Pulp-less Fiction: Digital Downloads

This blog is about new paperless reading materials like downloadable audio books, ebooks, and online magazines, made available to you through the Appleton Public Library. I plan to provide helpful tips on using these new products, along with reviews of audio books, music on cd, and movies on DVD and Blu-ray. There may even be an occasional post on genealogy.  The library is changing as rapidly as your access to media and the Internet. We want to keep on top of the trends and bring you information and entertainment in a way that fits your life today.   -Diana

Traveling? Enjoy an audiobook

Seems like everyone is driving or traveling in the summer—check out a book on cd or Playaway or download a digital audio book to make those endless miles more enjoyable! 


Audio books are titles read or acted by voice actors—either an individual or a group.  The full cast audio books are like a play, with different actors playing the parts, sometimes with music and sound effects.  Listening to a book can give you a whole new experience compared to reading it.  Some staff favorites are listed on our Better As Audio booklist.


If you are traveling as a couple and want an audio book that both of you can enjoy, try one of the titles on our Road Trip for Two list. 


Summer is prime time for travel as a group.  Some favorite listens for the whole family appear on the Family Road Trip booklist.


The Appleton Public Library has audio books in several formats:


  • Books on CD are discs that can be used in car cd players, personal players and home entertainment systems. 

 Playaway coverPlayaway controls

  • Playaways are self-contained books on a small cartridge—no need to change discs.  They are light and easy to use when walking, running or traveling.  An adapter may be used to allow listening in your car.  You provide the AAA battery and use your own headphones or earbuds to listen.  The library also sells batteries (50 cents) and earbuds ($1.00) at the Information Desk if you are eager to get started.



  • Digital audiobooks are available for download via OverDrive or OneClickdigital.  They check out, using your library card number and PIN/password log in to set up your account.  Depending on the format, they can be downloaded on or transferred to mp3 players, mobile devices such as tablet computers and smart phones, as well as your desktop computer.  Thousands of titles are available to you for free.

 SYNC YA poster

A special free program for those who listen to YA books allows you to download and keep two free audio books each week.  There are two titles per week during the summer, a YA title and a classic--see the titles here.  Publishers have donated use of these titles, and the site is hosted by Audiofile.  Check it out at ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­www.audiobooksync.com.


There are also free audio sites online, but titles are generally not read by voice actors, so the voice quality may vary.  However the price is right!  Check out Librivox, Librophile, and Books Should Be Free.


Enjoy a great listen this summer!

Finding Foreign Films

Do you speak a language other than English or want to practice the language you are learning in school?  Are you visiting the US and are homesick for entertainment in your native language?  Perhaps you are a film buff who loves foreign films?

We have films from many countries at the Appleton Public Library.  This month the film display highlights foreign films so it’s extra easy to find one.  The display is behind the Information Desk.

We also have an updatedForeign Films list which lists many of our newer foreign films plus some “classic” foreign films.  Films are arranged by language and/or country. 

If you wish to search for a certain film, or category of film, there are various ways to search in InfoSoup:


1.        Exact title. If you don’t see it in English, try looking for the name  in the original language.

Title search

2.       Director.  Use the author field and type in the director’s name.  If they have also written books, you can narrow the search by choosing DVD & VHS & Blu-ray as the format.

Format search

3.       Actor.  Use the author category. Narrow by format.

4.       Choose the subject search; then enter one of these subject headings:

  1. a.       Feature Films—­­­­­­­­___________ (fill in the blank with the name of the language you’re looking for)
  2. b.      Moving Pictures--_____________
  3. c.       Foreign Films--­_____________

Subject search

5.       Once you find a film in a language you like, you can link to others by clicking the subject headings at the bottom of the entry.

Cross reference

Enjoy watching films from all over the world!

Attention fans of comics & graphic novels!

Free Comic Book Day logo

Saturday, May 4, is Free Comic Book Day!  Every year on the first Saturday of May participating comic book shops give away comic books free to people who visit their stores.  Learn more at http://www.freecomicbookday.com .


This year, the Appleton Public Library will be partnering with Chimera Hobby to be a give-away site.*

 Free Comic Book Day flyer 

Appleton Public Library lends graphic novels—stories told in words and pictures, like a traditional comic book—for children, teens and adults.   A display of teen and adult graphic novels from our collection will be available for check out, along with a guide to some interesting and important adult graphic novels. The library also has a large collection of manga.



We will also be promoting a program this summer for teens (grades 7-12) called Secret Identity Workshop.  Teens will create their own superhero identity cards!

Secret Identity Workshop

*One comic per person while supplies last.  Titles will vary.

New features on OverDrive!

Cover, Grid or List—these are new ways to browse for titles. 


For a quick look at the collection, try the cover view.  You will see more books at once.

Cover view of Overdrive


The Grid view shows more information about each title, including full title and author name as well as the name of the series, if appropriate.

Grid view


The List view shows fewer books but also more information about the book.  You can see the full description by clicking on the book cover.

List view

Another way to narrow your search is to choose a collection.

 Collection choices

“My library’s collection” means everything currently in the Wisconsin Digital Library collection for use, whether you need to put a hold on it or it is available for checkout right now.

 “Only titles with copies available” will take away the titles which are all checked out, and you will see just items which can currently be checked out.

 “Additional titles to recommend” searches through all titles which OverDrive currently has access to, whether already added or not.  This is similar to a request for purchase, where you suggest that the library buy a title to be added to the collection.


Your search may also be narrowed by

  • Ebook vs. audio book
  • Format (Epub, Kindle, OverDrive Read, etc)
  • Subject
  • Publisher
  • Language
  • Grade Level
  • * rating which other readers have given to the title

  • ·         Device that may be used to read or listen to the book (brand of ereader, audio device, tablet, etc.)


    There is a new “basic” version of OverDrive Read that allows you to use OverDrive Read in Internet Explorer without installing a plugin.  If you are already using Internet Explorer with the Google Chrome Frame Plugin or using a different browser you will see no difference. However, Internet Explorer versions 7, 8, and 9 will give you the option to use the basic version instead.

    The basic version of OverDrive Read supports many of the features of OverDrive Read. However, because some of the features of OverDrive Read depend on the advanced features of HTML5 and CSS3 (which are not available in older browsers without the Google Chrome Frame Plugin), the basic version will provide you with a different experience. The most notable of these are the absence of pagination and customized font sizes.

Enjoy these new features which make it easier to find titles to your taste.

Did you know that the Appleton Public Library provides these free services?


  1. Infosoup cardA library card is free to residents—just bring in your photo ID and proof of current address if not on your ID, then stop at a service desk and get a card in a few minutes.

  2. Free Wi-Fi and internet computers are available at the Appleton Public Library.  Use your library card to use the computers up to two hours a day.  Visiting from outside Wisconsin?  You can get a guest pass using your ID to access the internet computers.

  3. Wisconsin's Digital Library  Download free e-books and audio books from Wisconsin’s Digital Library or One Click Digital OneClick Digital.

  4. We answer questions!  Can’t find an out-of state phone number?  Who was the 23rd President of the United States?*   What is the name of the children’s museum and where is it located in Appleton?**  Call 832-6173, the main number for most questions, 832-6177 for media questions, or 832-6187 for Children’s.

  5. Mango LanguagesFree access to databases such as Mango language learning, HeritageQuest genealogy website from home or Ancestry Library Edition within the library, car repair databases, Opposing Viewpoints, newspapers and magazines online, and many others.  Go to www.apl.org/e to see what we have available in our elibrary resources.Kids bugging you to buy new video games?  Save money by checking out PS3 or Xbox 360 video games from the Children’s and Teens areas for free.

  6. Call dibs on hot new books—they are usually in the catalog a month or two before the book is released, so you can get a place in line before they even come out, at no charge.

  7. ZinioFree subscriptions to 100 different magazines are available through Zinio once you create an account using your library card.

  8. APL Staff PicksLooking for interesting books to read?  There are Staff Picks next to the new books where books recommended by staff are placed, while on the website there are new Staff Picks every few days.  You can read older reviews by going to http://www.apl.org/staffpicks/all.

  9. Programs for all ages and interests are available for free at the library:  author talks, book clubs, craft programs, petting zoo, knitting groups, children's programs, and many more.  Check the Event Calendar at http://host6.evanced.info/appleton/evanced/eventcalendar.asp.


Answers:  *Benjamin Harrison was the 23rd American President.  Found at the White House site.

**The Building for Kids, is located at 100 W. College Avenue, Appleton.