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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Van Delivery - Good News!

Wouldn't you like to hear some good news for a change? Well, here it is: beginning next week, Monday, October 4, 2010, our regular interlibrary van delivery service will resume! We know how much you loved being able to place holds on items located at our neighboring libraries but due to budget constraints, we had to discontinue that service for a few months. Now, thanks to a grant from the Library Services and Technology Act (federal funding), van delivery service is being covered through the end of 2010. We are pleased to add that we've provided funding to continue van delivery within our 2011 budget as well.

Is this news to you? A quick overview: when you search our Library Catalog for books, DVDs, CDs and other items, you also have the option of searching 24 other libraries within our shared consortium. If you find an item you'd really like to borrow but we don't own it in our collections: click the blue "Place Hold" button, type in your library card number and password and one of our neighbor libraries will send that item to Des Plaines for you to borrow (when it becomes available, of course). It's a terrific system of resource-sharing that saves everyone money and time. We heard you loud and clear that you were disappointed when van delivery ceased so we hope you are pleased with this change of plans.Questions? Email us or stop by any of our service desks - we're happy to help.

The photo above, by the way, is not our van delivery person but Joel Sawyer, one of our Readers' Services Assistants and a great coworker. I thought he at least visually expressed the concept of delivery + van. In this photo, he is preparing to stock up our borrowing collections in local assisted living centers.

Monday, September 20, 2010

How Green Can You Go?

Yeah, I know - you're sick of people talking about "going green." When something becomes so pervasive in our culture, it seems trendy or phony and ultimately passé at a certain point. I am the not-always-successful chair of the Library's "Green Team," and believe me it is not an easy job keeping my coworkers mindful of and enthusiastic about green behavior. Nevertheless...DPPL has been charged with the task of setting a good example of green community building for other libraries around the state. We do what we can here in our building, from the reusable tote bags we sell to our extensive recycling center in the staff lunchroom. We offer lots of green-related programs and resources to our patrons. If you saw us at Taste of Des Plaines a few months ago, we were interviewing residents, trying to find the greenest people in Des Plaines.

Not over-the-top green like, "I wear clothes I make myself out of old disposable diapers." We're looking for people who have discovered that doing things in simpler, old-fashioned, sensible ways can have a positive impact on health, environment and even the financial bottom line. You recycle and reuse. You trade and barter for items rather than buying. You use a rain barrel and CFL bulbs, maybe even solar panels and a composter. You use a push mower, you hang your clothes to dry, you bring your own shopping basket to the grocery store. You walk or ride your bike as much as possible. Are you that person? What about your spouse, your partner, your kids, your neighbor? Would you like to be part of a short film we are making on people living a greener, better life in Des Plaines? Please contact us - we would love to interview you and include your story in the film we are making to present to other libraries and to the community at large. For more information and to be included in this project, please call Heather Imhoff, our Head of Public Information Services, at 847-376-2792.

P.S. The picture above was taken at Des Plaines' own Big Bend Lake. Our city is fortunate to have many beautiful, open spaces where people can enjoy the fresh air and some natural scenery.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Got Books?

DVDs? CDs? Did the recent hint of autumn weather give you ample reason for some housecleaning? If you have books, movies or CDs you no longer want, please consider donating them to our Friends of the Library. The next Friends book sale is just around the corner, the weekend of October1-3, 2010. Good quality donations are always needed and appreciated. You can bring them to the Library during normal business hours. Small batches can be placed in the donation boxes on the first floor (in the corridor near the restrooms). If you need help with a larger donation, please call us at 847-376-2922 to arrange for assistance with your drop-off.

Remember: anyone can be a Friend of the Library. Membership is just $5.00 a year for an individual, $10.00 a year for a family. Friends get special preview opportunities at the book sales and the opportunity to give volunteer service and expertise to a great community asset, the public library. Funds that the Friends raise provide programming and resources to the Library - in the three years I have been here, the Friends have sponsored our popular Rainbow Times for young people with autism, our Teen Web site, countless programs for children and families, the live music at our annual fundraiser, assistive technology for people with special needs and so much more. I can't say enough about our Friends and all they contribute to make this a better Library. To become a Friend: pick up a brochure at the Registration Desk, fill out the form and return it with your check for payment (you can return it in person or mail it). That's it. A simple, low-cost way for you to really make a difference right here in Des Plaines.

The Friends need your book/movie/CD donations and they need YOU. Visit their Web page for more information.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

“Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative.”

I begin with a quote from Oscar Wilde. My response? So sue me, Mr. Wilde, I'm here to talk about the weather anyway. When, in your opinion, does summer end? According to the National Weather Service, the autumnal equinox will occur on September 22, 2010 at 11:09 PM EDT. For the avid summer enthusiast, I imagine summer clings to life until the first frost, even the first snow - the arrival of weather that makes flip-flops and shorts a health hazard. Most of us probably fall in between and yet, I swore when I listened carefully on my quiet, suburban street last night that I could hear the sound of people kissing another summer goodbye. Labor Day weekend tends to feel like that, no?

I confess to being a bit of a weather geek. Just a bit, mind you. I needed a few science classes to earn my Bachelor's degree, a situation which improved greatly when I realized Meteorology was one of my choices. Perhaps my greatest claim to weather-geek fame is that Tom Skilling is one of my Facebook friends. This is not a sign of my popularity - Tom currently has 22,082 friends and I bet he'll friend you, too. The Library and the Web have lots of cool resources for people, even imaginative people (ahem), who like to talk, think and learn about the weather.

Online, explore the following:

Of course, you can Google these topics to your heart's delight. If you'd rather curl up with or pore over a good book, here are some one-click searches so you can see in a flash the weather-related resources here at DPPL.
Whether (ha ha) your summer is over or in mid-season, I hope it's been happy and safe and full of things that make you glad to be alive. Along with being a weather geek, I am a big fan of autumn (coincidence? My birthday is September 23), so I am looking forward to the cooler temps, changing leaves and slightly slower pace that will arrive later this month. If you'd like to learn more about seasons and weather, I invite you to explore the resources listed above along with all the other great stuff at DPPL.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"If you build it..."

...who knows what might happen? If you've been in the library for the last few days, you may have noticed posters, displays and other materials urging you to CREATE. In the same way our summer reading programs encouraged you to "go green," this fall we're inspiring you to CREATE.

Everybody creates in some way. You may have a passion for painting, writing, photography, dance, music, sewing, knitting, woodworking - there's an endless list of creative pursuits. Perhaps you're an amazing home decorator or the family member everyone turns to for a delicious and lovely dessert. Maybe you think of your children as your greatest creative works. Maybe you possess the "gift of gab," the ability to make sparkling conversation with just about anybody. Possibly you are a creative thinker, the idea person at your workplace or a local organization.

Whatever your creative outlet, the Library is a great place to pursue your passion. Books, DVDs, CDs, quiet study rooms and larger meeting spaces, free programs & events and, if I may say so, a nicely-organized, lively Web site on which to discover these resources. To get you started, visit the special "CREATE" page on our Web site:

There you will find:
  1. upcoming library programs in the music, art, literature and more
  2. one-click searches to find library books/videos on your favorite creative specialty (just click a topic and you'll get a list of all the items we currently own on that subject) 
  3. a monthly featured Web site that gives you an opportunity to just play and have fun. 
So make the Library part of your plans this autumn. Since I began working in a public library, I am constantly amazed at the wealth of information at my fingertips. I've checked out sheet music and books about singing and playing the guitar, decorating guides, biographies of some favorite creative types, cookbooks and more.
Some people might say these items are not necessities, but if creativity is in your blood, you know how life-saving it can be! Borrowing these resources for free from the Library allows one to indulge in artistic endeavors without being a "starving artist." :) Enjoy the coming fall days and colors and stop in to see us, your place to work, learn, play and CREATE.