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Author Archive for Jennifer Eilers



Top 5 Reasons I Use E-Books and E-Audiobooks

by Jennifer Eilers on December 15th, 2014

5. There are loads of books to choose from.

The library’s e-book and e-audiobook collection has over 10,000 books. So whether you are in the mood for something like Tina Fey’s Bossypants, Donna Tart’s The Goldfinch or even a classic like Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, we’ve got it.

4. I never have to remember to return my books. EVER.

Even though I work at the library, I still rack up a considerable amount of fines on my card so I really appreciate that Overdrive automatically returns my books when they are due.

3. I can read or listen to a book without lugging it around.

As long as I have my phone, I can read or listen to a book. Once I’ve downloaded a book, I don’t even need an internet connection to read. This comes in particularly handy when I’m traveling long distances either in the car or on a plane.

2. The library is never closed.

As long as I have my library card and my password, I can check out a book. Whether I’m looking for something to read right before bed at 10:30 p.m. or listen to during that 6:00 a.m. workout, I can open the Overdrive app and generally find something.

1. I always have someone to read to me before bed.

On most smartphones or tablets you can set a sleep function. This means I can play my e-audiobook before bed and it will automatically turn off after a set period of time. I can doze off listening to my book knowing the next time I go to listen Overdrive will pick up at the place when the timer went off. (It’s also easy to go back a little ways in a chapter if you missed something while nodding off.)

Stop by during one of our Tech Help times: Mondays and Wednesdays 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Tuesdays 12 p.m.-4 p.m.  or Thursday from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. for Senior Tech Help. Any one of our technology people can get you started with Overdrive on your mobile device!

Health Insurance and Your Taxes

by Jennifer Eilers on December 1st, 2014

For those that are filing taxes in 2014 you will likely see a new section that has been added to the tax form. This is because 2014 is the first year that the penalties for not having health insurance come into effect. Based on the drafts of the tax forms released by IRS, those that have health insurance through their employer or have purchased insurance through a private company will only need to check a box.

The tax filing process for those that purchased insurance through the Marketplace or for those that didn’t have any insurance or only partial insurance coverage through 2014 will be a  little more complicated. To help with those complications, the library is hosting the VITA program.

VITA, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, is made up of volunteers from the Tippie College of Business Beta Alpha Psi chapter. These volunteers help low and moderate income taxpayers in the Johnson County area prepare and file their taxes.These volunteers will be available at certain times in the library beginning in January. For dates and times VITA is available, click here.

The library will also have a  variety of tax forms and instructions available for individuals as they are received from the IRS. Several forms and publications have yet to be finalized this year due to the Affordable Care Act and other tax reforms. This may mean some printed forms will not be made available until mid-February or later. The government is  also limiting the number of printed tax forms and instructions, for example Publication 17 (ALL tax instructions), which will only be available online.

For more information about the your taxes and the Affordable Care Act, visit:

ACA Tax Provisions FAQ

DRAFTS of 2014 tax forms

Healthcare Enrollment or Plan Information

 

Health Insurance Enrollment Help and Information

by Jennifer Eilers on November 14th, 2014

Are you unsure about how the Affordable Care will affect you? The library is hosting a series of information and enrollment sessions at the library that coincide with the Marketplace’s open enrollment period. This Saturday from 10 -11 a.m.   in the Library’s computer lab, Navigator, Karen Wielert, will present information pertinent to those that already have healthcare coverage. From 11 a.m. – 1p.m., anyone is welcome to come and ask questions about the Affordable Care Act and get help with enrollment.

Additional informational and enrollment sessions are offered on November 29th and December 6th from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the computer lab. All sessions are free.  The library is also providing materials and books about the Affordable Care Act, heath care, and health insurance through its display on the second floor.

For more information about these sessions, click here or call the library at 319-356-5200.

If you are unable to attend these sessions but would still like to receive assistance with enrollment or get more information about the Affordable Care Act visit  healthcare.gov.

Johnson County’s Access Points

Navigator for Johnson County, Karen Wielert: 319-535-2679 or karen.wielert@ppheartland.org

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Enrollment Center: 319-356-2208 or socialservices-marketplace@uiowa.edu

For low income or individuals qualifying for Medicaid

Johnson County Public Health: 319-356-6042

Department of Human Services: 319-356-6050

10 FREE Travel Apps for Summer Adventurers

by Jennifer Eilers on June 19th, 2014
photo by Fiddlerjan downloaded from www.morguefile.com

by Fiddlerjan downloaded from www.morguefile.com

Whether you are staying close to home or traveling to far off places, apps for your Smartphone or tablet can make traveling a little more relaxing. Downloading one or a few of these apps before disembarking is as essential as packing sunscreen. There are many travel apps to choose from some help you find the best restaurant while another finds the exchange rate to calculate a purchase.  Below is a list of ten apps that will help you with your future travels, each of the apps listed below are free and work on Android and Apple devices.

 

City Maps 2 Go

City Maps 2 Go offers street maps of over 7,500 cities internationally to download and use offline. Travelers can find where they are located on the map while being offline and without racking up roaming charges. They can also get detailed travel content, insider tips, popular attractions and user reviews all offline.

GasBuddy

GasBuddy helps you locate gas stations near you and see the station’s current prices. Prices and station locations are plotted and updated by other app users though the app’s interface. Users that plot stations or update prices receive points for a prize giveaway. The app currently plots stations and prices in the United States and Canada.

GateGuru

GateGuru sends you updates to your flight itinerary on your day-of-travel listing security wait times, flights delays, gate changes or layover time adjustments. It also provides you with information about the airports listed in your itinerary such as amenity information, maps, weather forecasts, and many other airport tips. View user ratings for all of the services offered at a particular airport or limit ratings using terminals listed on your itinerary.

Postagram

Postagram creates postcards from photos you’ve taken or shared through Instagram, Facebook or your mobile device. You can write a 140 character message to send along with your photo. After composing your postcard, you can opt to send it for 99 cents to anywhere in the U.S. or $1.99 to send it internationally.

TravelSmart

TravelSmart provides emergency numbers for the police, fire department, and ambulance by destination throughout the world. It contains a drug dictionary with international translations in multiple languages if you forgot your medication or need to purchase some. It has translated first aid terms into multiple languages and has a comprehensive list of reputable hospitals by country in the Allianz healthcare network.

TripIt

TripIt organizes your travel plans into one itinerary that has all of your trip details in one place. TripIt captures your itinerary data from online confirmation emails or you can build it by hand. Everything from your air, car, and hotel reservations to dining and activity plans can be accessed whenever you are online. Your master itinerary can also be shared with friends, family, and coworkers to help them connect with you while you are away.

UrbanSpoon

UrbanSpoon gives you ratings and pricing for over a million restaurants. Reviews for restaurants are a mixture of consumers and food critics. You can find restaurants based on your locality and filter your results by cuisine type and price. Phone numbers, addresses, menus and reservations information are easily accessible through the app.

Waze

Waze is a community-based traffic and navigation app. Other drivers in the area you are traveling provide real-time traffic and road information alerting you to police, accidents, road hazards and traffic jams. Updates to road closures and construction are provided with new routes suggestions.

Wifi Finder

Wifi Finder finds the nearest free or pay-for Wi-Fi connection when you travel. Locations can be downloaded to use offline when you do not have an internet connection. Filter locations by hot-spot provider (Comcast/Mediacom) or by location type (restaurant, café, hotel). The phone number and directions to the WiFi connection are also provided.

XE Currency

XE Currency accesses live exchange rates to help you calculate prices on your mobile device. The app also stores the last updated rate so you can still get a relatively reliable calculation for how far your money can go. You can view historical exchange charts and track up to ten currencies at once.

And what vacation is complete without a little reading? Download the Zinio and Overdrive apps to your device to access the library’s collection of e-books, e-audiobooks, and e-magazines for free! They are another travel staple you should not leave home without.

Purchasing a big ticket item but don’t know how to choose?

by Jennifer Eilers on March 19th, 2014

Consumer Reports is a great resource for anyone about to make a big purchase. This magazine reviews and tests dishwashers, vacuums, cars, and every sort of technology gadget imaginable. The magazine prides itself on giving non-partisan reviews that reflect the performance of an item because the magazine supports itself through subscriptions and donations instead of advertising. You don’t need to page through lengthy articles to find out what you want to know because the magazine provides handy tables that make it easy to understand the criteria used to rate the item. Many patrons ask questions about accessing our Consumer Reports collection when they come to visit the library however, accessing this collection and searching it can be done easily from home. Watch the video!

Please note:

Because of licensing restrictions our databases are available only to residents of Iowa City and of areas covered by contracts for library service: rural Johnson County and the cities of Hills, Lone Tree, and University Heights.

 




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