Read Harder

Posted & filed under Blog.

The website Book Riot created the Read Harder Challenge in 2015 to help readers “discover genres, authors, and titles [they] otherwise wouldn’t have picked up.” For the 2016 Challenge, they’ve issued a new list of 24 tasks, such as “read a play” and “read a book under 100 pages,” designed to push you out of your reading comfort zone.

In describing the Challenge, Book Riot stresses that “this isn’t a test. No one is keeping score and there are no points to post.” However, if you get through all 24 tasks—and it’s fine to use the same book for more than one—you can email a picture of your completed list to by Dec. 31, 2016 to get a 30% discount on t-shirts, totes, and other fun bookish paraphernalia from Book Riot’s online store.

read harder bookmarksHere at the Lincolnwood Public Library, we’re stepping up to the Read Harder Challenge with displays and lists covering different tasks throughout the year. Stop by for a copy of the list that you can use to track your progress, and/or some great reading recommendations.

If you can’t make it to the library, you can download the list from Book Riot and get book recommendations from the Read Harder Group on Goodreads. There, you’ll find an active discussion board with threads for each and every task. You can also visit in-person Read Harder book groups, the closest of which meets on the third Thursday of every month at Roscoe Books in Chicago.

Let us know if you choose to participate—we’d love to hear how (and help) you Read Harder in 2016.

Pet Technology

Posted & filed under Blog, Technology.

As if it weren’t difficult enough to keep up with the meteoric rate of development in technology for humans, technology for pets is developing apace. Here are a few of the latest innovations:

  • Traveling with your pets? Search Bring Fido (or its iOS app) for pet-friendly hotels and other destinations.
  • Forced to leave your furry friends behind? Try Holidog or Rover, online directories of pet-sitting services.
  • Looking for new pet playmates? The Tindog mobile app works just like Tinder for humans, displaying (potentially!) compatible pups in your area.
  • Neighborhood animals’ social calendars already full? Dogs can play solo for hours using iFetch, while cats can choose from a bevy of mobile app games designed just for them.
Red Cross pet first aid app icon

On a more serious note, apps like Petfinder or AllPaws can help unite pets and people, while Finding Rover (whose feline equivalent, Finding Kitty, is currently being developed) uses facial recognition software to reunite pets with their loving families. And if you have an animal at home, Red Cross Pet First Aid—with its step-by-step instructions for emergency care and directory of accredited veterinary hospitals—might be the best 99 cents you ever spend in the app store. (Click on the image to the left for download links.)

As with human technology, some of the newest trends are in wearables (FitBark and PetPace, to name just two) and smart home products (e.g. iCPooch, which lets you communicate with your pet when you’re away from home, or the Smart Door from PetSafe). Robot pets were once a Jetsons fantasy; now they’re very much a reality, and available at a store near you. What will be next? A translation device that enables dogs to “talk”? A kennel outfitted with a treadmill and a tablet? Anything is paw-sible!

¡Viva! Coming Together

Posted & filed under Blog, Book Discussions.

Coming Together is an annual program that seeks to build knowledge of and appreciation for the diversity represented in Skokie and Niles Township. This year’s theme, ¡Viva!, provides opportunities to explore Latino & Hispanic identity and culture through selected books and engaging programming for all ages.

The Lincolnwood Public Library is hosting a handful of events in conjunction with ¡Viva! Coming Together:

  • Thursday, January 21, 10:30am: Screening of the 2002 film “Frida” at the library
  • Monday, January 25, 7:30pm: Discussion of this year’s adult fiction book selection, The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez, at L. Woods Restaurant
  • Monday, February 8, 11am: Discussion of The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez at the Lincolnwood Community Center
  • Tuesday, February 9, 5pm: Appetizers and artist talk by Alejandro Figueredo Díaz-Perera and Cara Megan Lewis, with live music to follow, at 90 Miles Cuban Café
  • Wednesday, February 17, 11:15am: Chef Demo, featuring Latino foods and live music by Gabriel Medina of the Old Town School of Folk Music, at Lincolnwood Place
  • Wednesday, February 24 or Wednesday, March 2, 6pm: Taste of Ecuador interactive cooking class at Whole Foods Sauganash

This is only a small sampling of the ¡Viva! Coming Together programming that will be taking place over the next few months in Lincolnwood, Skokie, Niles, Morton Grove, and beyond. For all event listings and details, see

If you can’t make it to the events, or if attending inspires you to delve deeper into Latino/Hispanic culture, look for the books selected and recommended by the Coming Together planning committee. You can also browse digital newspapers and magazines from Mexico, Latin America, and Spain using our NewspaperDirect subscription; or check out music from the Sounds of Latin America collection on hoopla.

¡Viva! Coming Together officially kicks off on Sunday, January 31, at Niles West High School. Please join us there for a festive afternoon of music, food, art, and fun, led by emcee Lourdes Duarte of WGN-TV. ¡Celebramos!

coming together - viva banner

Webinar: Ebooks for Students

Posted & filed under Blog, Technology.

Parents and caregivers, do you find yourselves tearing your hair out when your students faced last-minute research assignments?

In this second half of the school year, save your sanity: instead of weeding through the overwhelming amount of information found on the open web, start tapping into your library’s online resources for research and learning. The articles and ebooks available to Lincolnwood library cardholders through these subscription resources can supplement the websites recommended by schools, and they’re excellent options for home schoolers.

One of the library’s online resources, Credo Reference, is offering a virtual tour of its Literati ebook collection next week. Highlighting the best reference ebooks to help your students (ages 9 through 17) with their studies, this overview will give you a taste of the wide range of content that you can access with your library card.

The free online tour of Credo Literati starts at 7pm on Tuesday, January 19, and runs for 45 minutes. Register online here, or email with the subject line “Register for Literati Webinar.”

literati by credo logo

New Digital Magazines

Posted & filed under Blog, Technology.

flipster_web_banner_rectangleWe have added 13 new subscriptions to Flipster, our digital magazine service, for the new year, bringing our total to 35.

The new magazines for adults are Apple, Bicycling, Car & Driver, Chicago, Food Network, Money, Runner’s World, and Sports Illustrated. (View the original subscriptions on the full list of available titles.)

We’ve also added magazines for children and teens: Comics & Gaming Magazine, Seventeen, Sports Illustrated Kids, Thrasher,and Twist.

Flipster magazines are full-page, full-color duplicates of the print magazine. All you need to access Flipster is a computer or mobile device and your Lincolnwood library card. You can download as many magazines as you’d like and read them anytime.

With no due dates to worry about, no pages to flap in the breeze, and no added weight in your carry-on, Flipster is perfect for travel. Using the free Flipster app, you can even access your magazines when you’re offline.

For more information on using Flipster, check out our help page or ask a librarian.



Best LPLD Tech, 2015

Posted & filed under Blog, Technology.

Last year, we compiled a year-end list of technology milestones that included the launch of a redesigned website and the introduction of online event registration. We are pleased to bring you this updated list from another busy year of technology enhancements and innovations.

1. One-on-one appointments: Librarians provided over 100 personalized technology sessions in 2015. For the first time this year, we took this show on the road to Lincolnwood Place, where we provided advice and instruction to residents. Contact us to schedule your own one-on-one appointment!

2. Technology classes: During our first full year of technology group classes at the library, nearly 400 adults attended sessions on topics ranging from Microsoft Office to web searching to mobile apps. View and register for upcoming classes using our online calendar.

3. hoopla: The library’s new digital media service offers music, audiobooks, movies, and more. All Lincolnwood library cardholders can instantly stream or download up to ten titles per month on hoopla—no holds, no waiting. Since launching in March, borrowers have enjoyed more than 1,000 hoopla digital titles.

4. Flipster: The library’s digital magazine service boasts two dozen popular subscriptions. Between January and the end of November, magazine readers checked out 1,330 current and back issues. Watch this space for an announcement about the 13 additional subscriptions for adults and teens that we’re adding for the new year.

5. Kindles: In addition to digital media that you can download to your personal device, the library now lends Kindle e-readers pre-loaded with hundreds of popular titles. Our devices have circulated over 125 times since they were introduced in June!

6. home access: Our popular resource for self-guided learning, with online video tutorials covering hundreds of topics, became available from home starting in July. In that time, the rate of videos watched has more than quadrupled! Enjoy the convenience of learning at your pace, in the comfort of your home, by visiting

7. Coding for kids: This summer, we held two week-long coding camp sessions where kids got hands-on with some coding using Scratch. Both camps were filled to capacity, with waiting lists of eager coders-in-training. The coding tutorials offered by both Scratch and are phenomenal, whether you’re a beginner or—like our campers—a pro.

8. Video games: Fifth through eighth graders gamed like crazy after school on our Xbox One, and video game checkout increased 39% in 2015 with releases like Fallout 4, Halo 5 Guardians, Super Mario Maker, Star Wars: Battlefront, and Mortal Kombat X. Early 2016 is already slated to be a huge gaming season, so keep an eye out for new releases!

9. Laptops: Lincolnwood residents have been able to borrow laptops for use within the library building since June. This service is growing in popularity among students, as well as professionals who work remotely.

10. With well over 200,000 page views this year, and roughly 17% of all traffic coming from mobile devices, our library website continues to serve as a popular “virtual branch,” open 24/7 for browsing, borrowing, research, and event registration.

With the library renovation getting underway in just a few months, we will gain a great deal of new technology in 2016. We look forward to sharing it with you. Happy New Year!

Lincolnwood E-Reading in 2015

Posted & filed under Blog, Technology.

Lincolnwood library patrons read an astonishing 6,740 digital titles from our OverDrive ebook and e-audiobook lending service in 2015. That’s one title for every two residents, including those who are too young to read!

The most popular titles for e-reading in Lincolnwood in 2015 have all been best sellers, proving that our readers pay attention to what’s hot in the book world. Topping the ebook list with 69 checkouts is Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train. The next most popular title, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, has 59 checkouts, and The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah comes in third with 39. Here are the remaining titles in the top ten for ebooks:

  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
  • Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
  • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
  • Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
  • The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant
  • In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

For e-audiobooks, The Girl on the Train takes the number one position again, with All the Light We Cannot See coming in fourth and The Nightingale eighth. The rest of the top ten list for audio reflects the popularity of celebrity narrators and self-help:

  • Yes Please by Amy Poehler
  • The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
  • Bossypants by Tina Fey
  • Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
  • How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less by Nicholas Boothman
  • The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison
  • Life’s Missing Instruction Manual by Joe Vitale

Perhaps most impressive is that beyond these popular books, Lincolnwood library patrons enjoyed a remarkable range of e-reading material. Of the 6,740 titles borrowed, more than a third were read by just one person, and nearly half by just one or two. Among these unique selections are classics (Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome), children’s books (Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad Are Friends), mysteries (Death by Honeymoon by Jaden Skye), and much more.

E-reading options abound: view our newest ebooks and e-audiobooks, or browse our full MyMediaMall selection; if you don’t find what you’re looking for, try searching hoopla digital, which now offers a small selection of ebooks and comics in addition to its extensive e-audiobook collection.

What will you e-read in 2016?

hoopla Video Via Chromecast

Posted & filed under Blog, Technology.

If you’re considering purchasing a Roku, an Apple TV, or another device for streaming media this holiday season, this Consumer Reports article provides a great overview of the options. Use your Lincolnwood library card to access all Consumer Reports ratings of streaming media players, updated in late November.

If, however, you already own one of the 20,000,000+ Chromecast devices that Google has already sold, your video options have just expanded.

hoopla digital, the library’s source for digital movies, TV shows, and more, is now Chromecast compatible on both Android and iOS! Download the free app and use your mobile device to search hoopla movies or TV shows. When you see a title you’d like to watch, just tap the Cast button to play it on your Chromecast-connected television.

To get started with hoopla, view our user guide or click on the image below to continue straight to the hoopla website.hoopla available through chromecast


Smart Holiday Shopping

Posted & filed under Blog, Technology.

At this time of year, the web is overrun with holiday gift guides designed to help you find the perfect present for everyone on your list. The Consumer Reports Holiday Gift Ideas site stands out from the crowd because its recommendations are based on expert product testing and rating. Sure, this guide will help you find deals—but it will also provide the unbiased advice on quality, safety, and durability that has made Consumer Reports the go-to source for savvy shoppers since 1936.

Most of the Consumer Reports holiday guide is available to all, but if you click on links that take you further into the website, you may encounter a paywall. Take advantage of your Lincolnwood library card to gain access to the full site! From the Research & Learning menu on any page of our website, choose “Quick Links,” then find Consumer Reports on the alphabetical list. If you are outside of the library, enter your library card number to log in.

Concerned about safety while buying gifts online? In addition to Consumer Reports’ own Guide to Internet Security, take a look at this free tutorial from TechBoomers and/or the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s overview of online shopping.

Author Visit: Rebecca Makkai

Posted & filed under Blog, Book Discussions.

rebecca makkaiThe library’s Adult Book Group will meet, as they have once a month for more than a decade, on December 14…but this will be no ordinary meeting. For the very first time, the author of the selected book will join the group—and other interested readers—to talk about her work and answer questions.

Rebecca Makkai is a Chicago-based writer whose reputation ripples far beyond our local area. She has written two highly acclaimed novels, The Hundred-Year House and The Borrower. Her short story collection, Music for Wartime, appeared in June.

Book group selection The Hundred-Year House is set in a rambling Midwestern estate called Laurelfield. This ingenious novel moves backwards in time through the 20th century, gradually revealing convoluted connections among Laurelfield’s inhabitants and visitors. Readers emerge dazzled (we’ve heard of some who turned the book over and reread it immediately!) and eager to dissect the intricate plot with others.

And that’s exactly what our library book group members will do—but the presence of author Rebecca Makkai is sure to make the discussion especially rich and revealing. Please join us (even if you haven’t read the book!) at 11am on Monday, December 14. Bring copies to be signed, if you’d like. Registration is requested, but not required. Questions? Contact us at (847) 677-5277.