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Friday, May 27, 2011

A Friend Indeed!

This week the Friends of the Library ( had their annual meeting; to meet new members, induct new and returning officers, and review their efforts for their fiscal year. Their longtime treasurer, Edie Davis, was stepping down after thirteen years. That’s a lot of service in a very hard-working organization, and the Friends rewarded her with generosity and affection.

Left: Edie Davis at the 2011 Do the Dewey Fundraiser

Being treasurer for the Friends is serious money management, as they have contributed an average of $34,000 a year to the Des Plaines Public Library for the last four years. Their method is simple – but certainly not easy – they sell books. They have at least three major sales in a year, and run an ongoing sale on the first floor of the library. They sort through donations, price books, and move thousands of pounds of print, by hand, every year, into the eager hands of the buying public. If you’re looking to volunteer at the library, you won’t find a more worthwhile opportunity than joining the Friends.

As if putting thousands of books in the hands of readers for pennies apiece weren’t enough, the revenue is funneled right back into the library, making it over the years an extraordinary community center. We have the Friends to thank for our piano, sound system, teen web site, Sunday and Friday movies, Summer Reading Club t-shirts, patches and prizes, Therapy Dog reading programs, chess academy, photography and museum exhibits, job seekers support and counseling, endless live music and dance programs, Wii for seniors . . . the list is literally endless! Thousands of people have come to the library this year just to enjoy a Friends-sponsored program.

Thanks, Edie, and thank you to all the Friends, for devoting yourself quietly and tirelessly to offering something that makes each library visitor feel unique and welcome, and making the city and people of Des Plaines so much richer – one book at a time.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Des Plaines Jeopardy

Last week, the Des Plaines Fire Chief, Alan Wax, came to our all-staff meeting, bright and early at 8 a.m. We had a fire drill, with a few of our staff pretending to be patrons. A six foot cataloger pretending to be a scared, lost four-year-old is something you don’t see every day!

Chief Wax praised our exiting speed (under 5 minutes for over 75 people), and then answered some questions from staff and gave us some essential fire safety tips. I bet you know to Stop, Drop and Roll, don’t you?

Then the real fun started – Des Plaines Jeopardy. Chief Wax created this Powerpoint game to show off Des Plaines landmarks, history and trivia, and sneak in a little more fire safety along the way. I’m sure you recognize this sign :

But how about this one?

“What is The Des Plaines Public Library logo, Alex?”

It might make you think of storytimes, wifi and internet access, a lifetime of books to read, a chance to meet your neighbors, friendly and helpful staff. But I also hope you think, “that’s MY library”, because it is. You pay for it, you use it, you let us know what books and movies you want us to buy, you email us with ideas, you help us create the idea of a public library afresh every day.

And by the way, our winning Jeopardy team collected almost 3,000 imaginary dollars! Thanks Chief Wax, that was a great way to start the day.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Coming Soon! Kindle Library Lending

On April 20th, issued a press release announcing Kindle Library Lending, a new program that will allow Kindle users to borrow from libraries. Amazon is partnering with Overdrive, the company behind MyMediaMall, to launch this service. We hope that you have already enjoyed MyMediaMall, which the library has provided since fall 2008.

At this time, we expect Kindle lending to be available to you later this year. We consider this a very positive move for Amazon, and we look forward to serving the many Kindle users who would like to check out free materials from our library.

We will keep you informed as we learn more.