Brainfuse HelpNow Update

Posted & filed under News, Technology.

Back in October, we told you about the Brainfuse HelpNow app that students can use to get help with their homework. Earlier this month, Brainfuse redesigned the iOS version of the app and added a new feature called Snap-n-Send. (It sounds a little bit like SnapChat, but it’s not the same thing at all!) If you’re using the HelpNow website for a live tutoring session and your tutor asks to see your work, you can use your mobile device to take a picture and submit it via the app.

Terminology updates in the new version of the iOS app are that the former Question Center and Inbox have been combined to form the Message Center, and Tasks are now contained in the Task Tracker. As for aesthetics, Brainfuse designers changed the app’s background from black to white, and replaced multicolored text and icons with blue for a minimalist look. The app retains its other great features (covered here) to help students with studying, so give it a try in time for finals next month! Download the iOS app for free from the iTunes store.

brainfuse ipad screenshot

The updated Brainfuse HelpNow app for iOS uses blue icons on a white background for a streamlined look.

Pop Quiz for Drivers

Posted & filed under News, Technology.

1. If an Illinois driver is convicted of a DUI charge in another state:

a) he or she will not be allowed to drive in that state
b) it will be noted on his or her IL driver’s license
c) he or she will receive penalties as if it was committed in IL
d) the conviction will not appear on his or her IL driving record

The answer is c)…did you guess correctly? An incorrect guess won’t cause seasoned drivers to lose their licenses, but it could keep new drivers from getting their permits! Thanks to a partnership with Driving-Tests.org, the Lincolnwood Library now offers free online practice tests for anyone preparing for an Illinois driving exam or looking to brush up on their knowledge of Illinois’s traffic laws.

2. What’s included in Driving-Tests.org for Illinois?

a) 10 practice tests for cars
b) 6 practice tests for motorcycles
c) One Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) practice test
d) Complete driver’s manuals for cars, motorcycles, and CDLs
e) FAQs with detailed answers to 100+ DMV-related questions
f) All of the above

The answer is f)…and what’s more, the ‘Read Aloud’ toolbar (found in the footer of every page) allows you to turn portions of text into MP3 audio files, translate pages into other languages, and mask sections of the screen for greater visibility.

3. How do you access Driving-Tests.org through the Lincolnwood Public Library?

a) Click “Start Now” in the image below
b) Choose “Driver’s License Prep Tests” from the Research menu on any page of the website
c) Start practicing as soon as you enter the new site—no library card number or personal information needed
d) All of the above

Once again, the answer is All of the above—but if you have any trouble finding the site, feel free to contact us at digitalservices@lincolnwoodlibrary.org, or by calling (847) 677-5277.

Drive safely!

Free Permit Practice Tests

Encyclopedia Britannica Online

Posted & filed under News, Technology.

The handsome binding on the matched set of two dozen encyclopedia volumes makes it easy to spot from across the room. You scan the letters inscribed on the spines to find the correct volume, then pull it off the shelf and set it on a table to save your wrists from fatigue. Paging through, you let your attention wander, pausing every so often to inspect eye-catching images and charts. Finally, with the help of the thumb index, you find the article you were seeking and settle in to read.

britannica

Encyclopedia Britannica, CC-BY BostonTx

If you have fond memories like these, you’ll be glad to hear that the Lincolnwood Public Library still carries a print copy of the World Book that you can use to relive them (or share them with the next generation). However, you won’t find the Encyclopedia Britannica in our building—nor in any other physical library—because the print version was discontinued in 2012.

What you will find, both in our building and (with your Lincolnwood library card) on any computer or mobile device, is the Encyclopedia Britannica Online. This online format has some obvious advantages over the print version. Thousands of articles are enhanced by multimedia content, and other reference tools (a world atlas, a dictionary) are embedded within the site. Articles are updated continuously by professional editors, with input from the public. And while it no longer involves flipping pages or juggling volumes, browsing—by subject in Articles or Media; by era, nationality/cultural association, or activity in Biographies; or by using a map in the World Atlas—is alive and well.

You’ll find a link to the Encyclopedia Britannica on every page of our website, in the drop-down menu under Research. If you are outside the library, enter your library card number to access the site. Need some guidance? Stop by and ask a librarian, or set up a one-on-one appointment for more detailed instruction. You can always reach us at digitalservices@lincolnwoodlibrary.org, or by calling (847) 677-5277.

 

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 Lynda.com 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 digitalservices@lincolnwoodlibrary.org, 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!

strawberries

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…

Back to School—For All Ages!

Posted & filed under News.

Lincolnwood’s School District 74 opens its doors to students this Wednesday, and teachers are busy writing lesson plans and decorating classrooms in preparation for a new school year. SD74 families, look for a special message from our children’s librarians in the library newsletter that is on its way to your mailbox.

But what if you’re too young or too old for SD74? Sharpen your pencils and come to the library (or library website) for a wide array of new classes and educational opportunities this fall!

For our youngest residents, from birth through age two, we offer Baby Bookworms on Wednesday mornings. The first fall session runs for three weeks, starting on September 10. We are also pleased to welcome Celeste Roy to Lincolnwood for Everybody Move! on Thursday mornings; the eight-week session begins September 11.

For the preschool set, our popular story programs continue with fall sessions of Stories & More and Friday Preschool Fun beginning the week of September 8. If you don’t have time to commit to these sessions, save the date for Saturday Stories on the second Saturday of each month, starting on September 13.

Students who commute to Niles West or other area high schools can still take advantage of their hometown library. Need last-minute, teacher-approved sources for research papers? Your Lincolnwood library card takes you way beyond Wikipedia, giving you access to encyclopedias, academic journals, and more via Resources by Topic for Grades 7-12. When the time comes, stop by the library to browse AP, ACT, SAT, and other test guides—along with college prep books!—in the 378 section of our Adult Non-Fiction department.

College-bound students probably shouldn’t risk bringing library books to distant dorm rooms, but library eBooks can go anywhere! Visit MyMediaMall and search “college” for titles you can download to your tablet or eReader, such as Who Moved My Laundry? A Day-by-day Guide to your First Year of College Life by Susan S. Fitzgerald, or even the I Love Trader Joe’s College Cookbook.

Adults who still get that back-to-school itch are in luck, as the library introduces a full slate of new technology classes this fall. Watch for the listing in our newsletter or check our online calendar for details. Looking for advanced topics or self-paced instruction? Visit us to explore the library’s Lynda.com video station, where you can follow engaging, top-quality courses—taught by recognized industry experts—on topics like digital photography, programming, and animation.

Also new this month: online registration for all library programs, making it even easier to learn and have fun with us. See you soon, pencils (or smartphones) at the ready!