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Monday, April 28, 2008

Do the Dewey 2008 - now on video!

If you were lucky enough to be at our Do the Dewey event this past Saturday, you will want to watch for yourself in our latest YouTube video right up at the top of this post. Couldn't make it? Watch the video and you'll see how much you missed - we hope it inspires you to join us for Do the Dewey 2009. What happens at Do the Dewey? The library opens its doors after hours on a Saturday night and for a small admission charge, guests are treated to free food, drinks, live entertainment, activities, and the chance to win great prizes all night! Some of this year's lucky winners took home strings of pearls from R.C. Wahl Jewelers, delicious bottles of wine from WineStyles of Des Plaines, and other prizes ranging from iPods to Cubs tickets to, yes, cold hard cash -- we held a scavenger hunt in the stacks for $100 bills! Wandering around the library was like a treasure hunt even without the money: tables overflowing with food, happy bartenders ready to fill your glass, and opportunities for a neck massage, a mehndi henna tattoo, an aura reading, dance lessons. Even those who didn't take home a prize certainly took home a smile. Approximately 300 people attended and thousands of dollars were raised, making this our most successful Do the Dewey ever. Yay.

Way, way, WAY too many people to thank, so I'm going to take the easy way out and just list them, as many as I can conjure up. An event this big takes many hands and much hard work, months of planning for a few hours that fly by. Before we list those who donated, a huge THANK YOU goes out to our tireless, fearless kitchen crew that night, led by our own Barb Saletnik, along with Angy Socha, Virginia Holler, and tons of other volunteers. We especially thank our Teen Advisory Board and Key Club volunteers, who gave up a Saturday night to prepare, serve and clean up. I could, seriously, go on for days thanking people - as you'll see from the list below. First, here are some photos from the event:

Our thanks to:
Event Sponsors -
Glenview State Bank
Journal & Topics Newspapers
America United Bank and Trust Company
Graphic Solutions

Program Sponsors -
Faydra Brown
Des Plaines Camera Club
Galina Dance Studio
MahRose Salon
Pesche's Flower Shop & Greenhouses
Rhonda Popko
Quilting Divas
WineStyles of Des Plaines

Donors -
Donna McAllister
Terence Eiden
Roger and Mary Ellicson
Anne Evans
Margret Fairhead
Senator Susan Garret
David Jones
Joyce Lerner
Karen McBride
Elizabeth Miller
Rich and Mary Toomy
Kathleen Vieser
Kenneth and Debra Walusiak

Food/Beverages Provided by -

All On the Road Catering
Black Ram
Caputo & Sons Fruit Market, Deli and Fresh Meats
Chang Jiang Buffet
Cheeseburger in Paradise
Cumberland Cafe
Depot Pizzeria
Don's Dock Seafood Market
Frugal Nut and Candy
Giuseppe's La Cantina Restaurant
Grazie! Ristorante and Banquet
House of Szechwan
Jimmy's Restaurant
Little Villa Restaurant and Pizzeria
Manzo's Banquets and Catering
Oak Mill Bakery
Sarpino's Pizzeria
Shop & Save

Prize Donors -
American Girl
American Legion Post 36
Anderson Lock
Cortney Anderson Wascher
Arlington Park Racecourse, LLC
Brookfield Zoo
Faydra Brown
Brunswick Zone
Century 21/Elm Realtors
Chicago Wolves
Choo Choo Restaurant
Chung's Tae Kwon Do
C-Line Products
C.R. Flowers
Laura Curley
Rina Davis
Des Plaines Park District
Des Plaines Public Library
Fitness 19
Roberta Johnson
Kohl Children's Museum
Lattof International YMCA
Malnati Family
Malnati Organization Inc.
Nora Flaherty
Grand Victoria Casino
Lucy Greer
Richard Haas
John Hecker
Jerry Hug
Heather Imhoff
Michele Judy
Joyce Kabler
Kane County Cougars
Kathy Lee
Little Villa Restaurant
Sharon Lynch
Courtney Mahoney
Bob Mele
Representative Rosemary Mulligan
Sandra Norlin
Peter Olson
Olson Law Firm
Dennis Oster
Outsource Solutions Group
Jean Paxton
Rhonda Popko
Christine Posinger
Prairie Lee Print and Frame
Quilting Divas
R.C. Wahl Jewelers
Holly Richards Sorensen
Robert Richart, D.C., CCSP, CSCS
Richart Spinal and Sports Rehabilitation, Ltd.
Carl Roberts
Thomas Robertson
Katherine Rodbro
Rosewood Restaurant Banquets
Steven Schaefer
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky
George Schelter
Samantha Schwartz
Science and Arts Academy
Kathy Sfondeles
Courtnay Simeone
Andrea Simon
Mark Skoczynski
Sharon Smith
Don Sofolo
Kristine Stabler
Staged to Sell
Stuart-Rodgers Photography Limited
Bob and Heather Suren
Trinity Lutheran Church
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2992
Martin Voss
Angus Watson
Dave Webster
Whole Foods Market

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Thanks for helping us Do the Dewey!

I'm sure I'm not the only library staff member who's feeling a little tired and achy today, but wow, what a party! Thank you to the hundreds of people who came out on Saturday night, April 26, to help us Do the Dewey and raise funds for the library and for the Rotary Club of Des Plaines. Watch PlainTalk for all the dishy details: the music, the prizes, how much money we raised and how many guests raised the roof - and as soon as possible I'll get some video footage so you can see how much fun we had. If you were at the party, check back soon to see yourself immortalized by our roving camerapersons. If you weren't at the party - you won't want to miss it next year! Stay tuned to PlainTalk and thanks again for a fabulous evening.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Only a few days left to "Do the Dewey"

There's still time to get your tickets to "Do the Dewey," our annual fundraiser that takes place this Saturday, April 26, 2008, from 7-10 p.m. Since I am still somewhat new at the library, this is my first time working at Do the Dewey and I'm really looking forward to it. So if you're a PlainTalk reader, buy a ticket and come on out and say hello!

What's the scoop on "Do the Dewey?" Too much to list here. For a $35 ticket, you can feast on a huge variety of food from local restaurants and drink your fill of beer, wine and soft drinks. Also included is a full schedule of entertainment and interactive experiences. You'll hear live music by the Uptown Rhythm Quintet and be swept off your feet during a jive dance lesson from Galina Studio - be careful, you may end up on "Dancing with the Stars" next year! Free herbs and gardening advice from Pesche's, numerology and aura readings from the Clairvoyant Center of Chicago, Mehndi temporary tattoos from MahRose Salon, neck massage by Faydra Brown -- this is definitely not your typical evening at the public library. For you do-it-your-selfers, there are demonstrations on auto detailing, quilting, downloading music and taking digital photographs. Be as cool as your kids - play some Wii games. Be a wine or tea snob - learn all about these two beverages during special tasting sessions. Oh, and a certain Web Services Librarian will be giving a "sneak preview" of the library's amazing new Web site - be among the first to see it.

Did I mention all of this comes for just $35.00??? You can't drive into the city of Chicago and park for much less than $35.00 these days. We're right in the neighborhood, parking is free and your $35.00 brings you an incredible night with all proceeds going to two great organizations, your Des Plaines Public Library and the Rotary Club of Des Plaines.

Bring a little extra cash with you to Do the Dewey and you may bring home even greater rewards. $10 more lets you dash for cash in a treasure hunt through our shelves of books - with $100 bills as prizes! There will be raffles, door prizes and a fabulous silent auction along with a "Wine Surprise" auction. An additional $10 lets you guess the number of pearls in a jar for a chance to win one of 6 freshwater pearl necklaces, courtesy of R.C. Wahl Jewelers.

For $35.00, you'll be thoroughly fed and entertained with some free gifts and great memories to take home. For a little more money, you may end up going home with more than you originally had - pretty sweet, eh? So come on, what are you waiting for? Buy your ticket and come out on Saturday night. I'll be looking forward to meeting you! Buy your tickets online with this secure form. You can also stop by the library and buy your tickets in person.

And since I KNOW you're a sucker for cute kids, watch this video and THEN buy your ticket.

Prostate Screening CANCELLED

We regret to inform you that the prostate screening van has not been able to get to the Des Plaines Public Library due to a mechanical breakdown. Consequently, the free prostate screening has been cancelled for today and the organizers are not able to reschedule. For more information on prostate health and screening, please visit the Web site for the National Prostate Cancer Coalition. We apologize for the inconvenience caused by this unfortunate and unpredictable set of circumstances. Thank you for your patience. If you make the trip, stop into the library and see what's new and you can also pick up your FREE CFL lightbulbs (three to a household), courtesy of the City of Des Plaines.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Celebrate Earth Day All Month Long at DPPL

Tuesday, April 22, 2008 is the official date of Earth Day, but the Des Plaines Public Library has been celebrating all month long. In fact, we're trying hard to be green 365 days a year and we'd like to make it easier for you to go green, too. Need a little inspiration for being more green at the workplace or just in general? Watch our fun (and slightly crazy) video up above, featuring the Ellinwood Street Puppets! We may not be very good puppeteers but we're serious about taking care of the environment and we know that small efforts can eventually add up to big results.

You definitely want to stop by the library on Earth Day because the city of Des Plaines has a wonderful surprise in store for residents of DP. Stop by the library on Tuesday, April 22, from 9 AM to 9 PM, and every household will receive three CFL lightbulbs. CFLs (compact fluorescents) are tremendously energy efficient and last far longer than standard light bulbs. If you've seen these bulbs in the store, you know they can be pricey, yet the amount of energy saved by their use is significant, so this is truly a wonderful opportunity provided by Mayor Arredia and the city's Deep Green ad hoc committee.If you are a resident of Des Plaines, stop by the library (1501 Ellinwood Street) on Tuesday and pick up your bulbs. The library's Green Team will be waiting to greet you in the library's atrium and introduce you to some of our green resources as well. You may even see "Kermit," the star of our green video, if you time your visit just right...

Can't make it on Tuesday? We'll be distributing thousands of bulbs, so ask at any public service desk in the library during the rest of the week and we will get you your CFLs. Here's something else you can check out at any time, any where you have access to the Internet: our new "Going Green" guide. There's so much information on the Web and in the media about how to be more environmentally conscious, it can really be overwhelming. So members of the library's Green Team took the time to find some of the best, most practical resources and gathered them into a Web site for you. It's brand new and a good start, but trust us - the list will keep growing as we find more useful online sources to bring you. Check it out and tell us what you think. Consider this a sneak preview, too - you're seeing the Green Guide as it appears on our current Web site, but very soon you'll be seeing it in a completely redesigned, totally new DPPL Web site. We can't wait for you to see it!

We've been telling you all about our "Do The Dewey" fundraiser coming up next Saturday, April 26, from 7-10 p.m. but green-minded families will also want to keep in mind another program happening the library that day, a visit from Ricky Recycle followed by a free session on making crafts with recycled materials. Kids of all ages are welcome, just drop in! Ricky starts his show at 1 p.m. on April 26, and the crafts program goes from 2-4 p.m.

We're very fortunate in Des Plaines - we're a city surrounded by beautiful forest preserves and a winding river, fresh green parks and gardens. Let's take care of our city and take care of the world by learning to be more green. Happy Earth Day, Des Plaines! Stop by and meet our Green Team on Tuesday and get your free light bulbs.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Are You Money Smart?

The week of April 20-26, 2008, is "Money Smart Week." Simply put, Money Smart Week is 7 days of free programs and services designed to make you a smarter consumer, entrepreneur and investor. Hundreds of free classes and workshops will be taking place in the Chicago area, under the general sponsorship of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. The Des Plaines Public Library is proud to be hosting two free Money Smart events next week.

The first, on Tuesday, April 22, at 4:00 p.m., is a unique program for teens: What Students Need to Know About Credit! It's easier than ever for a young person to receive a line of credit - that can be a good thing, if the student knows how to properly manage it. University of Illinois extension educator on consumer and family economics Kathy Reuter will teach teens how to use credit wisely, how to obtain and maintain good credit and what to do before things go terribly wrong. This program will be particularly useful to college students and those planning on attending college, when students are often bombarded with credit offers. This program is free - you may register online through this link or call (847) 376-2787 for more information/registration.

The second Money Smart program at the library next week is called "Financing Your Small Business." This program will take place on Wednesday, April 23, at 7 p.m. Presenter Kate Johnson of ACCION Chicago will offer a workshop to assist would-be entrepreneurs and established business owners. Topics will include:
  • How to approach lenders for financing;
  • How to become familiar with available loan programs and the criteria lenders use when evaluating applications;
  • When not to borrow money.
  • Johnson will also discuss in detail various loan programs available to the borrower, including bank loans, SBA guarantees, equity providers and not-for-profit loan funds.
Register for this program by clicking on this link, or call (847) 376-2787 for more details and to register by phone.

In today's economic turmoil, you can never be too "money smart," so take advantage of these free educational opportunities, right here at your local public library.

Learn more about Money Smart Week Chicago at this link.

Learn more about ACCION Chicago.
Visit our complete Events calendar.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Two Weeks Left to Get Your Dewey On!

Our huge AND awesome fundraiser, Do the Dewey, is just around the corner. Mark your calendar for Saturday, April 26, from 7-10 p.m. If you haven't bought your tickets yet, do it soon. Advance tickets are just $35 for a full evening of food, beer, wine, soft drinks, and tons of live entertainment and interactive experiences - from tea tasting to herbal gardening, learning to pilot a plane, Wii bowling, numerology, aura readings and mmmmm....massage. All the food comes from fabulous local restaurants, and the live band will keep your toes tappin'. This year, it's even easier to Do the Dewey - you can now order your tickets online. Online tickets available here. Tickets are also available at the library during normal business hours, or by mail. Mail-In ticket form available here.

Remember - proceeds not only benefit your Des Plaines Public Library, allowing us to continue our great programming and services, but also the Rotary Club Foundation, allowing Rotary to do good in this community and all over the world. So come on - what are you waiting for? Get your Dewey on! If you need a little inspiration, watch our short "Do the Dewey - Part III" movie up above and learn about those mysterious Dewey decimal call numbers we're so fond of in the library. Our roving camera-person is sure to make an appearance at Do the Dewey this year, too, so if you attend, you just may end up in our next YouTube videos. Do the Dewey takes place here at the Des Plaines Public Library, on Saturday, April 26, beginning at 7 p.m. See you there!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The glamour of air travel

For the past 5 days, I was fortunate enough to be attending the "Computers in Libraries" conference out in Washington, D.C. along with my colleague, Roberta Johnson, Head of Adult Services here at DPPL. It was hard not to love the conference - the presentations were lively, concise and, perhaps best of all, genuinely useful. This was my first opportunity to speak at the conference, on my experiences while creating online videos for our library, and I really had a blast doing that session. (I spoke along with Nick Baker, a librarian from Williams College who is doing great, award-winning and very, very funny things with video.)

And then the fun came to a screeching halt, as I went from being a busy and engaged librarian and conference speaker to being...a statistic. A very unpleasant statistic -- I became one of the hundreds of thousands of American Airline passengers who saw an airline reservation made many months in advance turn into meaningless electrons on an e-ticket. To paraphrase the gospel song, "Jesus Can Work It Out," I checked my flight status only to find BIG OLD RED LETTERS reading "FLIGHT CANCELLED." No explanation, no phone number to call, no online service representative. Just "CANCELLED." In case you don't feel some sympathy for me already, allow me to mention that by the time my flight was cancelled, I'd already been suffering from a migraine headache for well over 24 hours. I didn't stand a chance.

Two and a half hours of getting disconnected by American Airlines' customer service telephone line didn't do much to improve my mood. I caught the hotel shuttle (a wondrous marvel of free transportation in this over-priced world - thank you, Hyatt Hotels) to National Reagan and found a long line of irritated, flustered travellers, just like me. We were interviewed by a nice young man from the Washington Times, had our photograph taken by press representatives (that's one of them up above, from the Washington Times), and provided a fitting backdrop for a live TV report on the situation.

All the while we snaked through the line, wondering what awaited us at the counter. In my case, I wasn't offered much. A lot of frantic typing on a computer, a few dead-end phone calls, and then I was told a different airline could get me home at 7 am the next morning (today). I was also told hotels were booked solid, but if I had any luck finding one, American would pay for it. That was it. I've been reading newspaper articles today, claiming people were given free breakfasts, cookies, $500 travel vouchers -- I sure didn't see any of it. Don't feel too sorry for me, though. I did find a hotel, where I closed the blinds and slept through the rest of the migraine for about 6 hours, woke up, sent some emails back home, and slept until my 4 AM wake-up call. Thank you, Chicago's hometown airline (and our neighbors, just down the street), United, for getting me back home.

How about you? Did you get stuck in the American Airlines mess? Share your story with us - vent a little, it'll make you feel better. And, since we're a library, did you have a book, magazine, some good music or a movie to get you through your long delay? Share that, too. I so regretted not having a good book with me. Since I knew I would be speaking at the conference, a book seemed like a dangerous temptation. I did give in to the lure of several frivolous fashion magazines, Allure and In Style, in which I particularly enjoyed an interview with Mariah Carey and the annual "Best of Beauty" list, respectively. And thank God for my iPod, which soothed my soul once the migraine was gone. The real music to my ears, however, was hearing "We'd like to be the first to welcome you to Chicago's O'Hare Airport" coming through the speakers of my United Airlines flight at 8:01 AM this morning.

Want to share a comment about the state of the airline industry, the FAA, or just share a tale of woe about getting stuck at the airport? Click on Comments and start typing -- you can sign in with your Blogger account or post anonymously.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

DPPL People - Meet Gary Valente

It's a new month and that means it's time for "DPPL People," the column we devote to one staff member of the Des Plaines Public Library.

This month, you will get to know Gary Valente, Head of Building and Security Services at DPPL. In many respects,
Gary is the "guts" of the library. We might have great resources and programs to offer, but without heat, air conditioning, lights, electricity, plumbing, etc. etc., the library wouldn't be a very attractive or useful place! Gary is the one who makes sure all systems are operational. He says his job never gets boring because he has to juggle many important responsibilities. In addition to maintaining the mechanical workings of the library, Gary oversees all the housekeeping of the physical space and supervises the security staff to keep our library a safe and welcoming environment. Gary is also an active member of the library's Green Team and an integral part of the library's long-range planning and goal setting, as one of the Department Heads. I wanted to feature Gary this month because people tend to make the assumption that libraries are run by librarians - but we have so many valuable employees here who fulfill other roles. I gave Gary the same questions our earlier DPPL People, Roberta Johnson and Phyllis Johnson, answered, and you can read his responses below. Take a closer look at someone who really works hard to make the Des Plaines Public Library a comfortable, secure and efficient place.

Three words that describe your current state of mind are…

Optimistic, focused and diligent.

What is your most treasured possession?

A sewing thimble that belonged to my father. My father was a tailor and custom suit maker . The thimble represents the symbol of his life’s hard work and how he supported a family of five.

What is your greatest extravagance?


Who are your favorite writers?

Michio Kaku, Isaac Asimov, and Tom Clancy.

Who are your favorite heroes of fiction (in writing, film, drama)?

Odysseus, with Superman to save the planet and Gary Cooper who played the role of Will Cain, as the sheriff in “High Noon.”

Name three persons/characters from history with whom you would like to have dinner.

Jesus Christ, Albert Einstein, and Socrates.

Who are your heroes in real life?

The men and women who have sacrificed in serving our military and who continue to protect the freedoms of this country.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My wife.

Who is your favorite artist?

Jillian Renee, my youngest daughter, who draws and colors pictures for me regularly. My second favorite would be Norman Rockwell.

Who is your favorite musician?

Jamie Nicole, my oldest daughter who just the other day played the entire song, 100 Years, on the violin for me, without the use of any sheet music.

Next would be Keith Emerson.

The quality you admire most in a man is….


The quality you admire most in a woman is…


Biggest pet peeve?


Favorite food?

Baked and breaded clams.

What three words would your closest friends use to describe you?

A morning person, cautious, and dedicated.

Why did you choose to work in a library?

I am not formally schooled in library science, so it was circumstances, opportunity and my knowledge and understanding of how commercial buildings operate that led me here.

What is your favorite thing about the Des Plaines Public Library?

The diversity of the people I encounter.

Name one, and only one, "desert island" book, CD or movie. Only one.

The big book of “How to Survive on a Desert Island,” of course.

The movie of your life – who plays the role of you and what song plays over the closing credits?

Al Pacino with Frank Sinatra’s singing “That’s Life.”

"There is nothing wrong with change...

if it is in the right direction." Words to remember from Winston Churchill, and words appropriate to PlainTalk today. Wasn't it wonderful to wake up to sunshine and warmth this morning? Definitely a change in the right direction! And we hope you'll feel the same way about some of the changes we have coming your way here at the Des Plaines Public Library.

First of all, in order to make room for our rapidly expanding DVD collection, our VHS collection has been retired. Circulation on VHS tapes had decreased in recent years as everyone switched over to the DVD format, so it seemed wisest to say goodbye to VHS. However, if you still use the VHS format, you'll want to stop in at our Friends Book Sale this weekend, as the Friends will be selling our entire collection of thousands of VHS tapes at rock bottom prices. The sale is open to the general public on Saturday, April 5 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, April 6, from 1 to 5 p.m. However, the early birds amongst you can pay the low fee for a Friends membership ($5 for individuals, $10 for families) and get into the sale on Friday, April 4, from 6 to 9 p.m. Single VHS tapes will be sold for just $1.00 - sets of tapes will be offered for just a few dollars more.

One more note to help ease confusion:
while the VHS tapes have been permanently removed from our collection, you'll still find them listed (temporarily) in our Library Catalog, with a note stating, "No copies in this library." Those records will soon be deleted, ending the confusion, but we apologize for any inconvenience in the meantime.

But there's more that's changing in the library. In the past, the library has offered access to a database called Rosetta Stone, a very helpful product for learning a wide variety of languages. Rosetta Stone recently made the business decision to stop offering access to public libraries. However, we think a tool like this is necessary for and valuable to our patrons, so we're pleased to announce a new language-learning tool, Tell Me More!
Tell Me More Language Learning Software Logo
What does Tell Me More offer to you?
  • Instruction for 6 languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and Dutch. Japanese, Chinese and Arabic will be added in 2009. 2,000 hours of instruction per language are included.

  • You can choose an interface language as well as the language you want to learn - so this database is also useful to those whose native language is not English.

  • If you have headphones and a microphone, Tell Me More even offers voice recognition technology -- they will evaluate your accent to see how authentically you are speaking your new language!

  • Obviously, that also means you have at-home access to Tell Me More. Two important things to note: This service only works with the Internet Explorer browser, and you must create a user name and password the first time you use it (just follow the on-screen instructions).
So, please try out our new Tell Me More service and let us know what you think about it. Tell Me More isn't the only new database we are offering. Try out some of our other recent additions, like Booklist Online, which offers book reviews and recommended reading lists for the book lover in you; Cobblestone, which contains full-text magazine and journal articles in the areas of social science, history and science (HINT: User Name for Cobblestone is DPPL, password is 60016); and BookFLIX, which we told you about a few weeks ago, a cool online place where kids can enjoy animated stories, e-books, games and a lot more. Try them all out and give us your feedback. When we make changes, we need to know from you, our patrons, that we're moving in the right direction.

See you at the Friends of the Library Book Sale this weekend!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

What's Happening This Month at DPPL - April edition

Wow - we have so many terrific events and programs scheduled this month, I couldn't even fit all of them into our monthly video! Watch the video and you'll find out more about two great Art lectures, a whole series of programs relating to Autism, Money Smart Week, the library's month-long celebration of Earth Day and, drum roll please, our annual fund-raising, roof-raising after hours event, Do the Dewey!

But you will also want to check out our Events calendar for even more fun things to do at the Library. Don't forget - this weekend, April 4-6, is the Friends of the Library book sale. Friday night from 6-9 p.m. is for members only - but heck, you can become a Friend of the Library for a low annual fee of $5.00 per individual, or $10.00 per family. Saturday, the book sale runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. This Spring book sale holds a particular allure for any movie lovers out there - the library is also selling its entire collection of movies on VHS! So stock up, quantities are limited and the videos will go quickly.

And of course, our Random Acts of Poetry will continue all through the month of April, so...look out...