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Streaming Entertainment

 

Streaming entertainment, offers a lot of content at our fingertips. However, with so many streaming platforms available, finding the most economical way to enjoy your favorite movies and music can be challenging. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to make the most of your streaming experience without breaking the bank.

Bundle Services

Many streaming platforms offer bundle deals that allow you to access multiple types of content for a discounted price. For example, you might find a package that includes access to movies, TV shows, and music all in one subscription. By bundling services, you can enjoy a variety of content while saving money. This a huge savings compared to paying for each service separately.

Take Advantage of Free Trials

Most digital services offer free trials for new subscribers. These trials range from a few days to a month or more. Take advantage of these test periods to explore different services and determine which ones best suit your needs. Just be sure to cancel before the trial period ends. If you decide not to continue with a subscription, you will avoid being charged for a full month’s service.

Utilize Libraries

Many libraries offer digital lending services that allow you to borrow eBooks, audiobooks, movies, and music for free. You just need to sign up for your FREE library card to access the 1000’s of titles.

Additionally, subscription services like Kindle Unlimited or Audible offer unlimited access to a vast selection of eBooks and audiobooks for a monthly fee. This provides a cost-effective way to enjoy reading and listening to current and “Top 10” content.

Explore Free Streaming Platforms

There are numerous free streaming platforms that offer a wide range of movies, TV shows, music, and even books. These platforms may include ads or have a more limited selection compared to paid services. But, they can still provide plenty of entertainment options at no cost to you and your family.

Share Subscriptions

Consider sharing streaming subscriptions with family or friends to split the cost. Many streaming services allow multiple users to create profiles under a single account, making it easy to share access while minimizing expenses.

By employing these strategies, you can enjoy a diverse selection of movies, books, and music while staying within your budget. Whether you prefer the latest blockbuster films, best-selling novels, or chart-topping tunes, there’s a cost-effective streaming solution out there.

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Cybersecurity

 

With the recent cybersecurity breach at Seattle Public Library, governments need to set up strong security for their digital networks. These institutions face new challenges, as ransomware and hackers evolve to access vital information. Protecting privacy, ensuring the accuracy of information, and securing sensitive data are vital for maintaining the integrity of public libraries.

Protecting Privacy

Libraries collect and store a wealth of personal information, including user details, borrowing histories, and internet usage records. Without strict cyber security measures, this sensitive data is vulnerable to unauthorized access and breaches.

The loss or theft of personal information can lead to identity theft, financial loss, and a breach of user trust. Implementing strong encryption protocols, secure authentication processes, and regular security audits helps safeguard user privacy. It also ensures that your patrons feel safe and confident in using library services.

Accuracy of Information

Public libraries are champions of reliable information, offering access to a vast array of resources, from books to online databases. Cyber-attacks can compromise the accuracy and integrity of these resources, leading to the dissemination of incorrect or misleading information.

This is particularly critical in an era where misinformation and disinformation are rampant. By employing robust cyber security measures, libraries can protect their digital collections. Libraries need to be free from intrusive “bad actors” to ensure that patrons have access to accurate and trustworthy information.

Securing Sensitive Information

Beyond personal data, libraries also handle sensitive information related to their operations, including financial records, staff details, and strategic plans. This information, if accessed or altered by malicious actors, can disrupt library services and damage the institution’s reputation.

Implementing comprehensive cyber security strategies, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and regular backups, is essential for protecting this information. A secure digital environment ensures that libraries can continue to operate smoothly and serve their communities effectively.

Community Education and Advocacy

Public libraries play a pivotal role in educating the community about cyber security. By offering workshops and resources on safe internet practices, libraries empower patrons to protect their own digital lives. This educational role extends the library’s mission of fostering lifelong learning and civic engagement. It is emphasizing the importance of cyber security in everyday life for us all.

In today’s digital landscape, cyber security in public libraries is crucial for protecting privacy, ensuring the accuracy of information, and securing data. By prioritizing robust cyber security measures, libraries can maintain their role as trusted information hubs and safe spaces for the community.

The commitment to cyber security not only safeguards the institution but also empowers patrons to navigate the digital world confidently and securely. In this way, libraries uphold their mission of providing free and reliable access to knowledge, now and in the future.

 

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Power of Habits

 

Starting on a journey of positive change often centers on forming and sticking to habits. Habits, ingrained routines of behavior, have a profound impact on our daily lives. They influence everything from our productivity to our physical and overall mental well-being. Understanding the science behind habits and implementing effective strategies can be the key to transforming harmful patterns into positive behaviors.

The Science Behind Habits

Habits are deeply rooted in neurological patterns. As we repeat a behavior, our brain forms neural pathways that make the action more automatic over time. This inherent ability of our brains to create habits can be harnessed for positive change. Rather than viewing habits as obstacles, we can leverage the brain’s ability to establish routines that align with our goals.

Identify the Trigger

To change a bad habit, start by identifying the trigger that begins the behavior. Whether it’s stress, boredom, or a specific environment, recognizing the cue that prompts the habit is crucial. Understanding the trigger allows you to implement strategies to interrupt the automatic response and replace it with a positive alternative.

Set Clear and Achievable Goals

Define clear and achievable goals that align with the positive change you want to make. Break down larger objectives into smaller, manageable steps. This not only makes the process less overwhelming but also provides a sense of accomplishment with each milestone. You are reinforcing the formation of a new, positive habit!

Replace with a Positive Behavior

Rather than focusing solely on eliminating a bad habit, redirect your energy toward replacing it with a positive behavior. If your goal is to reduce screen time, replace the habit of scrolling through your phone with a positive behavior. Activities like reading a book or practicing relaxation techniques fit the bill better just before bedtime. The key is to substitute the undesirable action with a healthier alternative.

Utilize the Power of Consistency

Consistency is the bedrock of habit formation. Repetition is what reinforces neural pathways, making a behavior more automatic. Commit to practicing the positive behavior consistently, even when faced with setbacks. Over time, this repetition strengthens the new habit, making it a natural part of your routine.

Accountability and Support

Share your goals with a friend, family member, or a mentor who can provide encouragement and hold you accountable. Having a support system enhances motivation and increases the likelihood of successfully transforming a bad habit. Celebrate achievements together and learn from challenges as a team.

The power of habits lies in their ability to shape our lives. By understanding the science behind habits and implementing strategic approaches, you can change harmful behaviors into positive, life-affirming habits.

Identify triggers, set achievable goals, replace negative behaviors with positive ones, embrace consistency, and seek support. Through this approach, you will create lasting, positive changes that contribute to a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life.

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Setting Healthy Boundries

In our fast-paced and demanding world, self-care and setting healthy boundaries is essential. This practice sets you up for maintaining a happy and joyful life. Establishing boundaries allows us to prioritize our well-being, protect our energy, and create space for self-nurturing activities. By cultivating healthy boundaries, we can enhance our overall quality of life and cultivate a sense of inner peace.

Personal Limits

One fundamental aspect of self-care is recognizing and honoring our personal limits. This involves acknowledging our physical, emotional, and mental capacities and understanding when to say no. It is crucial to listen to our bodies and minds and respond with kindness and compassion. By setting boundaries around our time and energy, we create the opportunity to engage in activities that replenish us.

Whether it’s taking a restorative break, engaging in a hobby, or spending time with loved ones, you need it.  Prioritizing our needs and well-being is not selfish but rather a prerequisite for living a fulfilling and joyful life.

Communication

Communication plays a vital role in establishing healthy boundaries. Clearly and assertively expressing our needs and limitations allows others to understand and respect our boundaries. It is essential to practice effective communication by expressing ourselves honestly.  You also need to be open to listening to the needs of others as well.

By setting clear expectations and boundaries in our relationships, we foster healthier dynamics and promote mutual understanding and respect. Effective communication also helps us navigate any unforeseeable conflicts. This ensures that our boundaries are upheld and our well-being is also prioritized.

Recognizing Energy Drains

Maintaining healthy boundaries also involves recognizing and managing emotional and energetic drains. It is crucial to identify relationships or situations that consistently deplete our energy and create emotional distress. Setting boundaries allows us to protect our emotional well-being and invest energy in relationships and activities that bring us joy.

This may involve creating distance from toxic relationships, limiting exposure to negative influences, seeking support from trusted friends or professionals. For example, I had a job that was truly unhealthy and leaving was the best thing that happened to me.

Foster Positive Relationships

Self-care and healthy boundaries are not about isolation but rather about fostering relationships that align with our values and needs. It is about surrounding ourselves with people who uplift and support us, and engaging in activities that nourish our souls. By nurturing ourselves and setting healthy boundaries, we create the energy to show up fully in relationships, work, and personal pursuits.

It enables us to be more present, engaged, and authentic in all aspects of our lives. Setting boundaries fosters a deeper sense of fulfillment and joy.

Embracing healthy boundaries and practicing self-care are essential components of a happy, joyful life. Be sure to prioritize your well-being, communicate needs, and manage emotional drains you experience.  We all create a foundation for personal growth, contentment, and vibrant relationships when boundaries are respected.

Remember, setting boundaries is an act of self-love and respect. It is empowering all of us to live authentically, cultivate joy, and thrive in all areas of our lives. Live well and enjoy!

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New Holiday Traditions

Holidays are more than just dates on the calendar; they are an embodiment of culture, values, and cherished memories. As societies become increasingly diverse, the opportunity to integrate new holiday traditions into celebrations such as Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah arise. Embracing these traditions not only promotes inclusivity but also enhances the richness of these festive seasons. Here’s how to thoughtfully integrate new holiday customs into these celebrations.

Embrace the Spirit

Begin by embracing the spirit of curiosity and openness. Learn about the diverse cultures and traditions that are relevant to the holiday you are celebrating. Understand the historical significance, rituals, and values associated with each tradition. This knowledge lays the foundation for meaningful connections.

Blend Culinary Delights

One of the most enjoyable aspects of holidays is the food. Incorporate dishes and recipes from various cultures into your holiday feasts. Whether it’s adding a Kwanzaa-inspired dish to your Christmas dinner. Or you can include a Hanukkah specialty during Boxing Day. Culinary fusion can be a wonderful way to honor multiple traditions.

Share Stories

Holidays are an ideal time to share stories and teachings from different cultures. Incorporate storytelling sessions where each family member or guest shares a tale from their heritage or a tradition. This not only educates everyone about new customs but also fosters a sense of unity.

Meaningful Gifts

When exchanging gifts, consider selecting items that hold significance in the traditions you’re integrating. This could be a book about the principles of Kwanzaa, a symbolic ornament from Hanukkah, or a handmade decoration that represents a cherished Christmas custom.

Volunteer and Give Back

Many holiday traditions emphasize the importance of giving back to the community. Integrate this value by participating in volunteer activities. These should align with the principles of the holidays you’re celebrating. This not only integrates new customs but also embodies the true spirit of the festive season.

Encourage Dialogue

Create an open space for discussions about the new traditions you’re integrating. Encourage family members and friends to share their thoughts, feelings, and questions. This fosters a sense of inclusivity and promotes a learning environment.

Respect and Sensitivity

Above all, approach the integration of new holiday traditions with respect and sensitivity. Ensure that the customs you’re adopting are authentically represented and celebrated. Avoid cultural assumptions by engaging in thorough research and consultation with members of the respective cultures.

Finally, integrating new traditions into celebrations like Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah is a way to honor diversity and foster understanding. By embracing a spirit of exploration, culinary fusion, and respectful engagement, you can create festive season for everyone.

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New Managers’ Traits

As librarians’ transition into managerial roles, the dynamics of their responsibilities change, a lot. Effective leadership is not merely about overseeing tasks but fostering an environment of growth, collaboration, and achievement. Here are three essential traits for new managers or leader in libraries and other fields.

Communication is Key

At the heart of effective leadership lies the ability to communicate with clarity, empathy, and purpose. New managers must be adept at conveying their ideas, expectations, and feedback in a manner that resonates with diverse team members. Clear communication sets the foundation for a harmonious work environment, reducing misunderstandings and fostering a culture of transparency.

Moreover, an essential aspect of communication is active listening. New leaders should not only express their thoughts but also be attuned to the concerns and perspectives of their team. This two-way communication builds trust and establishes a sense of inclusivity within the team.

In practical terms, this trait involves mastering various communication channels, adapting the message to different audiences, and being open to feedback. By prioritizing effective communication, new managers create a work culture for collaboration, innovation, and psychological safety.

Emotional Intelligence

As leaders navigate the complexities of managing a team, emotional intelligence emerges as a pivotal trait. The ability to understand and manage your emotions while empathizing with others is a hallmark of successful leadership. New managers who possess emotional intelligence can navigate interpersonal relationships, inspiring their teams to perform at their best.

Emotionally intelligent leaders are not only aware of their own feelings but can also read the emotions of their team members. This awareness enables them to tailor their leadership approach, providing support where needed and celebrating successes together. By fostering a positive emotional climate, new managers can enhance team morale and resilience, key factors in achieving long-term success.

Adaptability

In today’s fast-paced work environment, adaptability is a non-negotiable trait for new managers. To navigate change and make informed decisions in uncertain situations, positions a leader as a dynamic force within their organization.

Adaptable leaders instill confidence in their teams by demonstrating a willingness to evolve strategies based on emerging challenges and opportunities. This trait involves a continuous commitment to learning, staying updated on industry trends, and encouraging a culture of agility.

In essence, adaptability enables new managers to steer their teams through uncharted territories, transforming obstacles into stepping stones for growth. By embodying this trait, leaders inspire resilience and creativity, fostering a culture where challenges are viewed as opportunities for improvement.

Finally, effective leadership goes beyond merely overseeing tasks; it involves cultivating an environment where individuals thrive. By prioritizing communication skills, emotional intelligence, and adaptability, new managers can set the stage for both personal and team success.

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Barbie Taught Me About Work

Did you see the Barbie movie?  I did, mainly because I had the doll growing up. I loved Barbie. And here’s why this movie and its message for us all is so popular now.

Work Hard – Nothing is Perfect

Barbie has always lived in a perfect world. Pink, plastic, and perfect, the marketing machine has families buy her “accessories” for their children constantly. From the dream house, to the car, to her pet dog, Barbie had it all and little girls were supposed to aspire to that life. But, like me many families we couldn’t really afford Barbies or her perfect world.

I had one new Malibu Barbie, the one with the deep tan, gifted to me for my birthday.  I never had a Ken doll, or her sidekick Skippy, so was my imagination stilted?  Nope, never! I was able to earn my college degree (with no loans) and a masters degree after having children to meet my professional goals. I worked hard and reached high.

Improvise and Use your Creativity

Like any good kid with little resources, I improvised. I made Barbie’s furniture from old margarine tub lids and thread spools. She didn’t have a “dream house.” My tanned beauty had a shoe box, covered with a kitchen towel “patio” with a green washcloth lawn.

My doll,and the all the Saturday morning commercials, gave me permission to use my imagination! I improvised to envision my own “apartment” when I grew up.  (I had a few when I was older as well…living the dream in my own way!)

And the career choices I had, from Advertising Executive to Astronaut, I could live through Barbie.  I didn’t need a man to make my dreams come true. I had my drive and work ethic to make things happen for myself.

As a young girl, Barbie really inspired me to succeed to do whatever I dreamed.  And dreamed I did…I moved away from home out of state and started a career that helped me grow other skills that use today to be happy and succeed.

Movie’s Message is Clear 

I see that same message in the movie; Be yourself…whoever you are! No one is perfect or fits a certain mold.  Sometimes we hold ourselves up to unrealistic standards to those around us. Whether it’s in work, school, or even motherhood women have to navigate so many other societal obstacles, that men do not.

When we can truly all be accepted as we are, without limitations or prejudices, then we can all rest easy.  The world has a long way to go to get there.

Even Mattel admittedly has only had one female CEO in the company’s 78-year history. Go figure… but we keep striving, learning, and being better for those that come after us and help them succeed!

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Effective Feedback for Work

 

Providing feedback to employees is an important aspect of a manager’s role. In order to achieve successful outcomes, managers should be mindful of the following when providing feedback.

Be Timely

Feedback should be given in a timely manner, whether it’s positive or negative. It’s important to address issues or concerns as soon as they arise. Don’t’ wait until a formal evaluation or not at all, always address the issue. This will allow the employee to tackle and improve the issue in a timely mannerThis also helps morale for the other team members.

Be Specific

Feedback should be specific and focus on the employee’s actions or behavior, rather than their personality or character. It should be based on observable facts and should provide clear examples of what the employee did well or what needs improvement. Factual information is so important to keep an objective tone and help improve the employee’s behaviors or skills.

Be Balanced

Feedback should be balanced and provide a mix of positive and negative feedback. Positive feedback helps to build morale and motivation, while negative feedback helps to address areas for improvement. Have current examples on hand to illustrate the points of your feedback. Provide a timeline to help them understand what could have gone better and why.

Be Constructive

Feedback should be given in a constructive manner and focus on providing solutions rather than criticism. Avoid using judgmental or negative language and instead, provide specific suggestions for improvement.

Communicate Face-to-Face 

Feedback should be given in person, rather than via email or other forms of digital communication. This allows for a more open and direct conversation. It’s easier to pick up on nonverbal cues that can help to understand the employee’s perspective. Sometimes you will learn a great deal from eye contact and willingness to accept the feedback from your employee.

Follow-Up With A Plan

Feedback should be followed up with a clear plan of action. The manager should discuss with the employee what steps they will take to improve and what support the manager will provide. Follow-up conversations should be scheduled to assess the progress made and make any necessary adjustments. The employee needs to seriously address the plan for improvement as well, being open to change and suggestions.

Providing feedback to employees is an important aspect of a manager’s role, it’s a way to help them improve and grow in their jobs.  It’s a way to ensure that the company is running smoothly and efficiently.

By providing feedback in a timely manner with an action plan, managers can ensure that their feedback leads to successful outcomes.  Positive outcomes for both the employee and the company’s growth. This also helps to provide a healthy work culture and high morale for your teams across work groups.

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Ready for School

As the summer ends, it’s time for students of all ages to prepare for the new school year ahead. From the excitement of starting elementary school to the challenges of college, being prepared is key to a successful journey. Here are some useful tips to help elementary and college students get ready to start the school year off right.

For elementary school students, setting routines is important. As the transition from the relaxed days of summer to the structured school setting can be overwhelming.  It’s important to gradually reintroduce routines a few weeks before school starts. Set consistent bedtimes and wake-up times to help children adjust to the school schedule. Creating a morning routine that includes tasks like dressing, eating a healthy breakfast, and packing their backpacks. All this can be done the night before to help eliminate morning stress and ensure a smooth start.

Preparing the necessary supplies is another vital aspect of getting ready for school. For elementary school students, it’s essential to stock up on the basics such as pencils, erasers, notebooks, and crayons. Check the school’s supply list and make sure to include any specific items requested. Involve your child in the process of selecting their school supplies to help them feel excited for day one.

College students face a different set of challenges when it comes to getting ready for school. Time management and organization skills become increasingly important. Encourage college freshmen to use tools like planners or digital calendars to keep track of assignments, exams, and extracurricular activities. Establishing a study schedule and creating a designated study area at home can also help students stay focused.  Also maintain a healthy balance between academics and other commitments such as sports and clubs.

In addition to organizational skills, college students should also consider their long-term goals and aspirations. As they embark on their higher education journey, it’s important for students to start thinking about their future. Encourage them to explore interests, engage in extracurricular activities, and take advantage of any opportunities for career exploration or mentorships. Starting early on this path can help them make informed decisions about their career paths, leading to a more fulfilling and successful future.

Whether it’s the first day of elementary school or the start of college, preparing is a vital step towards success. Establishing routines, gathering the necessary supplies, and developing time management and goal-setting skills are essential for students at every level. By focusing on these areas, students can enter the school year with confidence. They will be ready to embrace new challenges and make the most of their educational journey. With the right preparation, the school year ahead holds countless opportunities for growth, learning, and personal development.

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Managing Coworkers

As a new supervisor, managing former coworkers can be challenging. It can be difficult to balance the shift in power dynamics while maintaining positive working relationships. In this article you will learn some best practices for managing former colleagues and creating a successful transition.

Establish Clear Communication

Open communication is essential when managing former colleagues. It is important to establish clear expectations from the beginning and to keep everyone informed throughout the transition process. This can include outlining new responsibilities, changes in reporting structure, and any other relevant details. Clear communication can help to reduce confusion and uncertainty, and create a more positive work environment.

Maintain Professionalism

As a new supervisor, it is important to maintain a professional demeanor when interacting with former colleagues. This can include avoiding favoritism, setting clear boundaries, and addressing any conflicts in a timely and respectful manner. It is also important to lead by example and to hold yourself to the same standards as your team.

Build Trust

Building trust is essential in any leadership role, and it is especially important when managing former coworkers. Take the time to get to know your team members on a personal level, and show them you value their contributions. Building trust can help to create a more positive work environment, and help to reduce tension or resistance to change.

Encourage Feedback

Encouraging feedback from your team can help to create a more collaborative work environment. As a new manager, you can help address any concerns or challenges that may arise or have come up in the past. This includes setting up regular check-ins, soliciting feedback on new initiatives, and actively listening to your team’s ideas and suggestions. Encouraging feedback can also help to create a culture of continuous improvement, and lead to better performance for the team.

Provide Support

As a new supervisor, it is important to provide support to your team during the transition process. This can include providing training, resources, and other HR support as needed. It is also important to be available and accessible to your team, and to provide regular feedback and recognition.

A favorite way to recognize your team is learn about them individually.  Thank them with a personal note, small gift, or publicly so they know you value them. One year, I gave my team Life is Good t-shirts depending upon their hobbies, and they loved them!

Finally, managing former colleagues can be a challenging experience. It is also a chance to grow and learn as a leader. By beginning with clear communication, you build trust, encourage feedback, and provide support for your team.  You can create a successful transition and build a strong team with former coworkers or as new leader.

Remember to lead by example, stay open to feedback, and be willing to adapt as needed. With the right mindset and approach, managing former coworkers or anyone can be fulfilling and fun!

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