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


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:

Here's an example: The Amazon URL to James Welch's book Fools Crow, is an astounding 130 characters:

However, paste that monster into the box, and it comes out as a mere 25 characters: (I can almost remember that one.)

If you have any questions about how or why you'd want to use, 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

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
Posted by Picasa

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

Posted by Picasa

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

Posted by Picasa

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
Posted by Picasa

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
Posted by Picasa

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

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
Posted by Picasa

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

View My Stats