Friday, December 31, 2010

New Beginnings (a.k.a. The End of a Tough Year)

Through all of the rough-going we've endured here at the library in the last six months or so, it's nice to know that in difficult times your Des Plaines Public Library is OPEN FOR BUSINESS.

We are a wonderful respite for you and your children in the middle of a busy day of shopping.

Work together as a family to select a great book to share, plop yourselves down in a comfy chair or beanbag or on the floor and get lost in a story.

Relax with a good book or catch up on your correspondence while your kids are close-by enjoying our collection of materials or educational computer games.

Looking for some new music? Some of the lesser used parts of our CD collection are on display during this time of year. Discover a new favorite.

You can come and browse, check out, or print delicious and healthy recipes to share with family and friends.

Select a few DVDs to take home. Snuggle the whole family on the sofa during the coldest of January nights and share a movie and a bowl of popcorn.

Books, music, movies, computers, programs - it's all free - every day. That is something for which I am VERY thankful.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Think About Someone Else

Now that this year is coming to an end... did your family do enough to help others this year?  If you are thinking 'sort of, but we probably could have done more', start the year off right and participate in the 14th annual Kohl's Step Up for Kids... You and your family can walk up the 80 floors of the Aon Center, one of Chicago's tallest buildings, and make a difference in another family's life. 

By going to their website here, you can sign up to participate and then gather pledges from family and friends to get them to their goal of $600,000.  All proceeds will benefit the Family Services department of the hospital through their K.I.D.S.S. for Kids organization.  This will provide services for children who might not otherwise afford them and provide housing for families needing to stay near their child during their stay.  You can individually participate and be a great example for your kids, or start a team and get your whole family involved!

Remember that there are plenty of volunteer opportunities throughout the community, so if this one doesn't suite you or your family's needs.... find another!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Always Open @ www.dppl.org

The Youth Services Department staff is very much looking forward to spending some time with family and friends this holiday season. Even though our doors may be closed for a day or two, you can access the library's web resources 24 hours a day at http://www.dppl.org/.
The library will be closed on the following days:
Friday, December 24, 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 31, 2010

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy Holidays to all from the Youth Services Department staff of the Des Plaines Public Library.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

There's a Nonfiction DVD collection on the 2nd Floor??!

Our nonfiction DVDs just don't get as much recognition as our Family or Children DVDs. Yes, factual DVDs are a useful tool to help teach information to your child or classroom but are they catchy enough to hold their attention?

Yes! At our library we have many wonderful nonfiction DVDs that you might not know about. Every month I'd like to highlight a different nonfiction DVD series that you should check out. This month's I wanted to draw your attention to a series of awesome science DVDs aimed at older viewers, grades 5-8. This series is The Science of Disney Imagineering. What does Disney know about science you're asking? Let's take a look!

The extremely personable host, Asa, is a Disney Imagineer. What's a Disney Imagineer? Disney Imagineers are the people who come up with and create Disney experiences like cruise ships, resorts, and especially theme parks and rides. Asa explains concepts like magnetism, electricity, energy, and gravity and demonstrates how it is applied in Disney attractions.

While the DVDs may seem to an adult like advertising for Disney parks, to the kids watching it's a fun show, but one that's teaching at the same time it is entertaining. In watching the DVD on Magnetism I learned that magnets can be permanent magnets, which means that they are always "on"-always repulsing and attracting. Then there are magnets that are electromagnetic. These magnets are only magnetic when electricity is running through it. Asa showed examples of each of these magnets-name tags for permanent magnets and a crowd control gate for electromagnetic. Then he showed an example of the two working together. One particular Disney coaster uses both kinds of magnets to push the roller coast car up to 60 MPH in 2.8 seconds. Amazing!

Next time you're looking for interesting DVDs that are educational, check out the Science of Disney Imagineering series. Who says science is boring?!

Click here to see the catalog records for Science of Disney Imagineering.



Animal Adaptions: Communication


Design and Models


Newton's 3 Laws of Motion



Levers and Pulleys


Friday, December 17, 2010

Make Your Holiday Magic

After you have hung the lights and trimmed the tree at home, why not light up your winter holidays with a trip to the zoo?

Brookfield Zoo is celebrating its 29th annual Holiday Magic Festival of Lights nightly December 26-31 and January 1 from 4:00-9:00 pm

Costumed characters meet you at the gates, dancers, choirs, and musicians entertain you in the Holly Jolly Theater, and you can watch ice carvers work their special magic. As you walk the mall past hundreds of decorated trees, you will see an amazing animated light display of penguins, giraffes, and even the Abominable Snowman. In addition, you can sing carols to the bison and big cats, see swimming polar bears and grizzlies, check out model trains, take a train ride, or enjoy a Dolphin show !

Most animal buildings, including the new Great Bear Wilderness, will be open each evening, as will the Children's Zoo where you can have your picture taken with a real reindeer, and the Hamill Family Play Zoo where you can make a holiday craft. Of course there are also gift shops for last minute purchases, and yummy holiday treats like cookies, hot chocolate, cider and more at the zoo's many restaurants and food stands.

For more information and a daily schedule of events call (708) 688-8000 or go online to Brookfield Zoo's website

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

Most adults (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) view snow as a horrible affliction of the winter season. It hinders traffic, it has to be shoveled off driveways, it's cold, it's wet--well it's something we deal with from December to March.

But kids see snow as magical! Snow represents a clean slate, where they can go out and have adventures, build snow forts and snow families, and hope that it snows enough to close down school.

The next time it snows, stop and appreciate what a marvel it is! I just finished reading this amazing book called The Secret Life of a Snowflake by Kenneth Libbrecht. Dr. Libbrecht is a physics professor at Caltech, and he also takes amazing photographs of individual snowflakes!

What exactly are snowflakes? Dr. Libbrecht explains that snowflakes are crystals of ice. They're not raindrops that have been frozen, but are born from cloud droplets that have turned to ice. It takes about 100,000 droplets to make a snowflake that's heavy enough to fall to the ground. [To explain the difference between a raindrop and a cloud droplet, Dr. Libbrecht explains that a droplet is about 100 times smaller than a raindrop and a million times lighter.

You can also explain to your child that all snowflakes have 6 sides. Why six? Because that's the way water molecules line up to make an ice crystal-they form hexagons. So while every snowflake starts out with six sides, the way the final shape of the snowflake looks depends on the temperature and humidity of the air as the snowflake floats through the sky.

Amazing! Be sure to pick up The Secret Life of a Snowflake so that you can learn more about how snowflakes are born. We have lots of other books about snow and winter too. Feel like being crafty at home or learning more about snowflakes online?

Make a 3D snowflake! These are super pretty-we have some hanging in our office.
Play in the Snowflake Factory where you can make digital snowflakes then make them melt or explode.
Visit Dr. Libbrecht's website to see more excellent snowflake pictures.
Visit SnowDays to create virtual snowflakes that will fall from the sky.

Look for these books the next time you come to the library!
Snow and Blizzards by Robyn Hardyman
The Secret Life of the Snowflake by Kenneth Libbrecht
Snow Amazing: Cool Facts and Warm Tales by Drake and Ann Love
Flakes and Flurries by Josepha Sherman
It's Snowy Today by Kristin Sterling

Friday, December 10, 2010

What Do You Do at Work, Anyway, Mom?

As I was leaving for work today, my son asked me what I do at work. Truthfully, I was a little insulted because he seemed skeptical that I had a challenging job. (He is a teenager.) I immediately began listing the 14 duties in my job description. He was not impressed. Then I reminded him that I also write for the Kidding Around blog (other duties as assigned), and that if he wasn't careful, he would become the subject of a very fascinating (and potentially embarrassing) post. That got his attention.

From his perspective, when I go to work I'm gone for a few hours at a time, but he doesn't know what I do while I'm gone. You know the saying, out of sight out of mind. He didn't want to take me up on my kind offer to come to the library to watch his mother in action, so I'm bringing the library to him.

I checked out Here Lies the Librarian, a book by Richard Peck, one of my favorite writers. It is a hilarious historical fiction story about the changes in a small town when four enthusiastic young librarians arrive to reopen the library after a tornado.

Since my son doesn't really appreciate my professional expertise, I fully expect that he won't be willing to read this wonderful book himself. Don't worry. I have a plan. I am also checking out the audiobook version, which I intend to play when he is trapped in the car with me.

My son doesn't realize what a great job being a librarian is. One of my favorites of the 14 aforementioned duties in my job description is to answer reference and readers' advisory questions. If your child is interested in learning more about your job, or you have any other questions for me, be sure to ask. I would love to help.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

25 Days of Christmas

No matter what holiday you celebrate in December, you cannot ignore the overwhelming presence and cheer of the people celebrating Christmas.  This is never more present than the days leading up to the holiday itself.

Growing up, my sister and I spent many a night in December watching our favorite holiday films.  They were easy enough to find.  We would go through the TV Guide, mark the days on the calendar when our favorite movies were playing and mark it down in the square: Dec 17, 7pm Santa Clause is Comin' to Town.  Now, ABC Family has made it even easier with their '25 Days of Christmas'.  This has been running for several years now, but if your family is not familiar with it, you can visit www.abcfamily.com/25days  to look at the line-up and see what it is all about.

In case your family doesn't have cable, or you miss your favorite movie, we have plenty of copies of your favorites here at the library.  Stop by and check out a few for your family, and while you are in, take out a book on your favorite December holiday as well.  Grab a bowl of popcorn and all the blankets you can find... I guarantee your family will have a great time!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Wrap It Up Green! 
How many gifts are you planning to wrap this holiday season?

According to recycleworks.org, "In the U.S., annual trash from gift-wrap and shopping bags totals four million tons." Not a very nice present for Mother Nature. I hope knowing this information will make you consider some eco-friendly alternatives to wrapping paper.

Need some ideas?

 **Reuse brown paper bags, tote bags, newspapers, comic books, phone books, magazines, butcher paper or tissue paper. 

**Use fabric gift bags. Sew a gift bag out of colorful pillowcase, sheet or old clothes.

**Instead of a bow, use a natural finishing touch and pick up some evergreen or leaves from your yard. 

Don't have the time to be this creative? 100-percent-recycled gift-wrap is also available at a number of online retailers or stores.