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Thursday, April 3, 2008

"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!

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