Maker Kits

JMRL is now circulating maker kits! What is a maker kit? Maker kits are comprised of materials and instructions and allow you to learn a new technology or a skill at your own pace and in your own place.

JMRL is adding 10 unique kits to a special maker kit collection to help you discover your creative or technological talents. The kits have all of the supplies that you need.

There are kits for beginning knitters, calligraphy, coloring, embroidery, Makey Makey, a spirograph kit, origami, 3Doodler, Ozobot, and snap circuits. Each kit comes with all of the supplies you need and detailed instructions. Some kits also include books with more detailed ideas for projects.

View slides with all of the kits here. The maker kits will be housed at the Central Library, but can be placed on hold and sent to any branch.

Check them out for up to three weeks and place them on hold here.

Library Resource Highlight: UniversalClass

January is a great time to learn something new! Check out UniversalClass for over 500 online courses that you can access with just your JMRL library card.

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Go to JMRL Databases– Encyclopedias and General Information- UniversalClass to get started. You’ll need to sign up with your library card number and create a username and password.

There are classes on a wide range of topics, including computers, crafts, pet care, and spiritual studies. You can take a class on women who have changed American history, or a class on retirement planning. Most courses take 10-20 hours to complete, but some are as little as 4 hours long. You can access all the courses you are taking at UniversalClass under “My Classes.”

You’ll need to complete the course within 6 months once you sign up for it. Most of the coursework, exams, assignments, activities, and class participation is recorded and assessed by an instructor. Based on the grading guidelines that your instructor uses, all of your coursework grades and final assessment are displayed in the “Report Card” area. But, there are some classes that also offer a “video audit” option (for example, knitting), where you do not have to submit assignments or take exams, but you won’t receive a certificate at the end of the course. So take a class and learn a new skill!

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You can Fax at the Library

Did you know that you can fax papers at the library? It only costs $1 per page and is available at each branch (international faxes are priced differently). You can also receive faxes at the library- incoming faxes are also just $1 per page.

Fax is short for facsimile and faxes work by sending an image over a phone network.

Here’s a short history of the fax machine:

The fax machine was invented before the telephone. Alexander Bain, a clockmaker, was most likely the first person to invent this technology. He managed to send an image over a wire, however, the quality was not great. He patented his idea on May 27, 1843.

Other forms of the fax machine were invented starting around 1865. But the Xerox Corporation is credited with inventing the modern fax machine. Today’s fax machines work by using a photo sensor to look at the paper it’s copying and sending. The photo sensor is able to see the difference between the light and dark areas. It then tells a computer processor how to reproduce the image at a distance location by encoding the information. The encoding is what enables the machine to send the information along by phone line or over the internet (JMRL uses dedicated phone lines to send a fax). At the receiving fax machine, the machine reads the encoded information and remakes the image.

In 1989 there were over 10 million fax machines in the world, today there aren’t quite that many, but they are still in heavy use. Here’s an article  from the BBC about why the fax machine is still used today, even with all of our technology.

Visit your local library branch the next time you need to send a fax!

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JMRL staffer sending a fax