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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

The Library will be closed on Saturday, July 3, 2010, for repair work in the atrium. The Library will also be closed on Sunday, July 4, 2010. Enjoy the holiday weekend with family, neighbors and friends. Look for the Library in the Des Plaines 4th of July Parade!

Holidays and traditions bring us together as a community. While on Facebook recently, I noticed a list titled, "How To Build Community." It originated with the Syracuse Cultural Workers (according to their Website) in 1998. I can't help but think it would be a great starting place for this community, Des Plaines, IL - a catalyst, a conversation-starter, something to engage the imagination and reenergize this city to reach its full potential. Read the list and let me know what you think. What would you add to the list?

How To Build Community

Turn off your TV
Leave your house
Know your neighbors
Look up when you are walking
Greet people
Sit on your stoop
Plant Flowers
Use your library
Play together
Buy from local merchants
Share what you have
Help a lost dog
Take children to the park
Garden Together
Support Neighborhood Schools
Fix it even if you didn't break it
Have Pot Lucks
Honor Elders
Pick Up Litter
Read Stories Aloud
Dance in the Street
Talk to the Mail Carrier
Listen to the Birds
Put up a Swing
Help Carry Something Heavy
Barter For Your Goods
Start A Tradition
Ask A Question
Hire Young People for Odd Jobs
Organize a Block Party
Bake Extra and Share
Ask For Help When You Need It
Open Your Shades
Sing Together
Share Your Skills
Take Back the Night
Turn Up The Music
Turn Down The Music
Listen Before You React To Anger
Mediate A Conflict
Seek To Understand
Learn From New And Uncomfortable Angles
Know That No One is Silent Though Many Are Not Heard
Work To Change This

Have a wonderful, safe, uplifting 4th of July holiday.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Vacations: We Need Them More Than Ever...

...yet they are harder to afford! Seems like we're all still feeling the financial pinch these days, which creates stress. A vacation can be a source of stress relief - or a real headache. Yes, there are tons of free Web sites for travel planning and preparation these days but don't forget library resources. We have travel guides, maps, atlases and more that you can check out and bring on the road with you. The money you save on those items can be used for a dinner out or a fun activity. If your vacation involves a long road trip or flight, we can supply engaging fiction, magazines, audiobooks, DVDs and CDs for the journey - why waste that money buying these items at O'Hare or a roadside oasis?

Here are a few Web sites for you to explore  - click the links and you'll get an up-to-date list of library items on that subject. To find travel-related items at DPPL, use our online catalog. I'll be the first to admit, searching for travel in the catalog isn't always easy. Try a combination of keywords, like "travel AND Illinois," "pets AND travel," (use the word AND to combine separate words or phrases) etc.

Have a favorite travel Web site or resource you would like to share? List it in the comments section here! Happy, frugal and safe travelling this summer!

Web Sites:
Best Midwest Travel - The radio ads for this Web site (featuring notable Chicago personality Bill Kurtis) are ubiquitous this summer. What do you think of their site? Are you staying in the Midwest this summer?

Budget Travel - The companion Web site to Budget Travel magazine, promising lots of real deals.

Another magazine option with great ideas for local travel: the Web site for Midwest Living.

Article, "50 Best Travel Sites You Probably Never Heard Of." Okay, so the grammar in the title is awful. This is a compelling and quirky list of all types of travel Web site. If you're eager to move beyond Expedia and Travelocity, try some of these.

Another alternative to the big names, like Orbitz: Kayak claims to search hundreds of Web sites at the same so you can get the best prices. Try it - do you like it?

Another travel tip: look for travel companies on Twitter and for tweets with the tag: #traveltuesday. Then watch for low airfare and hotel deals, plus customer service information. Today on United Airlines on Twitter, there is information about slow Internet issues, how to file a customer service complaint and how to find items left at a gate.

Happy, safe and frugal travels this summer and all year 'round!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Make It A Green Day - Saturday, June 26, 2010

If you've been paying attention (ahem), you might notice that DPPL has been working hard so you have an easier time going green. From our reusable tote bags to technotrash recycling, plastic bag recycling to our judicious use of the thermostat, we see our commitment to going green as part of our responsibility to the Des Plaines community and the entire planet. Many of our green endeavors are also fiscally sensible. I wish there was a greener metaphor for "killing two birds with one stone!"

We also try to make going green fun, rather than a dreary, politically correct exercise. Our entire Summer Reading Club 2010 is based around greenness and this Saturday, June 26, 2010, you are cordially invited to "Green Day!" 

The centerpiece of Green Day is our Recycling Fair. Here's the scoop from Adult Services Librarian Jill Franklin:
  1. We will accept the following: keys, corks, batteries, eyeglasses, cell phones, small technotrash items, athletic shoes (no cleats) (through NIKE, Inc.)

  2. Please, only items small enough to be carried in your hand. No large appliances, electronics, etc. can be accepted.

  3. A few of our beneficiaries: Lions, Kiwanis, Friends of the Library, Des Plaines History Center. Technotrash is recycling by the GreenDisk Company.

  4. Trading Center: items like books, CDs, DVDs, yarn/fabric can be brought to the trading center with a "give one, take one" policy. Leftover items will be donated to our Friends of the Library.

  5. The concept? Keep items that can be reused or repurposed from needlessly ending up in a landfill. Sounds good to me!
Also on hand this Saturday, June 26, 2010 - a giant shredder! Bring up to four boxes of your personal documents and they will be shredded and securely discarded. 

Curious about electric cars and other alternatives? Check out the car display: electric cars, I-Go Car Sharing and see the city of Des Plaines' new natural gas vehicle. The electric car display is brought to us by the Fox Valley Electric Auto Association.

But wait - there's more. :) From 11 AM - Noon, Susan Ask from the University of Illinois Extension will be on hand to tell you about rainwater harvesting, rain barrels and more.

From 1-2 PM, Terra Brockman, author of The Seasons on Henry's Farm, will take you through the seasons on her brother Henry's biodiverse vegetable farm. Learn the benefits that come from farming in harmony with nature (the way it was meant to be!). Terra will also sign copies of her book (which was nominated for a 2010 James Beard Award) and there will be an opportunity to taste vegetables from Henry's farm.

So, come out this Saturday, June 25, 2010. Make it a fun day, a great day, a Green Day!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Doing The Walk Of Life

Last Friday night, I was in a restaurant that plays a lot of 80s music and I heard the old Dire Straits song, "Walk of Life." This coming Friday night, June 25, 2010, I'll be at an actual "Walk Of Life," the Des Plaines/Park Ridge Relay For Life. Relay For Life is an all-night event - walkers circle a track, hula hoop, dance and do whatever it takes to stay awake until the morning hours, all the while earning pledge money from supporters. That money goes to the American Cancer Society to fund research and support for those struggling from any form of cancer, as well as needed services for family members of those waiting on a cure.

It's a fun, upbeat, inspiring event and YOU, yes, YOU are invited. You, your family, friends and neighbors can all attend for free. Please bring your wallet or purse and buy some raffle tickets, make a donation, purchase a gift or some snacks, with all proceeds going to fight cancer. Can't make it? Please consider making an online donation to our Relay for Life team, Bob's Book Babes. Our team has been the Book Babes for many years, but this year they are walking to honor our much-loved colleague, Bob Blanchard (Adult Services), who is recovering from surgery for cancer at this time. We love ya, Bob, and we miss you here at DPPL! That's a photo above of last year's Book Babes, still smiling after a long night of walking.

Is there a single person in Des Plaines whose life has not been altered by cancer? In some cases, the change may have been devastating, even world-shattering. All the more reason to make a donation and come to Relay to support survivors, caregivers and the fund-raising walkers. Cancer is a tough foe but if any place on earth has the ingenuity, the energy and the determination to beat it, it's the United States of America. Relay for Life takes place in 5,000 communities across 19 countries, a global collaboration, which makes it that much more powerful. Come out and make a difference! Rumor has it a certain blogging librarian will be performing a song at the opening ceremony, which begins around 5:45 PM. Before and after the song I'll be looking for YOU. :) Details:

Des Plaines/Park Ridge Relay For Life
Friday, June 25, 2010 - opening ceremony around 5:45 PM, event goes all night
Maine West High School
1755 S. Wolf Road

Des Plaines, IL

Monday, June 7, 2010

WorldCat How-To

If there has been one positive thing about our recent system woes and van delivery changes, it has been the flood of communication from you, our users and supporters. We need to know what you value about the Library and what services you consider absolutely essential. Many of you have left comments here on PlainTalk. We've also received emails, suggestion box comments and even personal visits. All are welcome.

On Saturday, I talked to quite a few of you in our lobby - did you take our green survey for a Trader Joe's chocolate bar? We'll be surveying people again soon, but one comment I received while meeting with patrons was, "You need to explain how WorldCat works!" Good suggestion, so here goes.If you prefer your tutorials in video form, you can watch a short video on how to search WorldCat and request items.

First, a clarification: early in 2009, we did an extensive trial run of a service called WorldCat Local. You told us that you didn't care for WorldCat Local so we did not pursue that option. Plain old "WorldCat" has been around for many years and is freely available to us. It is a worldwide database of libraries and their collections. So, one benefit right off the bat is that you can search nearby libraries that are not in our computer consortium. This includes the Chicago Public Library, Schaumburg Township District Library, Arlington Heights Memorial Library and the Mount Prospect Public Library.

How to search:
  • From our Web site, look for the "Reference" link right under our logo.
  • Mouse over that and you'll see "Research Databases A-Z." Click on that link. 
  • Click on R-Z and then look for WorldCat on the right hand side. Better yet: use this link to WorldCat and then bookmark it for easy access.
  • To use WorldCat outside the library, have your DPPL library card number handy, you'll need to type in the number.

  • The screen you'll encounter is somewhat busy, but the important part is the search area - see the image above.
  • Searching is similar to a library catalog - keyword, author, title are the most frequently used searches and you can combine them.
  • Example: You want the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.Type the words eat pray love in the Title field and Gilbert in the Author field. (For Author, last name is usually sufficient.) 
  • Click the grey Search button and get a list of results. 
  • When you see the item you want, look for this symbol:

    This indicates that we own the item so look for it in our Catalog.
    If you don't see this symbol, click the item's title to continue.
  • You'll get a brief description of the item, a link to a list of libraries that own the item and a link that reads: Borrow this item from another library (Interlibrary Loan). If we don't own it and you want it, you can go to another library and borrow it with your DPPL card or order it through Interlibrary Loan. Use these links to make your choice.
  • If you choose Interlibrary Loan: type in your name, library card number and other required information into the form on that page.
  • The request will be delivered to our Interlibrary Loan department. They will determine the best way to obtain the item for you and will contact you when it arrives for borrowing. 
Confused? Need help? Give us a call at 847-827-5551 or get other contact options, like email and texting.