Category Archives: Highlight

Prairie Cat Now Offers Personalized Schmaling Homepage and New Digital Media Service

Prairie Cat is new and improved!
Now when you arrive at the login page which has been personalized for Schmaling, you will see many scroll bar menus featuring national bestsellers and new items from various genres at Schmaling.
Toward the bottom of the page, you will find links to eRead Illinois and a new ebook service: biblioboard.
Biblioboard differs from eRead IL in that you are able to actually download most books that they offer (public domain stuff), as opposed to limited borrowing time or waiting for availability. Furthermore, ANYONE in IL can access this for free – you don’t need a library card! You just must physically be in Illinois when you first create your account due to their geolocation-based authentication system.
To describe biblioboard in their own words: they boast of “a growing assortment of rich historical and locally curated multimedia content–available to all with the ease of unlimited, multi-user access.”  Upon visiting the site a few times, I have noticed a large and changing variety of subject groupings that they refer to as curations.  Some have included British Children’s Literature, Scholarly Works on Film and Media, Shakespeare, Historical Primary Source Documents, Exhibits from National Libraries and Archives, Mathematics, Business and Law, Comic Books and Graphic Novels, Community History … there are seriously to many to name.  There are also video and audio selections, including music.  And while it isn’t necessary in order to utilize biblioboard, they do offer a Kindle app.

Watt The . . . Watt Is That?

Oh, just a handy, portable, money-saving KILL-A-WATT Meter from Jo-Carroll Energy.
Schmaling has 4 of these nifty gadgets available to loan to our patrons for a standard 2-week check-out: FREE of charge.
These guys can help you determine the cost-effectiveness of your current appliances, assess the need to unplug a space heater, detect a phantom load, or determine the amount of savings possible by switching from an old appliance to a new one.

Highlight: The Historian Tales

photo of a new YA series lined up alongside the windowsill

A new YA series is available at Schmaling that we feel will interest many of our YA readers.  The Historian Tales is a trilogy consisting of The Price of Creation, The Price of Nobility, and The Price of Loyalty; written by Lance Conrad — a laser-building, gourmet vinegar-loving new author.  He shared in an interview with Smashwords, an e-book publisher, that “his passion for writing comes from the belief that there are great lessons to be learned as we struggle with our favorite characters in fiction.

The Historian Tales pulls the reader along with the central character, the Historian, as he literally struggles to uncover his true, unknown, identity.   Traveling through time and worlds with him, the reader encounters various technologies, cultures, and magic as the historian discovers his own destiny in the life-stories and choices of those he meets.

“I’ve always felt very influenced by Louis L’Amour. The man taught as he wrote and he worked hard at it. Following his characters through their struggles did a lot to shape my young mind. Concepts like bravery, respect for women, and true manhood are concepts I think this world could use a lot more of, especially now.” — Lance Conrad

In addition to this trilogy, we also have the first book of Conrad’s next series The Sword Bearer Chronicles, entitled The Weight of Swords.  This series seems more action-packed; its plot centers around an ancient warrior caste dedicated to the defense of their people against the ravenous, ever-encroaching, local dragon population (Samurai dragon-hunters, basically).  To complicate matters, their leader is abducted by foreigners in the middle of a dragon-siege.

Hopefully many of you will enjoy these two new series from Lance Conrad.  And remember: if the book you desire is currently checked out, we  can reserve it for you so that you receive it first upon its return.


*Quotes from the author are from