Best LPLD Tech, 2014

Posted & filed under News, Technology.

‘Tis the season for “Best of 2014″ lists! In the realm of technology alone, you can read up on the 10 Biggest Tech Innovations according to PC World, the Year’s Best Gadgets from Slate, and even the Top Gadget Gifts for Pets at USA Today. TechCrunch has covered year-end lists from the top two content providers for mobile devices, iTunes and Google Play. Meanwhile, over at Yahoo! Tech, David Pogue is in the middle of a festive 12 Days of Techness.

Here at the library, we’ve put together our own year-end list of technology milestones:

1. Library app: Our mobile app wasn’t new this year, but it was downloaded twice as often as last year. Each month, it gets used thousands of times to search for books or movies, renew items, and look up events on the library calendar. Search “Lincolnwood library” in your device’s app store for the free download.

2. Technology classes: Our first four months of technology classes at the library covered topics from basic computing to advanced Excel, with almost every class filled to capacity. Registration for January and February classes is going on now; visit our online calendar for details.

3. One-on-one appointments: Librarians provided with dozens of residents with personalized technology instruction and advice. To schedule your own one-on-one appointment, email or call (847) 677-5277 x293.

4. Redesigned website: Back in March, the library’s new website —optimized for mobile devices, integrated with our online calendar and catalog —launched to the public.

5. Online registration: Starting this summer, residents could sign up for story time, afterschool crafts, and other programs from home, using our online event calendar. Visit now to see what we have to offer!

6. Ebooks: Over the course of the year, our eBook and eAudiobook collections continued to grow, keeping pace with ever-increasing numbers of downloads (consistently upwards of 50% increase over the previous year).

7. Today’s news, and yesterday’s: Hundreds of newspapers from around the world are available to cardholders via NewspaperDirect. Catch up on today’s headlines, then browse the graphical interface of our Historical Newspapers, introduced this summer, to learn what happened on this date in history.

8. New online resources: In 2014, the library began offering access to a genealogy database, Ancestry Library Edition; a new language learning program, Pronunciator; and a Driver’s License Test Prep tool. See Resources A to Z for the full list (set to expand early in 2015).

9. Digital newsletter: The library’s quarterly newsletter is now available as a digital flipbook, so you can consult its event listings and articles even if you don’t have the hard copy handy.

10. User guides for research tools: The hidden treasures in the research tools provided by the library are revealed in new user guides explaining what each tool contains and how to use it. Stop by or email us for copies of the guides that interest you.

If you haven’t had a chance to take advantage of these offerings yet, don’t worry: you’ll have plenty of opportunities in 2015!

Consumer Reports to the Rescue

Posted & filed under News, Technology.

Looking for last-minute gift ideas? The Consumer Reports website has a page dedicated to all things holiday, and they’re updating it continually this month. The Gadget Gift Finder shopping tool helps you choose technology gifts according to interest (photography, music, travel, etc.) and price range. The Ultimate Gift Guide interactive video offers a glimpse into the Consumer Reports product testing labs, where experts reveal the ratings and reasons behind their top picks. Other videos, along with slideshows and brief articles, are listed by topic: 5 top video games for kids under “Consumer Electronics & Tech,” Tricks that help you transport holiday dishes under “Tips & Advice for Holiday Celebrations,” and much more.

Most of the Consumer Reports holiday content 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! Choose “Consumer Reports” from the Research menu on any page of our website. If you are outside of the library, enter your library card number to log in.

Tackle what’s left of your holiday shopping with the help of complete ratings, buying guides, and recommendations  from Consumer Reports! Your gift recipients will be extra grateful.Consumer Reports website link from library website

Taking the eBook Plunge

Posted & filed under News, Technology.

If you’re on the fence about eBooks, it can help to hear from those who’ve already taken the plunge. We recently surveyed library staff members about their reading habits—which, as you can imagine, are quite varied—and gathered the following feedback.

First of all, eBooks are not an all-or-nothing proposition. No one on our staff reads eBooks exclusively…not even the so-called digital natives! The choice between an eBook and a traditional book often comes down to circumstance. Is the waiting list for a popular title longer in print than in My Media Mall? Is that 600-page hardcover causing back strain? Does an airline baggage weight limit mean choosing between another book and another pair of shoes?

Avid readers live in fear of being caught with nothing to read. Quite a few staff members indicated that they gravitate towards eBooks when they find themselves stranded in that fearsome book desert, when “it’s midnight, the library’s not open, and none of my books are making me happy!” The voracious readers among us also appreciate that “you can carry a lot more eBooks with you than physical books,” and switch among them at will.

One devoted eBook reader had this advice for skeptics: “don’t knock it till you try it—and if you try it and hate it, try another device!” Different devices can satisfy different needs, even for a single reader:

  • For commuting or standing in line at the pharmacy, a smartphone may suffice. “[My phone] is easily carried around in my purse,” wrote one staff member. “I normally bring it with me everywhere.”
  • Tablets offer larger screens, color displays, and support for enhancements such as video. These features are particularly well suited to reading digital magazines, graphic novels, or picture books.
  • Dedicated e-readers are lighter, and more faithfully mimic the experience of reading on paper. At home, devices with technology that eliminates glowing screens have one clear advantage: “I can read at night, in bed, and not disturb my husband with the light.”

Most devices also allow users to enlarge text, search for words or names, consult built-in dictionaries, and mark favorite passages with virtual “bookmarks” or “highlighting.”

Still on the fence? We’d love to show you how easy it is to download eBooks for free from the library’s ever-growing collection! Use our online calendar to register for an ebook help session on January 16 or February 23. You can also set up a one-on-one appointment with a librarian by emailing or calling us at (847) 677-5277.

All the News, Fit for Many Formats

Posted & filed under News.

Four times a year, every household in Lincolnwood receives a copy of the library’s newsletter. This brightly-colored mini-magazine is full of news, events, and information you don’t want to miss…but we know how easy it is for mail to slip into the recycling bin before everyone has had a chance to read it! The information in our newsletter is always available in various forms online (in the calendar, on this blog, and in our eNews), but now you can read the entire publication online in digital “flipbook” format.

The Library News page of our website has a new heading in the sidebar: Newsletter Issues. The current issue, Winter 2014-15, is currently posted, and we will be adding every new issue we mail out. Click on the issue you’d like to read, and it will open in the digital publishing platform called Issuu. Issuu’s easy-to-use interface allows you to zoom in or out and search. You can even share the newsletter with friends on social media or via email. If you find a program that looks interesting, head back over to our calendar page to register online!

Our newsletter is so pretty that we think you’ll want to display it prominently on your fridge…but just in case it gets buried in that bottomless pile of mail, please bookmark our News page and visit us often—online and in person.

digital newsletter display

NewspaperDirect Adds Magazines

Posted & filed under News.

Q: What do “Martha Stewart Living,” “Old House Journal,” “Vegetarian Times,” “Digital Camera World,” and “MacLife” have in common?

A: They are among the magazines that Lincolnwood residents can now access online using their library cards!

The Lincolnwood Public Library offers online access to thousands of newspapers from around the world, in about sixty different languages, through the NewspaperDirect service.

There were already several magazines among NewspaperDirect’s many publications, but the company recently announced that it would offer many more. Beyond the titles listed above, new additions include “Yoga Journal,” “Creative Knitting,” “Maximum PC,” “Highlights for Children,” “Backpacker,” and “Total Film”—truly a magazine for every interest.

To find this treasure trove of periodicals, look for Research in our website’s main navigation and select NewspaperDirect from the drop-down menu. Enter your library card number, then search by title using the search bar at the top of the page, or select USA in the Titles by Country menu on the left to browse all U.S. publications.

Magazines display in full color, with every article, photograph, and advertisement you’d find in the print edition—but without those pesky subscription cards. If you find you need the hard copy of an article, you can choose whether to print an entire page or just a section that you select. Some titles even offer RSS feeds, so you can get new content delivered to your favorite feed reader.

Most publications include only the three most current issues in NewspaperDirect. For older magazine articles (and for fully indexed, searchable content), try MasterFile Premier.

Online Resources Include Resume Help

Posted & filed under News.

Last week’s You Can’t Google This! class at the library provided an overview of the online resources, research tools, and subscriptions that Lincolnwood residents can access using their library cards. (These resources range from the language-learning program Pronunciator to the historical archive of the Chicago Tribune; find a full list under Resources by Topic or download our PDF guide.)

During the class, one student inquired about resources for resume writing. The library subscribes to a resource called BrainFuse JobNow that offers resume feedback, live interview coaching, and more.

brainfuse jobnow screenshot

Enter your library card number to access JobNow from outside the library. You can then download resume templates (in Word document format), read interview tips, explore career assessments, and links to other employment-related websites. You can also create a free account to use the resume lab, live interview coach, and eParachute tools. Job coaches are available every day between 3:00 and 11:00 p.m.

Interested in learning more about JobNow and other tools the library offers for career development? Come to our Resources for Job Seekers class on Friday, October 24 at 10:00 a.m.

Classes Fill Quickly, but Options Abound

Posted & filed under News, Technology.

The Lincolnwood Public Library’s first technology classes are taking place this fall, and the response has been incredible! All beginner-level classes and all classes covering Microsoft Office software have reached their enrollment limits. Our first two “iPad Basics” classes are also fully subscribed, although there are seats available in the follow-up classes, “Do More with Your iPad.”

If you didn’t have a chance to register for these popular classes in time, don’t despair! We’ll have instructors on hand for a monthly Open Lab where you can drop in and get some of your basic technology questions answered. The first Open Lab is Tuesday, September 30, 1-3 p.m.

You can also still sign up for classes that don’t have strict enrollment limits because they aren’t subject to space and equipment limitations. These open classes include You Can’t Google This, an evening session about premium library resources on September 18, and App, App, & Away, an hour-long overview of mobile apps on the afternoon of September 24. Starting next month, a series of theme-based classes will explore library resources in depth. Genealogy enthusiasts are invited to learn more about Ancestry Library Edition on October 7, while job seekers can see how the library can support their needs on October 24. Registration is not required for these theme-based classes. See the calendar for full details.

Based on the enthusiastic response from the community, we plan to offer many of the same technology classes again this winter, so keep an eye out for new dates and times. Meanwhile, if you wish to start learning Microsoft Office on your own, consider following free online courses from Connected Nation or GCFLearnFree. You can also use the kiosk in the library’s computer lab to access courses on Microsoft Office and hundreds of other topics. Not sure where to begin? Ask one of our librarians, email, or call us at (847) 677-5277. Although it’s too late to enroll in a few of our most popular classes this fall, it’s never too late to learn.

Everybody Move!

Posted & filed under News.

Celeste Cifala Roy was trained in musical theater and dance, but when she became a mother, she didn’t know any children’s songs. More than twenty years later, she knows hundreds—maybe thousands!—and shares them through her own music and movement program for children. This month, she brings that program, Everybody Move, to the Lincolnwood Public Library.

Roy began to build her vast repertoire of children’s music when she brought her infant son to National-Louis University’s Movement and Music Center, where she later worked. She learned from local artists like Fred Koch and Jim Gill, as well as celebrities like Raffi.

Now, Roy’s repertoire forms the basis of Everybody Move, where very young children explore music and movement through a mix of directed activities (singing, dance, musical instruments) and free play. Classes often revolve around a theme; participants in the library program will explore apples, leaves, and other highlights of the season.

A Skokie resident, Roy is “excited to get to know my neighbors in Lincolnwood.” While she has some favorite artists she’s looking forward to sharing, such as the Grammy-nominated duo Greg & Steve, she urges parents to share the music they love with their children. Conveying joy and playfulness through music and movement, as Roy has been doing for decades, benefits children far more than playing the “right” songs. (Incidentally, our Youth Services Librarians give the same advice about early literacy: if caregivers share books they enjoy, children will associate that positive feeling with reading.)

We look forward to welcoming Celeste Cifala Roy and Everybody Move to Lincolnwood!

Read Local

Posted & filed under News.

With more than 300,000 books published in the U.S. last year*—to say nothing of magazines, movies, and music—it’s all too easy to overlook a great title. Is there an item you think we should have in the library? Let us know by filling out the Request to Purchase form, and we’ll see if we can add it to our collection.

request to purchase









Of course, you can always use our catalog to request items from other libraries in our network, or ask us to request items that are more difficult to find…but much like that local strawberry that tastes sweeter than the supermarket kind, some books just ought to be local!


Pint of Strawberries, CC-BY Mr. T in DC





*according to Bowker

In a Galaxy Far, Far Away (and a Library Very Nearby)…

Posted & filed under News.

On view near the library’s entrance is a set of American Girl-style dolls wearing out-of-this-world Star Wars costumes made by Kathy van Beuningen. These 18-inch versions of Kathy’s full-sized costumes show a level of detail suitable for the big screen, but scaled for our display cases.
jawas dolls

The garments on these Jawas might be made from ragged material, but they boast the same intricate stitching as the fine fabrics of a Princess Leia dress across the way.

queen amidala dolls
Queen Amidala wears several sumptuous outfits in “Episode I: The Phantom Menace,” and two are represented in our display.




Incredibly, Kathy uses almost exclusively recycled and reused materials for her doll costumes. Other people’s trash is her treasure as she incorporates empty thread spools, candy wrappers, broken jewelry, and other odds and ends into her creations. She finds dolls at secondhand stores, though she must occasionally purchase new doll stands, modeling clay, and shoes.

darth vader doll

Kathy takes great care with accessories as well as suits: note the helmet at the feet of this Darth Vader.

darth maul doll
The faces of some dolls, including Queen Amidala and this imposing Darth Maul, are painted by Kathy’s husband, Vince Newkirk.




Look for your favorite characters in the display, then watch them come to life on Star Wars Day, Sunday, August 24. Kathy and other members of the 501st Legion Midwest Garrison and Rebel Legion: Nar Shaddaa base will be bringing us some special guests during the big event. Stop by to ask Kathy about her costumes, visit our photo booth, and test your Star Wars knowledge with trivia! May the Force be with you…