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Thursday, August 22, 2013

4th Floor Computers Unavailable During Remodel

You can see pictures of the project on our Facebook page.

The 4th floor public computer center will be closed from August 29th to September 9th for remodeling. We'll be reorganizing and installing larger work stations, improved seating, a centralized help desk and additional resources to make using computers at the library more comfortable and productive.

If only construction was this easy!
During the remodel, the following will not be available to the public:
  • adult internet computers and printers
  • the flatbed scanner
  • 4th floor study rooms
  • the print reference collection
  • the Business Reference collection
  • the computer lab
  • the Work Center collection
  • seating west of the nonfiction collection

WiFi will not be affected and will remain accessible throughout the building.

Questions?  Let us know via email at, by phone at 847-827-5551, or stop by 4th floor reference desk.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Director's Obsessions: Biography in Context and Guillermo del Toro

When you see a movie like Pacific Rim by Guillermo del Toro, you leave the theater wanting to know what makes the director tick. Sure you could turn to IMDB or Wikipedia, but Biography in Context should be one of your first stops for obsessive director research.

Pacific Rim in a (giant mechanical) nutshell

If you haven't seen it yet, Pacific Rim features giant robots (called Jaegers in the movie) and even larger creatures (or kaiju) that spawn from an intergalactic rift between dimensions. Crazy right? Yes, and fun and interesting at the same time.

The director, del Toro, is well known for movies like Pan's Labryinth and Hellboy. His movies have a fairy tale, larger than life quality. You feel that there are deep fears and obsessions fueling them. What's interesting too, is that he often makes genre movies—comic book movies, sci-fi movies—but always add a twist to them.

From broad overview to deep dive

I like using Biography in Context for this kind of research. The resource offers a wide range of materials including encyclopedia articles, magazine stories, audio files, and more. With del Toro, you can get a really high level overview of this life with entries from Contemporary Authors. Or, you can dive into reading interviews with him and story about Pacific Rim. One of the featured stories is titled, "Guillermo del Toro's 'Eternal' Monster Obsession."

I also appreciate the inclusion of audio stories from sources like NPR. I click on a story titled "Guillermo Del Toro, On Monsters And Meaning." You get a full text transcript and the audio of the story. In this particular article, del Toro talks about growing up watch kaiju films in Mexico and his theory about kaiju and their appeal, particularly for little kids.
"...kaiju are sort of the revenge of kids because we are born in a world that is too big for us..." -Guillermo del Toro

Get started with Biography in Context

Definitely take a look at Biography in Context. It's a great way to get background information about a well-known person, but also to get a snapshot of who that person is at a moment in time. This is particularly useful for contemporary figures like movie directors, a certain royal couple, and more.

You can also jump right to the page about Guillermo del Toro, if you want to learn more about him and his work.

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? Use our online form to sign up. Any Des Plaines resident can apply. Start now.