Every so often a patron will approach us at the Delaware County District Library with an idea. Many times their suggestion is something that helps improve day-to-day services. We love hearing this feedback and we truly take it to heart. Earlier this year, a patron at our Powell Branch Library presented an idea that merged data, technology and the library.
You might be familiar with Amazon’s intelligent personal assistant, Alexa. She communicates through devices like the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show and more. Like other smart assistants — Google (“Ok Google”) or Apple (“Siri”) — the Echo is triggered by saying “Alexa” and then asking your question. You can ask anything from “Alexa, what’s the forecast today?” to “Alexa, play my Jackson 5 station on Pandora.”
A new addition to Alexa’s commands is one relating to DCDL events. If you have an Echo device, in the Skill Store you’ll want to search for and enable the “Delaware County District Library” skill. Once enabled, you simply say “Alexa, open Delaware Library” and then ask her about the events happening at your home branch library. Questions like “What’s happening this weekend at the Ostrander Branch?” or “Are there any events tomorrow at the Delaware Main Library?” are answered without having to even reach for your phone or computer.
Though other library and other calendar skills already existed on Alexa, this was the first skill created that combined the two. The skill creator, Avneet Sarang from Pellucent Technologies in Powell, has already expressed his ongoing commitment to making it work as seamlessly as possible and adding new elements in the future.
Sarang will be giving a first-look and live demonstration this Wednesday, August 9 at 3:30 p.m. at the Powell Branch Library, 460 South Liberty Road. He and library staff will be on hand to show the skill and answer questions. I hope you’ll be able to make it out to this exciting event to see it in action and to meet the developer.
Here are some new and favorite stories you might be interested in that also talk about people who have done great things with technology and science.
“Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon” by Jeffrey Kluger. Recounts the bold but dangerous mission to secure America’s position as the first nation to reach the moon, revealing the dangers endured by its crew and the ways the mission brought renewal to a country ravaged by assassinations and war.
“Miracle Cure: The Creation of Antibiotics and the Birth of Modern Medicine” by William Rosen. Presents a history of antibiotics, from the discovery of germ theory in the nineteenth century through the development of modern antibiotics and the rise of the pharmaceutical industry giants.
“Astrophysics for People in a Hurry” by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Offers witty, digestible explanations of topics in cosmology, from the Big Bang and black holes to quantum mechanics and the search for life in the universe.
“Darwin’s First Theory: Exploring Darwin’s Quest to Find a Theory of the Earth” by Rob Wesson. A geologist traces Darwin’s footsteps through the Andes, Scotland, and Wales and discusses the importance of his theory of plate tectonics and the huge impact created by nearly imperceptibly slow change.
If you have a question that you would like to see answered in this column, mail it to Nicole Fowles, Delaware County District Library, 84 E. Winter St., Delaware, OH 43015, or call us at 740-362-3861. You can also email your questions by visiting the library’s web site at www.delawarelibrary.org or directly to Nicole at [email protected] No matter how you contact us, we’re always glad you asked!