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Marketing Opportunity for Self-Published Authors

May 20th, 2015

We here at Curtis are very excited to be offering SELF-e (powered by Library Journal) to our local writers.

SubmitTodayThis, we feel, is an exciting marketing opportunity for self-published authors who want to get the word out about themselves and their works.

And it’s free.

And self-published authors retain the rights to their works.

And, if selected by Library Journal, a submitted book may reach a national audience.

Being a self-published author myself, I can emphatically state that writing can be hard but getting the word out about your book can be nigh on impossible.

What is Self-Publishing?

Wikipedia defines Self-Publishing as “…the publication of any book or other media by the author of the work, without the involvement of an established third-party publisher.”

It’s worth noting here that Self-Publishing includes physical books and e-books.

You don’t have to be an “e-book writer” to participate in SELF-e.

What’s an e-book?

An e-book is simply a digital version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

If an author created their book in Microsoft Word (or Apple Pages or Google Docs), he or she may be able to convert it to e-book format simply by saving it into the Portable Document Format (or PDF for short).

Will Curtis Library offer Self-Publishing Tech Meetups?


This is great news for writers who are “technology shy.”

Please watch the Curtis Library homepage, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter to be notified about these and other Tech Meetups and Library events.

Can you make extra money through Self-Publishing?

Based on my personal experiences and research, I can say “Yes” but don’t expect to get rich.

How can I find out more about SELF-e?


Further Reading

Forbes Magazine: How Much Money Do Self-Published Authors Make?

Selling E-Books to Earn Extra Cash

7 Suggested Steps to Financial Freedom

May 19th, 2015

financial-freedom-680x430This is, of course, just a broad outline, as each step has its own steps.

This might seem like a lot of steps, but Curtis has resources that can help you climb all of them.

1. Spend less money by being frugal

2. Set up a budget, track your money

3. Save the money you are no longer spending

4. Pay down your debt

5. Make more money (by starting a home or online business)

6. Review your budget and stay frugal

7. Save and invest more money

Suggested Readings

The debt escape plan : how to free yourself from credit card balances, boost your credit score, and live debt-free by Beverly Harzog.

How to choose, operate and market your home-based business : practical advice for operating a small business on a shoestring budget by Susan E. Barton

The Total Money Makeover : a Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey.

Stop Acting Rich and Start Living Like a Real Millionaire by Thomas J. Stanley

Investing for Dummies by Eric Tyson

I believe that through knowledge and discipline, financial peace is possible for all of us.
—Dave Ramsey

Notes from the Data Privacy Tech Meetup

May 15th, 2015

Steven Blanc, Information & Technology Security Officer at Bowdoin College visited the Curtis Library for a tech meetup in May 2015.

Steve discussed what we can do to protect the privacy of our data in today’s increasingly digital world.

These are my “takeaways” from that Data Privacy Tech Meetup.


Opening Statement

Steve began by emphatically stating: “If it’s on the Internet, it isn’t private.”

if its on the internet it isnt private

Our “Digital Identities”

Steve spoke about how we are building “digital identities.”

We should be careful about what we post on our Facebook pages and other social media websites.

This is especially true for job seekers.

Employers shouldn’t look at the Facebook pages of their job applicants but we can assume that they do.

Free Online Services Are Not Free

If you’re not paying for it, you are the product that’s being sold.

Scott cited Gmail and Facebook as prime examples as they both trace your browsing history so they can put targeted ads in front of you.

Both services also make it easy to post data about yourself.

You can of course try to abstain from using any services that collect any data on you but Scott said this is not a practical strategy in this day and age.

Do Not Go “Phishing”

Scott spoke about how we can protect ourselves from fraudulent emails.

– Use common sense, look for red flags. For example, If you weren’t expecting a package from UPS, be vary wary about an email trying to give you information about a “missed delivery.”
– Do not open any attachments if you are not sure about the sender of the email message.
– Check before you click it. If there is a link in an email message, mouseover it and see if the web address in the pop-up window is a match. (screen capture)
– If an email has a phone for you to call, look up the phone number yourself

Further Reading:

Use Good Passwords

Scott gave this password example:


This is an abbreviation for “my daughter Katie is 12 years old!”

Scott advised using distinct passwords for critical accounts. No matter how strong a password is, you should not use that same password for your online bank account, your IRA, your credit card, et al.

Scott spoke about password manager programs such as KeePass which enable you to have multiple passwords for your various online accounts but you only need to have know a single master password in order to access them all.

password manager

Further Reading:

The Wrap-up

Scott concluded this data privacy tech meetup by stating:
“Once digital, it will live forever. Unless you need it.”

So we need to be very careful and discrete about what we post online.

You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it.
— Scott McNealy, Former CEO, Sun Microsystems

7 Things (plus 1) You Can Pay for OR Get at the Curtis Library for Free

May 13th, 2015

IMG_1178In addition to a considerable number of books (including the newest Bestsellers) which you can read in the Library’s beautiful reading garden and a staff of professional Librarians, Curtis offers…

1. CDs and DVDs

2. Internet (free high-speed wi-fi)

3. Magazines (both print and digital versions thru Flipster)

4. Entertainment and activities for children (This week for example, we have “Time for Twos,” “LEGO Club,” “Musical Storytime with Jud” and “Finger Fun with Miss Teresa”)

5. Professionally maintained PCs (with high-speed Internet and Microsoft Office)

6. Programs for adults (In addition to the rotating art exhibit in the Morrell Meeting Room, there are film nights, book clubs, concerts, author readings, Community Health Information Partnership events, Cornerstones of Science lectures and more.)

7. Computer assistance (including Tech Meetups and scheduled appointments with Tech Wizard Marian Dalton)

8. The Curtis Collaboratory (Part interactive mini-classroom, part think tank, part play space, part studio, part museum, part gallery and ALL PARTS LIBRARY — the Collaboratory is a dynamic participatory learning experience for people of all ages and interests in our community.)

A library implies an act of faith which generations, still in darkness hid, sign in their night in witness of the dawn.
— Victor Hugo

Tips for Dealing With Job Loss

May 4th, 2015

If you are starting to get the uneasy feeling that you may be losing your job, here are some things you can do to prepare for the financial strain that comes with job loss.

1. Trim your budget to boost your emergency fund.

2. Write or Update your resume

– In addition to numerous books on how to write a resume, Curtis Library has public PCs with Microsoft Word.


3. Start looking for a new job

– Visit the Job Search Help page for an overview on what Curtis has to offer job seekers.

– Visit the Curtis Library Jobs Neighborhood on the second floor near the Reference Desk


4. Start a home | online business

Curtis has numerous resources to assist small businesses such as free wi-fi, public PCs equipped with Microsoft Office, and numerous print and digital resources.

You can even start and run a library-based business.

5. Be active on social media sites for both personal and professional networking. Communicating through these sites with old friends and former colleagues can help pave the way for career changes and lead to hiring opportunities.

– You can use the Library’s Public PCs to create a Facebook page, a Twitter feed and join LinkedIn (a business-oriented social networking site).

TIP: don’t post anything on a social media site (or anywhere else on the web) that you would not want a prospective employer to see.