Wednesday, October 28, 2009

H1N1 Swine Flu and the Downers Grove Public Library

A few weeks ago as I worked on the Library’s plan for the H1N1 flu season I realized how lucky we are in this country to be safe from many of the ailments that effect much of the world.

I remember my mother yelling at me when I was very young, not to play in the water or I would catch polio. And I am a member of the original polio vaccine generation who lined up in my elementary school to get all four injections of the Salk vaccine, and then the full course of the Sabin oral vaccine.

As an adult I get a flu shoot every year, like most people who work with the public; but that has been the extent of my worries about public health – until H1N1 came into our lives. Now I am anticipating what might actually happen if there is an H1N1 pandemic in our area, and thinking hard about how to provide library services to the community and at the same time keep staff and patrons safe from infection?

If the flu season turns out to be no worse than a normal year, patrons won’t see much difference in the library, other than the hand sanitizers and wipes at every service desk and posters around the building reminding everyone of hand-washing and other safe practices. We do feature links to information about H1N1 on our website.

The good news for library users is that the flu virus appears to have a lifespan of 2 to 8 hours on a smooth surface, such as a book. It takes about 24 hours to process library material, from the time it is placed into the return, checked in, sorted, and returned to the shelves. This means that materials returned from a household with the flu will likely be perfectly safe, by the time the next patron takes it off the shelf. (Staff have masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer available in our work areas.)

Employees have been instructed to stay home if they get sick, so we don’t infect patrons or co-workers. This means there is a chance we may be a little short-handed at times. We can’t send sick patrons home, but library staff have been directed to protect ourselves and keep a safe distance from patrons who are exhibiting symptoms of illness. We will certainly help everyone as much as we can, but if you are coughing, we may talk you through a computer search rather than sit down and use the keyboard and mouse that you have just handled, for example. Please don’t be offended if you see us using disinfectant wipes on keyboards and mice. It is to protect other patrons as well as ourselves.

If the flu situation worsens, the authorities may advise citizens to increase “social distancing” (literally to keep more space between oneself and others). If this occurs the Library will cancel library programs and public meetings in the building until conditions improve. If the season gets very bad, we have contingency plans to limit some services and/or reduce hours, if the situation requires us to do so.

We all hope that the flu season passes with no major problems. If not, we will do our best to provide the community with accurate information and to modify library services as appropriate, until the situation returns to normal.

And this is one more thing to add to my list of stuff they didn't teach us in library school.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Best Beach Books Ever

Summer time for many, including my family, means going to the beach, so I had a great time browsing through NPR’s Audience Picks 100 Best Beach Books Ever . I have always been a discursive reader --at least since I discovered the word discursive when I was about 14 -- and apparently the NPR audience members are too. What an amazing variety of books have been suggested for the list! And I am pleased to report that I have read about half of them – so far.

The list includes classics like Treasure Island (ranked # 100) and Huckleberry Finn (#21) that I reread every few years, also Jane Austen (#5) and Emily Bronte (#76) that I don’t. There are classic mysteries like Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express (#50), along with contemporary ones including Janet Evanovitch (#87) and Scott Turow (#91).

There are titles that seem to me to be perfect beach books, including Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities and Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary (#4) or titles by Ken Follett (#41) and Carl Hiaasen (#99). On the other hand, Bonfire of the Vanities tied with William Golding’s Lord of the Flies for number 74 on the list!?! And has anyone really ever seen a reader stretched out on a chaise lounge reading Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (#56)?

Two titles by Cormac McCarthy made the list -- All the Pretty Horses (#83) and The Road (#86). Both of these books worked for me as late night reading, but you definitely won’t find them in my beach bag. I did read Peter Benchley’s Jaws (#62) at the beach when it was first published, though I have to confess that I was pretty nervous about going into the ocean for the rest of that week.

It is fun to scan any list of recommended books and pick out the ones you have read and love, but it is even more fun to be reminded of books you haven’t read and maybe didn’t even realize you wanted to. On the 100 Best Beach Books list I just spotted Princess Bride by William Goldman (#28). My family fell in the love with the movie Princess Bride when it was released in 1987. Give a Bowen any excuse and we still chant “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” But I have never read the book! The SWAN catalog shows that a copy is on the shelf, so Princess Bride has moved to the top of my own list of books for the beach this summer!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Library Garden Walk

The Downers Grove Public Library Foundation recently hosted a reception honoring donors who have contributed bricks to the new section of the Library Garden Walk. Invitations were sent to donors to the original walk that opened as part of our building renovation and expansion project, as well as to recent donors. Also honored was the Downers Grove Junior Woman’s Club who donated two benches for the Walk, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the club.

When I looked at the crowd that came to hear a brief welcoming speech from Kathy DiCola, president of the Foundation, listen to the steel drummer, eat ice cream, and most importantly to share the fun of seeing one’s brick in the Garden Walk, I couldn’t help but think back to the planning of the original Garden Walk in 1999.

At that time we loved the idea of a walk with donor bricks that would give residents a chance to literally become part of the library building project. We hoped to raise about $17,000 to fund the decorations for the entrance to the new Junior Room, and maybe allow us to build the Mouse House that our architect had designed as a possible feature for the picture book area. At the same time, we also wondered if anybody in Downers Grove would really pay money to put their name on a library brick.

Downers Grove folks love their community and are strong supporters of the library. But they are also tend to be self-effacing types, who are more interested in getting things done than in putting their name on stuff. Turns out residents mostly didn’t put their own names on the bricks. However they did take to the project with great enthusiasm! Bricks were donated to honor a favorite teacher, to recognize a favorite book, or to memorialize a deceased relative. We even have at least one brick in memory of a beloved pet.

We have been delighted to find that Garden Walk bricks have become a tradition in some families, who continue to donate bricks to mark family milestones. This winter a proud grandparent ordered a brick to honor a new grandchild, then called back a few days later to ask us to hold the order. Another grandchild was due in the spring and they wanted to add that child’s name to the brick when he or she was born.

I mentioned that our original goal was for decorations for the new Junior Room. When they heard about the campaign, the Junior Woman’s Club stepped in and donated the full cost of decorating the Mouse House, so we thought there really was a chance that we might raise the rest of the money for the mural at the entrance to the children’s department. In fact, bricks were donated like crazy over the first winter and we raised enough to decorate the Junior Room, and also purchase the hanging sculpture in the Curtiss Street atrium as well as other artwork for the library.

During the first ten years of the Garden Walk, well over $100,000 has been donated, with the money earmarked for art work for the library. The art collection has continued to grow and we now have an interesting variety of art displayed around the building. We look forward to the opportunities for expanding our art collection that will be provided by the donations to the expanded Garden Walk.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer Time and the Reading is Easy!

Summer officially begins later this week, but the Library’s Summer Reading Clubs are already under way. Readers of all ages are reading like crazy and have begun turning in their reading lists and collecting the first prizes in this year’s Read on the Wild Side Summer Reading Club.

Public libraries have sponsored summer reading clubs for children for many years. Children’s summer reading clubs were intended to encourage children to develop a love of reading and libraries – and it works! It is pretty common to hear parents who bring their children to reading club programs reminiscing about coming to reading club programs when they were children. But some years ago adults started asking why do the kids get to have all the fun? Why isn’t there a summer reading club for adults too? Library staff agreed, and we added the teen and adult clubs.

TAB, our Teen Advisory Board, helps library staff come up with ideas for programming for teens. The TAB members suggested that movie tickets plus the chance to win the grand prize of a Wii video game console would be great lures to interest teens in participating in this summer’s club. Judging by the crowd in Teen Central these days, TAB was right!

When we first started the adult reading club we were surprised at the enthusiasm of many of our regular readers. They were already readers, but many adults like the sense of community that comes from participating in the reading clubs. We ask readers to indicate which books on their reading lists are their favorites and many of our readers like to stop and chat with staff about the books they are reading. Our “regulars” pay attention to our lists of patron’s favorite books and they like to try titles that have been popular with other readers.

It is fun to see people carrying book bags or water bottles that were the prizes for reading clubs in past years. I suspect you will see the waterproof paperback book cover that is one of this year’s prizes on books at area pools and beaches this summer, and in summers to come.

I should mention that library staff are not competing with you for the prizes. It wouldn’t be fair since we have such easy access to books and some of us are actually expected to read as part of our jobs. We do have our own summer reading club though, and the box in the staff lunch room with the raffle tickets for the staff prize is beginning to fill up.

Summer time and the reading is easy! Follow the links on the our web site and you can print your adult or teen reading folders on line and start your list now. Join your neighbors and participate in this summer’s Read on the Wild Side Summer Reading Club!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My personal reading list

Writing about the reading list feature in SWAN, the library’s online catalog, made me think of my own personal reading list. Like many librarians, I keep a personal reading list. It is just a notebook in which I write down every book that I read. I started my written list long before SWAN would keep the list for me. I only write down the title, author, and date I finished reading the book. Once I intended to include comments or even mini-reviews, but the Downers Grove librarian who advocated that everyone should keep a personal reading list years ago also recommend keeping the entries brief, so you actually bother to do it every time you finish a book. If you wait until you have enough time to write comments about each book it becomes work, and you will never get around to it.

That was very good advice because I really have written down every one of the books that I have read since I started keeping the list. I would absolutely not have kept up with the list if I forced myself to write more about each title. Even with that small amount of information, a glance through the pages of my notebook brings back an amazing number of memories of my life at the time I read each one.

The Field Guide to North American Spiders reminded me of September 2007, when a large spider had taken up residence on our back porch and every night would construct a beautiful web in the open door way. Every morning the web would be in tatters, sometimes from the wind, sometimes because I forgot about it and walked through it when I let the dog out. But every evening for over a week she would come out of hiding at sundown and begin spinning a new web for the night’s hunting. My wife and I would sometimes just stand and watch. We did identify her, though I don’t remember what kind of spider she was. But I can vividly recall how beautifully her web shone in the moonlight every night during that magical week.

The other day I wanted to find a recipe for orecchio pasta with cherry tomatoes. I remembered that I had cooked it from a new cook book that I was reading, when my wife’s yoga teacher/mentor from California came over for dinner when she was in town to do a workshop a couple of years ago. Sure enough, I looked through my notebook and found “My Italian Garden” by Viana LaPlace, a wonderful collection of recipes for cooking the produce from the author’s garden in southern Italy. Then I remembered the lovely evening we spent in our tiny kitchen full of yoga teachers and friends.

Other books remind me of occasions as varied as vacations at the beach or long hours in the hospital while my wife recovered from a serious illness. Sometimes I just want to be reminded a about a favorite series that I read in the past. Looking at my list reminded me that it has been a while since I have checked to see if C.J. Box has written any more mysteries featuring Wyoming game warden Joe Picket. A quick search of SWAN shows that, yes, there is one I haven’t read yet!

So if you are reader, get yourself a spiral notebook and keep it in the place that works best for you. My wife keeps hers on her dresser and writes her notes before she goes to sleep at night. I keep mine in the dining room and add my books while drinking my morning coffee. Your reading list will soon become part of your regular routine.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Your SWAN account

Last week I wrote about the SWAN online catalog and my surprise that some regular library users were not aware of SWAN. I have also found that some folks who regularly use SWAN, have never explored “My Account.”

SWAN is the library’s circulation system, as well as the catalog of our collection. “My Account” gives you access to the record of materials you have borrowed from the library, and the ability to manage your account. There two easy ways to get to “My Account.” On any page of the library website, click on “My Account” in the upper right hand corner of the page to go directly to the “My Account” log in. When searching the SWAN catalog, click on “Home” to go the SWAN home page, then click on “My Account” at the top of the box on the right side of the screen to get to the log in.

To log in, enter your name, your library card barcode number, and your PIN. If you haven’t established an account previously, enter the number (or word) you would like to use for your PIN or password. If this is your first time, you will be asked to enter it again to verify it. Then you are into your personal account.

On the first screen you will see your name and address near the top, with a list of all the materials that you currently have checked out below. You can see when each item is due, and you can renew some or all of the items you have checked out. When you try to renew materials, be sure and look at each item to verify that you were able to renew it. If there is a waiting list for a particular item you will not be able to renew it and it must be returned to avoid an overdue fine.

By the way, if you see that the items you just returned still shows that they are checked out, don’t panic. We check in nearly million items each year. It may take a day or even a couple of days after a busy holiday weekend for staff to catch up. We do keep track of when items were actually placed in the book returns, and you will not receive overdue fines, even if it takes us a day or two enter your return into the system.

Back to “My Account.” To the left of your name and address you will see a box that shows the number of items you have requested and the amount of any fines that you have accrued. Click on the number of requests and you go to list of all the items you have reserved. When an item is available it will indicate that the item is ready for pick up in the status column. Click on the amount of your fines line and you will see the detailed information about any unpaid fines, and have the ability to pay the fine on the spot with your credit card.

My favorite feature is the “Reading History” button in the cluster of six buttons to the right of your name and address. Clicking on “Reading History” allows you to begin keeping record of every item you check out of the library. The list will begin when you activate it and will continue until you choose to stop keeping the reading list. You can delete selected items or all the items in your list. At any time, you can choose to stop keeping the list and automatically delete the existing list. Also, you are the only person with access to your “Reading History.” It is not part of the record that library staff have access to when we check your materials in or out.

Take a few minutes to explore “My Account.” There are other features that I haven’t discussed. Give them a try!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Never Heard of SWAN!

Never heard of SWAN! Don’t know that we have an online catalog of our collection? Oh my gosh! Sometimes we take something so much for granted that we forget that other people may not know anything about it.

In a recent conversation with an acquaintance who is a regular library user, I discovered that not only had he never used SWAN, our online catalog, but he did not even know that it exists. He uses the library like a book store and just goes to the shelves to browse through whatever is there. He was amazed that we have an online catalog that lists every item that we own --- books, magazines, audio books, DVD’s, and CD’s -- and tells the user if the item is on the shelf, or when it is due to be returned.

Even more, SWAN (the System-Wide Automated Network) also shows you the collections of the other 79 SWAN libraries at the same time. Titles popular at one library, may not be popular at another. There is often a copy available somewhere else, if Downers Grove does not own a title or our copies are checked out. Just click on “request” in the SWAN catalog and another library’s copy will be sent to you at Downers Grove within a few days. (You can also dash over to the owning library and check the item out with your Downers Grove card, if you just can’t wait for the delivery!)

Even when titles are in high demand everywhere, you can still click on “request” to get on the waiting list. If you search for a new, popular title, you may see something like “75 requests on 53 available copies”. That means that all of the SWAN libraries combined own 53 copies of that title, and that 75 people are waiting for the title. If you click on “request” you will become the 76 person in line. With 53 copies available, it doesn’t take long to fill 76 requests. As each of those 53 copies is returned, it is sent to the next person on the waiting list at any SWAN library. (The exception is that a request at the library that owns the book is filled first, when that library’s copy is returned. This means that when Downers Grove’s copy is returned, it will go to the next Downers Grove cardholder in the waiting list, and only go to another library if no one from Downers Grove is waiting for the title.)

By the way, SWAN libraries are not all public libraries. There are several college libraries in SWAN, including Morton College and Prairie State College. Even better, Brookfield Zoo and Morton Arboretum libraries are also SWAN libraries, giving users access to their unique collections.

It is fairly easy to do a basic search of SWAN. We have placed a search box in the upper right hand corner of each page of our web site. Just for fun, try entering the word “frisbee” in the search box and clicking on “search”. In the results of your keyword search for “frisbee” you will see that that the first item listed is a DVD (note the graphic at the right side of the listing) of a movie titled “Frisbee: the Life and Death of a Hippie Preacher”. The second item is a video cassette about games using Frisbees. The next several items are all books about Frisbees.

If you click on a title you will see a list of the libraries that own that specific item and whether or not it is on the shelf. Look at the buttons across the top of the screen. You can click “Read about it” to read reviews and/or summaries of the title. Note that this information is available for many, but not all of the titles in the SWAN catalog. If Downers Grove doesn’t own the title or our copies have been checked out, click on the “request” button and one of the copies that are available at other libraries will be sent to Downers Grove for you to pick up.

When you click on “request” you will be asked to enter your name, your library card bar code, and your PIN. If you don’t have a PIN, click on "what is a PIN" to find out how to create one. Once you create a PIN you will have access to your SWAN account. Your account has a number of great features, including an option to keep a reading history. But I will talk about that next week.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Lead in Library Books

One of the most interesting aspects of a library director’s job is that it is never boring. There are an endless number of new things to learn, as well as a surprising number of unexpected things to worry about.

The library profession had quite a scare this winter, when the Consumer Product Safety Commission released regulations for implementing The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA). This legislation is intended to decrease the level of lead and phthalates in toys and other products intended to be used by young children. The original legislation was never intended to include “ordinary books”. (Ordinary books are regular books for reading, rather than printed pages that are part of some sort of toy.)

Imagine our surprise in January when we learned that under the new interpretation of the CPSIA, books are subject to the same testing requirements as children’s toys and clothing! Further, the CPSC opinion states that not only must testing be done on new books, but that the legislation is retroactive. If this requirement stands every book in a children’s collection would have to be tested by a CPSA certified lab. Libraries would be forced to close their collections of children’s books, until every item is verified to be safe.

While the ink used in older books does contain traces of lead, books have been an unregulated product. Because there is no history of children or adults being harmed by exposure to lead used in manufacturing books, there has been no need to consider regulating them. Book publishers have had all of the components used in manufacturing books tested and found that the levels of lead in the book materials are actually far below the levels that will be allowed when the highest standards of the CPSIA are implemented in three years. The Center for Disease Control has found that that there is little risk to children from lead paint in ordinary books.

In our many years of practical experience dealing with both books and children, we have seen countless library books with pages that have been torn or “enhanced” with children’s crayon, maker, and pen illustrations. Children have dropped library books into bathtubs, and wreaked havoc on our materials in many other ways. But we have not experienced many instances of children eating library books. The danger of lead comes from ingesting it, as happened with children’s toys painted with leaded paint.

In fact, when the issue of lead paint in toys first came to the attention of the public a few years ago, we tested all of the toys in the library and removed those that did contain lead-based paint.

The good news for young readers is that in response to the outcry from librarians and publishers, the CPSA has issued a one year stay on implementing the CPSIA in regard to children’s books. Federal legislation (H.R. 1692) has recently been introduced to exempt ordinary books from the CPSIA. We all hope that this or similar legislation will be adopted before the stay expires next December, so that children can continue to read the children’s books in their local public libraries.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A great librarian died this week. Judith Krug was the director of the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom from its establishment in 1967 until her death on Saturday, April 11, 2009. One of the inspirations for my own professional involvement in the intellectual freedom community, Judy was my colleague, mentor, and hero for 25 years.

Most librarians have a basic belief that our primary job is to enable library patrons to find the information that they seek in our collections. But we also quickly find out that following through on that belief in our practical, day-to-day lives is not always easy. People who work in libraries tend to be interested in the world around them and to care passionately about issues.

Ms. Krug helped many of us understand that our personal opinions are irrelevant when we are selecting materials for library collections. Our responsibility is to represent the broad range of ideas and beliefs of our communities and ensure that every library user can find information that supports his or her interests and beliefs, whether or not we personally agree with them.

Every librarian that believes in intellectual freedom imagines defending a challenge to a book like Huckleberry Finn, The Grapes of Wrath, or Catcher in the Rye – great books that perennially make the lists of the most challenged books in the United States. No such luck in real life! After I became the Director of the Downers Grove Public Library, the first book that a patron asked that I remove from the collection was a book that supported a political view that I personally opposed, and that promoted a course of action that I believed was morally wrong. I complained to Ms. Krug about having to defend this book. “Congratulations!” she said. “Now you understand what it means to be a librarian.”

Perhaps the most important lesson that we learned from Ms. Krug is to ask a concerned patron, “Does the library also have information that supports your point of view?” If the answer is “no”, we need to identify material that does support that patron’s beliefs and make it available in the collection. If we are doing our job, every patron will find something in the collection that he or she objects to. And every patron will find something in the collection that supports his or her beliefs and interests.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

“Why don’t you tell anyone the title of the book when you call to tell me my reserve is available for pickup?”

Library staff typically leave a message something like, “This is the Downers Grove Public Library. A book (or DVD, or CD) that you reserved is available for pickup. We will hold it for you until Friday, April 10 at the Circulation Desk.” We never leave the title of the item in a voicemail message and we do not tell the title to another person who happens to answer the telephone. The reason is very simple – your use of library materials is confidential.

Not only is confidentiality a basic principle of every public library, but in most states, including Illinois, it is a matter of law! The Illinois Library Records Confidentiality Act says that “The registration and circulation records of a library are confidential information.” The Act goes on to state that this information cannot be made available to the public unless the library is required to do so under a court order or, in an emergency situation, to a sworn law enforcement officer who believes that there is an imminent danger of physical harm to an individual.

Of course patrons should be aware that Federal law trumps State law and the USA Patriot Act does allow the FBI to access your records, without your knowledge. Librarians have been fighting for years to have library records exempted from the Patriot Act.

Why is confidentiality such an important issue to librarians? Because we want you to be comfortable using the library for your information needs. Library staff are happy to help you find the information you are looking for, but we generally do not know, or need to know, why you are looking for specific information.

For example, when a patron asks for materials about a particular disease it could be because he is doing a report on the disease for school, or because he is simply curious after hearing it mentioned on a television program. But it could also be because the patron just found out that she has the disease, or that a relative does. There could be very good reasons that the patron would prefer that we not leave a message on her home answering machine that says “ the DVD about Alzheimer’s that you reserved is ready for pick-up."

One of my daughters is an avid writer. When she began writing as a teenager she regularly borrowed books on baby names from the library, looking for ideas for names for her characters. I suspect that some staff wondered if the Bowen household was expecting a new arrival, but library staff did not talk about it because they have been trained that a patron’s use of the library is private. Library patrons can be confident that we take our responsibility to preserve your privacy very seriously.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Have you ever heard someone say, “I don’t need to use the library, everything I need is available on the Internet?”

While a wealth of information is available on the Internet, it is not always easy to know which of the tens of thousands of web sites out there are accurate and up-to-date. In addition, much of the most useful information is not free. The advantage of using your local public library is that library staff knows the sorts of questions their patrons ask.

Downers Grove Public Library offers dozens of online reference databases that have been selected by our professional librarians to provide information on the subjects that are most requested by library patrons. A few databases can only be used in the library, but whenever possible we select online reference databases that allow us to give library members remote access. Your library card number identifies you as a member of the Downers Grove Public Library who is entitled to use our databases. With your library card you can use your library’s databases from anywhere you choose – home, work, from your laptop in a local coffee shop, or from a computer in another country.

This fall when I spent a month in India, I was invited to give a talk to a local Rotary International Club in Chennai. In spite of being 8,000 miles away with a 12 hour time difference I used Downers Grove Public Library reference databases to research my topic and prepare my speech. Any library cardholder can do the same thing, 24 hours per day, when and where it is most convenient for her or him. One more reason why the Downers Grove Public Library is the place to go when you need to know.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I have heard people suggest that there is no need for librarians now that everyone has easy access to the Internet. In fact, Downers Grove Public Library patrons asked a record 85,000 questions in 2008. Many of those questions started out “I have spent 2 hours searching the Internet and couldn't find…. Can you help me?” Even if it is not convenient to visit or call the library during our usual business hours, every page of our web site offers the option to Ask a Librarian -- a path to a variety of opportunities to get help or recommendations from library staff. Using email or instant messaging you can ask for help finding everything from information on a particular topic to recommendations of a good book to read. Responses to most queries will be sent or posted during regular library working hours. However for those times when you need information “right now” try Ask Away Illinois to contact a live librarian 24 hours per day. The Ask Away librarian will not always be a Downers Grove Public Library staff member, but he or she will always be a trained librarian who is experienced in helping library patrons find information. We hope you will take advantage of the opportunity to Ask a Librarian through our website, and that you will find it the place to go when you need to know.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Welcome to the new web site of the Downers Grove Public Library (DGPL). This blog will be my opportunity to talk about the services and programs of the Downers Grove Public Library, and to inform patrons about issues that affect this library or public libraries in general. As a local public library, we are unique because we focus specifically on the needs and interests of the residents of Downers Grove. While we cannot afford to be open 24 hours per day, seven days per week, we can provide patrons with access to many of our personalized services 24/7 through our website. These services include your library’s collection of reference resources in online databases; recommendations of great websites; suggestions of good books, movies, and recordings; and even a variety of opportunities to interact with library staff directly. Future posts will focus on each of these topics. We hope you will take advantage of the services we offer through the new website, and that you will find it the place to go when you need to know.