online learning platforms: Academic Earth, through which anyone can watch some of America’s top professors lecture on their fields; and Khan Academy, an interactive learning platform specifically for students grades K-12. That site should offer some terrific programming for area homeschoolers.If you are already on Facebook, check out the article by becoming a library friend. If you’d like to learn how to use Facebook, we have a class for that; the next one to be offered 2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, at the library. Space is limited; sign up soon.
Clark County resident Harry Enoch, who has published a number of local history books, brought us a very interesting article about the fast-growing field of e-publishing. The article, entitled “Self-Published Authors Hit It Big With E-Books,” is from the Dec. 13 Life section of USA Today. It describes how both new and established authors are increasingly using e-book publishing services offered by commercial organizations like Amazon and Barnes and Noble, to have their work published free in electronic format while still recouping profits from sales.
Think of it. You format and publish your book online, free, set the price you’d like to sell it for and then recoup up to 70 percent of the cost each edition sold. To use the vernacular: You can’t beat that with a stick. That article also refers readers to one of the best websites for learning the ins and outs of e-publishing, “A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing,” by Joe Konrath. Look it up. You can find that e-publishing article online at the USA Today website, or give us a call and we’ll be glad to reprint it for you or to send you a link.
I’ll close with a (graphic) novel suggestion. I have to admit I’m becoming more and more impressed by both the story lines and artwork of many of the new graphic novels. Yes, many of them are light-minded, lurid, and filled with gratuitous sex and violence — just like many genres novels published these days. However, reference librarian Jeff Gurnee turned me on to a Marvel Graphic Novel update of Charles Dickens’ classic “Christmas Carol,” called “Zombie’s Christmas Carol,” and you know, I found it pertinent and moving. In this Marvel update, Scrooge’s greed and disdain for the plight of others is the source of a zombie plague that threatens to turn the human race into the hungry dead, who cannot be satiated no matter how much they consume. A nifty social satire.Come browse around at the library, you’ll be amazed and enlightened.