By Toni Massari McPherson
Special to the Turnagain Times
The Anchorage Public Library is continually adding to all its collections, including the ones online. If you haven’t wandered through the forest of links that start at www.anchoragelibrary.org lately, you might be intrigued by some of the recent additions.
I can’t tell you how many times library supporters have told me they don’t, in fact, come to the library much because they are into reading eBooks rather paper ones these days. Almost without exception, they are surprised to find that they can download eBooks from the library’s ListenAlaska program. And, yes, downloading these books from APL’s virtual shelves is free, just like checking the 3-D versions are. Three weeks to read and you can renew.
The latest news on this front is that Amazon has finally allowed their e-reader, Kindle, to be included among the products that can download books free from the library website. OverDrive, the company that supports the ListenAlaska program, has worked with Amazon to create a link that allows OverDrive eBooks to be read on Kindle devices. You can even use the free Kindle apps on iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ and other mobile devices to access most of the thousands of books in the ListenAlaska catalog.
Another recent addition is Mango Languages. With this database, licensed by the Alaska Library Network, you have the option of studying to get a deep understanding of the language and culture (31 foreign languages and 14 English as Second Language courses), or of learning everyday greetings for simple conversations (34 foreign languages and 15 ESL courses).
I couldn’t believe it when I saw that the list included “Pirate.” Who among you hasn’t wanted to learn Pirate? The first lesson is how to “call someone names.” Check it out. You will learn nifty things like “Well, I’ll be” in Pirate is “Brush me barnacles” or “Holy cow!” is “Shiver me timbers!” in Pirate. I tried Italian too, and felt like I was back in college carefully repeating the words for “good day” (Buon giorno) and “How are you?” (Come sta?).
Mango is very easy to use and follow. It’s a great tool to prepare for a trip aboard or to help your kid study pronunciation for class. Among the other languages are: Arabic (Levantine), Chinese (Cantonese), Chinese (Mandarin), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dari, Dutch, Farsi (Persian), Finnish, French, French (Canadian), German, Greek, Haitian Creole, Hawaiian, Hebrew, Hindi, Indonesian, Irish, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Pashto, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Slovak, Spanish (Latin America), Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu and Vietnamese.
Accessing Mango is a little challenging. Click on “Databases” on the library home page. Then click “SLED (Statewide Library Electronic Doorway); it’s on the list under “available in library or at home with library card.” Next click “Digital Pipeline” and then Resources A-Z. Scroll down to Mango Languages and sign up for the languages course(s) of your choice.