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News from the Reference Desk

Home Movie Day, October 18

Older photographs and home movies are rich treasures of family history.  Have you been wanting to look at and preserve your older home movies?  The Center for Home Movies (http://www.centerforhomemovies.org/) has designated October 18 as the day to do just that.  Over 100 museums and film societies across the world are hosting special events where people can bring their films, view them with others, and get professional guidance about how to best preserve them.  The free Chicago-area event is being held at the Chicago History Museum on October 18 from 11 AM to 3 PM.   At this event you will be able to watch the films with musical accompaniment by silent film pianist, David Drazin.  For more information about this event click here.

 

By annes on October 8, 2014 Categories: Community, History, Photography

Britannica Library

britannicaThe Library now subscribes to the excellent and authoritative Encyclopedia Britannica’s online presence, Britannica Library. Explore thousands of topics in science, social studies, language arts, and mathematics for school projects, review concepts taught in the classroom, or learn something new. Very impressive are the more than 90,000 images, videos, and audio clips. There are 3 levels – children’s, teen, and adult – with great information for everyone. It would be easy to spend an afternoon or evening exploring here.

By Steve Browne on September 25, 2014 Categories: Uncategorized

Free Financial Literacy Programs

Summer is almost over, but the need for money smarts will never end! With that in mind, here are a few free, prepackaged programs and curricula selected and compiled by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) designed to help you improve your own financial literacy and develop the best personal strategy for saving, investing and more.

Elementary School Economics
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
Personal finance and economic lessons are paired with popular children’s books. Librarians can read the book to the children and follow the reading with discussions about money decisions, saving, spending, choices, needs and wants and much more. Includes lesson plans and handouts.

Econlowdown
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
An online learning platform for more than 25 courses about money, financial decisions and economics. Register free to access the full list of courses. Instructors can select courses for their online “classrooms,” hold online discussions with classroom students, view progress, and present poll questions or surveys.

Money Smart for Older Americans
CFPB, FDIC
An instructor-led training developed jointly by FDIC and CFPB, this module provides awareness among older adults and their caregivers about how to prevent elder financial exploitation and to encourage advance planning and informed financial decision-making.

Thrive by 5
Credit Union National Association Inc.
Simple activities and other resources that are parent-and-child tested and meant to give you ideas for: Teaching how money works and what it can do, talking about how your family uses money, and modeling good money management.

By joecollier on August 6, 2014 Categories: Business, Consumer, Economic, Finance

Skunked!

In case you hadn’t noticed (lucky you!) it’s skunk season! Removing skunk scent can be difficult because the oily compound responsible for the odor is not water soluble. In suburbia, the skunk’s prime target seems to be our dogs – mine got sprayed three times last year! Here are some tips from Carriage Hill Kennel in Glenview if your dog gets “skunked.”

1. Keep the dog outside. Most dogs seem to get sprayed in the face and the first thing they do is rub it all over your bed (or other furniture) and it’s very difficult to get the smell out of your house. For the same reason, put on old clothes and use old towels during the cleanup. It’s easier just to throw them away!

2. Mix 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup baking soda, and 2 Tablespoons of dishwashing liquid (Dawn works best.) Do not wet dog down before applying this solution. Pour mixture over the dog and let it sit for 10-15 minutes (be careful not to get it in the dog’s eyes.) Rinse the dog thoroughly and let dry in the sun if possible.

3. Don’t mix this solution before hand and store it in a container as it could possibly explode. There are also products at pet stores specifically for removing skunk odor.

4. If you prefer to take your dog to a groomer for the cleanup, let the groomer know the situation before you drop your pet off. Many times, there is a separate grooming area for “skunked” dogs as they do not want the smell to permeate their business.

5. If you discover skunks have taken up residence on your property – usually in wood piles or under decks or stoops – you will need to call a private company for removal. The Village of Mount Prospect does not remove any wild animals.

Good luck!

By JoR on July 11, 2014 Categories: Uncategorized

Flying the Flag – the right way!

It’s that time of year, when Old Glory is proudly displayed.  The United States Flag is one of the most visible and important symbols of our country and the United States Flag Code spells out proper use of the flag.

From a staff, the union (the blue field) should be at the peak, unless the flag is being flown at half-staff.  No other flag should be placed above or to the right of the American flag. The flag can also be displayed vertically, hanging flat so the folds fall free. The union should be uppermost to the flag’s own right (the observer’s left.)

Customarily, the flag is flown from sunrise to sunset, although it may be flown 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during night hours.  Proper illumination is a light specifically for the flag (preferred) or a light source in the area that allows the flag to be identifiable. The flag should not be flown in inclement weather, unless it is made of all-weather material (many are.)

The flag should not touch the ground or be used for draping or decoration. No part of the flag should be used as a costume, in clothing, or for advertising purposes.  Lapel pins are allowed and should always be worn on the left near the heart.

When a flag becomes too worn to display, it should be respectfully disposed of, preferably by burning.  American Legion Post 36 and VFW Post 2992 host an annual Flag Day (June 14) ceremonial burning of worn flags. For more information on displaying the flag, visit the American Legion website at http://www.legion.org/flag/code .

By JoR on Categories: Uncategorized

Summertime tips for financial literacy

Summer is finally here, and between planning your holidays and wondering when you should turn on the AC, I bet the last thing you’re thinking about is FINANCIAL LITERACY! However, this is actually the BEST time to start figuring out a plan to keep your life cruising along while planning for the future (ok, actually ANYTIME  is a perfect time to work on financial literacy, but why not start now anyway?).

There are many resources that can help, one of which is Feedthepig.org. Assembled by the American Institute of CPAs (and they oughta know!), Feedthepig.org is a great site that offers tips and strategies for putting together a financial plan, including how to create a budget, review your expenses, manage saving, retirement, and student loan debt, and much more. It’s easy to use and fairly straightforward—the real trick, as always, is ACTUALLY DOING IT. Mint.com is another helpful site. Mint pulls all your financial accounts into one place. Set a budget, track your goals, stay on top of your finances. See what’s happening with all your accounts – checking, savings, investments, retirement – at any moment of the day. There’s even a free mobile app to help you stay connected on-the-go. If you’re a student fresh out of college and looking at a mountain (or a molehill) of student loans, you should check out YouCanDealWithIt.com. YouCanDealWithIt.com provides practical and easy-to-understand advice on how to deal with common financial situations facing today’s college students and recent graduates, such as: understanding student aid, including the repayment of student loans, learning effective money management, including setting a budget, and dealing with the dangers of credit cards while enjoying the benefits. In addition to being a resource for students, this website also provides information and tools for parents and college financial aid administrators to help them communicate accurate and effective financial advice to their prospective students, current students, and graduates. So bite the bullet and get started on the road toward better financial literacy today—it may be tough at first, but you’ll be glad you did!

By joecollier on July 1, 2014 Categories: Consumer, Credit Cards, Economic, Finance

One-Stop Veterans’ Benefits Help

Helping veteran and other service members find ways to connect to benefits is one of the services provided by the reference staff. Thanks to Executive Order 13426 (issued in March 2007) this previously somewhat confusing and laborious task got a whole lot easier. Order 13426 established the President’s Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors, which recommended the creation of a web portal that would provide service members, veterans, their families and authorized caregivers with a single sign-on, central access point to clinical and benefit data. This portal, now known as eBenefits, has arrived and is a great resource to research, find, access, and, in time, manage their benefits and personal information. It utilizes the National Resource Directory (NRD), a partnership among the Departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs. Information contained within the NRD is from federal, state and local government agencies; veteran and military service organizations; non-profit and community-based organizations; academic institutions and professional associations that provide assistance to wounded warriors and their families. In addition it partners with and uses information from a variety of sources including Benefits.gov, Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), Defense.gov, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Military Health System, MilitaryHOMEFRONT, My HealtheVet (MHV), Social Security Online, and TRICARE. Vets et al. can create an account and access their current benefits status, download their DD-214, search by location and topic for employment and education opportunities designed specifically for veterans and service members, and more. The site offers detailed tutorials on how best to use it, broken down by the type of user (e.g. veteran, current service member, related family). It even shows you how to connect with other vets via Facebook and Twitter! Without a doubt, if you or someone in your family is a veteran or active service member, it’s well worth taking a look at eBenefits, either on your own or at the library with a reference librarian—make an appointment today and let us help you navigate this comprehensive resource!

By joecollier on June 5, 2014 Categories: Health, Veterans, Web Resource

Photographs from the Field Museum

Chicago’s Field Museum is known for its notable specimens numbering over 24 million.  Did you know that the museum also has tens of thousands of photographs in its collection?  Many of them are available online at http://fieldmuseum.org/explore/department/library/photo-archives/collections.  The photos include scenes from the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 and historic photos from Africa, Peru, the South Pacific and the United States.  This collection documents the history and architecture of the Museum, its exhibitions, events, staff and scientific expeditions.

By annes on June 3, 2014 Categories: History, Museums, Photography

Net Neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has recently proposed rules regarding net neutrality or an open internet. They are seeking public comments to assist them in making these very important rules.

From the FCC website:

The FCC has previously concluded that broadband providers have the incentive and ability to act in ways that threaten Internet openness. But today, there are no rules that stop broadband providers from trying to limit Internet openness. That is why the Notice adopted by the FCC today starts with a fundamental question: “What is the right public policy to ensure that the Internet remains open?”

Initial comments to these proposed rules opened on May 15 and will close on July 15. Replies to comments will be open until September 15. Comments (termed “filings”) may be submitted on the FCC website.

For further reading:

American Library Association: Network Neutrality
Consumers Union on FCC Plan for New Net Neutrality Rules
Consumers Union: What is Network Neutrality?
New York Times: FCC Backs Opening Net Neutrality Rules for Debate
Washington Post: FCC Approves Plan to Consider Paid Priority on Internet
Washington Post: ‘Net Neutrality’ Puts FCC at Center of Storm
Washington Post: Why the Death of Net Neutrality Would be a Disaster for Libraries

By julie collins on May 16, 2014 Categories: Consumer, Technology, Web/Tech

Identity Theft

In 2012, approximately 16.6 million individuals (or 7% of the population) over the age or 16 were victims of identity theft in the United States according to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The increasing number of security breaches occurring just in the past few months has made it imperative that consumers take precautions to safeguard their private information and to know where to turn and steps to take if they become victims themselves. The Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information website has an Identity Theft  guide which provides useful and detailed information for victims and tips for those who would like to safeguard their identity. Specific sections (e.g. initial steps to take if you are a victim; what to do later in the process; how to safeguard your identity and different types of identity theft) are presented in an easy to understand format with helpful checklists to simplify the process.

By julie collins on April 23, 2014 Categories: Consumer, Credit Cards