Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fascinating stuff about the evolution of the web!

Web 3.0 from Kate Ray on Vimeo.

And the irony is that it all comes back to one of the basic questions of Western philosophy! So where do libraries fit in this? How can we help people deal with information overload?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Having Trouble Deciding What to Let Your Child Read/View?

The Plainfield Library can help you with resources to make those decisions! Unlike a school library, public libraries serve all ages, reading levels and a wide range of interests. That does mean that there is likely something in the Library's collection that would shock or offend you - and it most certainly means that not everything in the Library is suitable for children. While it is your responsibility as a parent to decide what is appropriate for your own child, we can help by providing the resources to make that a little easier.

The simplest way the Library does that is by the way books and DVDs are classified. Their location says a little something about their content!

For DVDs, the Library classifies by MPAA ratings and intended audience. DVDs in the Children's AV area (purple shelves) are all G or PG. Anything PG-13 will be found in the Teen AV area (red shelves). Anything R rated will be in the Adult AV area (dark grey shelves). That does not mean that PG movies will not be in the Adult AV area. Especially for classic films, if the intended audience is adults, the DVD will be located in that collection. So you can let your middle school "shop" the teen DVD area knowing that anything she chooses will be no more than PG-13.

For books, Easy and Easy Readers (E or EZ) are for very young children and emerging readers. Topics may include things like divorce or non-traditional families, but are presented in a manner appropriate to young children. Juvenile (J) runs the gamut from readers just delving into independent reading to older elementary student levels. Young Adult (YA or Y) begin to introduce more adult subject matter, but in a way most middle school students can handle. The most sensitive topics are in the Teen section - and, of course, upstairs in the Adult areas.

Library staff can direct you to resources that can aid in the decision-making, without you, as the parent, having to watch every DVD or read every book before they do. Readers advisory resources like the online database NoveList Plus K-8 can help you choose appropriate reading material. Even the Library's catalog may have reviews that can help you make an informed decision. For DVDs, they can show you online resources like which includes a parents guide that states the content of the movie for sex & nudity, violence & gore, drugs/alcohol/smoking and frightening/intense scenes.

In the end, what your child checks out of the library is up to you because anyone under the age of 18 cannot get a Library card without parent or guardian's consent.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Question of the Day: Can I use my Plainfield Library card at other libraries?

The short answer: yes, you can!

In Illinois, public libraries cooperate through a program called "reciprocal borrowing." The program allows anyone with a library card in good standing to borrow items from another participating library. Most public libraries participate, as do some community colleges and other types of libraries.

Here are a few things to know before you drive off to another library to check out their selection:

First, your account needs to be in good standing as defined by your home library - because the lending library will check on your account before allowing you to check out. At the Plainfield Library, "in good standing" is less than $10 in fines,fees or bills per card and less than $50 in fines, fees and bills per household.

Second, the lending library may place limits on what you can check out and for how long. For example, reciprocal borrowers may not be able to check out DVDs or other audiovisual items directly from another library or you may not be able to renew an item. Those rules are set by the lending library.

Third, you can return your items to any library - but it might not get checked in until the item reaches its home library. Let's say you check out a book at the Naperville 95th Street Library and return it at the Plainfield Library. Because the two libraries use different catalogs and check out systems, the book can't be checked in when you turn it in at Plainfield. The book will be routed through library delivery, likely taking several days to travel to Naperville 95th Street Library where it is checked in. Be sure to leave some time for delivery if you choose this method of return!

Last, be sure to return the items! The lending library will share information with your home library if you don't. You may not be able to check out anything else from any library until you clear up any fines or bills with the lending library. If you don't pay, your home library is required to pay the lending library for the unreturned items.