Choose Privacy

Posted & filed under Blog, Technology.

While there are some best practices for information privacy that all technology users should try to adopt, many other practices are a matter of personal choice. You can set up your web browser to store your history indefinitely, or clear it as soon as you close the window. (Note: if you’re using on a public computer like the ones at the library, it’s never a good idea to save your browsing history.) Depending on which mobile device you use, you can protect it with a 4-digit numerical passcode, a longer alphanumerical password, touch ID, or even a unique gesture based on a picture.

One tool that allows almost endless customization is the browser extension Privacy Badger, which blocks the third party trackers that enable advertisers to follow you from site to site. (Have you noticed an ad for those shoes you searched for yesterday in your Facebook sidebar today?) Once you’ve installed Privacy Badger in Firefox or Chrome, you can tell it to stop blocking a third party source that you recognize as trustworthy, or start blocking one it missed.

Of course, you could spend hours adjusting your settings and customizing your tools, only to be blindsided by an altered software reconfiguration, policy, user agreement, or law. To avoid surprises, consider performing a personal privacy “audit” every two to three months. Mark it on your calendar or set an alarm so you don’t forget!

  1. Start by reviewing your browser, device, app, and social media settings. Search “privacy” and the name of each program or device to get the latest information on available settings.
  2. Check for software updates, especially those that keep your antivirus and antimalware programs Don’t forget your mobile apps, whose updates frequently contain security patches!
  3. Clear unneeded activity logs, browsing history, and other data from your computer. A free program like CCleaner or BleachBit can expedite this process. Use their defaults, or set your own preferences; as with so many other privacy practices, the choice is yours.

For more online privacy tips, visit the FCC, ACLU, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, or the other sites linked above—or visit the library and ask a librarian.

This blog post was written for Choose Privacy Week, a national awareness program of the American Library Association that focuses on information privacy rights in the digital age.

choose privacy banner

Administrative Professionals Day

Posted & filed under Blog, Technology.

happy administrative professionals dayFirst celebrated as “National Secretaries Day” in 1952, this annual recognition of the people who really run our offices was renamed after the National Secretaries Association became the International Association of Administrative Professionals. This year, Administrative Professionals Week is April 24-30, with the primary celebration on Wednesday, April 27.

There is an argument to be made for canceling the holiday in favor of respecting and appreciating our administrative professionals every day. Still, if you know one of the millions of Americans currently working in an administrative role, today would be an excellent opportunity to offer them extra thanks.

If you are one of those indispensable professionals (or you’ve considered becoming one), the library offers several video courses through Lynda.com that can help you advance your skills: Administrative Human Resources Fundamentals, Note-Taking for Business Professionals, and dozens of Microsoft Office topics (such as Office 365: Up and Running with Word).

Oakton Community College also offers several certificate programs for aspiring professionals in its Computer Applications for Business department. And locals will save on travel costs when the 24th annual Administrative Professionals Conference, run by the American Society of Administrative Professionals, comes to Chicago this fall (September 18-21).

Finally, the debut novel The Assistants by Camille Perri is a humorous (and vengeful) take on the world of the administrative professional. It won’t be published until next week, but with the organizational prowess of an executive assistant, you can request your copy now.

Run With It

Posted & filed under Blog, Technology.

Today is the 120th running of the Boston Marathon. Watching thousands of people from all over the world stretch their bodies to the limit in that historic race can make even the most devoted couch potato dream of lacing up a pair of sneakers and hitting the track.

Whether you’re viewing the runners in on TV, training for the Chicago Marathon on October 9, or marking your calendar for the 40th annual Lincolnwood Turkey Trot (see below), your Lincolnwood library card offers many running-related resources.

For ebooks, start with hoopla digital’s Running & Jogging collection. Boston Marathon: History by the Mile will inform your race-watching, and if you’re inspired to take up the sport, No Need for Speed by John “The Penguin” Bingham is an ideal guide. Pro runners: look for titles from “Runner’s World” magazine, including The Runner’s Brain: How to Think Smarter to Run Better and Run to Lose: A Complete Guide to Weight Loss for Runners (both 2015). We also offer the digital edition of “Runner’s World” through Flipster.

Unfortunately, unless you’re on a treadmill, reading ebooks while running is not recommended. That’s where audiobooks come in handy—and the library has plenty of those! Find The New Rules of Running by David Allen in hoopla, or head over to MyMediaMall for Rick Roll’s Finding Ultra, Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run, and What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami.

Not sure how to access these digital library materials? Add the library to your jogging route and dash in to ask a librarian. (We don’t mind sweaty clothes or muddy sneakers!) Before you know it, you’ll be off and running.

lincolnwood turkey trot

Renovation Reading

Posted & filed under Blog, Technology.

The Lincolnwood Library’s building project will soon be underway, and we’ve picked out some books and DVDs that might inspire you to start a project of your own. Stop by our building (open during renovation) to see our special display, or read on for selections from our digital library.

“House Beautiful” is one of the magazines available through the Flipster website or mobile app. April’s cover story, “Design Secrets: Decorators Reveal All,” looks great on a tablet screen.

For appliance advice, you can’t beat “Consumer Reports,” while “Chicago Consumers Checkbook” rates local skilled laborers like builders and electricians. Find them both among our online Consumer Information resources.

Young House Love book coverTurning to ebooks, there are 32 titles in the Home Design & Décor section of MyMediaMall, including 52 Weekend Decorating Projects by the editors of Woman’s Day magazine,  Black & Decker’s Complete Guide to Carpentry for Homeowners by Chris Marshall, and Young House Love by Sherry and John Petersik from the popular DIY blog of the same name.

Ebooks in hoopla’s House & Home section cover projects of every scope, from spring cleaning (The Complete Book of Home Organization by blogger Toni Hammersley) to gut renovation (Remodel My House by Dwight Chung).

Of course, hoopla offers more than ebooks. The New Rijksmuseum is a 2015 documentary film about the Dutch national museum—a public project like the library’s, but on a much larger scale! If your kids are curious about what’s happening at the library, gather the family for The Big Renovation from the educational BIG Adventure film series.

Ready for some “reno-relaxation”? Binge-watch the first seven seasons of the reality TV series Restaurant Makeover, or escape from reality entirely with Juliet Blackwell’s Haunted Home Renovation mystery series in e-audiobook format, beginning with If These Walls Could Talk (2010).

For more information on accessing digital library materials, please contact us. We look forward to sharing renovation stories this spring!

Guides to Library Resources

Posted & filed under Blog, Technology.

Each month, hundreds of Lincolnwood residents use their library cards to take advantage of shared subscription resources such as Consumer Reports, Lynda.com, Morningstar Investment Research Center, and Ancestry Library Edition. Whether you are a job seeker, college student, preschooler, or retiree, these resources offer information you can use!

It’s possible to tap into all but two of the library’s online resources from home. (The exceptions are Ancestry.com and the Catalog of Museum Images Online.) Now, you can also access user guides from home. Visit http://bit.ly/lpld-online-resources for the full collection of guides, or follow the User guide links in our Resources by Topic list. Guides can be viewed online, downloaded, and/or printed.

Want to learn more? Call us at (847) 677-5277, email us, stop by, or schedule a one-on-one appointment with a librarian. We’d love to give you an overview of our resources, work with you to research a particular topic, and support you in achieving your goals.

World Water Day

Posted & filed under Blog, Technology.

Since 1993, the United Nations has recognized March 22 as World Water Day to raise awareness about water-related issues worldwide. The theme for this year’s observation, “Water and Jobs,” highlights the labor needed to ensure clean water, as well as water-dependent industries like agriculture, fishing, and forestry.

Water has been in the news lately here in our own country, but it’s a constant concern for international entities like the World Health Organization and charity: water.

On this World Water Day, explore the following library materials and resources:

  • The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi (2015) is a dystopian novel set in the American Southwest, imagining a future in which water must be “cut” illegally from top secret sources.
  • Learn the science behind this science fictional future from Your Water Footprint by Stephen Leahy (2014), which uses an abundance of graphics and charts to illustrate the water used to make ordinary products. (Did you know that producing two pounds of beef requires 4,068 gallons of water—almost 1.5 times the volume of a concrete mixer truck?) [1]
  • Flow and Blue Gold are both documentary films from 2008 that chronicle the water crisis around the world. A third documentary, Water Wars, is available via hoopla digital. Narrated by Martin Sheen, it focuses on drought and flood cycles in Bangladesh.
  • The Encyclopedia Britannica’s “water” article is an excellent overview of the element’s chemical structures and physical properties, as well as the hydrologic cycle. The children’s article provides just enough information to get kids thinking about what flows out of their faucets every day. (Note: you must log in to Encyclopedia Britannica using your Lincolnwood library card to view the articles.)
  • A search for “water” in the library’s Explora resource turns up thousands of articles from scientific journals and magazines, as well as over 100 Associated Press news videos, including a recent campaign appearance by Hillary Clinton advocating for clean water in response to the crisis in Michigan.
  • Finally, for a peaceful soundtrack to your World Water Day reading and research, download the Nature Sounds “Ocean Waves” music collection from hoopla digital.
2016 world water day logo

[1] Your Water Footprint by Stephen Leahy (Buffalo, NY: Firefly Books, 2014), p. 77

Freedom of Information Day

Posted & filed under Blog, Technology.

March 16 is the birthday of James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, whom some say was an early advocate for transparency in our government. In his honor, March 16 is now celebrated as Freedom of Information Day by the American Library Association and a coalition of other organizations. Some advocates have expanded the day into a Sunshine Week, which runs from March 13 to March 19 this year.

If you congress app iconare interested in learning more about transparency in government, a great place to begin is the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan nonprofit that promotes accountability through policy, technology, and reporting. The Sunlight Foundation’s tech tools include the Congress mobile app, which puts information about your representatives in the palm of your hand, and Political Party Time, which tracks political fundraising events. A similar organization, the OpenGov Foundation, offers The Madison Project, an online tool that legislators can use to share bills as they’re being written and solicit input from constituents.

In the digital age, government agencies are responding to calls for transparency by making data available online. To learn how this trend got its start right in our backyard, check out Chapter 2 of the online publication Beyond Transparency, written by Brett Goldstein, the former Chief Data Officer of the City of Chicago. You might also want to delve into Chicago’s open data portal and/or the federal government’s Data.gov.

As for books and movies to help you celebrate Freedom of Information Day, look no further than the Lincolnwood Library’s shelves. The Red Web: The Struggle Between Russia’s Dictators and the New Online Revolutionaries, a 2015 book by Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan, is a gripping account of what can happen when a state does not embrace transparency in the digital age. And Truth, the 2015 movie starring Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett, is based on the actual experience of a CBS News team trying to expose records that the White House wanted to keep behind closed doors.

Whether you dive into the depths with data or take a bird’s eye view, spend a moment today recognizing the hard work of those who advocate for freedom of information.

March Book Madness Begins

Posted & filed under Blog.

books flying into basketball hoop

Celebrate the madness of March and your love for books with our Book Madness bracket!

Help us determine the champion as Mystery/Suspense, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction/Fantasy, and Nonfiction go head to head.

Vote here on the Sweet Sixteen between March 7 and March 13. (You do not need to have read a book to vote for it.)

The Elite Eight will be announced March 14!

Vote for hoopla, Cont’d

Posted & filed under Blog, Technology.

spin book coverWe continue our hoopla recommendations for election season (see the first installment here) with another example of the broad impact of U.S. elections. In his 2014 book Spin: How Politics Has the Power to Turn Marketing on its Head, available an ebook from hoopla, Clive Veroni shows how the tactics used by campaign strategists to turn candidates into brands and voters into buyers have been adopted by marketing professionals. “Delightfully captivating and riveting,” wrote the Publisher’s Weekly reviewer, “this is a must-read for marketers and political strategists and is highly recommended for all consumers.”

Duck for President book coverJust because elections are business—and serious business, at that—doesn’t mean we can’t have fun with them. Doreen Cronin’s Duck for President was published as a children’s book and found an appreciative audience among fans of the author’s classic Click, Clack, Moo, but it’s a thoroughly entertaining story for all ages. The audiobook is on hoopla, narrated by country singer Randy Travis, who captures the absurdity of the farm election with his earnest drawl.

hamilton soundtrack album coverFinally, if you’re fed up with contemporary politics, go back to the early days of our union to experience an even more dramatic political environment in the original Broadway cast recording of the runaway hit musical “Hamilton.” What are you waiting for? Get it now on hoopla!

 

Speaking of waiting, remember that you’ll never have to wait to enjoy the movies, audiobooks, ebooks, and albums you find on hoopla. Theoretically, every Lincolnwood resident could be listening to the “Hamilton” soundtrack at the same time…and given the show’s popularity, that doesn’t seem so far-fetched. By March 15, we could all be dancing to the polls to cast ballots in the Illinois primary while singing “not throwing away my shot!”

Vote for hoopla

Posted & filed under Blog, Technology.

Election fever is sweeping the country as Super Tuesday approaches, with the March 15 Illinois primary to follow. If you’ve caught the bug, treat it (while treating yourself!) with these titles from hoopla digital.

primary colors dvd coverThe movie “Primary Colors,” starring John Travolta, Emma Thompson, Billy Bob Thornton, and Kathy Bates, satirizes a presidential candidate based loosely on former President Clinton. When it came out in 1998, Roger Ebert called it “a superb film—funny, insightful and very wise about the realities of political life,” and it holds up quite well eighteen years later, with a second Candidate Clinton on the campaign trail. Watch it tonight on hoopla.

 

If I Ran for President book coverKids who are witnessing their first presidential election are likely to have a lot of questions. (Do you join a political party to play games and eat cake? Does a running mate go jogging with the candidate? Is the Electoral College like Oakton Community College?) Teach them the basics with If I Ran for President by Catherine Stier, illustrated by Lynne Avril, available as an ebook on hoopla.

 

Give Us the Ballot coverAri Berman’s Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America was named one of the best books of 2015 by the New York Times, Washington Post, and NPR, among others; it’s now a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award. Publisher’s Weekly called it a “definitive history” and praised the audiobook, which you can access using hoopla, for “draw[ing] out some of the more dramatic elements of the narrative.”

Stay tuned for three more election-related hoopla recommendations next week.