UPDATE: Additional Services at OPL Branches – Starting Mar. 8


Starting Monday, March 8:

  • 28 of our 31 open branches will offer returns and holds pick up inside the branches, as well as browsing, and use of public computers.
  • Rosemount, Orléans, and Metcalfe branches will offer contactless returns and holds pick up inside the branches.
  • The Bookmobile will offer browsing of a small collection at all stops.
  • Hours of operation will remain the same.
  • Mask wearing inside the branches, and outside in line, remain mandatory.

For more details, go to the OPL blog.

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Blackberry Playbook - still useful with library resources?


I'll admit it: I still own a Blackberry Playbook. 

It had a short period of enthusiastic followers when it was released in early 2011 revealing features and security which had placed it near, if not at the forefront of similar tablets at the time.  Unfortunately, it lost ground quickly due to lack of a native e-mail app (which was added roughly 10 months later), a lack of support from app developers, and intense competition from devices running Android and iOS (iPads and iPhones).  Ultimately, it was formally decided two years later by Blackberry Limited that the company would no longer develop any updates to the tablet's operating system. 

No doubt some people have kept their devices to access e-books from the library's Overdrive.  Unfortunately in April 2014, Overdrive announced that it would no longer support its app on the Blackberry OS platform and removed it from the device's app store.  Which means if anyone who still had the app before it was removed from the app store risked losing it if the Blackberry Playbook was reset or the app crashed and had to be deleted.  For some users, this was the final nail in the coffin.

Or is it?

The question remains: after 3 and a half years of being abandoned by its company, which of the Ottawa Public Library's media resources still work?  The short answer is: not much.  Much of the more popular resources (Hoopla, PressReader and ConsumerReports.org) do not work at all. Some, like Freegal, kanopy, Access Video on Demand, and most of the journal research databases, still work with limited function.  Happily, some streaming services like Naxos, Audiobook Cloud, Mango Languages and the TumbleBook resources still work very well.

Below is an annotated list of selected resources that I have tested with my Blackberry Playbook:

What still works: Naxos and Naxos Jazz Music Library; Audiobook Cloud; Mango Languages (I didn't have a microphone/headset, so I don't know if the voice testing works); Tumblebook resources.

What works with limited function:​ Freegal (the streaming player doesn't work, but you can still download songs); kanopy and Access Video on Demand (both resources work, but loading menus will take a while, and the video player cannot be adjusted to "full screen"); Zinio (you can still select titles online and use the app on the Playbook, but the 'text only' function is gone); Gale Virtual Reference and Canadian Reference Centre (HTML and audio work, but the PDF viewer online gives you a blank screen); Early Canadiana Online (the zooming and downloading functions don't work).

​What doesn't work:​ Hoopla; PressReader; ConsumerReports.org; Overdrive (unless you still have the app); MaBiblioNumérique.ca.


This is super useful to know

This is super useful to know - thanks!