TLC Blog

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LittleBits: Bringing out the Inventor in Everyone!

on Wednesday, 30 July 2014. Posted in TLC Blog

You don’t have to be an electronics expert to create fun and innovative electronic structures...

During the last three weeks of July, your friends at the TLC hosted a series of demonstrations and introduced our patrons, both young and old, to the fun and innovative world of “littleBits.”

For anyone who is unfamiliar with what littleBits are, they are small electronic mechanisms that come pre-assembled in tiny circuit boards that are put together simply by snapping small magnets together. 

Little Bits kit

They are easy to use and provide their users with endless possibilities.  Even if you have no knowledge of electronics and how they work, littleBits are a good tool for you, because they allows you to build simple structures and work your way up.  They make learning about electronics fun and accessible for both novice and advanced users.

The three programs took place in our Sea Isle City branch, Lower Township branch, and right here in the TLC.  It was truly amazing and impressive to see the level of interest that our patrons expressed in the program, and the creativity that they displayed through their various creations.  (I sure wish these were around when I was a kid!)



 Little Bits HQ       SIC Little Bits


 Little Bits HQ 1     Little Bits HQ 2          

 Little Bits fish      Lower Little Bits 1

 Little Bits Car      Little Bits HQ 5



The kids and adults both had a blast, and so did we!  It was a lot of fun to watch these creations come to life!

To learn more about littleBits, you can visit their website, or look for them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest!  (They are everywhere!!  )  

Feel free to visit us in the TLC and try littleBits for yourself! :)
Young or old... I am sure you will have a great time! J

I've Been Working On the Model Railroad

on Tuesday, 15 July 2014. Posted in TLC Blog

Anyone who knows model railroading, knows that models can be pricey. Individual parts for models can cost you big $$$.

Windows Price

The TLC has been a big help for Jon Winder, who has been able to bring his 3D sketches to life. And it was a whole lot cheaper too. He has visited our department many times as he works to create a complete model of an engine house for a model railroad. Mr. Winder has shared the process that he has used in preparing his model for printing, and has also shared some of the designs and finished products for different parts of the engine house.

He started by making sketches of the complete structure using the free 3D drawing program, Sketchup! You can download SketchUp here!

Front sketchLeft side sketchRight side sketch

He continued to use Sketchup for various steps of his project. He had all parts on hand for his model except the roof and the vents, so he made sketches for those.

front ventback ventmulti slat vent

In addition to these drawings, Mr. Winder also did a test drawing of one vent, which he printed first as a trial. In printing the test vent, he found it had several problems. He corrected these problems and, after another test, was successfully able to print two sets of double vents (as required for his model)

.finished ventsFinished Roof

The vents fit perfectly in to the roof of Mr. Winder's model.

engine house with vents

Mr. Winder is now working on another model, and turned some window and fence sketches in to more 3D prints. We enjoy assisting Mr. Winder and help him make his drawings in to 3D models.

2014-05-13 16.29.19Windows 7.15

Anyone who wants to bring their sketches to life and turn them in to models as Mr. Winder has, is encouraged to visit us in the TLC. We will be happy to assist you.


Happy Nikola Tesla Day!

on Thursday, 10 July 2014. Posted in TLC Blog

Happy Nikola Tesla Day!


(photo from

For anyone who didn’t know (I’ll be honest, I didn’t until today), July 10th, Nikola Tesla’s birthday, has also been hailed as Nikola Tesla day…. An important holiday for the science geeks of the world!  Anyone would be silly not to want to honor the man whose brilliant mind introduced many new concepts in to the world that are just as important now as they were over 100 years ago. 

The Tesla Memorial Society of New York ( would like Tesla day to be an international day celebrated by people all over the world.

They state that “This day will be a day of remembrance for Tesla’s work and for his contribution to humanity.  This day will be important for science, peace, progress and brotherhood among nations and religions around the world.” 

Clearly, Tesla’s achievements stretched well beyond the world of science. 

Don’t look at this as another boring history lesson (we all sat through plenty of those in school), but rather, look at this as a day to unleash your inner geek and reflect on everything that this man contributed to the modern world as we have come to know it.

Here is a list of a few of Tesla’s greatest achievements. I won’t go in to much detail about each of these, because there are plenty of sources out there that will, so I’ll leave that to them.  J

  • Rotating Magnetic Field (1882- Budapest, Hungary).  This discovery is a fundamental principle of physics and is also considered to be one of the greatest discoveries of all time. 
  • Alternating Current.  This is the achievements that lights up the whole world today. Tesla isn’t known as “the genius who lit up the world” for nothing, right?
  • AC Motor.  Considered to be one of the ten greatest inventions of all time.  This motor (also known as an induction motor) was groundbreaking in terms of how household appliances worked in the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • Tesla Coil.  This is an electrical circuit that was invented by Tesla around 1891. It is one of his most famous inventions.
  • Tesla Unit.  T=W/m².  This equation is known as the International “Tesla” Unit of Magnetic Flux Density.  Tesla is one of only three American Scientists who have been honored with an international unit.  This is the highest honor of a scientist’s recognition. 
  • Radio.  Tesla created a basic design for radio around 1892, and he patented a radio controlled robot in 1898.  Most of his work with radio is unknown.
  • **This is just a sample of Tesla’s contributions and achievements.  To learn more, I encourage you to visit, where I obtained my facts for this post! **






Fun Stuff Links:


I hope that you take some time not only today, but every day, to honor the brilliant mind of Nikola Tesla.  It seems as though he had his share of quirks just like the rest of us, but his genius is unmistakable.  We would not be able to enjoy many of the modern technologies that we do if it wasn’t for Tesla’s contributions to science and the modern world.  Hope you have enjoyed reading this. J

“The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.”
~Nikola Tesla~




TLC’s Takeover of Teen Game Night, Thursday 3/13/2014

on Tuesday, 18 March 2014. Posted in TLC Blog

The week of March 9th to the 15th was Teen Tech Week and the Teen Department and the TLC wanted to team up to do something special for the Teen Game Night that week. In honor of how far technology has come, we jointly hosted what turned into 'Retro Gaming Meets Modern Tech.'

Teen Librarians Amanda and Laura set up the TVs to play original Playstation and Nintendo 64 games that they brought in, and there was live-action Tetris as well.
David used his emulator, which is computer software that can play different video games without having the original game stations or game cartridges, to bring up some classic games. He brought in his extensive collection of Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Gameboy, and Sega Genesis game files saved to a hard drive and hooked them up to the TLC's Makey Makey system.



With Makey Makeys anything that is conductive becomes a video game controller! We used white playdoh for the different buttons needed to play. The teens were fascinated that they could just tap on the playdoh and get the characters to move. Some of the popular games played on the emulator with the Makey Makey controller were The Legend of Zelda, Pokémon Red, Pokémon Yellow, and DragonStrike.

ttw3 ttw4

Kara brought down the Makerbot 3D printer and created some 3D printed trinkets that the teens could color and take home with them. They could watch their items being printed. The Makerbot was ready to print up Minecraft Pickaxes, an 8-bit heart, or a Super Mario Star on demand. The Minecraft Pickaxes were very popular and by far the most printed item!

ttw5 ttw6

Overall, everyone had a great time at the Teen Tech Week Game Night event. It was great to see the teens interacting with some games that are older than they are and noticing how far technology has come in the gaming world. We got them thinking outside the box with the Makey Makeys and piqued their interest in the process of 3D printing.


Say Hello To Kara

on Monday, 24 February 2014. Posted in TLC Blog


My name is Kara Brehm and I am the new Technology Librarian for the Technology Learning Center. I hail originally from Ohio, but I have lived in Florida and in Illinois, so I'm new to the East Coast (and I am always looking for neat things to do in the area so if you have suggestions feel free to tell me!). I got my Bachelor's Degree in History and American Studies from Elmhurst College, a small private college just outside of Chicago and my Master's Degree in Library and Information Science with an emphasis on Special Collections and Digital Technologies from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

I used my first computer around age 4 or 5, an old Apple IIc and since then have been fascinated by the capabilities of computers.

It is amazing to think that computers went from being as large as an entire room to fitting in the palms of our hands in about 50 years. What are we capable of next? The TLC is here to keep you informed of many of the new devices hitting the stores and the new updates available for your existing devices.

I am so excited to be joining this amazing team of tech staff here at the TLC! The people that work here are an excellent group and are really here to help YOU understand the potential of the technology available today. Jeff and I have been coming up with some really great ideas for the TLC – new classes and demos, video tutorials, drop-in tech hours at all of the library branches, and other exciting new ventures. If you have a class that you would like to see us put together feel free to submit it to us via the "class and demo request form" under the help tab above or through this link here. It can be daunting to try to learn a new piece of technology, but I and the rest of the TLC staff are here to help when you have questions!


Maker Station In Action

on Friday, 07 February 2014. Posted in TLC Blog

Featherboard Mitre Slot Adapter

2014-02-05 15.17.04

The MakerBot Replicator 2X is an amazing device. It can print any 3D rendered model from a variety of software. One of our goals with the 3D Printer was to find ways for the public to utilize it in a practical application. Sure, printing Minecraft characters and the T.A.R.D.I.S. is cool, and makes any desk look awesome but, what else can we do with it? 

This week we found one.

Our first official build with a library patron was a shining success. Bernard Sypniewski attended the Make It With MakerBot class we had in January and was inspired to see what he could do? He had recently bought a Bench Dog Feather-Loc Double Featherboard.

A featherboard is for holding the stock against the guide fence on table saws & router tables. Bernard's needed to make a new mitre slot adapter to mount it properly. So he came in and discussed the plans with James and they started working on a solution.

They started by trying to make a 3D scan of his current piece, which was slightly wider than the slot on his table saw. In theory we could resize it in Blender and print a new one. The Digitizer is not a perfect tool as we were to find out.

The Digitizer scanner wasn't cooperating and our multiple scans were incomplete. They couldn't get enough data to replicate a new piece. Daniel jumped in with an idea to check the online community for discovering, making, and sharing 3D printable things, Thingiverse.


Lo and behold, there was already Mitre Slot Bars. So we downloaded them into Blender and adjusted them to the proper width.




We printed them out and tested them on the featherboard. Everything looked good from our end except a bit of bulging when they were screwed on tight. Bernard decided to take them home to give them a try.

2014-02-05 15.16.25
On Thursday we received the following email.

I "installed" the featherboard on my table saw this morning and I'd like to report a few things. First, it fit like it was made for the saw. Second, if you recall, we noticed that if the knobs were tightened, the sides of the pieces would bulge a bit. We (certainly I) worried that this might pose a problem. Rather than a problem, this bulging is, what in the computer industry, is sometimes called an "undocumented feature". The bulging locked the pieces into place so the featherboard doesn't move. This is a good thing.

I have not tried to run some wood through the saw as of yet. I'm still setting it up. I tend to be slow about things. I think it's genetic. One of my relatives was asked to make ice cubes and it turned into an ice age. Anyway, if you wish, I'll keep you posted as the saga continues. I'll also dream up some other projects.

Bernard Sypniewski
Department of Computer Science
Rowan University - Camden Campus

Congratulations Mr. Sypniewski. We look forward to seeing what challenges you bring us next.



on Thursday, 06 February 2014. Posted in TLC Blog

The 1st TLC Blog

Hello everyone. My name is Jeff Trout and I would like to welcome you to the Technology Learning Center blog.

We are expanding our department this year. We will be offering new classes, materials and tools for the public. We will also be sharing our experiences with you here in this blog. From here, we will keep a journal of our successes and failures as we stretch our wings and fly off into new territory for our community.

Historically, the Cape May County Library has always tried to be on the cutting edge of technology. We started in 1994, when we finished automating the Library system When we reopened the renovated Mechanic Street Building, we had installed all new Compaq and IBM computers.

This was a monumental task. We added every item available for the public to a digital catalog. From here we expanded our offerings to public computers and Internet access. These computers had 8mb ram, floppy drives and 212MB hard drives. They cost $2000 to $4000 each.


Public and staff used Okidata dot matrix printers. This was state of the art back then.

In November 1994, our Library offered one of the first community dialup services. Users connected to a server and searched our catalog remotely from home. There was initially a networked CD server that contained all of our paid database subscriptions. Patrons could access these from the workstations. As each database became available in an online version, we immediately moved to that format, and implemented a Remote access application for patrons to use databases from home, for products which allowed it.

In 1996 Allen Jett created our first library website. This gave people more access to the online databases and other services. From here you could also get branch hours, phone numbers, and library events.

We offered a FRAS service, which is a full access connection over dialup, in 2001. It is still in service today, though it is used less and less considering speeds have not improved much over the years. In 2001, we also setup our first public “word processor” pcs with Internet access.

In 2002, the Cape May County Library started teaching basic computer workshops. They were originally created to introduce patrons to our new electronic resources which enhanced the Library’s on-site collections. They included the Library Catalog, many electronic databases and, of course, the Internet. They called the new department the Technology Education Center and Donna Soffe was the head of that department. Over the years she expanded on the classes. Soon we were offering help with email, Microsoft Office and digital photography to name a few. With Donna’s passion for technology and her skills at teaching, The TEC would quickly become an important addition to the library.


We were part of the first wave of libraries to provide public WiFi in 2005, and we provided it on a larger scale than most other libraries. Each of our eight locations still offer the service which covers a majority of Cape May County.

That spring, we installed our first cellular modem on the bookmobile. While other libraries were still using offline or manual entries for their bookmobiles, our bookmobile was online with current info. In 2010, we upgraded it to a 4g network.

We began offering downloadable Audio Books in 2006, working with the South Jersey Regional Library Cooperative. This service expanded into eBooks as well. In 2010, the organization ceased operations and nearly forty libraries including Cape May County, would have lost their collection of audio and eBooks. We took over the operation of the South Jersey Audiobook & eBook Download Center and today we manage it for the entire region.

Teen Game Night started in 2007 with an X-box and a dream. Three staff members, Jesse, Mike and Chris began the project. It was a huge success and has expanded to PS3 and Wii games as well. It is still going on weekly at the Cape May Court House Branch. They have also added a variety of board games to the mix. 


Around the same time, we also joined with social media. We started on the photo sharing site Flickr in 2007. Soon after that we joined Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and recently Pinterest. We have also expanded our web presence with four webpages. There is our main Cape May County Library site, the Teen Zone, Kids Page & the TLC Page

We have designed and setup our own document and photo scanning computer as well as handicapped stations. We recently purchased a premade document scanning station that was so new to the market, that there were no instructions written for it yet and the vendors technician had to “wing it” when he did the installation.

Our enthusiastic teacher, Donna Soffe, retired in 2012 and Melissa Brisbin took over as the head of the TEC Department. At that time the Director of the Library, Deborah Poillon, started the plans to expand the offerings to one on one help and new technology for the public. We changed the name to the Technology Learning Center. Melissa added a fresh outlook on new technology and services. She had already organized the South Jersey Audiobook & eBook Download Center switch, introducing our library system to Playaways and created the Cape May County Library App. She taught new classes and demonstrations on mobile apps, Prezi and expanded our department with a variety of devices for us to teach the public. Just as we were settling in for bigger and better things, Melissa was offered a new job. She is now working at the Cherry Hill Public Library and we wish her all the success in the world.
So now the Technology Learning Center is starting a new year with new leadership.

We already have a Maker Station set up for people to explore the concepts of 3D design and digital art. We still offer a variety of classes and demonstrations. We also offer one on one help for computers, tablets, phones and more. With an enthusiastic staff, we strive to help Cape May County residents become as comfortable with their technology as possible.


As we move forward into 2014, we hope you will join us here and follow the progress of our endeavor.

Jeff Trout, Head of the TLC


Many members of the library staff helped me gather information on technology in the Cape May County Library, thank you. I want to send a special thank you to our Network Administrator, Dee Gallop, for helping me compile and write this history. She helped set up the first computers for the Cape May County Library in the 90’s and has seen it all.


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