Some say that learning a second language becomes more challenging as one grows older. With my college French
classes far behind me and the likelihood of my taking up residence in Paris dwindling, I had almost given up on my Francophilic dreams. Then along came Duolingo, a free language-learning app that not only makes learning fun, but addicting! By gamifying written lessons, dictation and speaking practice, Duolingo offers the most productive means of procrastination I've ever discovered. And, it's 100 percent free! The company makes its money by offering a translation service powered by gamers at no cost to Duolingo. I'm only on Level 5, but I'm blowing through plurals, so keep your eyes open for my translation handiwork online soon. À bientôt!
— Kelly Baxter
If The New York Times and "This American Life" had a baby, their progeny would be Narratively (narrative.ly). This digital publication claims to "slow down the news cycle" by focusing on a weekly theme and publishing just one story a day. The medium and subject vary; you may see a comic strip about a belly dancer navigating social turbulence in Egypt or an article exploring the library's changing role in the 21st century. One of my favorite stories divulges the insider
secrets of Ivy League tour guides. This is not the site for breaking news, but Narratively shares the "hidden" stories that have universal appeal.
— Kelly Baxter
I recently jumped on the Twitter bandwagon, and it has been great! I can follow my favorite authors, chefs, comedians,
athletes, news anchors and organizations. Variety is the spice of Twitter: at the same time a famous chef is telling me what
book he is reading, another is giving me a new trick to poaching an egg. Breaking news hits Twitter first, one of the reasons Central University Libraries (CUL) has joined the conversation and is tweeting and retweeting everything from library hours to archived rare photos to information on services to campus photos. If you aren't on Twitter, sign up today; it's free. And don't forget to follow us @SMUCUL!
— Tyeson Seale
CUL's Kelly Baxter, advancement associate and a library science master's student at Texas Woman's University, and Tyeson Seale, Information Commons technology coordinator, served as co-chairs of the CUL Year of the Library Committee.