Have you ever wanted to know what went on in the past in Ontonagon County but didn't know where to look?

The Ontonagon Township Library has a device called a microfilm reader (a machine that can read old documents, newspapers, etc. that have been sized down on film to a really tiny scale that isn't readable by the naked eye.) These tiny newspaper copies (microfilms) can be stored on cassette tape-like devices or on reels, as they are at OTL.

So, if you want to look up historical documents or local newspapers going back to the late 1800s, all you have to do is ask the working librarian for some help and they can help you set up the machine and give you a quick walkthrough of operating the microfilm station. For those visitors less comfortable using technology, you can also provide library staff with the details of the article you're looking for, and they will try to locate it for you and provide a print-out or e-mail copy, usually with a one- to two-week turnaround time.


Written by Cassandra Steffensen for Ontonagon Township Library, 2017


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Michigan eLibrary Database Collection


Many people don’t have time to come to the library to search through books and articles for facts. Especially if you are a student busy with school and need to locate accurate information without wasting a lot of time. Well, going to the Michigan eLibrary (MEL) can help.


The Michigan eLibrary's (MeL) database collection provides access to nearly fifty high-quality databases, which are full of statistics, reports, articles, documents, and images. Many of the MeL databases are especially designed for helping students. MeL has a wide variety of databases you can access such as, Nursing Research center, an in-depth resource for medical professionals and nursing students, a fact website called Britannica designed for K-12 students, a Physical therapy and sports medicine database, several databases related to business, one on Psychology, the Health Reference Center database, Heritage Quest, two collections of online eBooks (one for Young adult and youth and another for all genres), a full-featured encyclopedia, and even some Spanish and multilingual resources. There are also special learning-oriented options for Kindergarten through 5th grade students, and even more that I haven’t mentioned.


You never have to worry about any of them being unreliable, because they are curated by information professionals at the Library of Michigan, and wouldn’t be included in the collection if they weren’t accurate. Best of all, the resources on the MeL database website are free to you just for being a Michigan resident. None of the links will spam you with ads or ask you to pay a subscription fee. If you are interested in any of the things listed above, check out MEL.org/databases to get to the full site listing. Have fun learning!



Written by Cassandra Steffensen for Ontonagon Township Library, 2017

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Ebooks and audiobooks


Sometimes you just live too far from our public library, or maybe our library doesn’t have the book you are looking for. Maybe you just don’t like carrying bulky physical books and prefer to read on a digital device or by listening to audiobooks. Well did you know that your public library loans out ebooks and digital audiobooks too? Here's  how to get to the website, and how to get the books downloaded:

  1. To get to the digital library you must either

    1. Go to the Ontonagon Township Libraries home page and looking on the Left side there is a sidebar with various pieces of useful information. One of the headings is "Local Links and  Helpful Resources". Under that headline one of the links will say "Great Lakes Digital library". Click on it. And Congrats you are at the page for checking out ebooks!

    2. Another way to get there is to search online Great Lakes Digital Library and it should be the first link that pops up.

    3. The other way to get there is through using an app on your portable device(s).The two e-reader apps currently compatible with Great Lakes Digital Library are "Overdrive" and "Libby". Both can be found by searching the Google Play app store and the iTunes store. When you launch the app, it will have you choose the Library you want to sign into. You should search for "Ontonagon" and the Ontonagon Township library is the only one that will pop up. Then Click on that, and then click on Great Lakes Digital Library, and the app will load a mobile version of the Great Lakes Digital Library homepage.

2. Now That you are on the site to check anything out you must sign in. In the top right corner when you get onto the page there should be a blue button that says Sign In. click on it to get to the sign in page. To sign in you will need your user ID number and your pin. Your user ID is the number on the back of your library card, and your default pin should be the last 4 digits of the phone number you used when registering for your library card. If you have any problems with your ID or pin, please contact library staff for assistance.


3. To borrow or place a hold.

    a. Borrowing is simple. After you find a book you like and click on it, there should be a blue button that says either "borrow" or "hold". If you click "borrow" you have borrowed the book and it is instantly added to your digital bookshelf.

    b. To place a hold, do the same thing as above. If there are no copies of the book currently available, you will see a "place hold" button instead of a "borrow" button. If you choose to place a hold, the book will automatically be added to your loans when it is available.

    4. Now it's time to download your book(s) so you can read or listen on the go. After borrowing a title, go to the upper right corner of the page. There should be a button looking something like three books leaning on each other. This is your "bookshelf", and clicking on that will show you a list of your current loans. (The layout may be slightly different on mobile versions, so look for the bookshelf icon, or a link that says "bookshelf".) Once you've accessed your bookshelf, simply click on the book you just loaned and should give you the option to download it. Click the"Download" button and follow the prompts to download the item. Depending on what sort of device you're using, and what title you're borrowing, you may be presented with options to download the book in different formats, or to read/listen directly in your internet browser. (Using the browser-based reader is a good choice for anyone reading or listening on a personal computer, but downloading a copy is essential if you plan to read or listen anywhere you won't have wireless data service.)  Congratulations, you have downloaded a book!





Great Lakes Digital Library homepage

Written by Cassandra Steffensen for Ontonagon Township Library, 2017.

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Using Interlibrary Loan


Say you come to the library looking for a book but they just don’t have it. Instead of going home and sulking, or spending money to order something you're only going to read once, did you know the library has a way for it to magically appear in the next couple weeks? Well it does, and we call it an Interlibrary Loan.

If you go up to the person working at the library desk and ask them to get you an interlibrary loan for a certain book you really want to read, you should have that book in the next couple of weeks and you will get a phone call notifying you when it’s in.

It is also possible to process your own Interlibrary Loan requests using the Ontonagon Township Library website. This is a great option if you have privacy concerns, or if it is difficult for you to get to the library during operating hours. If you would like to learn how to make an Interlibrary Loan request, please ask library staff for assistance and they can walk you through the process of searching and requesting books, CDs, and DVDs all across the Upper Peninsula. (There is even a statewide system for searching and requesting items from any participating Michigan library if the item can't be found in the U.P.!)

When our library asks another participating library for a book that isn't in the local collection, that library will be happy to send it over the next time they do Interlibrary Loan processing. Libraries in larger towns and cities often process Interlibrary Loan requests every day. Smaller libraries, such as OTL, might only process once or twice a week. So depending on the lending library's size and distance from Ontonagon, it can take three or more weeks for your item to arrive, although items sent from other U.P. libraries often arrive within a two-week window. But if you can be patient, you can access virtually any book ever published without leaving Ontonagon.

Happy Reading!

Written by Cassandra Steffensen for Ontonagon Township Library, 2017

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