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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Family Science Expo - were you there?

We hope you and your family enjoyed the Family Science Expo last weekend - what a great turnout! I don't typically work on Saturdays but I came in for a few hours that day to get some projects done and was bowled over by the number of happy faces here at DPPL. The above video was sent to us from some of the people involved. If you missed this year's Expo, watch and get an idea of how much fun this interactive educational event can be.  Don't miss out next year - keep your calendar marked for October 2011. (PS the volume is a little low on the video after the first few seconds, so you might need to turn it up)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

"A friend is one who walks in when others walk out."

The words of wisdom quoted above come from Walter Winchell (remember him?) and they certainly reflect the loyalty and generosity our library has received over the years from our Friends of the Library. This week (Oct. 17-23,2010) marks National Friends of the Library Week, an honor bestowed by the American Library Association, particularly the division of ALA known as the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations. All of us at DPPL want to take this opportunity to thank our own Friends of the Library in a very special way.

The Friends of the Library do so much for us, it is difficult to summarize in a brief post. The Friends are a volunteer organization devoted to supporting the public library. They hold three enormous used book sales every year, raising tens of thousands of dollars for the library. They hold an ongoing booksale every day of the year, too - those books and magazines for sale in the first floor south corridor. Strangely enough, in a world where everyone wants something for nothing, the Friends do all of this while paying an annual membership fee to participate! The modest fee of $5.00-10.00 makes it easy for anyone to join the Friends and yes, members receive pre-sale access to those book sales.

You might be interested in how the Friends' hard-earned dollars are spent. At the Friends' monthly meetings, library staff members present needs and opportunities that cannot be covered by the annual budget. These range from assistive technology for people with disabilities, large-scale events for children, our Teen Web site, Summer Reading Clubs for readers of all ages, even the musical entertainment for our annual "Do The Dewey" fundraiser. (Please keep that in mind when you read misleading information online, claiming that tax dollars are spent on those activities.) Most recently, when the Friends heard about our budget crisis due to the delay in tax disbursements, they came to our rescue again with funding to purchase 100 new books, CDs and DVDs for adults and children.

A few months ago, I created the video above as a modest tribute to all that the Friends do for the library. Watch it and maybe it will inspire you to get involved. DPPL is in the news a lot these days and often the news is not good. Many of you have kindly asked, "How can I help?" You can certainly support us by telling the City of Des Plaines and our elected officials that you appreciate the library and use it often. You can also support us in a very tangible way by becoming a Friend of the Library. Visit their Web site for more details. New members are always welcome - just be ready to roll up your sleeves because our Friends are hard workers! :)

Thank you, Friends of the Library, for all you do - happy National Friends of the Library Week!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Maybe I am just a big geek but what's not to love about scientific stuff? I had the opportunity to visit the Museum of Science and Industry last year with friends ranging in age from 3 to 43 and we had an amazing time. Just as important as the fun, the children who joined us really learned something and it was terrific to see their eyes light up with discovery and wonder. My goddaughter, one of those little visitors, often talks to me about our trip to the MOOOO-ZEEE-UM and how the human bodies exhibit made her want to be a doctor when she grows up. She might not have considered that option otherwise, since her own trips to the doctor's office aren't always so comfortable!

If you love to explore the "why" and "how" behind our world and the way it works and if you have young people in your life who share that curiosity (or if you would like them to share it), please come to our second annual Family Science Expo this Saturday, October 16, 2010, from noon to 4 PM. You can watch the video clip from ABC 7 Chicago to get a taste of some of the hands-on experiences we have planned but here are some of the planned interactive exhibits:

  • Learn to build a PC from spare parts;
  • Construct skyscrapers and bridges from Legos then put them to an earthquake test;
  • Explore x-rays, sonar and other non-invasive inspection methods;
  • Experience light, color and optics and they way they affect how we "see";
  • Discover the ways chemical engineers problem-solve to create cool stuff that keeps us safe;
  • Learn how to participate in Destination ImagiNation, an exhilarating after-school activity in which students work in teams to solve mind-bending Challenges and present their solutions at Tournaments.

Activities are particularly geared towards children from grades 2-8. Participants include: MATHCOUNTS project of the North Suburban Chapter Illinois Society of Professional Engineers; The Optical Society of Chicago; American Society of NonDestructive Testing (ASNT); Illinois Section American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE); Structural Engineers Association of Illinois ( SEAOI); American Institute of Chemical Engineers ( AIChE); Destination ImagiNation; Construction Challenge; IEEE / WIE, The Women in Engineering Affiliate (WIE) of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and more.

From our Web site: "The big picture: many children - and their parents - know little about engineering and science professions or the ways science and engineering affect our lives every day in very cool ways! Through simple hands-on activities, experiments and demonstrations, this expo will show kids of all ages that science is all around us and is, indeed, COOL! Long-term, the goal of many of the organizations exhibiting is to inspire a new generation of engineers and scientists that will be needed to rebuild infrastructures and create new green technologies."

So come on out this Saturday, October 16, 2010, between noon and 4 PM. The exhibits will be scattered all around our second floor Youth Services area. Everyone is welcome - there is no charge and no need to register. Bring your family, your friends and your imagination!