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Monday, March 21, 2011

Here Are The Keys - Give Our New Catalog a Test Drive

Well, I have been hinting to you for many months now that DPPL would soon be offering you a new catalog searching experience. We are entering the final phase of testing and tweaking and some of our neighboring libraries have rolled out the new catalog. I know there are always "early adopters" of technology, so gosh, maybe some of you would like to give our new catalog a test drive?

Its brand name is BiblioCommons but we're calling it mycatalog and you can access the DPPL gateway here:

The most important thing you need to know as a new user - you'll need to spend a few minutes creating an account. It's a short, simple process because mycatalog can access much of your account information from our current catalog. You'll see the login box on the right side of the screen - type in your library card barcode number and your current password to get started.
  • VERY IMPORTANT. You will need to create a screen name for yourself - choose something that is meaningful to you and easy to remember. If privacy is a concern, choose a nickname rather than your real name but PLEASE do not use your library card number as your screen name. When logging into the new catalog, you will be able to use your screen name OR your familiar library card number.

  • MOST IMPORTANT. If you have been using the word "patron" is your password, you MUST CHANGE IT in this new catalog. Not doing so will create a serious security risk, so please, take it upon yourself to create a new password. If you forget your password at any time, you can reset your password via email (so add your email address to your account).

Once your account is set up, take mycatalog for a spin! Try searching, using the search box located at the top of every screen. Try placing a hold on an item. Notice that you can: create lists of books you've read, write your own comments and ratings on individual items, "follow" other users whose interests are similar to yours.

It will take some getting used to as the information displays differently than our current catalog. There are a few bugs we're working on but I thought you might enjoy a sneak preview - none of the bugs will effect your security or privacy. Once we have it perfected, we will be ready to roll it out for all of our users, but in the meantime, I would love your comments and feedback so drop me a line here to let me know what you think. Our current catalog will still be available for awhile as we make the switch and I hope to be available to you in the library at a "Help Desk" to answer your questions in person, once the change is official. Get a jump start and try mycatalog - vroom vroom!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Helping Japan

A quick note: the news media is keeping us posted on the crisis in Japan after last week's earthquake and tsunami. You may feel well-informed about the tragedy but you may also be wondering how you can help, since the stories and images certainly convey a feeling of helplessness. Two simple ways to send a donation: via the Red Cross and via the Salvation Army (thanks to David J. Tooley of our local Salvation Army for sending the info).
  • American Red Cross: Text "REDCROSS" to 90999 to automatically donate $10. Visit or mail a check to American Red Cross, PO Box 4002018, Des Moines, Iowa, 50340.
  • Salvation Army: Text "quake" or "japan" to 80888 to automatically donate $10. Visit or call 800-725-2769 or mail a check to Salvation Army, PO Box 1959, Atlanta, Georgia, 30301.
Please take a moment and do something to help. If you've been reading or watching the news reports from Japan, you might feel as if you'd like to know more about the country, its geography or its history. Your public library is a great resource.

Non-fiction books about Japan for adults
Non-fiction books about Japan for children
Non-fiction DVDs about Japan for adults or children

The listing you see might look unfamiliar - you're getting a preview of our new library catalog, due to launch in just a few days. Take some time to explore this exciting new discovery tool - we think you're going to love it.

The image above is under copyright from Reuters and was found on the following Web site:

Friday, March 11, 2011

Election Day Is Coming

With all the recent activity surrounding Chicago's mayoral election, you may have overlooked that election season is here in Des Plaines, too. Election Day in Des Plaines, IL is April 5, 2011. Early voting begins on Monday, March 14, 2011. You can find all the important details on the city of Des Plaines' Web site:

On that Web site you will find a list of candidates and a link to an interactive map to find your polling place.
The Daily Herald newspaper has more information about all the local candidates in their 2011 Election Guide.

Of course, some of the candidates have their own Web sites and can be found on networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. Do the research and make an informed choice for your city. Whenever you need quick access to contact information for local officials, use our Government Subject Guide. 

The photo above is  from the Life magazine Web site. It depicts voters in...Germany. Amazing how universal the images of voting day can be!

Monday, March 7, 2011

ILEAD U 2011

Top Row: Anne Craig, Director, Illinois State Library; John Lavalie, Cataloging and Metadata Specialist, DPPL; Mary Chute, Deputy Director for Libraries, IMLS; Tiffany Amschl, Assistant Administrative Librarian, Crete Public Library.
Bottom Row: Steven Giese, Adult Services Librarian, DPPL; Paul Foxworth, Youth Services Librarian, Niles Public Library; Joanne Griffin, Adult Services Librarian, DPPL.

I'm very proud to announce that the Des Plaines Public Library is partnering with our friends at the Niles Public Library in a statewide library initiative called ILEAD U. The Illinois State Library has received generous grant funding from IMLS, the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The funding allows teams from libraries all across Illinois to participate in intensive immersion training in technology, leadership and project management in order to better meet their community's needs in the 21st century. Our four person team consists of John Lavalie, Joanne Griffin and Steven Giese from Des Plaines along with Paul Foxworth from Niles. The team has chosen local history as their theme. There is rich local history in our suburban area but preserving it, digitizing it and making it more easily accessible has been relegated to the low priority list for a long time. I want to commend our ILEAD U team members for taking on the challenge of learning new skills to bring something truly useful and unique to our communities. The team will continue working on this project throughout the coming year and I believe their creative work will remain valuable for decades to come.

I am also a very enthusiastic member of the ILEAD U initiative, serving as an instructor for the 2010 and 2011 cohorts. At a time when library budgets are greatly reduced, IMLS funding is critical for assisting us in furthering our professional education. The ILEAD U funding from IMLS also includes a small grant for equipment and software to allow us to share our newly digitized local history resources with you. We are grateful to Anne Craig and the Illinois State Library staff for including the Des Plaines Public Library in ILEAD U and for their vision in writing this grant-funded initiative. Watch for updates as our team's project begins to grow and develop. Tiffany Amschl from the Crete Public Library, in the photo above, is serving as our team's mentor.