By Sarah Wright
"There was a time, not very long ago, when we lived in an enchanted world of elegant palaces and grand parties. The year was 1916 and my son Nicholas, was the Czar of Imperial Russia." *Que the waltz and CLAP-CLAP!**
Cut the waltz! Cut the waltz! This isn't the animated "Anastasia" film. But "The Last Tiara" by M. J. Rose does capture the glittery grandeur of Imperial Russia and its stunning collapse. It, too, centers around a plot MacGuffin, only this one was previously owned by another grand duchess, Olga Nikolaevna Romanova -- the eldest sister.
The connection to the Olga is actually how I landed on "The Last Tiara." I completed a random search on Hoopla hoping to find Olga's diary; instead, I found a novel. I harbor a fondness for OTMA (Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia) as the collective Romanov daughter were referred to, so I decided to give the audiobook a try, particularly since Olga is not the sister to get a lot of attention in fictional retellings.
While the Romanov daughters make appearances, they never take center stage. Instead, readers follow dual timelines, split between a mother and her daughter. In the story's present of 1949 New York City, a daughter seeks to uncover her mother's past in Russia after uncovering a stripped tiara during her apartment renovations. The reader then gets to follow her mother as she navigates newly renamed Petrograd, Russia, in 1915.
"The Last Tiara" offers fascinating historical details combined with romance and mystery. In particular, I enjoyed the jaunt into the House of Faberge and the jewelry market that sprouted as wealthy Russian emigres fled abroad -- often only with the gems they could conceal.
M.J. Rose definitely did her research into both time periods. In some cases, she was all too eager to share her efforts by providing a few information dumps. These didn't upset my reading experience, but I'm also interest in this type of historic detail ... so your mileage may vary!
"The Last Tiara" gets four out of five stars from me. I enjoyed the audiobook version of the novel. The narrator, Tavia Gilbert, hit it out of the park, particularly with all her Russian pronunciations and accents. This novel should be an enjoyable read for fans of historical fiction, particularly those who enjoy a dash of romance and a sprinkling of mystery.
The Libby App has a digital copy of the audiobook and e-book available, while Hoopla has the digital audiobook.
The Syracuse Public Library has added several new digital e-books and audiobooks to its collection for all ages. View the complete list below:
The OverDrive app will be discontinued on Monday, May 1. Are you ready?
OverDrive announced several months ago that it would discontinue its OverDrive app in favor of its more streamlined Libby app. If you have not made the leap to the Libby app, you will need to this coming week to continue to enjoy free digital e-books, audiobooks and magazines with your Syracuse-Turkey Creek Township Library card.
The Libby app is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Once installed, follow its instructions to connect it to your library card. If you run into any problems, Syracuse library staff can assist you.
What If I Use Kindle?
The Libby app is still unavailable in the Amazon app store; however, Kindle users have options.
If you use the Libby app, there are some new titles waiting for you! The Syracuse Public Library has purchased the following digital e-books and audiobooks for our patrons to enjoy. Check them out on Libby today or place a hold.
SPECIAL NOTE: Don't forget the OverDrive app will be officially discontinued May 1. If you haven't made the switch to the Libby app, do so now. The Libby app is available in the Google Play Store and Apple Store. If you use a Kindle, you can access the Libby App in your web browser at libbyapp.com. OverDrive Inc. is still working to get the Libby app listed in Amazon's app store.
Dive into local history or conduct genealogical research by browsing historic local newspapers on Hoosier State Chronicles.
The Syracuse-Turkey Creek Township Public Library and the Syracuse-Wawasee Historical Museum came together to successfully apply for the 2021 LSTA Technology Grant after limiting digitization to newspaper microfilms from the late 1800s through 1990 following an unsuccessful grant in 2020. To complete this project, both organizations received approval from Ron Baumgartner, the owner and publisher of The Papers Inc., which owns The Mail-Journal.
The LSTA Technology Grant came from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services and is administered by the Indiana State Library. SPL and the museum's microfilm digitalization project became the first of its kind in Kosciusko County.
How The Digitalization Process Worked
In October 2021, the Syracuse Public Library's microfilm was packed and sent to Digital Divide Data in Maryland. The vendor then scanned the microfilm through a high-speed feed scanner to produce the digitized pages into several formats. During the process, newspaper pages were cropped, de-skewed, and organized into folders. Following that, they were sent to another team, where metadata was created for each page, issue, and microfilm reel.
Once that process finished, the team at the Indiana State Library performed quality review on the work to catch minor issues, such as missing pages, duplicate pages, and incorrect labeling. Fixes were sent back to the vendor before final approval and the newspapers' inclusion on Hoosier State Chronicles.
What Was Digitized
Digitalized historic local newspapers include:
All of these historic newspapers are now available on the Hoosier State Chronicles website. Uncover headlines for national and local events, enjoy old advertisements, or retrace the steps of your ancestors. Users can also use the website's search feature to do targeted searches for family members. You never now what you will uncover!
On the search result page, you will find a sidebar. This sidebar offers several ways to refine search results to find ancestors. Know where they lived? Click on papers that would have been local to them. Know the periods they were alive? Click those decades. Don't forget to check the tags, which might have clues, such as a person you know is connected to your ancestor.
Have you made the switch to Libby yet? If not, you will want to before April 2023 when the OverDrive is being discontinued.
OverDrive Inc. removed the OverDrive app from the Apple App Store, Google Play and the Microsoft Store on Feb 23, 2022, and now it plans to fully discontinue the legacy OverDrive app at the end of April 2023. At that time, users who try to access their library’s collection in the OverDrive app will need to upgrade to Libby.
OverDrive stated in a its FAQs about the switch, "We believe that Libby is the best reading experience for all users. With valuable partner and user feedback, we’re constantly enhancing the app and adding new features to engage your readers. Discontinuing the OverDrive app will allow our development teams to focus their efforts on Libby."
OverDrive app users currently see the following message in the app:
In early 2023, the OverDrive app will be discontinued. Upgrade to Libby today.
This change is only for the app. Patrons will still be able to visit the Indiana Digital Library's OverDrive website at https://idl.overdrive.com/.
Kindle Fire users can download Libby onto their device manually, as Libby is not currently available to download directly from the Amazon Appstore. OverDrive has requested information and a timeline for approval from Amazon but has not yet received an update.
Users can also deliver Kindle Books to a Fire tablet from a device that supports libbyapp.com (US only).
The OverDrive app will also remain available for Kindle Fire users to download and access until further notice.
What About My OverDrive Wish List?
Yes, when a user sets up the app, Libby prompts them to sync their OverDrive wish list using an in-app notification.
Learn more about wish list syncing on Libby Help.
Evergreen is getting a new update that will improve some features for library staffs across the state. To implement these updates, Evergreen will go offline Friday-Sunday, Nov. 18-20.
What does this outage mean for you? Well, there are a few important notes to know before Friday rolls around:
Everything should be up and running as normal Monday, Nov. 21. Call the library at (574) 457-3022 if you have any questions.
The Syracuse Public Library recently purchased new digital materials for Libby/OverDrive! We know many of our patrons love reading on the go -- whether through e-books or audiobooks -- so we are always adding to the digital collection.
Browse our new Libby materials list below! If there is a specific book or audiobook that you would like us to get that is not currently available on Libby/OverDrive, use our brand-new material request form to recommend it for a future purchase.
The Libby app and OverDrive (available in web browser) are free to Syracuse-Turkey Creek Township Public Library patrons and provide access to a wealth of digital materials, including e-books, audiobooks, and magazines. Just use your library card to get started!
Did you know Bonus Borrows are back on Hoopla? They are!
During the entire month of November, Hoopla users can find Bonus Borrows in the app. These e-books, audiobooks, magazines, and movies/TV shows do not count toward your monthly check out limits!
November Bonus Borrows are available in eight categories: "Characters Kids Love," "The Classics," "Dive into a New Series," "Holiday Entertaining," "Importance of Family," "Killer Drama," "Merry & Bright," and "Sci-Fi & Fantasy."
Check out these collections on your Hoopla app or in your preferred web browser.
OverDrive has added some new features to your Libby app that are going to enrich users reading experiences! Here are six ways to make the most of your Libby app, according to the OverDrive Blog.
Manage Your To-Be-Read Pile
Let’s be honest: There are just too many books and not enough time. And while the Deliver Later option is one of my absolute favorite features, I’m a big mood reader and don’t always like putting books on hold unless I know I’m going to want to read it as soon as it comes in. This is why one of the first tags I set up in Libby was a TBR tag to keep track of all those books I know I’ll want to read eventually. Best part is, when the mood strikes me, I can just open Libby and filter my TBR list to see what’s available. You could even set up separate tags for different moods or genres if you want to be more specific.
In Libby, you can change a regular tag into a smart tag. A smart tag can automatically keep track of certain titles for you. For example, if you have a tag in Libby for titles you want to read, you can add “OverDrive Wish List” smarts to it. When you do, the smart tag will contain both your OverDrive wish list items plus the titles from your “want to read” or TBR tag.
Subscribe To Favorite Magazines
Gone are the days of needing to log into Libby every month to see if the latest issues of my favorite magazines are out. Now, users can set up a smart tag in Libby to be notified when new issues of a magazine are available at your library.
Keep Track Of Book Recommendations
Is there a book you think a friend would love? Or have you had a family member recommend a title to you that you want to remember? You can create Libby tags to keep track of book recommendations, both for yourself and other people. Then when your friend comes to you asking if you’ve read anything good recently you can just open Libby, select that tag, and offer them a whole list of titles to choose from. You can even export the tag to easily share the list of titles with your friend.
If you’re in a book club or manage one at your library, tags are a great way to keep track of books you think folks in your group might enjoy.
Remember Did Not Finish (DNF) Books
Not every book is for every reader and that’s okay! Now you can use tags to identify books you didn’t finish. That way you won’t run into that #readerproblem of checking out a book that sounds really good and maybe even vaguely familiar, only to realize about 10 pages in that you absolutely did try reading this before and decided it wasn’t for you.
Organize Audiobooks By Length
While really long audiobooks are perfect for roadtrips, sometimes you want an audiobook you can finish in a few hours while doing chores. Since Libby shows users the duration of audiobooks, you can set up tags based on short or long audiobooks. And because the tags are completely customizable, the definition of short and long audiobook can be whatever you want it to be!
Customize your reading by attaching emojis to e-books or audiobooks. From the ghost and jack o’lantern for those books you want to read during spooky season to the crying emoji for tearjerkers and even the rainbow icon for books by queer authors, the possibilities are endless.
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