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Thursday, August 14, 2008

DPPL - Yr new BFF on the WWW?

As the Web Services Librarian, a big part of my job is finding new ways to make it easy for you, our patrons, to communicate with us in an online setting. Today's PlainTalk puts the spotlight on three new ways you can support us, make suggestions and express concerns about the Library without ever leaving your computer. (Assuming that you, like me, rarely leave your computer.)

First -- I've been making a big plug lately for the "How Do I?" menu on our new Web site. It's a drop-down menu with lots of online services people need to find quickly and often. Use it to access your account information, find directions to the Library, and browse through job openings at DPPL. The last link in the "How Do I?" menu is real keeper - "Contact the library." Click there and you'll not only find address and phone numbers, but a lengthy list of email links for various Library departments. You'll also find a link to information about our Department Heads, making it easier for you to direct your inquiry or concern to the most appropriate staff person. We appreciate everyone who takes the time to send us an email, whether it's a compliment or complaint. Those emails often guide us in making sensible changes and improvements.

Secondly -- If you've read PlainTalk's sibling, "Positively Ellinwood Street," the blog of our Readers' Services department, you may have noticed an eye-catching virtual bookshelf on the right hand side of the screen. The bookshelf is a link to Shelfari, an online social network dedicated to people who love books and reading. Many of us on the Library staff have Shelfari memberships and we've even formed a "Des Plaines Public Library" group. If you'd like to join us there and share your favorite reads with us, go to: and "Request Friendship." (That's a link in the top right-hand corner.) Shelfari is a free service and you can make your account as public or private as you'd like.

What can you do on Shelfari? List the books you've read, are reading, and your all-time favorite, and build them into virtual shelves with pictures of the books' covers. Write reviews of the books and rate them, and meet other people online who share your point of view -- or challenge it, perhaps. Check it out today and see what you think, but we'd love it if you joined our Shelfari group.

Finally -- if Shelfari's not your cup of tea, you may be a Facebook user. Facebook is another social networking site, open to anybody who wants to make a profile and communicate with others. Again, it can be very open or very private -- you may want to share vacation photos, you may want to tell the world you're about to eat an entire large pepperoni pizza by yourself while watching reruns of "Green Acres," or you may choose to savor those moments on your own.

One thing you can do on Facebook is be a "fan." For example, on my Facebook profile, I am listed as a fan of the Chicago Cubs and - the Des Plaines Public Library. It would warm our hearts if you'd become a DPPL Facebook fan, too. How? Just search for "Des Plaines Public Library," and you'll find our official Facebook page. Tell them you want to be a DPPL fan, and, you're in. Simple. We'll use the page to send you important news and announcements about the Library and you can use it as a way to communicate your questions and thoughts to us. Find out more at

So, look for us on the Web in old, familiar places and some new, fresh scenes as well. We're here for you - keep in touch! (BTW, or, "by the way", a BFF is a "best friend forever. If you've never used IM, or "instant messaging"/chat, shorthand, ask your kids or grandkids. It's the best way to type online without spraining your thumbs!)

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