Friday, May 30, 2008

My Waterloo Days 2008

Downtown 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

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 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


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

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