Library iPads: the How and Why

I recently conducted an experiment: I checked out one of the Katherine Brush Library’s iPads for one week. I had two goals in this experiment. One, to see how effective an iPad is vs. plain old notebooks and binders, and two, to see how much I personally liked the experience and could feasibly integrate the iPad into my note-taking life. Without further ado, my review!


Overall, I found taking notes on an iPad was pretty fun! The tidiness of taking notes electronically amazed me, as did some nifty features that stem from syncing between apps on the iPad or between the iPad and the computer. Here are the apps I used:

  1. One Note (Microsoft Office): I loved, loved, loved having One Note on the iPad. If you aren’t familiar with One Note, it’s like Microsoft Word but with a cleaner and simpler interface. The features I most like about One Note are the simplicity of the interface, the ability to categorize notes in notebooks, and the sync option! This option is what really made One Note great to have on the iPad. I could take notes on the iPad in my English or Ancient Philosophy classes, and after I synced they would appear on the One Note installed on my computer, for me to reference while completing that night’s homework. Neatest. Function. Ever.
  2. Evernote: I have Evernote installed on my computer, and I also used it on the iPad (and it also syncs!). I like Evernote for its sharing functionality, but to me it feels a little less ‘academic’ than One Note. This might just be because so far I have used Evernote for my artwork ideas and reference pictures, but overall Evernote definitely has less options when taking a ‘note.’ It’s nice, though, for keeping track of tasks. And another bonus is the Moleskine company makes techy paper notebooks that sync with Evernote. . .
  3. Penultimate: This app is Evernote’s sister (it syncs to Evernote and uploads your notes there). Created to be used with a stylus, it’s a real ‘note taking’ app in that you use it to make handwritten notes–but on your iPad. I liked using Penultimate for handwritten notes, because while both Evernote and One Note let you free draw notes, neither of them was very accurately calibrated; Penultimate was. All my handwritten notes were clean, fresh, and legible–and the automatic zoom and pan option let me make precise and neat notes. I hated the highlight colors on the app though–who uses forest green or autumn orange highlighter?


I really liked carrying less notebooks around. Another great feature was just having Safari and the internet accessible during class to look up words or history relevant to a class discussion (not to look at Buzzfeed, I swear…). Also, having Apple books and the Amazon Kindle app downloaded helped to digitally download books and carry even less! My tip though, is to buy the ebook via Amazon and open it on the Kindle app–Apple books are usually more expensive.

So, would I use an iPad as an academic accessory in the future? (i.e. in college; I say bye to Loomis in 88 days).

Yes! But it would have to be my own iPad. A major obstacle in converting to electronic notes came in all the handouts and printable sheets teachers give for homework or notes. Ideally, I would scan these and save them on my iPad. Though I suppose this could be circumvented through using Google Drive, getting the most synced iPad experience would come with saving these scans on the iPad, being logged on to all your accounts, downloading your own music, and rearranging the apps as you please (something I couldn’t really do with a library iPad). So now I definitely have an iPad on my college supplies wish-list.

–Emilie S.

Find out more about the library’s iPads.








Moleskine: A review

There’s something about journals that makes them more collectible than anything else. Maybe it’s the smell of new paper, the pretty bindings or the sense of professionalism that comes with bound paper that makes  journals so appealing. Personally, I like to categorize both my musings and sketches into journals. Before I even began filling my journals, however, I began collecting them for their looks. Now, the only notebook brand I use is Moleskine.

Moleskine has become my favorite brand simply because of the phenomenal craftsmanship of their notebooks. Each has a sturdy binding, cover, and book mark. All notebooks also feature a back pockets for loose papers. Moleskine makes their journals in three sizes: pocket, large, and extra large. Each journal comes in either hard or soft cover.

moleskine journal

To present a few of the options from my experience:

The extra large, soft cover notebook is the best for taking notes in classes. It almost reaches the size of a regular spiral notebook but has elegant ivory paper that you’ll love if you take notes in pen. The soft cover is nice because the pages will stay down more easily once opened. I use mine for my AP Literature class.

Hard cover large notebooks work great as either journals or sketchbooks. I have one in red that I use as a travel journal, and one unlined Petit Prince limited edition notebook, which I use as a sketchbook. The large notebook barely takes up any space in a daily bag or backpack.

moleskine journal

The pocket journal is the cutest little notebook to use as a planner, address book, or bullet journal. I use mine as a bullet journal for my summer adventures.

The greatest thing about Moleskine, however, is the variety of their notebooks. Moleskine offers a complete line of art sketchbooks, planners, address books, “city journals,” and limited addition notebooks with fantastic artwork. Some of the current limited edition notebooks have Lego, Star Wars, or The Hobbit artwork, and are a fan’s dream collectible.

If you hate spiral notebooks, collect journals, or love the classic look of bound paper, try a Moleskine!

moleskine journal

Book Review: The Testing, by Joelle Charbonneau

book cover the testing

In search of a new, innovative take on the dystopian genre, I stumbled across The Testing; the first installment of a trilogy that follows Cia Vale, a young student who is chosen to compete in a highly competitive program to attend the single University of the United Commonwealth.

The students at the University will become the next leaders in charge of containing the expansion of the Commonwealth and the revitalization of the nation. In order to weed out the best and brightest students for the task, the admittance policies for the University are insane; first students are hand selected from their colonies, then must pass a series of exams, before completing one final test: being sent out into the revitalized wild. There is no choice but to survive.

Cia Vale navigates the testing by using her intelligence and making new friends. She fears surviving the test, but above all remembering whom to trust once she completes the tests and has her memory wiped.

Joelle Charbonneau tells Cia’s story through unrelenting action and suspense. Although reading the story in its first person form can be tiring due to the lengthy transitions, the book was an overall good read, and has two very interesting sequels.

I recommend The Testing for anyone needing a new Young Adult book for the summer. If you’re looking for a book reminiscent of The Hunger Games with a captivating academic twist, The Testing is the book for you!