Monday, December 22, 2008

Color Printer Out-of-order

The color printer has been performing erratically since last week. Monochrome prints still look good, but until our vendor, Advanced Systems of Iowa, acquires and installs repair parts, color prints may not turn out well.

Please contact a staff member if you have questions or need assistance with your printing.


c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Storm Closes Local Libraries

The Waterloo and Cedar Falls Public Libraries will be closing this evening at 7:00 p.m. Meteorologists are forecasting sleet followed by intense snow fall later this evening.

No decision has been made on hours for tomorrow (Friday, 12/19/08). Tune in to local radio and/or television tomorrow morning for updates.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Teen Advisory Group Meeting

Waterloo Public Library Teens will hold their Advisory Group Meeting Thursday, December 12, 2008. Teen Librarian, Kristi, promises fun, pizza, and friends will be in the second floor Teen area starting at 5:00 p.m.

For details, contact Kristi at anhaltkr@gmail.com or call 291-4476.
c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Friday, December 05, 2008

Winter Book Sale in Progress!

The Friends of the Waterloo Public Library Book and Magazine Sale continues today and tomorrow, 9-3 each day.

It looks like we're in for a long, cold winter. Now's the time to stock up on recent fiction, mysteries, science fiction, and contemporary non-fiction for those long cold evenings when you can't be outside.

While you're at the sale, don't forget to fill out a membership form. For $15/year, Friends membership is the best deal in town!

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Sunday, November 30, 2008

WPL Friends Winter Book Sale!

The Winter Book and Magazine Sale of the Friends of the Waterloo Public Library begins later this week and runs through Saturday.

A "Friends Only" preview sale begins Thursday, December 4, at 6:30 p.m.; Friends of the Library get first crack at the inventory until 8:30 p.m. If you're not a friend, don't despair: Annual memberships are a mere $15 and may be purchased at the door.

The sale opens to the general public Friday morning, December 5, at 9:00 and runs through 3:00 that afternoon with the same hours on Saturday, December 6.

The sale will be held in the basement of the Waterloo Public Library, located at 415 Commercial Street, Waterloo, IA 50701.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Monday, November 24, 2008

Closed for Thanksgiving

The Waterloo Public Library will close at 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, November 26, and will reopen at 9:00 a.m. Saturday, November 29.
There will be no Learning Center activities on Wednesday.
Have a good Thanksgiving; we look forward to seeing you again on Saturday!
c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Sunday, November 09, 2008

More River Renaissance Activity

Despite the snow, mud, and cold weather, drainage work on the River Renaissance project continues.
c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Riverfront Renaissance Work Continues

Excavation of the old parking lot continues in early morning frost as workers rush to complete the area around the new agriculture exposition area, visible in the upper left hand corner of the picture. In the midst of the newly bricked exposition ground the Public Market can be seen. Note the many pallets of bricks on 3rd Street; apparently, more bricklaying is on the horizon. In the upper center of the photo is the recently vacated MidWestOne Bank building.
c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Monday, October 13, 2008

Edgar Allan Poe Wows Crowd!

Edgar Allan Poe interpreter, Duffy Hudson, shown above with librarians Amy and Sue, entertained 51 guests with dramatic readings from Poe's works on a wet and gloomy downtown Waterloo evening; a perfect setting for enjoying the works of one of America's foremost literary figures.

Hudson, a writer, teacher, director, and Broadway actor, using only a wooden chair as a prop, kept us spell-bound as he performed The Raven, Annabell Lee, and the Tell-Tale Heart. After a spell-binding presentation--during which he stayed perfectly in character--Hudson took questions from the crowd and chatted about his life on the road.

What a great evening!

Support for Hudson's show was provided by the Friends of the Waterloo Public Library. Hudson expects to return to the area next spring when he will be launching a new show, based on the life of Albert Einstein!

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Thursday, October 09, 2008

In the Shadow of the Raven

Edgar Allan Poe comes to the the Waterloo Public Library October 13, 7:00 p.m. as his channeler Duffy Hudson, of film and Broadway fame, presents his one-man show. Share with us Hudson's fascination with Poe's life and work as he reads excerpts from Annabel Lee, The Raven, and The Tell Tale Heart.

I plan on being there with my wife and friends. I hope that you're able to join us for what promises to be a great evening!


This programming is brought to you courtesy of the Friends of the Waterloo Public Library!

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Banned Books Week!




September 27-October 4 is the American Library Association's annual, Banned Books Week. Each year at this time, librarians celebrate their devotion to providing uncensored information to America's library patrons.

Despite strenuous efforts to prevent access to popular works by noted authors, it pleases me to write that the Waterloo Public Library contains each title on the ALA list of "Most Banned Books of 2007:"

  1. And Tango makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

  2. The Chocolate War, by Richard Cormier

  3. Olive's Ocean, Kevin Henke

  4. The Golden Compass, Phillip Pullman

  5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

  6. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker

  7. TTYL, Lauren Myracle

  8. I know why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou

  9. It's Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris

  10. The Perks of being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

The Waterloo Public Library is committed to providing its patrons with the materials that they wish to view or read. Check back in early fall of 2009 to see if we keep up the good work!


c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Monday, September 22, 2008

WPL Closed Friday; Try Cedar Falls!


View Larger Map

The Waterloo Public Library will be closed for in-service training Friday, September 26. If you need Internet access, or wish to take advantage of other library services, consider a visit to our sister library, in Cedar Falls.

The Cedar Falls Public Library has 20 public access computers as well as a wide selection of fiction, non-fiction, and audio-visual materials. Cedar Falls is an Open Access library that will extend borrowing privileges to residents of Waterloo as well as many other locales.

The CFPL is only 20 minutes away, has great parking, and will be open from 9:00-5:00 p.m. Or, if you can stand the wait, the Waterloo Public Library will reopen Saturday, September 27, at 9:00 a.m.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fugitive File goes Online!

Ever wonder about the Top Ten Floods in Waterloo's history? Or, whatever became of Josh Higgin's Park? Or, how do you submit a petition to the City of Waterloo?

Answers to these head scratchers and more can be found at the Waterloo Public Library's most recent contribution to the Internet: The Waterloo Public Library Wiki! The Wiki, a Hawaiian term for "fast," is rapidly being populated with entries from what we've previously called the Fugitive File, those odd bits of folklore and ephemera that are important to us locals, but not easily accessible via traditional reference sources.

As time goes on, WPL Reference librarians gradually transfer this information from bits of paper to electronic bits, the "new order of order."

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Friends Autumn Book Sale!

The Friends of the Waterloo Public Library Used Book & Magazine Sale is nearly upon us. The event kicks off Thursday, September 4, with a "members only" pre-sale from 6:30-8:30 p.m. (For information on becoming a WPL Friend, visit their website.)

The doors reopen Friday & Saturday mornings at 9:00 a.m. and will close each day at 3:00 p.m. The Friends promise that nothing will cost more than a buck, and most items will cost far less.

The Friends' book sale area remains in our basement, which still shows the effects of last June's flooding. The carpetless floors look nasty, but the place is dry as a bone and has been professionally sanitized. With luck, the next sale will see a brand new tile floor.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Enhanced Flatbed Scanner



Patrons of the Waterloo Public Library have had access to a flatbed scanner for about a year now. However, until recently, it hasn't worked very well. It was slow, tended to freeze, and was an altogether mediocre system.

The computer has been recently upgraded and the security has been reconfigured. The upgrade has greatly enhanced performance, and the security changes mean that downloads and thumb drive software are no longer problematic.

So, if you have an image to scan, or are having trouble downloading on one of the PACs, ask a librarian for a ticket on the Express Scanner.

As always, please submit comments or suggestions to the blog, to dargan@gmail.com, or any librarian.


c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

MyLibraryDV Subscription not Renewed


The MyLibraryDV service, available on the Waterloo Public Library website since the fall of 2007, will be discontinued when the subscription runs out September 30. Usage, never high, peaked in March after a front page story in the Waterloo Courier. Usage continued to decline in April and recently has been negligible.
The library will continue to watch the downloadable video market, and may one day resubscribe. However, for for right now, our patrons want other products, and that's where we're going to put our acquisition resources.
As always, be sure to let us know of your desires for library materials and programming.
c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Teen Area Goes Online!

The Waterloo Public Library Teen Area is about to get computers! Four Dell business grade computers--surplus from City Hall--have been installed around a pillar in the Teen Area. The machines have been upgraded, tested, and are nearly ready for use.

Each computer is equipped with Internet Explorer 7.0, Picasa2, and most of the Microsoft Office 2007 Pro Plus suite. Teen users will be able to send print jobs to the public access printer. After 10 minutes of inactivity a warning of impending shutdown will be displayed for a further two minutes. If no activity occurs, the computer will restart and reset; all changes (including data!) will be wiped. BE SURE TO SAVE YOUR WORK REGULARLY TO A THUMB DRIVE!

The computers will be controlled by one-time use tickets which will be handed out to Teens by Reference staff members. Initially, Teens will be allowed at least one hour a day on this set of computers. The limit of 2 patrons per computer will not apply to these machines.

We'll be having a staff meeting Thursday to discuss management of these machines and expect to go live with them soon afterwards. If this project is a success, we might be adding a few more later in the year. In the meantime, let us know if you have questions, comments or suggestions.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library
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Monday, August 04, 2008

Legal Aid Online

Patrons often approach the Reference Desk with questions about legal issues: How do I file for divorce? Change my name? Halt an eviction? Who can help me through the legal maze?

Librarians are careful to not give legal advice, but are eager to refer you to self-help resources. One of the best is the Iowa Legal Aid Website. Their site is full of answers to frequently asked questions, and it's even possible to do an online chat session with a real lawyer!

Remember: librarians are not allowed to dispense legal or tax advice. However, we can point you towards resources for either self-help or reasonably inexpensive professional help.
c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Join the WPL Friends!

Everyone has heard of the WPL Friends' book sales, and you may even have purchased a magazine or cup of coffee from the Friend Shop. However, our Friends do much more than sell books.

Volunteer Friends help with youth summer programs, conduct library tours, deliver materials to the home bound as well as to nursing homes. They also read shelves, help with children programs and other special projects.

For details on how you can be a Friend of the Waterloo Public Library, visit their website, or call 291 4496 for details.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Friday, July 25, 2008

Homework Made Easy

Working on that summer class term-paper? In a hurry to get your research done and done well? If so, you're in luck! The Waterloo Public Library Ebscohost subscription includes "Ebscohost Web."

This amazing product allows WPL patrons--in the building or from home using a library card--to simultaneously search articles in more than 21 databases with titles ranging from Master File Premier, to Academic Elite, to Vocational and Career Collection.

Once you've found your sources you may either print them to our high speed color laser, or save them to your thumb-drive. For more information on what Ebscohost at the WPL can do for you, stop by the reference island for a consultation with one of expert librarians.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Thursday, July 17, 2008

WPL Training Center Ribbon Cutting


Waterloo Public Library Information Literacy Administrator, Kim Van Deest, cut the ribbon at this afternoon's Grand Opening of our new Training Center.

The Cedar Valley Ambassadors (the guys and gals in the blue suits) provided the ribbon, scissors, and about two dozen well-wishers.

Just prior to the ribbon cutting, Waterloo City council-person, Carolyn Cole, read a proclamation praising the new facility as well as all those involved in its conception and construction.

The Training Center, constructed with a grant from the Black Hawk County Gaming Commission and support from the City of Waterloo, seats 15 students and is equipped with a high resolution LCD projector controlled by a teacher station.

Classes are already scheduled for the new room; see the Waterloo Public Library website or call the library at 291 4480 for details.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Training Center Grand Opening

Please join us July 17, 4:15 p.m., for the Grand Opening of the Waterloo Public Library's new Training Center.

The 15 seat computer classroom boasts high-end Dell Optilex computers with 17" flatscreen monitors. The workstations are equipped with Office 2007 Pro Plus running on Vista Business and are connected to our highspeed Internet pipe.

A $51,000 grant provided from the Black Hawk County Gaming Association gave us a start; funds from the City of Waterloo and the library's budget upgraded data, power, and HVAC services to modern standards.

Library personnel, with technical assistance from the State Library of Iowa completed the task of installation and configuration. The system is fast, secure, and very easy-to-use.

All that's left is for Mayor Hurley to cut the ribbon! We're ready to roll out classes on Word, Excel, Publisher, Picasa, Google Tools, Beginning Internet, Genealogy, and much more. Keep an eye on the library's website for class schedules.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Monday, July 14, 2008

New WiFi AP

Second floor WiFi users now have a second choice AP: "TrainingCenter." As you can see from the above screenshot of an XP Pro WiFi "network list," three different AP are revealed.

The first, "linksys," is the AP near the Reference Desk that has been PublicIP managed for several months. If you are one of the 107 registered users of linksys, you may log in normally.

However, we now have a second AP, "TrainingCenter," available. If you choose the TrainingCenter AP, you'll need to create another login or click the "skip" option.

Both APs are Linksys WAP54g devices. Neither is secure, both support 802.11b-g, and are set to allow duplex 10mbs of bandwidth. Available ports include 80 110 118 443 2304 3724 4445 4567 8009 8086 8087 8443 8900 9081 9090 9097 9100. We're not blocking filesharing applications.

The bottom AP, "dlink2," is a secure AP which you may ignore.

The additional WiFi AP will give us better coverage in the west end of the second floor. At some point, we'll be moving the linksys AP to a spot near the stairwell. This will improve coverage for the east end of the floor while relieving congestion at the Reference Desk.

Please direct comments, questions, and suggestions to this blog or to me, dargan@gmail.com.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Thursday, July 10, 2008

New Home for Foreign Language Collection

The Foreign Language Collection has moved from its old corner on the first floor to a new space on the second.

The move will place the collection in a higher traffic area--on the way to the new Training Center door--and will open up a seating area on the first floor.

For more information about the foreign language holdings of the Waterloo Public Library, contact our diversity coordinator, Claudia Ramirez, at ramirez.claudias@gmail.com.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Thursday, July 03, 2008

CFPL Friends Sponsor Arena Football Trip

  • What: Iowa Barnstormers vs the Quad City Steamwheelers arena football game.
  • Where: Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines
  • When: Meet at the CFPL parking lot (524 Main Street, Cedar Falls, IA), 1:30 p.m. to sign waiver and get wristband. Bus leaves at 2:00 p.m. Tailgate party at 4:00 p.m. Game at 7:05. Return to CFPL about midnight, Saturday, July 12, 2008.
  • Cost: $20 per person, includes bus fare and ticket. Supper is on your own.
  • Registration: CFPL Service Desk
  • Details: Call 319 273 8643
    Sponsored by Friends of the Cedar Falls Public Library
c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Saturday, June 28, 2008

WPL Dance Party



Teen Librarian Kristi Anhalt and Waterloo community leader Mike Robinson sponsored a Dance Party at the WPL Saturday night. Looks like they were having fun.

Couldn't get the DJ to play "Moon River" for me. Maybe next time.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Friday, June 27, 2008

TinyURL

Have you ever tried to email a long link to someone and had it fail because it's so long that the email program truncated it? If so, there's a handy tool down the page a bit that can solve your problem: TinyURL.com.

Here's an example: The Amazon URL to James Welch's book Fools Crow, is an astounding 130 characters: http://www.amazon.com/Fools-Crow-Contemporary-American-Fiction/dp/0140089373/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1214627506&sr=8-1

However, paste that monster into the TinyURL.com box, and it comes out as a mere 25 characters: http://tinyurl.com/3qvgqm. (I can almost remember that one.)

If you have any questions about how or why you'd want to use TinyURL.com, ask one of our librarians for assistance.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Monday, June 23, 2008

Disaster Assistance

The Federal Emergency Management Administration, FEMA, has placed Disaster Assistance fliers in the lobby of the Waterloo Public Library. Homeowners, renters, businesses, and private non-profit organizations by the severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding beginning May 25, 2008 are urged to apply for assistance. Applications maybe done by phone, 1-800-621-3362 (tty 1800 462 7585) or online at www.fema.gov.

For Other Needs Assistance (ONA), including repairs, or replacement of personal property, repair or replacement of an essential vehicle, moving and storage expenses, disaster-related medical, dental, and funeral expenses, or miscellaneous expenses, call 1 866 434 4692, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. CDT.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library
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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Still at it

Now that the flood waters that only last week covered Jefferson Street and adjacent areas have receded, the construction of the exposition area of the Cedar Valley River Renaissance complex is again in full swing.

If the river continues falling, I expect that we'll soon see work on the dam improvements as well as the River Walk Loop. We're looking forward to an interesting construction season.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Training Center Nears Completion

The past week or so has been dominated by news of the flood and its aftermath. Only ten days ago we had to tear down the network and evacuate it to other floors. Now, the network has been restored, we're fully operational, and work on the Training Center has resumed.

Today marked the installation of a Windows Vista Business image on all 15 workstations. After some testing, we'll be doing some test classes with staff.

If all goes well, we'll soon be offering patron classes and look forward to a Grand Opening July 17. Stay tuned for details!

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Monday, June 16, 2008

Prime Time Rides!


The Prime Time transportation dispatch center, a service of the Black Hawk Center for Independent Living, is working out of a study room located on the second floor of the Waterloo Public Library this week.

Despite having been flooded out of their usual location, 312 Jefferson Street, Waterloo, IA, 50701, Martha Paproski and Janie Hruska continue to serve their patrons from a make-shift office using cell phones.

Martha and Janie expect to be here for about a week, or until their operation finds a new location.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Aftermath of New Hartford Flood

The recent flooding in New Hartford, IA devastated the Elizabeth Rasmussen Martin Memorial Library. Several feet of silt laden waters have destroyed most of the collection and rendered the rest unusable. It looks as if the interior will have to be gutted and rebuilt before services can resume.

Cherie and I drove through New Hartford this afternoon and the level of destruction is unprecedented. The floods of 1947, 1961, 1993, and 1999, while terrible, did not do near the damage of the recent disaster. The community will be hard pressed to recover--though I heard lots pumps running and people were working hard.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library
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Friday, June 13, 2008

Not down for much longer!


A crew of energetic librarians, geeks, and a director, spent most of the day getting the Waterloo Public Library ready for business-as-usual beginning at 9:00 a.m. Saturday, June 14. After a harrowing week of rain and floods, we're eager to get back to serving our patrons--nearly a quarter of a million a year--once more.

The basement is still uninhabitable, so we've moved the equipment necessary to support Technical Services (ordering, cataloging, processing, and withdrawing) to various other departments. A cleaning service is scheduled to tear up the carpets, prior to a general disinfection, starting tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. Once they've cleaned the server room we'll light up the city's web server. Now that the horse has left the barn, we'll probably find a safer place for this important communication tool.

We're fortunate to have a great bunch of librarians and other city employees. Sure, they get paid to take care of things, but their high morale, intelligence, and aggressiveness has turned what could have been a major disaster into a relatively minor incident. It's an honor to work with such a crew.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library
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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Downtown Waterloo and Library Flooding



Downtown Waterloo was pretty well soaked and the WPL had to deal with several inches of basement flooding. Luckily, it's rainwater--no silt.

We're pumping water from the public elevator shaft and are constantly evaluating the situation. The basement is too wet for us to restore networking. Kim V and I will probably jury rig the equipment on upper floors--maybe as soon as tomorrow.

Stay tuned for updates.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Torrent Rages under 4th Street Bridge

video
The last bridge linking the north and south sides of Waterloo, the 4th Steet Bridge, rumbled above the flooding Cedar River as it neared its record crest of 25.39' early Wednesday morning. That's more than three feet higher than the previous record.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library
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Cedar River Nears Record


Tuesday evening provided a surreal spectacle for Waterloo residents as the Cedar River, only a hundred yards from the Waterloo Public Library, neared a record crest. Two blocks down a railroad bridge washed away as city workers completed flood walls on other bridges.

As of 9:15 p.m. Tuesday evening, the Waterloo Public Library basement remained dry. However, rumor has it that the obvious street flooding was caused by failed storm sewer lines. Let's hope that the lift stations can keep up!

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Historic Flood Closes WPL!


Due to forecasts of a record high Cedar River crest of 26' this evening, and widespread street flooding this morning, Waterloo Mayor Tim Hurley has requested that downtown businesses close and leave the area in an "orderly manner. Therefore, the Waterloo Public Library closed early this afternoon until further notice.

The City Engineer has advised the library to move anything of value out of the basement. So, library personnel have relocated all networking devices and items of historical value to upper floors. If we're lucky, and stay dry, the library will be able to reopen or normal business about 4-6 hours after an all-clear. However, if the basement floods, we'll have to assess the damage and do what's necessary to reopen in a safe manner.

Check back Wednesday morning for an update.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Monday, June 09, 2008

Dirty Keyboards and Clean Hands

We don't like to think about it, but public access computers are notoriously difficult to clean and keep clean. The Waterloo Public Library computers see as many as 8,000 sessions a month; that's 80,000 fingers and thumbs spreading germs and bacteria.

Tests show that even personal keyboards in office environments are typically infested with such nasty bugs as e coli and even staphylococcus aurea. Unfortunately, comprehensive cleaning of our 30 keyboards would require the removal and disinfection of some 3,030 key caps, each of which would be immediately reinfected by the next user with dirty fingers.

If you're concerned about possibility of infection, (we are unaware of any infections in the last decade of use) and wish to protect yourself, always wash your hands thoroughly after using a computer, and avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose until your hands are clean.

If you wish to clean your keyboard before use, ask for a disinfectant wipe at the Reference Island. When you're done using the computer, help yourself to a squirt from our jug of hand sanitizer, also at the Reference Island. We can't promise you clean keyboards, but we can help you to keep your hands clean.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Friday, May 30, 2008

My Waterloo Days 2008

videoDowntown Waterloo has a lot going for it. The Waterloo Public Library, the smell of Wonder Bread baking cinnamon rolls on a Saturday morning, and best of all, great fireworks for My Waterloo Days!

Earlier this evening I sat in the middle of the 5th Street Bridge with about 5,000 friends and was entertained by the best pyrotechnics ever! If you didn't make it this year, be sure to join us in 2009!

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Monday, May 26, 2008

Training Center Progress Report

The BHCGA funded training center is progressing nicely. The blinds were installed Friday and library staff are now in the process of unpacking and installing the computers.

The two major remaining tasks are installation of the LCD projection screen and imaging of the 15 computers. Once everything is installed, we'll do some testing and will probably do some in-service classes with staff so we can smooth out any wrinkles.

As soon as we have a date for the ribbon cutting, we'll be posting here and on the library's website.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Are you ready for DTV?

Federal law mandates the end of analog television broadcasting on February 17, 2009. The channels currently used for analog signals will be reassigned to police, fire, and emergency rescue communications. Digital signals will also allow broadcasters to offer programming with better picture and sound quality. We'll also see more channels from each broadcaster.

For subscription viewers (i.e., cable or dish antenna users), the day will pass unnoticed. However, for those of us who still get free signals via rooftop antennas, our TVs will go dark--unless we get ready ahead of time.

Free TV viewers can prepare in one of three ways:

  1. Connect our analog TVs to digital-to-analog converter boxes.
  2. Replace our analog TVs with digital TVs.
  3. Subscribe to a paid TV service.

Upgrade coupons, worth $40 on the price of a digital-to-analog converter box, may be downloaded from http://www.dtv2009.gov/.

I installed a converter box on my mother's TV last weekend and it works great! The picture is superior and she now gets more channels. With a $40 coupon, the cost was negligible. There is no reason to discard your current analog TV.

If you have questions or concerns about the switch, visit the http://www.dtv2009.gov/ FAQ page, or visit with one of our librarians.

For a more in-depth discussion of the DTV tranistion, visit the library on August 27, September 10 and September 13 when engineers from KWWL will answer questions about the "big switch."

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Office 2007 Upgrade Looms!

Change is coming to the the Waterloo Public Library PACS: Office 2007 will soon replace Office XP!

For several years, all WPL PACs have been loaded with the Office XP suite provided to us by the Gates Foundation. While this product has worked well since 2003, it's now time for an upgrade. Very soon you'll find that the Training center computers (21-29) will have Office 2007. We're hoping that by the end of the month PACs 1-20 and 30 will also be upgraded.

The Office 2007 interface takes a little to get used to, but we're confident that users will soon adapt. Library staff members will also like the fact that for the first time in 5 years, staff and patrons will be using the same office applications.

If you plan on creating documents at the library, then editing them elsewhere, take care to "Save as" in the same format as the next computer that you plan to use. Otherwise, you may get a nasty surprise when you find that Office XP and Office 2003 applications can't open documents prepared in Office 2007.

To be on the safe side, download and install the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 formats. It's a free product that allows older Office Suites to edit the newer format.

If your computer has speakers or you have a pair of headphones, check out what the Locker Gnome, Chris Pirrillo, has to say about Office 2007.

Please contact a library staff member with any questions or concerns.


c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Friday, May 09, 2008

QuickRes

For several years our Public Access Computers have used 800x600 as the default display resolution. Recently, we've seen more websites that require 1024x768 for convenient viewing. Security on the system had made the resolution control inaccessible, so we had to stick with one or the other, and some of our users much prefer the larger display of 800x600.

We have addressed this problem by installing the QuickRes application on each of the Public Access Computers. If you look at the lower right hand corner of the screen, you'll see a tiny monitor icon. Right click the icon and a menu will popup. Left click the resolution that you prefer, the screen will go blank for a few seconds, then reappear with the new resolution.

Sometimes it's possible to change to a resolution that's unusable and that you can't back out of. If this happens to you, restart the computer and the resolution will reset to the default (original) resolution setting. You'll then have 2 minutes to log in before your reservation will be lost.

You should feel free to change the resolution on your own, but never hesitate to ask a library staff member for help.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Friday, May 02, 2008



The Waterloo Public Library celebrated its volunteers Friday evening with beverages, music, hors d'Ĺ“uvres, and fellowship. Director Sheryl Groskurth poured wine, pop, and punch, while volunteer coordinator Sheri Melby managed the decorations and treats. The dynamic duo of Kim Chapman and Claudia Ramirez handled the door prizes and generally made things run smoothly.

We had a lot of fun on a dreary spring evening. Let's hope we can do it all over again next year!

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Monday, April 28, 2008

New Computers and LCD Projector

The new computers, 15 Dell Optiplex 755s with 19" monitors, were delivered last week. And, I noticed this morning that we now have an LCD projector hanging from the ceiling. Soon, we'll have a screen for displays and shades for the windows.

The electricians are busy installing data ports and electrical outlets. Within a week or so we'll be able to start unpacking the computers. You may be shaking your head at the metal door; don't worry, it's a temporary solution. The permanent door is on back order and will probably be installed in another week or so.

We're all looking forward to seeing the Training Center completed, but it's too soon to predict the actual date.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Switch Room

The electrical and data needs of the new Training Center have required an upgrade in WPL capacity. The improvements installed this week will eventually support other upgrades to second floor patron and staff services.

The picture above is of a patch panel installation in a former study room. All of the data cables for the Training Center will be terminated at the patch panel at the top of the "rack." A 26 port 10/100/1000 managed switch will be installed below. As you can see, we have plenty of room for growth.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Periodicals Seating Area Expansion

Our crew of stack movers was at it again today: We've moved the periodical display shelving about 10' towards the north. This allows us to put three larger tables along the south wall adjacent to A/C outlets. The new location might make life a bit tougher for the vacuum cleaner crew, but much easier for our WiFi users whose batteries aren't quite what they used to be.

This move also allows us to move the tables a bit farther from the stairwell--noted for its tendency to channel noise up from the youth department--and use the periodicals shelves to further supress sound, while retaining the ability of Reference staff to see into the far corner of the building.

This is the second in a series of seating areas that we've planned. The first to be established is the Teen area, to the southwest of the Reference island. The third will be on the first floor, in the southeast corner near the courtyard windows. The fourth will be the northeast corner of the second floor currently occupied by the Reference workroom. At some point in the distant future, we'll have a fifth area in the northeast corner of the second floor near the 000s-100s.

Obviously, we're in dire need of more comfortable furniture. I've been threatening to cruise the Cedar Falls College Hill area semester end with my little brother's pickup, scavenging old couches and Barca Loungers. Stay tuned for further developments!

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Adult AV on the Second Floor

Waterloo Public Library Adult Audio Visual optical disk materials moved to the second floor last week. Library assistants Amy, Carolyn, Eugene, and Tim dismantled the display units, transported them to the area west of the PACs, reassembled, and reshelved. Believe me: that's much easier said than done!

Now that the AV materials are upstairs, the downstairs has more room for new book displays. We'll soon be shifting our "large type" collection to the area that formerly housed the AV materials. That shift will result in room for a seating area in the southwest corner of the first floor.

With the tall ceilings, large windows, and a view of the courtyard's greenery, we'll have a great place to sit and read. I'll be posting more on that project as it progresses.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Monday, April 14, 2008

Training Center gets Furniture

Workers spent today unpacking and assembling furniture for the new BHCGA funded training center. Holes have been drilled through the floor for data and electricity. Dell will be shipping 15 755 Optiplex workstations later this week. The special dimmer ceiling lights have been installed and it looks like we're several weeks ahead of schedule.

We expect to be holding training sessions later this spring or early summer. Stay tuned for details.
c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Windows & Lights

Work on the new BHCGA Training Center is progressing rapidly. Sheetrock is complete, the suspended ceiling frames are installed, the HVAC is has been updated. Now we're waiting for lights, furniture, data drops, and computers.
c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Training Center Takes Shape

The new Waterloo Public Library Training Center, constructed with the aid of a grant from the Black Hawk County Gaming Association, is rapidly taking shape. The walls are plastered and painted, the plastic barriers are down. We're now we're waiting for the ceiling, lights, wiring, and furniture.
c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

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