By Brian Freitag
TASPL Director

Some of you know I lived in an RV for quite a few years in several states before buying my home here in Newberry. Life in an RV has its benefits and challenges. It is quite a radical adjustment in many ways.

One of the adjustments required is changing over all your services to a web-based status. I accessed books, magazines, movies, TV, music among other things all via the web, which was somewhat of a change for me, with books in particular. I like the feel of a book and turning pages when reading.

Reading web-based content from a screen makes you vulnerable to something getting between you and the monitor (or smartphone). My cats, in particular, love situating their little opaque bodies before my glowing monitor, tails twitching as they watch things change. It reminds me of the small child in front the TV set in the movie Poltergeist, before a huge ghostly hand popped out of the TV grasping at her.

But digital services don’t have to lead to horrifying experiences; although sometimes a badly designed site can frighten users away. The library has several digital web-based services available. From our Hoopla collection to Overdrive for eBooks and downloadable audio, you have access to information 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

There is one more web-based service that is just as valuable: the Michigan Electronic Library. The Michigan Electronic Library or MEL, might be something you’re familiar with if you request books from across Michigan through our library. It is much more than that, however. MEL also includes databases that can be accessed from your phone or computer using either your library card or driver’s license.

To access these databases, type into your web browser and click on the eResources tab once the website has loaded. One of the most popular of these databases is Auto Repair Source.

Doing your own repairs at home? This resource replaces the need for a physical copy of a repair manual and lets you search by make, model, and year to find step-by-step, printable instructions for each repair that you’re likely to make.

There is also another database to assist you with your lawnmowers, boat motors, ATVs, motorcycles and more. This is called the Small Engine Resource Center.

For those with an interest in Family History and Genealogy, you would be interested in accessing My Heritage Library Edition. Just by typing in my last name, I found 43,418 results, including census records, family trees, birth and death records, photos, military records, immigration records, newspapers, and more.

Obviously, I’d want to start narrowing down that search more, but with that many records there are a lot of possibilities.

Right now, a lot of families are homeschooling. We know at the library that is made even more difficult without access to the library for physical books. MEL has a lot of resources that can assist you in your new roles as teachers. This includes, but is not limited to Pebble Go, World Book Kids, Explora, Opposing Views, and Prepare for College from Learning Express Library.

If our 700,000+ eBooks via Overdrive and Hoopla are not enough, the Michigan Electronic Library adds an additional 200,000+ to choose from.

By comparison, due to space and budget constraint, our physical library can only hold around 35,000 items. If you’re like me, you prefer holding a physical book in your hand, but there is something to be said about having access to so much variety.

I encourage you to check-out some of the web-based variety offered through the Michigan Electronic Library at from the library in our computer lab or from home through your computer’s browser requiring only your library name and library card barcode.

Take care and keep reading!