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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Cleaning Incentives!

Yes - PlainTalk is repeating itself this week! Here is an earlier post from a few weeks ago, but the two items mentioned bear repeating. Please read on and make note of these two opportunities. Thank you!

Two reasons to start your Spring cleaning this weekend: 

1) The Friends of the Library need fresh donations to make their upcoming book sale a success. Please look around and see if you have any good quality books, DVDs and CDs to spare. All proceeds benefit your friendly neighborhood library. Donations are accepted on the first floor during our normal business hours. If you have a large number of items to donate, we can assist you with carrying the items - please call the library at 847-827-5551 to make arrangements. The Friends' book sale is on the weekend of April 16-18, 2010 - see their Web site for more information.

2) Des Plaines residents are invited to an Electronics Recycling Event on Saturday, March 27, 2010 at the Public Works facility. From 9 AM  - 12 PM, residents may drop off computer components, TVs, phone equipment, hand-held electronics, radios and DVD/VCR players. Household appliances WILL NOT be accepted. Public Works is located at 1111 Joseph Schwab Road, north of Algonquin Road, east of River Road. To volunteer or for more information, call 847-391-5464. Download the event flyer.

Thanks to this blog: for the Maxine cartoon.

Monday, March 22, 2010

It's Dewey Time Again!

Mark your calendars and save the date - here comes "Do The Dewey," the after-hours fundraiser that benefits both the Des Plaines Public Library and the Rotary Club of Des Plaines.

This year, "Dewey" will take place on Saturday, April 24, 2010, from 7-10 PM, right here at the Library. (That's 1501 Ellinwood Street in Des Plaines, IL - we are right in the heart of downtown, next to the Metra station) Tickets are available online now or buy them at the Library registration desk.

What does it mean to "Do The Dewey?" 

You pay an entry fee of $35 ($40 at the door). That one, low ticket price brings you unlimited food, soft drinks, wine and beer and 3 hours packed with entertainment and enrichment.
This year's line-up includes:
  • The elegant jazz stylings of Jazz Couture, featuring saxophonist Nick Bisesi and "jazz soprano" Gayle Bisesi;
  • The inside scoop on casino gaming with Casino Survival Kit! Blackjack, Craps & Roulette. Learn what's what, how it works and how to play from John Grochowski, Sun Times columnist and founder of;
  • The World of Tea - taste teas from India, China and Japan;
  • Ice cream tastings from Capannari Ice Cream - yum!
  • Aura readings from the Clairvoyant Center of Chicago and handwriting analysis by a professional graphologist;
  • Take home a personalized bookmark from a demonstration of Chinese calligraphy;
  • Displays and demonstrations on bonsai & ikebana (flower arranging);
  • Demonstration/instruction in tai chi and Bollywood-style dancing;
  • and more!
If games of chance intrigue you, you can sweeten the deal by buying raffle tickets all night for great prizes. Back this year is our always popular "Wine Surprise" raffle - you buy a mystery bottle of wine and then discover a surprise gift certificate tucked away in the gift bag - everyone's a winner!

In tough economic times, it can certainly raise your spirits to go out for a night on the town and "Dewey" is surprisingly affordable and it benefits a great cause. Do the math - if you were to go out for a full meal, including wine or beer, 3 hours of live music plus some other form of entertainment, some ice cream or tea on the way home - well, you'd easily surpass $35. We'll keep you posted right here as we receive more information on entertainment and raffle prizes. If you've never attended "Do the Dewey" before, why not consider it this year? Public libraries need your help and support more than ever and doing good has never been this much fun!

Still not convinced? See photos from last year's "Dewey" and let the smiles tell the story!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Census 2010

" accurate count of the U.S. population forms the basis for many important but often overlooked political, economic, and social decisions that are made that end up affecting our daily lives."
-- C.N. Le, Professor at University of Massachusetts, Amherst

That's a quote found on the official Census 2010 Web site: 

There's a lot of information - and misinformed - floating around about the current Census.
If you have questions or concerns about filling out Census forms or need copies of the forms, we can help.

Extra forms are available in our first floor lobby atrium. A Census worker will be available from Sunday, March 21 - Monday, April 19, 2010, four days a week during the following hours:

Sundays1 p.m.—5 p.m.
Mondays5 p.m.—9 p.m.
Tuesdays5 p.m.—9 p.m.
Wednesdays5 p.m.—8 p.m.

Assistance is available in both English and Spanish.If these times are inconvenient or you would like more in-depth information, consider attending "Be Counted!" our free Census workshop. The workshop will take place on Wednesday, March 24, 2010 from 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM - more details here.

Monday, March 15, 2010

"And who, who shall I say is calling?"

"Who By Fire," Leonard Cohen.

I know many people who are good at many things, yet I know of no one who is good at grieving. We all manage bereavement in our own way, grasping at shadows, trying to make sense of what can seem senseless. We may turn to raw human emotion, tears and long conversations, or find comfort in silence and solitude. We may turn to religion, philosophy, science or simply distract ourselves with simple earthly pleasures, eager to erase the longing or the hurt. When we lost our colleague Judy Reiss a few weeks ago, someone pointed out the unique difficulty that comes when you lose a coworker, that you cannot escape the grief by chugging through your daily work routine because work is where the loss lives. The year is still young and yet I've already been watching people all around me work through grief: here at the Library, when we lost Judy so quickly after the deaths of two other coworkers in the last 2 years; in the life of a good friend who donated bone marrow to her 43 year old brother only to see him die from a completely unexpected MRSA infection a few years later; a woman at my church who lost her husband of 46 years after tending to him for 11 years after a series of strokes.

Poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen wrote the song "Who By Fire," a litany of sorts, describing the many ways death comes to us. 
Who by fire? Who by water? Who in the sunshine? Who in the nighttime? Who by high ordeal? Who by common trial? Who in your merry, merry month of May? Who by very slow decay?
My friend whose brother just passed away was grateful that his death seemed peaceful and freed him from physical illness. Under other circumstances, death can be gut-wrenching, heart-breaking and nearly impossible to comprehend. If you or someone you know is having a difficult time dealing with grief and bereavement, the Library has a large assortment of books on the topic, coming from many different perspectives. These writings may be of comfort in and of themselves, or may help generate much-needed conversation, meditation, healing, and a little light at the end of the tunnel. Try the links below and see if you find something that speaks to you. No one is good at grieving but those who need extra help to press on through difficult times may find solace and inspiration right here at the Library.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Meeting Place

A few years ago, I tried to get involved with a global charity that was looking to become active in the Chicago suburbs. The biggest challenge? Finding a meeting place. It didn't help that potential members were scattered all over but it was difficult to find a free, convenient place to meet. If only I had been a public library patron! I didn't know that many libraries have public meeting rooms available to card holders.

The Des Plaines Public Library has many rooms available, from small private study rooms to large meeting spaces. As you can probably imagine, the rooms are very much in demand. For the large rooms on the first floor, you can get more details and request a room through our Web site. It is important to note that one member of a group requesting a room must be a DP resident with a currently valid Des Plaines Public Library card. If you look at our Events calendar, the events listed in green font are reservations made by public groups. From condo associations to square dancing, it's a diverse list. There's room for your group, too.

If you're just looking for a smaller study room on the 3rd or 4th floor, talk to the staff at the Info Desks on those floors or call: Readers' Services, 3rd floor, 847-376-2840; Reference, 4th floor, 847-376-2841. The small rooms can be reserved for two hour use - you may be able to stay a little longer if no one else is waiting for the room. The rooms really serve two purposes: if you need a very quiet, isolated place to read or study, or, if you have a group that needs to discuss and converse without disturbing other patrons.

I wrote this because of a comment posted here this morning, from a patron looking to start an Adult Chess Group at the Library on Monday evenings. Here is his comment, if you're interested: Just wondering if anyone is interested in an adult chess group to meet at the library on Monday nights. If so my name is Martin and you can contact me at 847 274-3821. Thanks and hope to hear from you. Martin, I would add this suggestion: you may want to schedule a meeting room for a Monday evening in the near future and get the event on our online calendar: "New - Des Plaines Adult Chess Group! All are welcome.". Our online calendar gets a lot of traffic every month and this would help publicize your potential new group.

Our lovely, clean, well-lit meeting rooms are a resource the entire community can share - and all you need is a library card. Remember, if you need one of the larger rooms, please read the information on our Web site carefully before planning.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Time For a Tune-Up?

At the start of the new year, I said I'd like to focus on your opinions about local businesses in the coming months. If you Google search for how much Americans spend on automobile repairs each year, you get wildly varying numbers, from $40 million to $100 billion! No matter how you reach the statistics, there's no denying that car maintenance and repairs are costly and often a source of tremendous stress. Who hasn't been in the situation of finally having paid off debt or having a small savings gathered up when BLAM, unexpected car troubles get you right back to zero?

As someone who recently dropped a bundle on automobile repairs, I'm curious: which local auto repair shop gets your business when you need regular maintenance, like an oil change or tire rotation? Who do you trust when your car, truck, SUV or other vehicle needs some major repairs and you're not even sure of the problem?
We recently featured local business Accurate Auto in one of our "Des Plaines Means Business" videos, but we'd love to hear about your experiences with excellent service and value right here in DP - yes, you may include one of the surrounding towns if you have found a real gem there. So share your comments with us here, even if it's anonymously, about the business which earns your business when it comes to auto/truck repair. No gripes, please - just the folks who get your "thumbs up."

Friendly reminder from our Reference department: if you like to do your own auto repairs, we have great online automotive resources, including the Chilton Library, which you can even access from your home computer with your DPPL card. Try it out next time you're under the hood!