Friday, December 30, 2011

That's a WRAP!

2011 was a year of great gifts for the Des Plaines Public Library Youth Services Department. We were able to do some moving, some rearranging, some purchasing of new furniture; all to help make your visits to the Youth Services Department more accessible and enjoyable. Many of our collections have been consolidated, expanded, or moved to new locations to better serve you and we have some exciting new things we hope you will enjoy.

Some of these new developments you can see for yourself. The first thing you may notice when you next visit the 2nd floor is the new wall of magazines on display. Where this wall used to hold only the most current issue of your favorite kids magazines, now all the issues are right there, ready to go home with you. Each magazine has its own container so they are easy to locate. Magazines are great for trips to the grocery store, rides in the car, or any time.

Make sure you check out the new and improved Holiday collection. What does it mean if there is no shadow on Groundhog Day? Want to make a great Hanukkah potato latke? Need a good story to share with your child's class at the Chinese New Year? It's so easy to find the answers with newly arranged shelves that are clearly labeled and books identified with holiday stickers.

We got some new chairs! They are bright, sturdy, attractive, and mobile. Both adults and children who have had an opportunity to sit in them comment on how nice and comfortable they are.
When asked if they liked the new chairs, this group of boys answered, "Yeah."

Another addition is our beautiful new LEGO table

outfitted with duplo blocks, perfect for little hands and big imaginations. Imaginative play is an essential part of building early literacy skills. Come play at the table with your young children and create buildings or animals or anything you wish. This memorial table was made possible in part by a generous gift from the family of former library staff and Youth Services team member Judy Reiss, who passed away in 2010.

There is a new section just for Graphic Novels, new shelving for movies and music in the Foreign Language collection, the audio books on CD have moved and expanded, and there's so much more!

We give many thanks to the pages of the Circulation Department who planned and plotted and dusted and measured and moved so many items. We also give many thanks to the Technical Services Department staff who re-moved, re-cataloged, and re-stickered so much of our collection. And I want to thank the staff of the Youth Services Department who worked hard, organized projects, communicated with other departments, waited (mostly) patiently, and celebrated the gifts we were given this year.

Please come and visit us at the library soon to see the many additions and changes that have come to the department in 2011. Have a happy New Year, and we will look forward to seeing you and dreaming up more new projects for the library in 2012.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The True Spirit of the Season

Last week, as I was casually glancing through the headlines showing on CNN, I noticed the name Irving Berlin.  Now, a quick history of my family will allow you to understand my infatuation with Irving Berlin, the composer of the songs from the movie/musical White Christmas.  My family celebrates Christmas, and the beginning of our Christmas season begins Thanksgiving night... with the viewing of and singing along with White Christmas.  Boys, girls, old, young... it doesn't matter.  The 36 of us - aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents - sit and watch it together every year.  

This year is the first Christmas I will spend with my new husband, and we watched it last weekend (for the second time in just these few weeks).  My husband declared, "You don't have to celebrate Christmas to love this movie,"  and as someone who is celebrating his first Christmas this year (he's Jewish), he is right.  The next day I got texts from two cousins informing me that the movie was on AMC and the quoting texts ensued... "Mutual I'm sure" followed by a "Let's just say we're doing it for a pal in the Army". 

So, when I saw the article come up, I just had to read it... and was surprised to find that the first line of the article is: Who walks away from $10 million?  The answer - Irving Berlin.

Irving Berlin was a Jewish Immigrant who came to the United States from Russia when he was 5 years old.  Although many of the songs he is famous for are showcased in White Christmas (yes, you heard that right... a Jewish man wrote the song White Christmas), his most famous song is perhaps one you don't associate with him directly.  That song is God Bless America.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Diwali... the spirit of this time of year is giving, and Irving Berlin gave a whopper.  In 1938, he was asked to write a song for a CBS radio program, and he delivered with a song that provided an outlet for his love of America, and brought a nation on the brink of war to a patriotic high.  

Now, where does the $10 million come in?  As it turns out, when Berlin wrote the song, he wanted to make sure that because he wrote it for America, that America got the reward.  He set up a fund so that every penny earned from the song would be given to make America's future bright.  Every cent went to needy troops of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America.  This would explain why God Bless America is on the list of Boy and Girl Scout songs.  Now, 73 years later, we are still reaping the benefits of this beautiful song... and hearing the message loud and clear.  This is the true meaning of the season.

You can read the initial article here, and for more information on Irving Berlin and the history behind God Bless America, click here.  We can learn a lot from Irving Berlin, the first lesson being that no matter what you celebrate, we can all celebrate this wonderful country we are blessed to call home.

Friday, December 16, 2011

2011 Graphic Novel Wrap Up

Here at the library we love graphic novels! In fact, we recently started a new section just for juvenile graphic novels. This way kids can easily find these popular materials. 2011 has been a strong year for graphic novels. As an avid reader of the genre there are many I would recommend. Here are my top choices for the year. Drumroll please!

J Graphic Novels

From the creators of Babymouse comes a funny new character. Squish was introduced in Babymouse: Mad Scientist when Babymouse discovered a new kind of amoeba. Squish is just your regular amoeba. He reads graphic novels starring his favorite super hero Super Amoeba. He's late to school. His best friend mooches his lunch money every day. And Squish has a problem with the school bully. If he doesn't let the bully cheat off his test the bully will hurt one of Squish's friends. What's an amoeba to do?

The Lunch Lady graphic novels is hands down one of my favorite series. This is an imaginative take on what if the school's lunch ladies were crime busters and their inventive food related items actually helped them with their crime fighting abilities. Only the Breakfast Bunch gang knows their secret. In the latest addition to the series Lunch Lady fills in as a chaperone for the field trip to the art museum. However she's so excited to see how the fantastic works of art that she's oblivious to the fact that something is suspicious about the museum. Can the Breakfast Bunch figure out what's going on and wake Lunch Lady up to the misdoings at the museum?

Sidekicks is my pick for older J Graphic Novel readers. Captain Amazing decides that since he's getting older it's time for a sidekick. His dog, hamster, and chameleon decide that want the job. While out working on their training that run into Captain Amazing's old sidekick, Static Cat. Static Cat agrees to help train them. Which sidekick will Captain Amazing choose? Will he defeat the villain Dr. Havoc? Older readers will enjoy this superhero comic with plenty of heart and adventures.

YA Graphic Novels

Once this graphic novel starts the action never stops. It's a clever retelling of The Odyssey. Zozimos is the King of Sticathia and he's trying to make his way back to his kingdom. The figures are all cleverly done in stick figure style and there's lots of sly humor mixed with potty jokes ("By Zeus' butt!") which is perfect for middle school boys (and girls).

Astronaut Academy by Dave Roman (ages 10-14)
Author Dave Roman takes the drama and fun of middle school and sets it in a futuristic space academy that includes a panda as an instructor. Hakata Soy is new transfer to the school. Starting a new school is challenging and it's about to get even worse for Hakata when his enemy creates a duplicate robot version of Hakata and sends it to the school to destroy him. Ah, the joys of middle school.

Next time you're at the library stop by to check out one of these titles for your child or feel free to ask a librarian for more great suggestions. If your child loves graphic novels please tell them to come to the desk and tell us about their favorites! We always love to hear what they enjoy reading.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Celebrate the Winter Holidays with a Museum Pass

Looking for ideas for day trips with your family during the December holidays that don't require heading to downtown Chicago? Why not check out a Museum Adventure Pass with your Des Plaines Library card, bundle up the kids, and head to one of the major suburban outdoor parks for a holiday stroll? Each park is hosting amazing light shows and special day/evening events all through the month! Discounted admission with the Museum Pass is a real money-saver, and since each pass is good for one week, you can be flexible about what day you choose to visit and then come back and check out a pass for another wonderful place the following week. 

What are the parks' special winter events ?

Brookfield Zoo evenings bring Holiday Magic, a wonderland of laser lights, wild animals, carolers, live music, costumed characters, a talking tree, holiday foods and gifts, plus photos with Santa or a real reindeer. Santa breakfasts or brunches weekends.

Cantigny Park (Winfield) is lit by community Christmas trees, and hosts a free LEGO Train Show this weekend, December 10-11. Of course, kids can always climb on the tanks, and parents would enjoy the McCormick house holiday decorations.

Chicago Botanic Garden (Glencoe) showcases the Wonderland Express, a miniature train moving over bridges and waterfalls past 80 Chicago landmarks, plus drop-in activities on Saturdays and Sundays, such as a visit with Mrs. Claus for hot chocolate and cookies.

Cuneo Museum and Gardens (Vernon Hills) features a drive-your-car-through-the-estate holiday light show, an Open House with Santa on December 16th, and a play, The Velveteen Rabbit.
We hope your family will enjoy one of these participating parks' festivities. Please check the link to each park's website for detailed information on program dates, times and fees.

Happy Holidays from the Des Plaines Public Library's Museum Adventure Pass Program!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mrs. Liz's Top Picture Books of 2011 That You Needed to Read Yesterday!

Sometimes, it's the simple "out of the box" idea that captures my interest and heart. This year, I've read several books that did just that and took me on an adventure.

These titles draw the reader into the story and encourage imagination and some even have the reader interact with the book to animate the story. I'll put these gems on any gift list for young children. Let's start with my top pick!

Press Here by Tullet Herve
Who thought a simple yellow dot on the cover could take you on a interactive journey in a printed book? Children will delight in tilting the page, turning it upside down and even blowing on the page all for the magical journey of that simple dot.

Perfect Square by Michael Hall

Something perfect just doesn't last or does it? A perfect square is snipped, torn, crumpled and manipulated in various ways that lead the geometric shape into an adventure of transformation. The way this happy square embraces changes and continues to be happy is inspiring.

We Are in a Book! by Mo Williams
Elephant (named Gerald) and Piggy are best friends and have that special something that instantly bonds the reader as their best friends too! In the latest edition of their adventures, they realize that someone is watching them and not just anyone but a READER! Their adventure with this new realization of their world is full of laughter and cleverness as they have the reader enjoy reading!

I couldn't stop at three. Here's one more for those children who love scavenger hunts and puzzles:

Look! A Book! by Bob Staake
Rhyming text excitedly invites readers to seek and find objects. But there are deeper levels in this book, such as cut out circles highlighting interesting details in elaborate illustrations. And when you are finished with your first read through adventure, start again with the pull out pages which continues the fun.

How about you? Please share any books that move you!

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Little Holiday Cheer

Looking for a little holiday cheer?  The Des Plaines Park District and the City of Des Plaines are providing... in a big way.

The weekend of December 2, 3, and 4, the downtown area of Des Plaines will be brightened with the annual lighting of the holiday tree.  Beginning at 4pm on Friday, December 2nd, students from area schools will decorate trees.  From 4 - 6pm join in on the festivities including the arrival of Santa.  Immediately following the lighting, the Des Plaines Theater will be showing a family friendly holiday flick.  For more information on this event, check here.

If your family hasn't gotten enough holiday cheer, join the Des Plaines Park District is having their annual Winter Wonderland celebration on Saturday and Sunday, December 3rd and 4th.   In addition to taking a picture with Ronald McDonald, munching on roasted nuts, and watching Irish step dancers perform, you will catch a member of the Des Plaines Public Library staff reading books every 20 minutes throughout the day.  For more information on this event, check here.

If you have time in your busy weekend schedule, we also have programs running in the library.  On Sunday at 2pm, stop in to catch Sideswipe, an America's Got Talent finalist and exciting performance group.  They will keep your blood pumping as they use Martial Arts moves correographed to contemporary music to amaze you.

Friday, November 18, 2011

On Being Thankful...

We are living in hard times.

Recognizing that I state the obvious here, think about the things you may be thankful for during these hard times. Maybe it's your loving family, maybe it's that you've managed to keep your job when many around you are losing theirs. Maybe it's just that day after day you wake up and are part of the world.

I am especially thankful that I am an employee of the Des Plaines Public Library. This beautiful library with its friendly and welcoming staff have made my first year here delightful. The books, movies, music, games, and all else are offered in abundant variety and in a timely manner. There are plenty of places to be and things to do...there is something here for everyone.

During the holiday season, the library is an excellent place to take a break from the chaos, relax with a book, sit for a minute and regroup. As the madness of the holiday season escalates in the next few weeks, think of the library as your peaceful oasis. It's a place you can be thankful for a soft chair and a few moments of peace.

The Des Plaines Public Library will be closed on Thursday, November 24, 2011 in celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday, and will also be closed on Friday, November 25, 2011 as the entire staff of the Des Plaines Public Library takes a furlough day arranged to help the library meet its budget constraints during hard times. We hope you enjoy the time you spend with your family over the holiday and we look forward to seeing you back at the library starting Saturday, November 26, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. We'll save you a comfy chair.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Get Ready, Get Set--National Gaming Day is Nearly Here!

The library will be THE place to be tomorrow, Saturday November 12. Why? It's National Gaming Day! Last year was the first year the library participated in National Gaming Day and this year is bigger and better. We'll have lots of gaming action for every age. Love Bingo? We'll have that! Your child interested in the Xbox Kinect? We've got that too! We'll also have Wii gaming, our popular Pokemon League, as well as lots of board games.

This will be the 4th annual National Gaming Day, which was developed by the American Library Association to bring communities together through their libraries via the social, educational, and fun medium of all different kinds of games. Over 1,800 libraries will be participating. Gaming is a great way for kids to challenge themselves, have fun with their family, and meet new friends! Please check out more information about National Gaming Day here.The library is excited to once again be participating in this annual event. We're also grateful for the financial support of our Friends of the Library who are funding this event.

The program will run from 10-3. Here is the breakdown of the schedule:
Bingo from 10-11:30 and 1:30-3 in Room A on 1st floor
Pokemon League from 10-12 in Program Room on 2nd floor
Wii from 10-1 (Wii Bowling) and 1:45-3 (Sports Resort) in Room B/C on 1st floor
Xbox Kinect from 10-12 (Kinect Joy Ride) and 12:45-3 (Kinect Adventures) in Room B/C on 1st floor
Board Games 10-3 on 2nd floor (check out at 2nd floor information desk)

Hope to see you there!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thank a Veteran

Friday, November 11th is Veteran's Day.  This year, as in last year, we are hosting a letter writing campaign.  Stop in anytime on Friday to write a letter to a soldier and have your child decorate and write a message to a soldier as well.  All year, the library has a collection bin on the first floor for items to be sent to soldiers.  Feel free to bring these items in when you come to write your letter.  Every little bit helps.

You can also come in to meet a veteran, get his or her autograph after you create your autograph book, and try on old military uniforms.

To give everyone in the United States a gift this year, the National Park Service has declared Veterans Day to be a 'free day' of admission.  I know what you are thinking.... there isn't a National Park in Illinois, so.... Why am I telling you about it?  Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore just over the border from Illinois into Indiana is included in the 393 Parks offered for free admission.  Head there for a great adventure on your kids' day off.  Bring a picnic lunch and have a great time.

Don't have time to go or have other plans for this Veteran's Day?  The National Park Service also offers other 'free days' of admission.  Look here for more information, and get planning your summer vacation in the National Parks.  While you are there, you can learn about the important role Veterans have had in creating the National Parks.  Remember to thank a veteran.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Looking for information on what is going on this Halloween?  Look here for information from the City of Des Plaines, their rules and regulations for trick-or-treating, and safety tips.  Don't forget to head to downtown Des Plaines this Saturday to check out the annual Halloween Hooplah celebration.  Not only will there be festivities and trick-or-treating with the businesses, the Des Plaines Park District is hosting a craft on the 2nd floor of the library from 1-3pm, and the library will finish off the entire celebration with Wild and Wacky Magic by Randy at 3pm in our first floor meeting rooms.

Don't miss out on all of the fun!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Meet Author Kevin Henkes

Autumn is upon us and so is a season of reading. Summer offers outdoor activities, travels, and many more fun sports. Now, days are getting shorter and the weather gets cooler, so you tend to stay inside longer. It is a perfect time to restart good reading habit. Kevin Henkes is one of the most popular children's authors and illustrators. His books are known for their emotions that resonate with readers of all ages, as well as for their expressive and lively illustrations. Many of Kevin Henkes' characters are mice. They have loving, supportive, understanding parents, teachers, and other adults. They face common childhood problems, and emotions ----being bullied, feeling not secure, giving up blankets, getting lost---- Kevin Henkes was a junior in high school when he decided to write and illustrate children's books. He said "I remember drawing at a very early age. I loved it. And my parents and teachers told me I was good at it --that made me love it all the more." His first book was published when he was nineteen years old. He has won numerous awards, including the Caldecott Medal and the Newbery Honor.

In his first book, Little White Rabbit is always wondering about everything: what would it be like to be tall, or green, or to flutter through the air.  Kitten's First Full Moon won the Caldecott Medal, Olive's Ocean won the Newbery Honor.

Some of other titles are:
Lily's Big Day, Wemberly Worried, Julius the Baby of the World, Chester's Way, and Lily's Purple Plastic Purse.

Friday, October 14, 2011


As a person who moved just last month, I know that moving is a hard process both physically and mentally. Moves just down the street or to a nearby town are equally as difficult and tiring as moves across the country. I’ve done both in the last two years and it was and still is hectic trying to adjust to new surroundings and new routines. What makes a move many times more difficult is moving with children. Children need routines and familiar surroundings much more than adults do. Having a cozy surrounding with familiar toys and the same routine throughout the move is a great at helping children adapt to their new surroundings. You can also help your child adapt more quickly by reading books or watching DVDs about moving and new places before, during, and after the move:
Picture Books:
Even though Lauren is excited about her family's new house and having her own bedroom for the first time, she is anxious about the move and worried about changes. Includes ten hints for parents to help children move to a new home.

The Bear family decides it is time to move to a larger house.

A cat named Big Ernie wakes up one day to find his boy, Little Henry, packing boxes and preparing them for a move from the big city to Sante Fe, Arizona. Big Ernie is confused, misses familiar smells and weather, and feels sad. With gentle assurances and understanding from Little Henry and by engaging in familiar routines, Big Ernie learns to deal with being worried, mad, and a little sad about being uprooted and moved. He begins to feel at home in his new house, and soon he is ready for any new adventure.
Chapter Books:
When his father rejoins the Navy and moves the family to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, ten-year-old Jack becomes confused by a crush on his teacher, contradictory advice from his parents, and a very strange neighbor.

Piper is sad about leaving her home and friends behind when her father, a Navy aircraft mechanic, is transferred yet again, but with help from her often-annoying sisters and a surprise from their parents, she finds happiness in their new home in Pensacola, Florida.

Nine-year-old Allie Finkle has rules for everything and is even writing her own rule book, but her world is turned upside-down when she learns that her family is moving across town, which will mean a new house, school, best friend, and plenty of new rules.

For Parents:

Thirteen million children in the U.S. each year leave behind familiar people and places to move to new homes across town and across the country. Moving can be hard for parents too, as they not must not only prepare themselves but also help their children cope with the changes. In Moving with Kids, social worker and mother of three Lori Collins Burgan offers 25 practical, action-oriented tips for parents before, during, and after a move.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

2 Weeks Till Halloween!

Halloween is only two weeks away! It's exciting to think that soon kids will be getting dressed up in their costumes, going trick or treat around the neighborhood, and telling each other spooky stories.

What if your child doesn't have a costume yet? Never fear, the library is here to rescue you! We have lots of good books to get your creative juices going and help you create an amazing costume for your child.

Ecocrafts: Creative Costumes had lots of great ideas and uses materials that most likely you have around the house. For instance you can make a mermaid costume out of plastic bags! Other cool creative ideas include a knight, dragon, and pirate.

Disney's Face-Painting and Costume Book has many different costume ideas. What I loved about a lot of these costumes was that they incorporated sweatshirts and sweatpants or a long t-shirt as the base of the costume. There are many cute ideas like Tiger, Cinderella, and Captain Hook. The book also gives detailed information about how to do the face painting for each costume as well as a close up picture of the face so you can clearly see what the final image is supposed to look like.

If your child thinks they just want their face painted for Halloween we have several videos for you to check out! The series Create Faces has several titles: Animal Faces, Halloween Horror, and Halloween Classics. Some face painting examples are vampire, mummy, zombie, alien, superhero, cat, monkey, and dog.

I've got some ideas for my Halloween costume! Come in to the library today and look for these books and movies, as well as others that we have on this topic.

Ecocrafts: Creative Costumes
Disney's Face-Painting and Costume Book
Create Faces: Animal Faces
Create Faces: Halloween Classics
Create Faces: Halloween Horror

Friday, October 7, 2011

Teaching Children about Holidays

The holiday season is upon us...Whether you celebrate or not it's impossible to avoid songs, decorations, and "season's greeting" that appear around this time of year.  Learning the stories and customs behind various holidays is an excellent activity for you and your children.  For holidays you do celebrate, this will strengthen your children's connection to their cultural or religious heritage.  For those you don't celebrate, it will help both you and your children to gain a better appreciation for the world we live in.

In addition to learning about diverse holidays, it's important for families to create their own rituals (whether they are religious in nature or not). If you would like to learn more about holidays and rituals we recommend checking out books in our diverse Holiday collection. Each book there has a sticker to correspond with the holiday.
Happy holidays to all of you!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fall Drop-In Storytimes

Many of us eagerly wait for the fall lineup of our favorite television programs. Why not check out our exciting new fall storytime listings instead? All sessions will be presented the first three weeks of October and November, and will not be held the fourth week of each month.

In addition to the Tuesday and Thursday morning programs at 10:30 am for 2 year olds with parent or caregiver, and the Wednesday afternoon 2:00 and Thursday morning 9:30 for 3-5 year olds, we are now offering three evening family storytimes, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights at 7 pm.

Monday night highlights our new Spanish-English language program, Tuesday night (formerly Monday) continues our themed storytimes, and Wednesday evening explores Polish-English language stories. Please pick up a flyer on the second floor of the library for a more complete listing of all these wonderful opportunities. No registration is necessary, just join us in the Storytime Room for the fun!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Banned Books Week

the Freedom
to Read

Excerpted from the American Library Association's web site:

Since its inception in 1982, Banned Books Week has reminded us that while not every book is intended for every reader, each of us has the right to decide for ourselves what to read, listen to, or view.

American libraries are the cornerstones of our democracy. Libraries are for everyone, everywhere. Because libraries provide free access to a world of information, they bring opportunity to all people. Now, more than ever, celebrate the freedom to read @ your library! Elect to read an old favorite or a new banned book this week.

For more information, and ways to participate in this year's Virtual Read-Out, click here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Video Game Did What?

Just last week I read an interesting article about a video game, but not just any ordinary video game.  By playing this game, players were able to build an accurate model of an enzyme.  Not just any enzyme--an enzyme the structure of which has puzzled scientists for 10 years! This enzyme, monomeric protease, is important because it is part of the family of diseases which includes HIV, and in order to understand the cause of diseases and create drugs to stop them, scientists need to understand the structure of the parts.

There are a couple of wonderful quotes in this article that I'd like to share with you. Firas Khatib, of the University of Washington's biochemistry lab said "the ingenuity of game players is a formidable force that, if properly directed, can be used to solve a wide range of scientific problems."

The last two are from one of the creators of this game, Seth Cooper. In regards to why gamers were able to solve the problem that computers could not, he said "people have spatial reasoning skills, something computers are not yet good at." He also said "games provide a framework for bringing together the strengths of computers and humans. The results in this week's paper show that gaming, science and computation can be combined to make advances that were not possible before."

The players solved the 'protein puzzle' in only 3 weeks. Ingenuity and spatial reasoning. It's amazing what video games can help with. While they are not the be-all and end-all of your child's education, maybe the next time your child wants to spend a little extra time with that video game you'll remember this story. Perhaps your child will grow up to solve and work towards curing diseases!

Want to find out what video games the library carries? Please click on the links below. We carry games for XBOX 360, Wii, and Playstation 3.

If you would like to read the article that I did, here it is.

Here is the link to the game.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Blinded by science? No way!
The Des Plaines Public Library's 3rd annual Family Science Expo is this Saturday, September 24. The event is open house, so come any time between noon and 4 p.m. to see exhibits, demonstrations, robotics, science experiments in action, and to try your own hand at construction challenges and generating electricity. This event is geared toward children in grades 2-8, but will be fun for the entire family.

A dozen different science organizations and engineering associations will be on hand to talk to you and your kids about what they do and how they do it. Our guest exhibitors include structural, civil, and chemical engineers; young, budding scientists from Des Plaines; the Civil Air Patrol, and others.

New this year, bring your old, unwanted bicycles to the library during this event for donation to Working Bikes Cooperative, a non-profit organization that recycles old bikes and delivers them to developing countries to be used as tools of empowerment.

Also new this year, ChiBots, the Chicago Area Robotics Group, will be demonstrating some of their latest robot creations.

Last year over 400 kids and parents visited the Expo. Don't miss out on this fabulously fun, free, and educational activity.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


All the school age children's parents are invited to join this workshop and lecture. Mrs. Kathy Wentz will be our guest speaker on the subject of current-age issues that most families deal with. Learn how we are going to lead and teach our children to utilize extremely fast moving information technology. She is an experienced Homeschooling parent, teacher, lecturer, and a
public speaker. She is well known and well respected among area Homeschooling circle. She will cover a wide variety of learning styles: movies, classic literatures, computer resources, field trips, and many more resources to create a custom curriculum. Even if you are not Homeschooling parents, you may be able learn some ideas to mix various learning methods to fit your child's needs. Nowadays, children's education is more challenging than any other time. A deluge of information resources become huge challenge to us beyond our excitement.
Please bring your questions to the program. The seminar is on Monday, October 10, at
7 p.m. at the Des Plaines Public Library, Meeting Room C.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Reading on a Screen

Next time you're on the Internet with your family, visit our website and give our electronic books a try. On the go? As long as you can connect to the Internet and are a Des Plaines Library card holder, you can read books on a smart phone, tablet, e-book reader or computer screen anytime! I'll bet you'll love what you see and read! Here is a selection to start you off.

An online library of animated taking storybooks, including French, Chinese, Spanish and Russian and bilingual titles. Includes word by world highlighting feature as the story is read. There are also games, puzzles and other activities to continue the reading experience.

Offers fictional video storybooks from Weston Woods with nonfiction e-books from Scholastic. Includes word by world highlighting feature as the story is read. Also includes Spanish titles. Educations games and websites are also available.

Offers down-loadable audio books and e-books available 24 hours/ 7 days a week. Download the free app for your device. Download and enjoy on many audio and e-book devices including your computer, iPod, iPad, Sony Reader, Droid, Blackberry, Barnes & Noble Nook readers, and more.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Child ID Theft

With all the things parents have to worry about when it comes to protecting our children, it just doesn't seem right that we should have to worry about someone stealing our child's identity. Unfortunately, we do need to be on the look out for this possible problem.

A recent study on child identity theft by Carnegie Mellon University Cylab found a child only five months old that was a victim of identity theft. What a horrible surprise years later for that child to have problems getting a student loan or job because of a credit rating ruined by a stranger!

What can you do to try to protect your children from this problem? One free resource is AnnualCreditReport.com, the official site to help consumers to obtain their free credit report. Don't be fooled by websites with similar names that sound free, but actually charge a fee.

A new website IDTheftinfo.org also has helpful information and links. It was created by the Consumer Federation of America to help you learn how to reduce the chances of becoming a victim, detect identity theft quickly if it does happen, and deal with the consequences.

Click here for a link to resources at the Des Plaines Public Library.

Friday, September 9, 2011

New LEGO books at DPPL!

Do your kids love playing with LEGOs? That probably sounds like a silly question! Children all over the world have been fueling their imaginations with the brilliant colors of LEGO bricks for more than 70 years! Even in today’s digitally packed world, kids are just as excited about LEGOs as ever, and the youth collection is happy to supply all the coolest new books the world of LEGO has to offer.

Lego Harry Potter, Building the Magical World: This title gives your kids an up close look at all the unique LEGO pieces that were created in order to reconstruct J.K. Rowling’s magical world.

Lego Star Wars, the Visual Dictionary : Without a doubt the most requested title in our LEGO collection, this book covers the entire LEGO Star Wars galaxy with hundreds of full color photos.

The LEGO Book: From its humble beginnings in a small Denmark workshop, this title explores the history of LEGOs and their meteoric rise to an international brand today. With fascinating tidbits and full color photos, this book is so appealing that it is included in both the children’s and adult collections here at DPPL.

Be sure to check out some of these exciting new titles during your next visit!

Do you like convenience and great service at your library? Check out the all new MyCatalog search tool on our website. Log in and start searching for your favorite Books, Movies, and Music. With just one click, your selections can be placed on hold, after that, our staff will take care of the rest. The next time those items are available, we will put them in our lobby pickup area and hold them up to 3 days. We'll even give you a courtesy phone call (or email if you'd prefer) to let you know as soon as they are ready.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Get Your Teen Involved @ DPPL!

Is your teenage child (grades 6th-12th) looking to do some volunteer hours this year? Talk to them about volunteering at the library! During the school year the library accepts volunteers from grades 6th-12th. All they have to do is fill out an application and commit to doing at least 8 hours of volunteer work. I have a lot of kids ask me, and no, it's not 8 hours in a single day! They can spread out those 8 hours during the school year.

Volunteers do lots of different tasks for us. They might be able to assist during a program like Family Game Night, put together a craft sample, or make necklaces for storytimes. Or it could be refilling displays and dusting the shelves. The tasks they do depend on what we need done for that day. We always appreciate everything that the volunteers do for us. Your child can pick up an application on the 2nd floor.

Another way older students, grades 7th-12th, can make a difference at the library is through our Teen Advisory Board. The Teen Advisory Board (TAB) gets together once a month to talk about what programs teens want to have at the library and make sure the library is purchasing materials teens want to read and listen to. TAB even picked out the colors for the Teen Lounge on the third floor and designed how it should look. Meetings are only 1 hour long AND come with snacks. Have your teen stop by the next meeting so they can get involved. The next TAB meeting is September 29 from 4-5. Bonus: teens also get a community service credit hour for each meeting they come to.

Whether being a volunteer or joining TAB, there are lots of ways for teens to make a difference at the Des Plaines Library. Have them stop by the library to find out more information.

Friday, September 2, 2011

New Parenting Books

Cyber Safe
Protecting and empowering kids in the digital
world of texting, gaming and social media.
J Parent Collection 004.67 OKE

Confessions of a Former Bully
Nine-year-old Katie's punishment for
classmates includes making up for the hurt she
has caused, so she decides to write a book
about bullying, why it is not okay and how
to start being a better friend.

J Parent Collection 371.58 LUD

How to Maximize Your Child's Learning Ability
Offers hundreds of practical ways to influence,
encourage, your preschooler or a high school
teenager to master almost any skill. This
book will show you how.
J Parent Collection 372.133 BRA

Late, Lost and Unprepared
A Parent's guide to helping children with
learning executive functioning skills.
J Parent Collection 649.15 COO

Helping Your Child to Excel at Reading
An essential guide to help parents know more
about how to achieve real reading success.
J Parent Collection 372.4 BAT

Smart but Scattered
Learn easy-to-follow steps to identify your
child's strengths and weaknesses using
activities and techniques proven to boost
specific skills, and problems-solve daily routines.
J Parent Collection 649.1 DAW

Starting Kids Off Right
Parents will learn how to start kids off right with
healthy relationship-building skills, as well as
how to help their children become more
confident in using those skills.
J Parent Collection 649.7 NOW

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

tweet tweet - I am not a bird.

Have you noticed something new?  On the right side of the page, you might notice our 'News from YS' column.  This is directly fed from our newest twitter account.  Anything from a great book we read, to an event in the community, to happenings or general announcements from the library... you will find it all there.  You can look at the last 10 tweets every time you read the blog OR for more up-to-the-minute updates, you can follow us with your own twitter account by clicking on the 'follow me' blue bird.  

Whatever you do, make sure you stay informed!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Good News! Museum Adventure Passes Extended

Very good news for families who loved using the Museum Adventure Pass Program this summer. We have received word that so far 12 participating museums have agreed to extend their discounted admissions to library patrons until October 31st! Please visit us in person at Youth Services desk on the second floor for details about the participating museums and their hours, and to learn which passes are available when. Discounted admissions do vary by museum, but we will be happy to explain these to you as well. Remember, you must use a Des Plaines library card to reserve with us, and only one pass can be checked out per family per week. After a busy week at school, your family deserves a relaxing "field trip" to one of these fine museums!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August is National Inventor's Month

August is a special month for the poeple who involved in the world of inventing: It's National Inventors Month, dedicates a whole month to honor and celebrate their accomplishment. The inventors are the people who have enriched our world with their discoveries from everyday conveniences to modern miracles, and their inventions change the way people live. Inventors are innovative and entrepreneurial. Thousands of inventors have helped to shape the world into what it is today and choosing the best one is no easy task. Computers, microwaves, antibiotics, and vaccinations are routinely listed among the best inventions of all time. While their importance is indiputable, the everyday inventions that make our lives eaiser often get overlooked. As proof that great inventions do not always have to be complicated: The inventions of Kleenex, zipper, wheel, so on so forth. By the time we celebrate National Inventor's Month next year, who knows how many more amazing inventions will make life better for all of us. You could be the one of them in near future.

Some books in our library you may want to read.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Falling for Joey

How many times in your life have you sat down with a book (sometimes thinking you might not like it), and fell in love with its characters?  It happens to me quite a bit - but then again, I have made a life out of reading.... and I get the chance to read tons of really great books.  Did it happen with Charlotte in Charlotte's Web or Laura in Little House in the Big Woods or even Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardobe?

This most recently occurred for me while reading the 1984 novel from Michael Morpurgo, War Horse.  I was forced to read the book because it was nominated for an Illinois state book award and was not looking forward to it, but almost immediately fell in love with the story's main character, a horse named Joey.

Last week, while describing the plot to a coworker in the lunch room, I broke down crying at the absolute beauty of the story.  I tell everyone I meet about how wonderful this book is.  It was while describing this novel to a patron that I was informed that a similar story was coming out as a movie in December.  I immediately ran to my computer to look it up and sure enough - War Horse is being made into a movie, coming to theaters on December 28th.  Not only do the pictures from the promotional materials look absolutely stunning (way more interesting than the cover of the book), but I was pleased to see that Steven Spielberg himself is directing the film.

With the amount of movies being made each year, it is sometimes hard to know when something good is coming out - something with a great moral and a good heart.  This one is not to be missed, but you still have plenty of time before the movie comes out to read the book with your family.... it is an incredible story of courage, love, and understanding in a time of war.  I highly encourage you to check it out and read it together with your family and just like me, fall for Joey.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Happy 100th Birthday

On March 12, 1912, Juliet Gordon Low created the first Girl Scout Troop.  She was born in 1860 in Savannah Georgia to a mother whose own family played a part in creating the city of Chicago.  Being deaf in one ear from birth and deaf in the other from an accident with a grain of 'good luck' rice at her wedding, she searched for a way to make a difference in her community.  In 1911, her friend Sir Robert Baden-Powell, who some of you might know as the founder of the Boy Scouts, encouraged her to take scouting from England to America.  She began her first troop the next year.  Today, there are 3.2 Million members of the Girl Scouts.

As adults, sometimes we look around and think 'there are so many things I'd like to do to change the way my kids are growing up... change the world in which they live' and the Girl Scouts is an easy and fun way to do that.  Does your school have a troop already formed?  If not, you could become the leader.  Contact GSUSA (the Girls Scouts of America) and see what you can do.  Create a better life for your kids and the kids around you.

In the meantime, we have a whole collection of Girl Scout and Boy Scout books in the library.  Take a few out and see what the fuss is all about.  The Boy Scout books just got updated, and the new Girl Scout books are just being released and will be on shelf shortly.  Take a few minutes to look through them... compare them to what they looked like when you were young (they are way different than what I remember).  Get involved in your community - young or old, volunteer and make a difference.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Potty Time!

We did it! My daughter has crossed over from diapers to real underwear adorned with princesses! Phew! I was beginning to think it wouldn't happen.
I've welcomed any advice during the frustrating period of time and thought to share our family's story with any of you who will relate.

Disclaimer: there are many ways to approach this milestone and many factors such as knowing when your child is emotionally or physically ready to the personality of your child. These tips come from my personal experience with one of my children that I hope might be helpful for you.

How our family did it:
  • Both parents getting to that moment of it's all or nothing: After more than 6 months of modeling, occasional weekend training, and carrying potty books wherever we went , I literally said to my daughter, "oh oh, no more diapers left." Then had to explain we couldn't go to the store today to buy more so it's time to keep trying to go potty all day. After that, there is no turning back- so be prepared!
  • An incentive: My daughter needed that gentle push in the right direction into embracing the all or nothing approach. In addition to PLENTY of high-fives and hugs and calling someone almost every time she went potty, we started giving her 1 M&M for recognizing it's time to potty and telling us and another M&M for completing the job. It only took about 4 days of M&Ms! (note: we are so excited still that we continue the high fives and hugs:)
  • Trust: This is hard, especially if you have other children to look after. Did she really go potty- it doesn't look like it, or questioning incessantly that she must need to go now since it's been a couple of hours. I have been there, take a breath and trust your child. If you show her you do, she'll develop good confidence and self-esteem.
  • Patience/body language: If you model patience, your child will have less stress and pressure. At some point your child will want to learn because his or her friends or cousins have graduated from diapers to underwear. Accidents? Well they happen, it's a part of learning. Praise her for her effort in trying to go and remind her were to go potty or teach her about what happened and how she can recognize to use her muscles down there to hold the pee until she makes its to the bathroom. It's a team effort and empathy, patience, positive reaction go a long way.
  • REAL cotton underwear: what can i say- there is nothing like feeling wet to get the message through. We've found that using the disposable training pants did not work for us...she never felt wet and thought it was a diaper. They did come in handy for overnight though.
  • Books (and sometimes video to reinforce): We are a bilingual house so any potty books for girls in the Polish language were golden.
I would say it can be summarized by this formula:
Successful potty training = Preparing ahead of time with reading books/ asking others to help you develop your own approach with each unique child + reading books with your child to introduce potty time and then reinforce your modeling + patience and understanding
+ potty supplies!

Here are some resources to get you started:

Once Upon a Potty by Alona Frankel Editions available for girls and boys and Spanish and Polish languages.

The Potty Book for Girls by Alyssa Satin Capucilli Editions available for girls and boys.

Danny is Done with Diapers: A Potty ABC by Rebecca O'Connell

On Your Potty, Little Rabbit by Kathleen Amant

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

First Day of Kindergarten

The first day of kindergarten is approaching quickly and for many children the first day of school, particularly kindergarten is a cause of anxiety. Here are a few books to read with your soon-to-be kindergartner that may help ease them into the hustle and bustle of school:

A mother reassures her son when he imagines increasingly silly things that might go wrong on his first day of kindergarten.

Although kindergarten provides unique challenges for a young buffalo, one who follows the rules and tries his best will get along fine.

A brother and sister describe the things they love to do during their day at kindergarten.

Annalina's diary entries reflect her feelings and experiences as she goes from being afraid to go to kindergarten to loving it during her first month of school.

A boy visits the classroom where he will attend kindergarten the following fall and finds out what is in store for him.

Dexter knows everything there is to know about kindergarten and is not at all scared about his first day there, but his stuffed dog, Rufus, is very nervous.

Discover more of our favorite first day of school books here.