Monday, June 30, 2008

Big Bird Book

No Sesame Street characters involved, this is a big book about birds. Huge, in fact. I didn't get more than half-way in before I was so chock-full of avian knowledge that I had to quit. But I'll be back. And gorgeous? The cover photo is accurately indicative. Pictures are amazing - there is one of a sleeping flamingo that looks just like a lush pink flower on a leafless stem. How can they sleep like that, balanced on one incredibly skinny and fragile leg? Looks mighty precarious to me. The book includes your garden-variety birds - sparrows, bluebirds, finches, crows. (Garden birds, get it? Ha!) Then there are those that appear to be creatures from another planet. I'm looking at you, Shoebill. When you get a chance, pick this one up. (Use both hands. I told you it was big.)

Bird : the definitive visual guide

Friday, June 27, 2008

Flood Kits Update

As of today, the Red Cross would like flood victims to pick up flood kits at their local office, 2116 Grand Avenue.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Oenophile. How it is that means 'wine lover' is beyond me. It's not a sensible, easily -recognizable word like bibliophile or audiophile. But there it is, hanging around the bottles of Hair of the Dingo, Yellow Tail, and Smoking Loon. By the way, don't bother producing a new line of wine unless you are prepared to give it a name that invokes the image of a garage band. You are probably aware that Iowa has a thriving wine business, ranking 14th in number of wineries per state in 2007*! And there's quite a range of wines to choose from - the sweet wines of the Amanas to Summerset's dry Marechal Foch or Seyval Blanc. Here is a link to the Iowa Wine Growers Association. Here are some books to help you pick out wines you like. Or as the oenophiles would no doubt say, 'to assist you in becoming your own sommelier'.
The wine club : a month-by-month guide to learning about wine with friends

Andrea Immer's wine buying guide for everyone.

Educating Peter : how I taught a famous movie critic the difference between cabernet and merlot, or, how anybody can become an (almost) instant wine expert

*Des Moines Business Record, 2008, 02/25/08 p. 3
Graphic Credit:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Flood Cleanup Information

The South Side and East Side libraries are currently out of flood kits. These kits were provided by the Red Cross, and you can call the Red Cross at 243-7681. Also, for reliable information on coping with the aftermath of the flood click on this web site adapted by Iowa State University. The web site also offers this information: "Household cleanup questions can be answered by ISU Answer Line at 1-800-262-3804. Additional information can be obtained by calling Iowa Concern Hotline at 1-800-447-1985".

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Slice of 'Life'

Remember when smoking was healthy (Santa Claus smoked!)? When Margaret Mead was cutting-edge? When Norman Rockwell ruled American magazines? No? Sputnik maybe? Even if you don't remember this stuff it was plenty interesting and we have the magazines that reported it as it happened. They give you a glimpse of American culture at the time. Well, at least the print media's idea of American culture. And for those of you finishing up your degrees that need primary sources, some of these may do the trick. Oh, who am I kidding? Mostly we just want to see those full-page black-and-white ads for cars with fins and push button starters. Cutting edge!
A selection of magazines and newspapers we have that are of an historic nature, housed at the Central Library, as of June 2008:

Ladies Home Journal: 1893 - 1908; 1911 to present

Life: 1883-1909; 1911-12; 1936-1972; 1978-2000

Look: 1938-1971

National Geographic: 1910 - to present

New York Times: microfilm1851-1870; microfilm 1939 - to present

Newsweek: bound 1933-50; microfilm 1950-to present

Scientific American: 1859 – present

Time: 1924- to present

Wall Street Journal: microfilm 1950 - to present

Monday, June 23, 2008

We Don't Have It, Maybe We Can Get It

Even if we don’t own the book you want, we have options! For Des Moines residents with Des Moines Public Library cards we offer an Inter-Library Loan service. We check the entire United States to find a library that will loan out the book you want. Here’s how it works. Let us know what you want, and if the book is at least 12 months old we’re in business. (Libraries want keep their new books for their own customers). We relieve you of $1.25 because we do charge for the service, whether or not we can get the book. This is a processing fee as the service uses a large amount of staff time. We fill out a form (of course); send it off and wait for the book to appear. This can take up to six weeks but it's generally closer to 2-3 weeks. Once we receive the book it usually has to be returned in 2 weeks, so the faster you can pick it up the better. I’ve used this service often and it’s amazing, so keep it in mind! To inquire about this service please call us at 283-4152 and press 3. Please have your Des Moines Public Library Card ready when you call. Thank you!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Link Week - Occupational Outlook

So you're looking for a job or maybe a career, something long-term. You need information about different kind of jobs - what the work's like, training needed, etc. This site is tailor made! A sample search: click on the A-Z Index. Select the letter E. Recover from the amazement at seeing all the occupations listed: Earth drillers, except oil and gas to Extruding, forming, pressing, and compacting machine setters, operators, and tenders. Admit it, you didn't even know that second one existed. Let's pick something more general like Economist. Now your information choices are:

Nature of the Work
Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement
Job Outlook
Projections Data
OES Data
Related Occupations

OK I don't know what OES is either, but if you need it you'll know it. Time to read everything you can possibly stand about the life of economists. And then some.

Recommended Links

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Link Week:

Here is a treat for the vegetarian/vegan community. Recipes! Hundreds of them! And not a one of them with a hint of meat. So get your tofu ready to be used in ways it never imagined. Among the favorite recipes: Incredible this-will-become-your-favorite Veggie Pot Pie! Unbeef Stew! Kale Chips--a.k.a Seriously Addictive Snack! Indulge your recipe addiction to your heart's content. Those of you who like to cook and those who like to read recipes will be in some-kind-of-vegetable heaven. I just like to look at the pictures. And then feel sad because no one's cooking any of it for me.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Link - The Auto Channel

They take a different approach here at the Auto Channel. One useful feature is that they will directly compare 2 autos - not individual cars, but the models. You can also get the vehicle's floorplan which is so cool, especially with the RV's. Did I mention they cover RV's? And trucks. Crash test results and monthly payment calculators are two other modules included. The Auto Channel really is a impressive source of information, one of the most varied and in-depth web sites I've used. You'll love it.

Recommended Links

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Link Week - Genealogy

OK you Genealogists (And I know you're out there. In force.) here's a link just for you. It has the not-so-cheerful but definitely accurate name 'Online Searchable Death Indexes & Records'. Truth in advertising. Go to this site, pick a state and you get all sorts of resources for say, Masssachussetts. Who knows, maybe the Berkshire County: Assorted Vital Records (most are pre-1850) is just what you've been looking for. Many of these resources charge, but genealogy is big business and they own the stuff, they can charge for it. The American Way. If the standard sources just aren't cutting it, rummage around here and see what you can find.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Link Week - The first link: Parent Previews

This week we'll be highlighting some of the web sites that the Des Moines Public Librarians have investigated, and decided they are worthy to be a part of our web site. Today's link is Parent Previews. This site provides reviews of movies, DVDs, etc. from a parent's point of view. The contributors are not trained reviewers, but that's not the point. The point is, what would you think about your kids seeing this movie? And these parents concentrate on that - not if it's considered a good, boring, or well-made movie, just whether it's a good one for the kids. A unique resource, and because it's on the web it's up to date. Take a look and see what you think of the reviews.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Father's Day -- It Came from Spokane

Who knew that Father’s Day was a product of Spokane, WA? It was proposed by Mrs. John B. Dodd, (obviously a fan of men, since there is no mention of her own first name) on June 19th, 1910. The Mayor of Spokane proclaimed it, the Governor of Washington recognized it, and the third Sunday of June would heretofore be celebrated as Father's Day. It was not, however, Presidentially declared until 1966. So what were we doing before 1966? Running around celebrating a rogue holiday! Don’t know how much the fathers enjoyed it as I suspect this was the Tie Era. “Look! A green paisley tie! I love it!” Fathers can be so sweet. Give your father, your uncle, brother, or mentor a handmade card. Even if you’re 30 and he looks at you funny, it’s made with love. He should be thankful you’re not giving him a handmade tie.

Source: Chase's Calendar of Annual Events
Graphic source:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

No Internet at Central

Second floor of the Central Library is CLOSED.
Due to the relocation of city employees to the Central Library because of flooding, the second floor of the library will be closed until further notice. The Central Library will also be closed this Sunday. Unfortunately, this means no Internet Service will be available. And while the second floor is closed at Central we are still offering all our other regular services. But all the other libraries are open and Internet is available there. We are sorry for the inconvenience, and will let you know as soon as the situation changes. Remember, all our libraries have free wireless internet! Thank you for your patience!

Our current information is that all the libraries will still be open until 8PM this evening.

East Side Library
2559 Hubbell Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50317
Forest Avenue Library
1326 Forest Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50314
Franklin Avenue Library
5000 Franklin Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50310
North Side Library
3516-5th Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50313
South Side Library
1111 Porter Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50315

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tonight at Franklin!

At 7 PM in the meeting room at the Franklin Avenue Library you have an opportunity to provide input on the planned expansion of this building. Come on, we know you feel passionately about this neighborhood library. Do you want the expansion to emphasize more computers, more books, more room for programming? Or all of those elements? Stop in and have your say. If you can't be there this evening, several more forums are planned. For more information, click here. Speak up - you know you want to!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Books in Series - Don't Get Lost

If you, like myself, enjoy reading books in a series it is quite likely that you, like myself, wish to read them in their proper order. I read the Harlan Coben Myron Bolitar series willy-nilly and I certainly enjoyed them, but there would have been many more surprises had I read about the events as they happened. But now you don't have to get lost! For your assistance: Click here to visit the Kent District Library of Comstock Michigan search engine for books in series. I recently read a Fannie Flagg book, Can't Wait to get to Heaven, that didn’t seem to be in a series. But it was! So I typed the title in the title box on the search page and guess what. It listed all the books in the series and identified them as Book 1, 2, etc. And guess what! I read the last one first. Sigh. But anyway, now you know all about it and can avoid my mistakes. Here is a link to this wonderful resource: What’s Next? Books in Series.
Graphic Source: Dorling Kindersley

Friday, June 6, 2008

Yet another option in our struggle against high gas prices

Actually you wouldn't want to do this because I understand ostriches are not exactly human-friendly. And those big clawed feet are mighty close to the driver. Surely there must be another way! If wishes were ostriches... We do have some books on hybrid cars. They may make you optimistic because good things are a comin'. Or they may make you sad because the good things aren't here yet. But at least you aren't driving an ostrichmobile.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A Little Update on the Do-Not-Call Registry

In February 2008 a law went into effect that makes your listing on the Do-Not-Call Registry permanent. That's right, you don't have to renew every five years or so. If you want to verify that your number is indeed on the registry you can check online at Or you can call the registry’s toll-free number (1-888-382-1222) and follow the prompts for verifying that your number is on the registry. You can read more about this development at And enjoy the quiet.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Here Comes the Sun, or Heavy D

For years we've heard that sun exposure is potential deadly. Stay out of the sun. Use SPF 5000 to block every particle of anything that might possibly be emitted by the sun. If you have to, find a friendly vampire and let nature take its course. Then you won't need to worry about it. Recently some members of the medical community have announced that most of us are deficient in Vitamin D, which apparently provides protection from various cancers. Including skin cancer. I'm so confused. So maybe you should get a little sun, like 10 minutes a day. Or maybe you can get your D through supplements. But one expert says most of those don't provide D10 which is what you really need. What the heck are we supposed to do now? Set a timer for 10 minutes then slather on the 'screen?

Let's hope the dermatologists and nutritionists and all the other 'ists' duke it out soon and give us a definitive answer. In the meantime, here are some articles on the subject to assist you in making an informed decision. All of the articles are available through EbscoHost Health Source Consumer Edition. You can access this from home through our databases. You'll just need your Des Moines Public Library card and your PIN (last four numbers of your phone number) to get in.

Yale Cancer center experts warn that, despite new data, increasing sun exposure is not the way to decrease breast cancer risk .M2PressWIRE, 05/12/2008

The vitamin D debate. By: Petrou, Ilya. Dermatology Times, Feb2008, Vol. 29 Issue 2, p76-81, 2p;

Sun exposure. By: Roehr, Bob. Dermatology Times, Mar2008, Vol. 29 Issue 3, p20-20, 1p;

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

It's Here! It's Here!

Or should I say ‘hear’? Hah! Grammar humor never goes out of style. We now have what you have been clamoring for… downloadable books!!!!!!!!!! Yay!!!!! OK, now that I’ve calmed down a bit I can direct you to your portal to digital bliss. Click Here Go play.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Book Groups Read On!

Are you aware that as a member of a book group, you can check out sets of books from the Franklin Avenue Library? Well, you can! We're talking 10 copies of Atonement, 16 copies of Gilead, 9 copies of The Kite Runner. If your group is into the classics, there are 16 copies of The Scarlet Letter and 8 copies of Sense and Sensibility. But if you are looking for some fun, might I suggest Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons? The tale: in the 1920's a very modern young lady quietly sorts out the lives of her loony cousins. Just the thing for a cheery summer's discussion.
To see the entire list of titles, and details for this program, click on:
Franklin Avenue Library Book Discussion Group Sets