Thursday, June 30, 2011

4th of July Fun!

If your family is bummed by the fact that the downtown fireworks are no longer going to happen in Chicago AND Des Plaines isn't going to have them either, don't fret.  There are still tons of fun things to do right in the Des Plaines community.  Not only is Arlington Park hosting the July 2nd fireworks so you can enjoy some 'night-before-night-before' excitement (closer to home), but there are other communities hosting fireworks as well including Park Ridge and Mount Prospect.  

Here in Des Plaines, we also have our very own festivities going on.  The 4th of July parade will begin at 10am at Oakton and Center streets and follow the red, white, and blue stars to the history center.  Your family can sit anywhere along the parade route to catch a glimpse of your library staff dressed in their Summer Reading Club best (there is also candy involved!).

Looking for more great stuff to do?  Check out Arlington Heights' Frontier Days, and Park Ridge's Annual Celebration (fireworks on 3rd) or Mount Prospect's Village Fair (fireworks on 4th).

For a list of all local celebrations, look here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Miss the Preschool Fair?

If you missed the Annual Preschool Fair here at the Des Plaines Public Library in January and can't wait until next year's fair, don't fret... we compile our Preschool Resource Guide straight from the information gathered at the fair.  Stop in at the desk and ask to see it - you can copy anything you need.  

If you want a better look at the area preschools, feel free to contact their director.  Many schools and day cares have Open Houses during the summer to show parents what their child's day will be like.  Any school or day care that doesn't have an Open House in the summer will be happy to show you around any time and let you observe a class.

If you would like a list of preschools in the Des Plaines area, you can stop in to the library or take a look at our website here.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Check Out An Award Winning Book!

The Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards were just announced! This years winners range from a book of nursery rhymes, a look at Benedict Arnold, and a gritty story for high school students about teens on the run.

The books receiving the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor books sound just as amazing. If you're looking for books for your child, consider checking out some of these books and see if your child thinks they deserve the award!

Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Winners

Picture Book
Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes by Salley Mavor

Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones

The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism, & Treachery by Steve Sheinkin

Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Books

Picture Book
Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen
Pecan Pie Baby by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Chime by Franny Billingsley
Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke

Into the Unknown: How Great Explorers Find Their Way by Land, Sea, and Air by Steward Ross, illustrated by Stephen Biesty
Can We Save the Tiger? by Martin Jenkins, illustrated by Vicky White

Visit the Horn Book website by clicking here to read more. If you or your child has read one of these books, please comment and let us know what you think!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Getting Closer!

Yesterday started the first day that kids could start coming in for Summer Reading Club prizes! It's been wonderful watching them get so excited about reading.  In case you haven't signed up yet, stop in to register your child or children.  

As your child reads, they can get a medieval scroll filled with all kinds of coupons for: Mexico Restaurant, Auntie Annie's Pretzels, Game Works, Kane County Cougars, and many more (for kids over 3), or a rubber ducky dressed as a knight, princess, dragon, or king (for kids under 3).

Stop in and join in on the fun - and grab our program guide so you can plan out your summer filled with Medieval Fun!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Get Sync'd This Summer!

Just like last year, Audiofile will be offering free downloadable audiobooks each week. They combine a classic title with a modern one that's a fitting companion. Some titles that popular with YAs right now that will be offered are Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater and The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney.

Here are all the titles available this summer and when.

June 23-June 29
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare

June 30-July 6
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
The Trial by Franz Kafka

July 7-July 13
Where the Streets Had a Name by Randa Abdel-Fattah
A Passage to India by E. M. Forster

July 14-July 20
The Last Apprentice: Year of the Witch by Joseph Delaney
Beowulf by Francis B. Gummere

July 21-July 27
Chanda's Secrets by Allan Stratton
Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

July 28-August 3
Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari
Rescue: Stories of Survival From Land and Sea by Dorcas S. Miller (ed.)

August 4-August 10
Immortal by Gillian Shields
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

August 11-August 17
Storm Runners by Roland Smith
The Cay by Theodore Taylor

All you need to do to download the books is click on the link below and enter your name and email address. When your teen is looking for some good books for their summer reading have them check out the Sync titles! It's also perfect for them to listen to in the car during those long family car trips. Post us a comment and let us know which book your teen liked best.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bees and Almonds

Summer is here and the bees are buzzing. I am glad to hear bees, because almonds are my favorite nut. What do bees and almonds have to do with each other? According to Beespotter, one hundred percent of the almond crop is pollinated by bees. That means if there are no bees, there will be no almonds. What would my Hershey's with Almonds be without the almonds? Not nearly as good, that's for sure.

Beespotter is a website created by University of Illinois researchers to encourage citizen-scientists (in other words, you and me) to collect information about the bee population. Taking pictures of bees, instead of using the pin and display board of my childhood, allows preservation of living bee diversity. Here is an example of a bee spotted on June 3, 2011 in Chicago.

The Great Sunflower Project is also gathering information for a bee census. This site includes a list of flowers, including sunflowers, zinnias and other easy to grow flowers that you can plant to attract bees to add the project's map of bee sightings.

The Feral Bee Project
is collecting information as well. The project hopes to encourage beekeepers and citizens to enter the locations of wild honey bee hives. The site includes information on beelining, which is a way to find wild bee colonies.

The Hive Detectives by Loree Griffin Burns is an awarding winning book with lots of fascinating photos. The author writes about a real-life mystery, Colony Collapse Disorder, which threatens the honey bee population.

So the next time you hear an ominous buzz, run for your camera to help advance this scientific project. Let us know what you learn.

Friday, June 10, 2011

College is a Waste of Time pt. 2

So, with all of my questions surrounding the last post about College students thinking that their time (and your money) is being wasted, I thought perhaps we might get a few responses... but surprisingly, my questions about whether or not all College students think their time is being wasted were answered in the form of another article on CNN.  The article, A College Education is Your Best Bet, can be read here

What are your thoughts?  Are they both right?  Can college be worth your money and their time, but still not be giving kids all that they need in order to fit into real world situations?  The article describes how one man gave kids $100,000 to drop out of college and pursue their entrepreneurial ideas (one of those kids is the author of the article in our previous blog post).  He wanted to see if a college education would really make a difference, or if these students would be able to make it simply based on their abilities and merit without a college education - if college was stifling their abilities.

While Stephens seems to think that he was correct, there is direct evidence to the contrary.  Read the article and share what you think.  College is definitely not for everyone, and everyone has their own strengths.  Are the kids who feel college is wasting their time actually wasting their time?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

College is a Waste of Time?!?

I'm sure you have never heard those words before - I know I hadn't, and I was disheartened to read the headline as I have barely put a dent into the student loans I took out to finance that 'waste of time'.  As a parent, I am sure you might be surprised to hear that some people think that College is a waste of time... even some students who are still in school are expressing that opinion.

An article on CNN outlines the grievances here, but what I found most surprising - is that students are demanding more of a collaborative environment.  They want to make failures into learning experiences and work together with others instead of strictly competing with them. They say they aren't getting the experiences they need to be able to work and learn with others in real-world environments. 

With college tuition on the rise, it is very concerning to hear students complain that it is a waste of their time... and a waste of their parents (your)  money.  What do you think? Will this type of attitude trickle down into high schools and middle schools?

With all of the pressure on teachers today to get kids to perform on national and state-wide examinations, it is hard to make sure kids get the well-rounded education they need.  Perhaps, along with piano lessons, soccer leagues, and art classes, you can supplement your child's education with experiences that encourage learning from mistakes and failures outside of school. 

Is this just a passing fad or a few very vocal and concerned students?  Thoughts?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Summer Reading Club has ARRIVED!

The Medieval Madness begins this Saturday, June 4 from 1-4 p.m. It's your first opportunity to sign up for A Midsummer Knight's Read Summer Reading Club and get first crack at all the wonderful programs we have going on this summer. Be sure to take a look at our calendar now so you can arrange your calendar for the next two months worth of summer fun!

We will be featuring Games and Magic, Crafts and Cinderella Stories, Shakespeare and author Shelley Moore Thomas, Wizarding and Wild Times! Join us for some Medieval Madness this summer!