Thanks for visiting. We aren't actively blogging here anymore. Please visit us on our new site.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Happy Holidays from the Library

I can't say for sure if it will snow soon or not, but the holiday season is definitely here. The library is getting quiet. Programs are winding down. Seems like a good time to remind you that the library will be closed on the following days:

Monday, December 24th
Tuesday, December 25th
Monday, December 31st
Tuesday, January 1st

In case you missed them, here are a few holiday related things from around the web that we've written or created:

On our Positively Ellinwood blog, Jackie wrote about the slew of literary films coming out in December. Have you seen any of them? Also, David wrote about his list of best books of 2012, which were actually from 2011!

On our Tumblr blog (where we post fun, quirky things), a popular post was this list of non-holiday movies set during the holidays (think Gremlins). If you're a Pinterest fan, be sure to check out our "Holiday Magic" board with links to great tips, stories, and images of the holidays.

We hope that you have a happy holiday and great new year.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Images of Des Plaines: An Interview with David Whittingham

If you saw our post on the Positively Ellinwood blog recently, you'll know that David Whittingham, one of our Reader Service's staff, just published a book about Des Plaines with Arcadia Publishing. Part of the Images of America Series, the book is a pictorial guide to Des Plaines's history.

I sat down with David recently and spoke with him about the book. We talked about his motivation for writing the book and some of the dominant themes in Des Plaines's history. You can watch the video here or on the library's Youtube channel.

Something that I found very interesting is the ongoing tension between Des Plaines's dynamism (the "capacity to surprise" that David mentions) and the enduring presence of the river and the railroads. Miner Street, for instance, looks very different today than it did in the 1910s or 1920s, and yet we still deal with floods every few years.

14th at our book launch party. More details David also makes the case for engaging with Des Plaines's history, particularly the historical resources that the Des Plaines History Center curates. Their collections provided most of the images found in the book. Incidentally, we recorded the interview in the Kinder House. They host a number of programs like book discussions there. And, yes, that's a piano behind David's head.

Don't forget that you can pick up copies of the book at the History Center (or from other book retailers, ahem). Also, you can meet David this coming Friday, December here.

A special bonus for PlainTalk readers. Listen to the complete, unedited interview with David or download it below.

Download (mp3, 22 mb)

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Month Ahead: December 2012

Here's a look at the month ahead for December 2012.

Get into the holiday spirit on Sunday, December 9th with the singing quartet, Route 66. Enjoy contemporary holiday music and traditional carols. Register here.

Prevent holiday shopping disasters before they happen. Read Consumer Report reviews from home with your library card. You can find the link to Consumer Reports in the Reference section of our website. Get started now!

Celebrate the release of a new book about Des Plaines on December 14th. Images of America: Des Plaines is a pictorial guide to Des Plaines' history, written by library staff member David Whittingham with the Des Plaines History Center. More information here.

There's plenty for kids and families to do this holiday season at the library.

Kids in grades 5 to 8 can come to Art Attack on December 4th and learn how to make these festive pinecone decorations. Register now.

Bring the whole family to Frosty's Winter Wonderland on December 16th, a fun musical performance features marionettes. Register here.

Finally, the library will be closed on December 24th, 25th and the 31st for the holidays. We hope you have an enjoyable and relaxing holiday season.

For more information about the month ahead, check out our website at

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


It's winter time and that means it's time to "chill." Whether you're putting on a sweater to keep out the cold or kicking up your feet with a book, consult our "chill" page to see some of the ways we can help you work, learn, play, and chill this winter.

Consumer Reports

Stressing about buying gifts and spending money is the opposite of chilling out. That's why we're promoting our online access to Consumer Reports this month. You can read articles online or download full issues through Zinio from home with your library card!

Holiday Book Sale

Also, why not save some money at the Friends of the Library Holiday Book Sale this weekend. Not only will you find gently used books, you can also pick up a copy of the recently released Images of America: Des Plaines, a history of Des Plaines told in pictures. (Read more about the book on our Positively Ellinwood blog).

Winter Reading Clubs

Also, stay tuned for more information about our Winter Reading Clubs for kids, teens, and adults. They start in January.

Friday, November 16, 2012


Well, it's that time of the year again--turkeys, stuffing, pumpkin pie. You know the drill! The library will be closed on Thanksgiving day, and will reopen on Friday. Even though the library is closed, we encourage you to use our online catalog and to download eBooks, music, and magazines. You can do all of that while cooking, cleaning, and recuperating from the holiday!

Thanksgiving is a wonderful chance to pause, reflect on what we have, and to be thankful. As I was searching through our online digital collection, Des Plaines Memory, though, I was reminded that there are some cranky people out there who don't appreciate Thanksgiving, including one Charles Bennett.

Charles Bennett was a schoolmaster in Des Plaines in the 1850s. We recently added one of his personal diaries to Des Plaines Memory, our online collection of old photographs, postcards, and letters.  We like to think of Mr. Bennett as our resident "crank from the past." He didn't seem to enjoy being a schoolmaster all that much.

It just so happens that his diary contains the following entry for Thanksgiving day. Here's what Mr. Bennett had to say:
To day is Thanksgiving, at
least so says the Governor. But I have disobeyed his
orders, Thanksgiving is not
observed among the "natives".
And I generally make it
a rule to do according to custom
that is, when convenient. Caught one chap eating his dinner
today. I put the tempting morsel
out his sight. I think I shall
keep Saturday, that is, if it do
not get a walking ticket before
that time, I design going to town
tonight in company with one of
the pupils, to see the friends, With Sentiments of Respect
and Esteem, I remain, Your most obedient and humble
Servant, "Schule Master"
Well, I hope you have a more pleasant and relaxing Thanksgiving than our Mr. Bennett did!

P.S. For more "old timey stuff" check out our Thanksgiving Des Plaines style posts from a few years back.

Friday, November 9, 2012

We're a Star Library!

Every year the publication Library Journal compares libraries around the country to create their Star Libraries list. We're happy to say that the Des Plaines Public Library is one of 20 Star Libraries in Illinois and one of 5 in the area.

Being a Star Library

What does being on the list mean? The Star Library list looks at four key things that libraries do:
  • library visits 
  • circulation 
  • program attendance
  • public Internet computer use
They measure how much of these things libraries do relative to their size and budget and rate the libraries. The Library Journal is quick to point out that the Star scores don't rate the quality or impact of these services. The scores "measure the levels of library service delivery relative to peer libraries nationally." (Star List FAQ). Being on the list means that we offer a lot of materials, programs, and services to you. Of course, it also means that a lot of you use what we offer!

The LJ Star List
Looking at the Numbers

To put the Star List rankings in context, here are some numbers from 2011 that indicate everything we do here at the library:
We had 598,389 people visit the library.

We circulated 1,176,477 items and 6,022 eMaterials.

We had 17,273 people come to our programs.

Our public computers were used 107,123 times and our public wifi was used 55,673  times.
And we did all of this while reducing the tax levy! 

So, the upshot is that we are working to be an efficient library that continues to offer you a wide range of materials and services. Based on the numbers, it seems like we're doing a pretty good job. What do you think?

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Month Ahead: November 2012

Here's a quick look at the month ahead at the Des Plaines Public Library:

Are you writing a novel for National Novel Writing Month? If so, come to the library every Tuesday evening in November. We're hosting write-ins to help you write 50,000 words by the end of the month.

We're also celebrating books with Family Reading Night. Pick up a Reading Night bag from the 2nd floor and read as a family on November 15th.

The holiday season is coming and the Frugal Friends are here to help. Join them on November 11th for "Frugal Gift Giving" ideas. You can also follow our Frugal Friends Pinterest board for more money saving tips.

Speaking of stress, in November, we're featuring resources to help reduce homework stress. We have great free resources like HelpNow that offers live, online tutoring.

At the end of the month, teens can get into new books at our BookBlitz program on November 27th. The theme for this month is "Fall into Fantasy."

Finally, we need your help to improve the website. Take our online survey so we can make the website better.

For more information about the month ahead, checkout our website at:

Music: Metrotechno, "stereotype"

Friday, October 26, 2012

Write with us during National Novel Writing Month

Did you know that November is National Novel Writing Month? NaNoWriMo as it's usually called (that's "nan-o-ry-mo") encourages writers and aspiring writers to draft a 50,000 word novel in one month. Over 200,000 people participated in NaNoWriMo last year and we want you to be one of them!

That's why we are hosting four "write-ins" during November. Every Tuesday from 6 to 9 p.m. you can come to the library with your computer (or preferred writing device) and the urge to write. Together as a group we'll try to crank out as many words as possible by competing in writing sprints and encouraging one another. We'll have coffee and snacks. There will be little prizes for the person who writes the most words that night.

You "win" at NaNoWriMo if you write those 50,000 words by November 30th. If you do the math, that breaks down to over 1600 pages a day. How feasible is this? Well, speaking as someone who participated last year, it's pretty crazy. You really have to push yourself to write. 

But that's what makes NaNoWriMo so wonderful. The event encourages you to set aside your inner critic and write like a Olympic sprinter rushing for the finish line. It's also a great way to meet other writers celebrate literary (and not so literary) craft.

Most of what you produce will be garbage, but by the end you have 50,000 more words of...writing than you did before. Sometimes, though, a diamond emerges from the rough. There are a number of former "NaNo" participants who have published their creations (and we even have their books).

If you're interested, check out the getting started page for NaNoWriMo and sign up. You can also checkout our NaNoWriMo page where we'll be logging how many words people write at the write-ins. If you do sign up, be sure to stop by the library every Tuesday night in November from 6 to 9 p.m.. We'll keep the door open and the coffee warm for you!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A New Way to Read Magazines with Zinio

We're very excited to offer you a new way to read magazines. Zinio let's you read full magazines on a smartphone, tablet, or computer. You won't miss any of the colorful images or graphics. Some magazines even feature enhanced content like videos.

If you're eager to get started, why not click on over to Zinio now. Otherwise, here's a little more information about using Zinio.

It's pretty easy to get started with Zinio. You just need the following things:
  1. Your DPPL library card
  2. Zinio account for the library
  3. Personal Zinio account
  4. App for your tablet or smartphone (or you can use your computer!)

Getting Started

When you first log on, you'll see a login screen. Just click "Create Account" and enter your email address and password.

Then when you log in to Zinio, you'll get to choose a magazine issue to read.

At that point, you'll be asked to create a Zinio account (since Zinio is a separate service). We encourage you to use the same email address for both services.

Then you're off! You can read the issue on your computer or download one of the great apps for your tablet or smartphone.

Did any of that make sense?

Don't worry. Just visit our page about Zinio to find helpful tutorials and instructions to download. You'll also find the current list of magazines that we offer through Zinio.

Otherwise, why not sign up today and start reading magazines.

Welcome to the future!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Celebrating Des Arts

Inspiration? Creativity? Have you every wondered what drives people to make art? Whatever the answer, we are fortunate when we can enjoy what other people create. Come to the library on October 19th, 20th, and 21st for Des Arts, a celebration of creative expression in Des Plaines. Des Arts is presented by the Des Plaines Arts Council, an local organization that promotes the creative arts in Des Plaines.

There will be so much to do during Des Art; it's hard to know where to begin! Here's a preview of some of events and activities that you won't want to miss (or you can view the full schedule here).

One of the highlights of Des Arts will be the art contest. Entrants in three categories--youth, teen, and adult--will compete to win a Best in Show award and a People's Choice award. Be sure to vote for your favorite pieces when you are here. You will also find hands-on activities like the communal mural and workshops like "Printmaking Basics" and "iPhone/iPad Photography."

Throughout the weekend, you can enjoy music throughout the library. You'll hear a variety of styles from classical to traditional Hawaiian music. You'll also see ensembles and individuals performing. Even if you're just here to pick up a book or a movie, you'll enjoy the musical performances during Des Arts.

If you enjoy dance, Saturday, the 20th will be the day for you. You'll see dance from India, Mexico, and Ireland. We'll even have professional dancer Richard Ashworth performs hip-hop dance.

Word can be art too! Storytellers, comedians, and poets will act out, read, and perform using words creatively to entertain and inspire you.

I hope that gives you a taste of what to expect during Des Arts on October 19th, 20th, and 21st. Visit the Des Arts website for more details about the event and the learn more about the Des Plaines Arts Council (maybe you even become a member!).

Do you have a website?
Promote Des Arts. Just copy this code and place it on your site!

<div class="des-arts-badge" style="width: 250px; height: 270px; padding: 10px; border: 3px solid orange; text-align: center; font-size: 13px;"> <a href="" style="text-decoration: none; background-color: transparent !important;"> <img src="" style="width: 100%;"> <p>October 19th, 20th, and 21st at the <br />Des Plaines Public Library</p> </a> </div>

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Month Ahead: October 2012

Here's a look at the month ahead for October 2012

Explore the sciences at our 4th Annual Family Science Expo. On October 13th bring the whole family for fun interactive exhibits and demonstrations.

Don’t forget the humanities and arts! October is National Arts and Humanities Month in Des Plaines. Come to the library on October 19th, 20th, and 21st for Des Arts, a weekend long celebration of art, dance, music, and more.

We have plenty to do for Halloween too. Teens should come to our Teen Horror Movie Night on the 26th for a screening of The Ring. Bring the family to the Halloween Hoopla and magic show on the 27th. And the Anime Club has a Halloween party for teens on the 30th.

Finally, we have a great service coming for magazines lovers. With Zinio, you’ll be able to download magazines to your tablet or smartphone. Look for it in mid-October.

For more information about the month ahead, checkout our website at

Monday, September 17, 2012

Your Library Card: Get it. Bring it. Use it.

If you've seen our site this month, you probably noticed that September is National Library Card Month. It's a chance to libraries to promote the value that libraries offer to people. Think about it. Signing up for a little 3.5" by 2" plastic card makes thousands of books, CDs, DVDs, and online content available to you for free!

Get It

Obviously if you want to take advantage of the library, you need to get a library card. Traditionally residents of incorporated Des Plaines could come to the library and sign up for one. This month we just launched a new online library card application. The application takes you through the process of determining your eligibility and submitting your application.

If you aren't sure if you are eligible for a card, checkout the map of Des Plaines on the application. If live inside the blue area on the map, you are eligible for a card. You can search for your address and a marker will appear on the map showing where you live. Still confused? Just call the library at 847-376-2788 to confirm your eligibility.

After you complete the application, we will have your card ready in 3 days. Bring a valid ID and proof of address with you to pick it up. Remember that a child's parent or guardian must accompany him or her to pick up a card.

Bring it, Use It

Now that you have your card, don't forget to bring it with you and use it. Here's just some of the things you can get with your card:
Enjoy your library card!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Uncutting Star Wars

So, you think you've seen Star Wars, right? Well, get ready for the Emmy winning "Uncut" version of the film, remade in a series of 15 seconds clips by devoted fans around the world. Come to the library on September 22nd at 6:30 p.m. and experience Star Wars like you've never experienced it before.

Casey Pugh led the project, allowing hundreds of fans to claim clips from the. Once claimed, the clip had to be completed in 30 days then uploaded to the Star Wars Uncut website. An editor came along and pieced the pieces together, mixed in the sound track, and unleashed this wonderful creation on the world.

The idea of remaking Star Wars isn't new. In fact, Star Wars Uncut is the culmination of years of Star Wars inspired fan films. A quick search on Youtube for "star wars fan film" returns over 16,000 results! There is an annual contest and award for the best fan films. Whether made with live action, stop motion, starring people, or featuring Lego figures, these films are a testament to how deeply embedded these movies are in the popular imagination.

Now, you might be asking yourself, "Is this legal?" In this case, Lucasfilm worked with Pugh to support the project. But the larger question of remaking and reusing culture is a complicated one. People like Lawrence Lessig write and speak about the importance of allowing fair use and remixing in culture.

Star Wars Uncut speaks powerfully to the idea that wonderful things happen when people remake things. Why don't you come to the library on the September 22nd and see for yourself?

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Month Ahead: September 2012

Each month, I'm going to be posting a short video called "The Month Ahead." We'll preview some of the exciting things going on at the library that month.

September is National Library Card Month. This little teal card opens the door to thousands of books, music, video, and online content. So we want you to get it, bring it, and use it all this month. Don’t have a card? Come by with your photo ID to get one, or use our new online application.

Now that you have a library card, why not learn about your family history? Come to the library and explore Ancestry, one of the largest sources for genealogical information online. You’ll find a link to Ancestry in the Reference section of our website.

Our theme for the fall is “Together.” Look for special events that celebrate togetherness like the screening of the fan film, Star Wars Uncut, on September 14th and the traditional Japanese tea ceremony on September 22nd.

September also means its back to school time. Checkout our homework help sections for kids and teens.

Finally, don’t miss our Friends’ fall book sale on September 28th, 29th, and 30th.

For more information about the month ahead, checkout our website at

Friday, August 24, 2012

Making a list...of books, movies, music, and more
I keep lists around me all of the time—to do lists, reminder lists, lists of things to read, lists of lists. Our excellent Readers Services staff (the folks on the third floor) make lists too—lists of books, movies, music, and more. You can always find the most recent collections of lists on the catalog's Staff Picks page.

On the Staff Picks page, you will find top ten lists for everything documentary films to plays. There are top picks for teen lit, magazines, Each list is a collection of items that you can checkout from the library. Sometimes you'll find ebooks and websites listed too.

We've also started featuring these lists of great materials on our "Great Reads", "Great Movies", and "Great Music" pages. When you are looking for helpful tools to get reading recommendations or to access, you will also see covers scrolling by on the side. Click on an interesting item and learn more about it.

Our staff are voracious readers. These lists are a great way to tap into their knowledge about what's coming out soon and what is the best of the best. So, whether you are poking around in the catalog, or see something enticing on our "Great Reads" page, be sure to take advantage of this treasure trove of knowledge.

Want to hear more from our Readers Services staff? Hop on over to the Positively Ellinwood blog. This week, Laura writes about the post-9/11 novel, The Submission by Amy Waldman.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Learn to Love Twitter

I'll just come out and say it, "I love Twitter." Now, you might cry out that I'm biased because I'm the Web Services Librarian, and maybe I am. I like the Web--I use it everyday. But Twitter is something that I particularly like. This coming Tuesday (8/14/2012), I'm teaching a class on Twitter at 7 p.m. Sign up for it. I'd like to convince you to love Twitter too.

Surely you know by now that Twitter is a...what? A way of sharing short messages online. Each "tweet" has to be 140 characters or less, which means that brevity rules above all else.  The video clip above features Jack Dorsey, the guy that dreamed up Twitter. In his mind, Twitter was a way of trying to stitch together people spread out in time and space. It's kind of beautiful vision, if you ask me.

This is a tweet!
When you share on Twitter, you are sharing, by default, with the world. Twitter is a very public forum for sharing your what you find interesting and for talking with other people. I love Twitter because I can talk to and listen to people that I've never met. I can be connected to a larger world of librarians, web designers, celebrities, or whomever I choose.

So, sign up for the "This is How Twitter Works" class this Tuesday (8/14/2012) at 7 p.m.. Maybe you'll come to love it too! And don't forget the library is on Twitter.

-Brodie, Web Services Librarian

Friday, July 27, 2012

Local Businesses Supporting the Library

Are you looking for a delicious way to support the library? On Monday July 30, 2012, the folks at Buona Beef in Rosemont will donate a portion of their sales to the library. Whether you dine-in, carry out, or go through the drive-thru, bring a copy of this flyer with you and your purchases will help support our programs and services.

Buona Beef aren't our only generous partner in the area. A number of local businesses make special contributions that make the library a little more..special. Here's a quick recap of some recent partnerships:

Back in March, the Muvico Theater in Rosemont donated free tickets for the Hunger Games film premier. Pesche's Flowers, just down the street, provided a seedling planting kit for an Earth Day program. Millennium Bank supports the theme-based giveaways for our Preschool Outreach program.

A number of local businesses helped with our Summer Reading Clubs. Special mention goes to Holy Family Medical Center for supporting the Reading Club Patch program (you have finished your bingo card, right?). The Greek American Restaurant Association provided our great volunteers with t-shirts. At the end of the summer, those same volunteers will feast on pizzas provided by Domino's Pizza.

All of these great local businesses (and more) give that something extra that makes so that we can give you a little something extra too

P.S. Dont' forget to download the Buona Benefit Day flyer!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Changes to the Website

As your Web Services Librarian, I am always updating and improving the website. Sometimes this means making little changes here and there. Sometimes it means making more sweeping changes. Recently, I made a bigger updates and thought I would share them with you.

Making the site faster

It's a bit of a saw that the Internet makes us impatient, but speed does matter online. By streamlining our pages, the site should be about 40% faster. This just makes it easier for you to get around.

One search box (to rule them all)

Although this happened a month or so ago, there is now one search box at the top of the site. You can either search for something (a book, movie, etc) in our library catalog, or search for something on the site. Use the drop down menu to select your preference.

Where's the print button?

One of the first things you might notice is that the "Print this page" button is gone. Now you can simply print the page in your browser and the site's header and navigation disappear, like magic!

How do I?

The drop-down list of options called "How do I?" moved up to the corner. I hope this makes it a little easier to find and use.

Ask a question, make a comment

At the bottom of every page now is a link to the library's contact information. Feel free send you questions or comments about the website, of anything else about the library.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Mac Laptops for Teens

You don't have to dress this cool to use an Mac laptop at the Des Plaines Public Library. You just have to be a teen, have a valid photo I.D., and a Des Plaines library card.

We keep the Macs at the 3rd floor desk. Come on up, show us your library card and I.D.. We'll check the laptop out to you (yes, like a book!). We only have a few, so you won't be able to use it forever (though you'll get at least an hour). Also, the Mac will be very, very sad if you leave the library with it!

So, with just yourself, your ID and library card, and a commitment to not making the laptops cry (seriously), you can use one our Macs for research, writing, making videos, and so on. If you have questions, just ask Joanie, the teen librarian, or someone working at the 3rd floor desk in the library.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Celebrating the Fourth of July

Knowing that the Fourth of July is next week, I asked people in the library about their favorite Fourth of July traditions to share with you.

I'll start off. Personally, I love going to the beaches to watch fireworks. Fireworks are pretty amazing, but fireworks exploding over water are even better!

And here are some others:
I like to watch Wimbledon on the tube. Not very patriotic, I know. But I do like my tennis. - Gwen
Find a roof from which to watch all of the local fireworks displays simultaneously. - Claire
This may be nerdy, but I try to read the Declaration of Indepenence in its entirety every July 4. - Joel
AM: Watching the marching bands in the parade's. PM: Watching the flag fly as we celebrate with fireworks and icecream! - Liz
Why…March in the Des Plaines Independence Day Parade…of course! - Stephanie
So, be sure to look for us in the Des Plaines parade, grab a spot at your favorite fire works show in the area, read our founding documents, and tv!

Also, if you aren't in the patriotic spirit yet, come to our celebration of patriotic music, "You're a Grand Old Flag," this Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Register now!

Friday, June 22, 2012

History is Personal on Des Plaines Memory

Last month, the library and the Des Plaines History Center launched Des Plaines Memory, an online resource for local history. I spoke with Steven Giese, our Digital Projects Librarian, to learn more about Des Plaines Memory and how it has made history a very personal thing for him.

What is Des Plaines Memory?

Des Plaines Memory is an online collection of photographs, letters, postcards, newspapers and telephone directories. My job is to work with Shari Caine, the Executive Director of the history center, preparing and uploading historical materials to the web site. We are also interested in working with local organizations and businesses to archive historical documents they might have.

You must be very passionate about history!

I’ve never been what you’d call a “history buff.” Don’t get me wrong: I liked my history classes in school and I read the occasional historical novel. But history has always seemed sort of dry and far removed from my everyday life. But my attitude’s been changing ever since I started working on Des Plaines Memory.

Jefferson Township High School Postcard, circa 1910 

In what way?

Because of all this exposure to local history on Des Plaines Memory, I’m realizing that I can’t get away from it! When I grab lunch at the Sugar Bowl diner I can imagine that I’m sitting in the old post office as it was in 1915. On my daily commute to work I pass by the old site of Maine Township’s Jefferson High School and I think about a postcard of the school I added to the collection from a woman named Lucille to her old friend and classmate, Grace.

Children at Douglas Aircraft child care center

What else has surprised you about the project?

I've been amazed to see people connecting with the project in very personal ways. Sandra & Carol Schallawitz found a picture of their mother, Ruth, working at the Douglas Aircraft day care center during World War II. Lane Hudson found original photographs of several homes he bought and restored. He also left interesting comments about the histories of individual homes.

Any final thoughts?

Visit Des Plaines Memory often as new content is uploaded frequently. Leave your own comments or add posts to your Facebook page. Or you can follow us on Twitter and Tumblr.

Friday, June 15, 2012

All the National Geographic, None of the Clutter

Their yellow covers are so iconic. You can't help but recognize a National Geographic magazine when you see it. Beautiful images, wonderful writing. The world opening before you on the pages of this illustrious magazine. It's a love affair until you have a mountain of them in your garage or basement!

Maybe we can offer a little relief from your clutter problems. We now offer access to over 100 years of National Geographic magazine right from your home computer. You can see full reproductions of the original articles, including those gorgeous photographs.

As you can see from the screenshots above, the layout is very nice and easy to use. A bonus is that all of the articles and images are searchable. I happen to really like airships, or "dirigibles" as they were once called. A quick search reveals 7 articles (and 5 advertisements!) that mention "dirigible."

One other surprisingly neat feature is the "graphing tool." This isn't for making pie charts. The tool let's you enter a word and see how many times that word is mentioned in National Geographic (Google's Ngram viewer for Google Books is similar). In the example above, I searched for "war". You can see that the number of occurences shoots up in around 1917 and 1939--during two major world wars. Pretty cool, right?

While the online National Geographic might not capture all of the romance and history of the magazine, we think it has some pretty compelling features. Let us know what you discover in the comments below.

Can I access these resources from home?

Yes, you can!

With a valid Des Plaines Public Library, any of the links above should take you right to the online resource.

Don't have a library card? Stop by sometime and get one. Any Des Plaines resident can apply.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Investment Tools and Tips

Source: Washington Post

Maybe you were caught up in the Facebook IPO frenzy. Perhaps you prefer predictable mutual funds. Either way, you know that good information makes you a better investor. Sure, you can use Yahoo! or Google for looking into companies and following trends. If you really want to crack your knuckles and get serious about your research, though, here are a few tools that the library provides (and are accessible from home):


Morningstar has in-depth information on stocks and mutual funds and can help you build a balanced portfolio. It also includes the Morningstar ratings.

Mergent Online

Mergent Online has current information on publicly held companies including company financials, EDGAR reports, news articles, annual reports and company histories.

Value Line 

 Value Line offers up-to-date expert analysis and commentary on stocks, mutual funds, and other types of investments.

So, go forth and prosper! And if you strike it rich, you'll remember your old pal, the library, right?

Can I access these resources from home?

Yes, you can!

With a valid Des Plaines Public Library, any of the links above should take you right to the online resource.

Don't have a library card? Stop by sometime and get one. Any Des Plaines resident can apply.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Taste is a funny thing, isn't it? Whether you are talking about tasting foods or your personal taste for books, movies, or clothes, "taste" is something very personal. But, when you taste something really, really good, your first urge is to share it..."Here, try this, it's delicious!"

Also, is taste something you can learn? Or are just "born" with it? Certainly, people that are picky eaters can remain picky eaters their entire lives. But people who are voracious readers or watch a lot of movies improve their taste by consuming more books and movies.

This summer at the library we hope we can make your summer a little more delicious. Many of our events and programs will revolve around the theme "taste." Our headline events for the summer are the summer reading clubs. Our theme for the youth club is "Reading is SO Delicious." The teen and adult clubs will have cafe and restaurant themed displays. Whether you are a kid or an adult, you can consume books and win fun prizes.

So, come to library this summer, and feed your imagination. At least you won't have to count calories!

You can find more information about all of our "taste" programs on our "Taste" page. Bon app├ętit!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

DPPL's mobile app is here!

Every month, the Des Plaines Public Library’s website is viewed more than 3,000 times on a smartphone or mobile device. Maybe you’re one of those viewers. If so, the library has developed a mobile app for just for you!

The Des Plaines Public Library’s new DPPL mobile app allows library users to check accounts, search the library catalog, and more. To download the new DPPL mobile app, just visit our website at You will find links there to the iOS app store, the Google Play Store (for Android devices), and a link to follow if you have another type of device.

The DPPL app, which is available for a wide range of platforms including iOS and Android, is optimized for mobile devices.  Library users can log in to their library account, place holds and renew materials and search the library catalog in a mobile-friendly format and more, easily and quickly.

You can use really important library services like our catalog and eBook collection with ease, on the fly, anywhere, anytime.

Before we launched the app, you could access the library’s webpage on mobile devices, but the experience wasn’t really user friendly.  On a mobile device, the big scrolling pages, tiny buttons, and vanishing text made it a little frustrating to use. The new DPPL app delivers direct access to the library’s website in a format that makes all of these tasks easier to do on the go.  You can use really important library services like our catalog and eBook collection with ease, on the fly, anywhere, anytime.

Other cool features include BookLook, which allows library users to scan a book and check if DPPL has a copy. Users can also download eBooks and eAudiobooks to personal devices via the new app and stay connected with the library via a calendar of upcoming events, DPPL’s Twitter feed, Facebook pages, and blogs.  We don’t want your relationship with the library to begin and end inside the building. The DPPL app lets you use our services in ways that make sense to you, that fit into your life.

The DPPL app lets you use our services in ways that make sense to you, that fit into your life.

For more information on DPPL Mobile and other digital book, movies, music and eResources available for free at the Des Plaines Public Library, visit

Friday, May 11, 2012

Stay Tuned for More

There's no need to refresh the page. Don't adjust your RSS reader. We've been hard at work on some exciting projects and that has meant no new blog posts recently. So, please stay tuned for exciting news about our new programming theme, Summer Reading Clubs, digital collections, and more.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Poem for Des Plaines (and the library)

This Sunday, the library will wrap up Poetry Month with two events—Poetry Play and Poetry Play Celebration. Come by to hear poets read their poems, to make your own poems, and to share the love of rhythm, rhyme, and meter.

Kids will get a chance to meet the acclaimed children's author and poet, Janet Wong. Janet's poems have appeared in many publications and other unexpected places. She has won numerous awards during her career.

To help prepare for the event on Sunday, Janet graciously provided a few examples of several types of poems—an acrostic, haiku, and list poem. Kids will use these poems to help them create their own versions. When our children's librarian, Sara, opened the example list poem, she found an unexpected surprise. Janet had written a poem about Des Plaines and the library:

Click for the full version

What was Sara's response? She told me, "What an honor! Unfortunately, we won’t be serving French fries this Sunday, but it should be a fabulous day in every other regard."

P.S. There a many fine examples of list poems, but perhaps the most famous is Jubilate Agno by Christopher Smart, a 18th century poet.