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

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.

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.

Early Literacy iPads

Posted & filed under Blog, Technology.

An exciting new way to develop early literacy skills with our youngest library users has cropped up at the Lincolnwood Library! iPads loaded with early literacy games are now docked in the picture book section just waiting to be played with.

Our librarians have loaded the new iPads with games that fit one of the five early literacy practices: playing, singing, talking, reading, and writing. Each app focuses on one or more of these skills and helps little library users develop the tools they will need to grow into avid readers.

Early literacy is the concept of building skills through practices listed above. The skills developed include print awareness and motivation, narrative skills, vocabulary, and more. Having a strong knowledge of these skills at a young age sets children up for academic and personal success. By having these iPads loaded with apps to focus on these skills and practices, the Lincolnwood Library is helping grow readers through technology.

What about the computers we already have? The desktop Early Literacy Stations, which are also loaded with early literacy games, will be eventually phased out as part of our renovation. Similar to those computers, the iPads do not require a library card to use and are available for play as long as the library is open. So far, they have been a huge success!

In addition to just being a great time for our children, these iPads tie back to our strategic plan. One of our initiatives, Computers and Technology, was designed to connect us to the digital world. Our early literacy iPads extend that connection to the community’s youngest members, while enabling staff to continuously update the selection of apps to with the latest research-based, kid-approved games.

Interested in checking out our early literacy iPads? Head on over to the library, where a Youth Services librarian will be happy to show them off.

Black History Month

Posted & filed under Blog, Technology.

warmth of other suns book coverSince 1976, the United States has recognized February as African American History Month. Here at the library, we have books and films about African American history available all year long, but this month, we’re highlighting some of them on displays throughout the building. Our diverse selection includes the classic Uncle Tom’s Cabin; Negroland, a new memoir about growing up Chicago’s upper-class black community; Lillian’s Right to Vote, a picture book celebration of the 1965 Voting Rights Act; and All American Boys, a timely and challenging novel for teens (and indeed, for adults).

If you can’t make it to the library, search MyMediaMall for ebooks like Twelve Years a Slave or The Warmth of Other Suns, or stream movies like “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” or “Fruitvale Station” from hoopla’s Black History Month collection. You can also use Explora to read magazine and journal articles about the Civil Rights Movement (note: you must log in with your library card to view this link), or search the library’s historical archive of the Chicago Tribune to see what journalists of the day wrote about events like the school desegregation demonstrations of 1963.

Here in the Chicago area, we are lucky to have Black History Month treasure troves like the DuSable Museum and the Shorefront Legacy Center. Nationally, check out the incredible digital collections of the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, or download an app that lets you pay a 3D virtual reality “visit” to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture prior to its long-awaited opening this fall.

If you’d like further recommendations for reading, viewing, or research in honor of African American History Month, don’t hesitate to ask a librarian.

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!

Webinar: Ebooks for Students

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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!