February 2014 RLCC Class Schedule Available

Computer ClassesRegistration is now open for staff and the public for the February 2014 Regional Library Computer Center classes. All classes are held in the Regional Library Computer Center (RLCC) of the Central (downtown) LibraryPRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED FOR ALL CLASSES.

To register for classes, you may:

  • Visit the Computer Commons department at the Central Library and obtain a copy of the class schedule. Fill it out and return to a Computer Commons staff.
  • Register online through the RLCC website. Please allow 2 to 4 business days for registration confirmation.

Space is limited for each class, and registration does not guarantee you a space. If you register for a class, please make all efforts to attend. Repeated “no shows” could affect your registration eligibility for future classes. If you register for a class and cannot attend, call Public Computer Services at (205) 226-3680 or 226-3681 as soon as possible.

Please pay close attention to the class times. No one will be admitted after 5 minutes past the time class is scheduled to start. 

Classes are provided by the Birmingham Public Library.

Internet Q and A

arpanetMost of us have access to the Internet and use it to surf the Web for various reasons: research, social networking, playing games, or to mindlessly surf. So what exactly is the Internet, and is it the same thing as the World Wide Web? These are some of the questions people frequently ask as they learn and further train on how to use the ever evolving technology today.

What is the Internet?

The Internet is a huge spider web of global computers connecting millions of personal and business computers, cellphones, GPS systems, and other devices. They are linked together for one purpose: the free sharing of information. Anyone can access the Internet, as long as you have the device and connection capability.

Who invented the Internet?

It’s more of “what” invented the Internet. The Internet began as a U.S. Department of Defense project to create a nationwide computer network that would continue to function even if a large portion of it were destroyed in a nuclear war or natural disaster.

It was conceived by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) in 1969 and dubbed “ARPAnet.” It evolved to primarily be used by academic institutions, scientists, and the government for research and communications. The nature of ARPAnet changed in 1992 when the U.S. government offered commercial companies rights to the network. It was then that Internet access was granted to the general public. This commenced the Internet’s expansion to what it is today.

What’s the difference between the Internet and the World Wide Web?

People use these terms interchangeably, but they’re not synonymous. They may be related, but they are two separate things.

The Internet is the physical component of the network system, and the World Wide Web is a collection of sites and pages within the Internet. The Web is viewed by using Web browsers like Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, or Safari. The Web is based on hypertext transfer protocol, the language that enables users to “jump” (via hyperlink) from one page to another.

What is a URL?

Web pages usually link to other pages via a Uniform Resource Identifier (URL). This is basically a technical way of saying “web address.”

If you would like more information about the Internet, you can attend the Basic Internet course that is offered each month at the Regional Library Computer Center. You can obtain more information by calling the Public Computer Services department at (205) 226-3681 or visiting their blog at www.rlccbpl.wordpress.com.

You may also want to check out these resources at the Birmingham Public Library:

Registration and the schedule for the August Computer Class will be available on Monday, July 15, during library hours.

Registration Now Open for July Computer Classes

The Regional Library Computer Center July 2013 Computer Classes schedule is now available, and registration is open to the public for the free courses. Please note that class times have been changed to 10:30 am – 12:30 pm. This month, we are again offering Microsoft Office 2010 programs and featuring Twitter in our “Introduction to Social Media” course. OpenOffice.org programs will be offered in August.

Beginner Classes

  • July 8 – Keyboarding: Introduces you to the basics of working with the computer keyboard and the mouse. Participants need not have any previous computer experience to take this course.
  • July 9 – Basic PC: Introduces people to the computer: basic PC terms, components, hardware, peripherals, desktop features, etc. Participants need not have any previous computer experience to take this course.
  • July 10 – Basic Internet: Introduces people to the history of the Internet, how to access and surf the Web, what web browsers are, what search engines are available, and basic search methods. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding and Basic PC or have some PC, mouse, and keyboarding experience to take this course.

Intermediate Classes

  • July 15 – Microsoft Word 2010 Part 1: Introduces people to Word 2010, a word processing application that is part of the Microsoft Office suite. It is recommended that participants to take all three parts. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding and Basic PC or have some PC, mouse, and keyboarding experience to take this course.
  • July 16 – Microsoft Word 2010 Part 2
  • July 17 – Microsoft Word 2010 Part 3
  • July 24 – Email Workshop: Helps people set up email accounts and learn to maneuver their way through email browsers. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding, Basic PC, and Basic Internet or have some PC, mouse, keyboarding, and Internet experience to take this course.

Advanced Classes

  • July 22 – Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 Part 1: Introduces people to PowerPoint 2010 presentation software. It is recommended that participants take Microsoft Word 2010 prior to taking this course.  It is also recommended that participants take both parts of the course. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding and Basic PC or have some PC, mouse, and keyboarding experience to take this course.
  • July 23 – Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 Part 2
  • July 29 – Microsoft Excel 2010 Part 1: Introduces people to Microsoft Excel 2010, a spreadsheet software in the Microsoft 2010 Office Suite. It is recommended that participants take Microsoft Word 2010 prior to taking this course.  It is also recommended that participants take both parts of the course. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding and Basic PC or have some PC, mouse, and keyboarding experience to take this course.
  • July 30 – Microsoft Excel 2010 Part 2
  • July 31 – Introduction to Social Media – TWITTER: Introduces people to the history, elements, and software used in social media interactions. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding, Basic PC, and Basic Internet or have some PC, mouse, keyboarding, and Internet experience to take this course. An email account is needed for this class.

Tablets And Tykes

chartIf you take a minute to look around, more than likely you will see a child with some form of tablet or smartphone. In fact, according to a 2012 Nielsen survey, 70% of households, that own tablets and with children ages 12 and younger, admit that their kids use the device. So this begs the question of what types of apps for kids can you choose from the 300,000 plus iTunes App Store or the 500,000 plus from Google Play. Well, may we suggest these 30 to get you started? (Note: Most links to the apps are to their iTunes descriptions.)

  1. 8 Planets (Free) Young astronomers will enjoy learning about the planets and earning ribbons in games testing their knowledge.
  2. A Little Book About Feelings ($0.99) This book app gives kids a start on understanding feelings and how to express themselves.
  3. ABC Pocket Phonics ($3.99) is a simply-designed app that reinforces letter knowledge. Children are encouraged to trace letter shapes and repeat the sounds.
  4. Alien Assignment (Free) Created by the Fred Rogers Center and a Kindergarten teacher, Alien Assignment is a fun game that encourages problem solving and discovery.
  5. Apps Gone Free (Free) Every day hundreds of apps reduce their price to free for a limited time to try to stimulate excitement and publicity. (Hey, if you can get it for free, that’s always a good thing.)
  6. BrainPOP Featured Movie (Free) features a different animated, short film each day on topics such as Science, Social Studies, Technology, Engineering, Health, English, Art & Music and Math.
  7. Doodle Buddy (Free) future Picassos of all ages will enjoy creating their next masterpiece using a variety of tools including, paint, chalk, stencils, stamps, backgrounds and photographs.
  8. Dragon Box ($5.99) This app introduces fundamental topics in mathematics with an emphasis on algebra in a playful and colorful environment.
  9. Duck Duck Moose apps ($1.99) Duck Duck Moose is an award-winning creator of educational children’s applications, founded with the mission of revolutionizing how children learn, play, and imagine on mobile devices.
  10. Endless Alphabet (Free) Set the stage for reading success with this delightfully interactive educational app. Kids will have a blast learning their ABC’s and building vocabulary with the adorable monsters in Endless Alphabet.
  11. Faces iMake-Lite ($0.99) let your imagination go wild by making silly faces using common everyday objects.
  12. Felt Board ($2.99) This app gives you all the small felt board pieces you need for play without dealing with the many pieces.
  13. Geography Drive USA ($3.99) Students will be delighted to learn about geography in a whole new, fun, exciting way. The visitor’s center has each of the individual states and facts galore. Each state has three different questions to answer. To gain more fuel and money, visit the all-state pass for more questions that are read to the player.
  14. Go Away, Big Green Monster! For iPad ($2.99) Ed Emberley’s beloved and best-selling book comes to mobile! Cleverly diecut with bold colors and overlapping pages, Go Away, Big Green Monster! is an entertaining book that turns scary into silly, and empowers kids to take control of their fears.*
  15. Highlights Hidden Pictures ($1.99) Seek and find the everyday objects hidden within fun, kid-friendly illustrations.
  16. iWriteWords ($2.99) Kids will enjoy following a little bug to form letes and numbers, helping them get started with writing.*
  17. Karaoke Anywhere HD (Free) features a database of free songs or you can pay for more downloads. Remember it is karaoke, so you are getting a karaoke version of the song with background music and words on a screen. This is great for a sing a-long.*
  18. Make It Pop! ($1.99) Learn shapes, letters, colors, and numbers while popping bubbles, balloons, fireworks and popcorn!
  19. Math Doodles ($2.99) Get thinking with a variety of math games that will have kids solving problems in new ways.
  20. Monkey Preschool Lunchbox ($0.99) includes 7 different games that teach kids about colors, letters, counting, shapes, sizes, matching, and differences.
  21. Monster Physics ($0.99) is a unique building app that lets you play with physics! Build and operate your own car, crane, rocket ship, plane, helicopter, tank and more!
  22. Moo, Ba, La La La! ($3.99) Sandra Boynton’s best-selling book of all time comes alive with sound and movement and gloriously unpredictable interactivity. (There are other books by Boynton that have been made into apps: Barnyard Dance; Blue Hat, Green Hat; The Going to Bed Book.)
  23. Overdrive Media Console (Free) Download digital books for read a-longs or link them to a screen for a bigger view. This can help when the hard-copy is too small for a regular read a-long. (Of course we’re going to suggest this. It’s basically the library at your digital fingertips.)
  24. PlayTales(Free) PlayTales’ stories are designed to educate, entertain, and inspire young readers ages 1 to 12.
  25. Reading Raven ($2.99) Reading Raven is an extremely fun and engaging learn-to-read educational game that provides step-by-step reading lessons designed to help young children build a solid foundation for reading.
  26. Shake-a-Phrase ($1.99) Encourages older children to read by way of silly sentences that will help teach vocabulary and parts of speech.
  27. Stack the States ($0.99) makes learning about the 50 states fun! Watch the states actually come to life in this colorful and dynamic game!
  28. Toca Boca apps ($0.99 – $2.99) Toca Boca is a game studio that makes digital toys for kids. We think playing and having fun is the best way to learn about the world. Therefore we make digital toys and games that help stimulate the imagination, and that you can play together with your kids.
  29. Toontastic ($0.99) Take storytelling to the next level by creating cartoons from start to finish, using your own voice to narrate the story.
  30. Word Wizard ($4.99) This is the “Speak and Spell” for the iPad generation. Word Wizard is a unique app that lets kids hear the sounds of letters and words using a talking movable alphabet.

Tips For Job Searching Online

Job Searching OnlineJob searching in a struggling economy is a difficult task. It can also be intimidating. It isn’t enough to just have a parchment paper-printed resume, but many companies now require or prefer that candidates submit their information online, along with a digital copy of their credentials. Today, libraries have embraced the demand for digital career chase by providing services and computer access to their patrons.

People who are seeking employment use the public computers on a daily basis to peruse through openings and descriptions, hoping that at some point, clicking “Apply” will translate to a “You’re Hired.” Many libraries even offer resume workshops and business writing courses, some for free, as well as software classes. Here are some job searching sites from the Birmingham Public Library Subject Guides Resources and other job search engines that could open doors:

  • Alabama JobLink offers all the services provided by the Alabama Career Center System, including information for jobs in the state of Alabama and job fairs.
  • Al.com combines job listings from regional newspapers and news media, allowing job seekers to customize their search by industry, region, or skills.
  • Job Quest is your gateway to civil service in Jefferson County, Alabama
  • CareerBuilder also has millions of job postings as well as thousands of employers and headhunters for potential candidates.
  • Craigslist is probably best known for classified ads, but many employers also post open positions on the job board. It is especially helpful when you are looking for jobs in your area.
  • Indeed combs other job sites, news media, and company sites for job postings. Unlike CareerBuilder, it isn’t a full-service job search site, but it will provide you with links and the option to get email alerts.
  • LinkedIn is a social networking site emphasizing on professional networking and career advancement. Rather than sorting through hundreds of databases, you can obtain a position from your networks or by companies looking at your professional profile.
  • Monster.com has more than a million job postings and has one of the largest job search databases. The site also offers advice about careers and information about companies.

In accessing these sites, it’s important to remember basic job searching strategies. Though online sites may seem impersonal, it is still important that job seekers set themselves apart from the hundreds of applicants. While you’re applying and weeding through all the postings, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Be selective about the process, if you can. There are thousands of jobs out there, but choose one that fits your interest and in your career path. If you cannot afford to be picky, then choose a job in which you will be comfortable until you find the job you want. However, seeking a permanent employment is preferable to your career path as well as to you employer.
  2. Don’t apply for jobs above your education and qualification level. However, it’s okay to go beyond your comfort level. There’s nothing wrong for reaching outside the box, but make sure you’re qualified. Companies will only ignore your application if you don’t meet requirements they need or want in a candidate. If you don’t have some skills, take a class or learn on your own. Take the initiative to fill those areas where you might be lacking.
  3. Watch out for scams. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Those promising quick and easy income or asking for fees or other personal information are more likely scams. Also, if you are being asked to pay a fee, do some research to make sure the company is legitimate.
  4. Make it personal. A cover letter that’s well-written and customized demonstrates that you have put thought and research into a company. This is your chance to showcase your qualifications as it relates to the company’s requirements and interests.
  5.  Check your spelling and grammar. Don’t neglect the basics. When you submit your cover letter, resume, and application, you want to make sure that they are free of typos and errors. Also, don’t go overboard with fonts and formatting. While you want to stand out, you want to do it in a good way. You don’t want your resume to look like the font machine regurgitated everything it had in its system.